IBM's Government Partner Program Gains Momentum

Participating ISVs who access the network's government portal will find five solution areas: citizen access, collaboration, eForms and Record Management, On Demand Workplace, and public safety.

"It's hands-on support that never before was available to this many partners," says Aimee Munsell, director of industry solutions for ISV and developer relations at IBM. "The biggest piece is a high level of marketing and sales support. Technology is key, of course, but helping to drive business is as well."

Partners can look at the solution areas, for example, and schedule a one-on-one consultation with an architect to talk about porting their solutions, then organize a marketing campaign with financial backing from IBM.

As of now, one government network is offered for state, local and federal ISVs, with information somewhat tailored within the different solution areas accordingly.

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"The approach for getting business is far different for state and local than for federal," says Ian Altman, CEO of Rockville, Md.-based ITM Associates. "IBM identifies where your solutions are applicable. If state and local, then who's a fit? If federal, then who? They help target specifically where your solution makes sense."

In response to partner feedback, IBM hopes to further segment federal from local and state -- perhaps breaking them out into separate tracks entirely. In addition, an education industry network is scheduled to launch in the first part of 2005.

"The program has certainly opened opportunities in specific accounts that we didn't have any entree into before," Altman says. "We have a solution for IBM to put their arms around. I don't want to say I'm surprised, but I guess I'm surprisingly happy at how tangible and results-oriented the program is already."