IBM Outlines Channel Plans For Netezza Acquisition

IBM is moving to capitalize on its $1.7 billion Netezza acquisition by recruiting IBM business intelligence and data management channel partners to resell Netezza's data warehouse appliances.

IBM held a Web conference Thursday to outline its Netezza plans to hundreds of channel partners who work with IBM's InfoSphere data integration and data warehouse software, Cognos business intelligence tools, and DB2 and Informix database software.

"We want to create a go-to-market channel for Netezza with our IBM partners," said Rob Thomas, IBM vice president of business development for Information Management.

Netezza, based in Marlborough, Mass., develops data warehouse appliances based on IBM's System x platform, including its flagship TwinFin system for large companies and the Skimmer appliance targeted toward SMBs. IBM completed the Netezza acquisition in November.

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IBM is positioning Netezza as a new element of its data warehouse product lineup, which now includes the InfoSphere software and its Smart Analytics turnkey systems that bundle IBM hardware, software and storage into data warehouse packages. Netezza will serve as a more plug-and-play appliance alternative to the Smart Analytics offerings.

Next: IBM Builds Up Netezza's Partner Resources

IBM has some 2,000 information management and business intelligence software resellers and the company will recruit from those ranks partners who can add the Netezza systems to their offerings.

Those partners must have deep business intelligence and data warehousing skills they can use to build solutions around the Netezza computers, identify sales opportunities, develop proof-of-concept systems based on Netezza's computers, and provide professional services such as designing data analysis practices, Thomas said.

Thomas' goal is to recruit somewhere between 20 and 50 top-notch partners who can work with the sophisticated Netezza platform. Netezza systems have an average selling price between $1.2 and $1.4 million.

While Netezza had some 300 business partners, most were systems integrators and software developers and Netezza largely followed a direct sales model. IBM is looking to add some of its own reseller partners to the mix. "We know there's a lot of demand out there," said John Niess, Netezza vice president of alliances.

"We also think ISVs will begin to adopt Netezza as a platform," Thomas added.

IBM has already established a channel partner program within Netezza similar to the Software Value Plus program IBM operates for partners within its software division. Partners will move to the IBM SVP program over time as IBM assumes Netezza's contractual obligations. Niess said Netezza is also adding personnel to its partner support staff.

Thomas also said that as of Jan. 1, sales personnel within IBM's channel sales organization are being given credit for Netezza sales.

IBM has identified business intelligence as a strategic initiative: Revenue from business analytics products and services grew 14 percent in the company's third quarter ended Sept. 30 and the vendor forecasts that business analytics and optimization products and services will generate $16 billion in sales by 2015.