IBM's North American Channel Chief: Wired For The Channel

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Despite being gun shy about announcing channel changes before officially taking her new job, Duncan said her mission is to increase the number of IBM deals going through the channel by tackling new lines of business that include Web services, big data and cognitive computing with the Watson supercomputer.

"My focus is on driving simplicity, stability and growth in the channel. I'm going to be interested in taking IT to the next level. But I need a little more time in the job to get specifics on products and services and exactly the granularity where we are going to find the biggest value."

But if "stability" is Duncan's code word for IBM maintaining a channel status quo, some partners that CRN has spoken with will be disappointed. Partners tell CRN they want more co-selling with IBM reps in the field, simplified deal registration and better alignment with the firm when selling end-to-end IBM solutions.

"I have no issue with change. I just want to make sure it's thoughtful change," said Duncan. "I'm all for adjusting and tweaking in areas where we don't have the level of partner satisfaction we need or where programs are causing hardships. But first I need to look at Marc Dupaquier's team and look at his global strategy and see if the change that needs to happen is on a global level."

Duncan's appointment last week to North American channel chief follows the appointment of Marc Dupaquier as IBM's global channel chief the week prior. Both told CRN that the upcoming IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference Feb. 10-13 at The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, will be the their coming out party of sorts when they will be rolling up their sleeves and talking channel strategy with partners.


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