IBM Combines Hardware-Software Channels Into New Global Partner Group


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IBM is for the first time ever bringing its hardware and software partners under one roof into a Global Business Partner Group in a move designed to push the $100 billion IT goliath into an age of cloud, big data and analytics.

"IBM is putting in place a more integrated approach to IT solutions, breaking down silos," said an IBM partner who asked not to be identified.

The internal shakeup is wide-ranging, impacting IBM's channel strategy and includes a reorg of business units and an internal executive changing of the guard. While IBM declined to comment on the shakeup, channel partners confirmed the moves and said that channel leadership remains intact with Marc Dupaquier, general manager of Global Business Partners at IBM, overseeing IBM's channel business.

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Late Tuesday, IBM will announce its fourth-quarter earnings where it's expected to report its 11th straight quarter without a revenue increase, according to Wall Street analysts.

Channel partners confirmed reports that IBM has put in place a new internal structure within the company that is focused on a holistic approach to solving business problems centered on analytics, cloud, mobile and security. The move is meant to move away from IBM's existing business unit approach that favored stand-alone hardware, software and services silos.

Partners said the new groups include Research, Sales and Delivery, Systems, Global Technology Services, Cloud, Watson, Security, Commerce and Analytics. Notable to the channel community is that IBM's hardware and software channel teams will be rolled into a Global Business Partner Group.

By unifying groups, IBM helps customers piece together solutions that span IBM's vast product portfolio. "This means centralized management of business units and a more unified strategic direction for IBM instead of having separate IBM horses running their own races," said the partner.

"It's a welcome change," said another IBM partner that asked not to be identified. He said IBM was too often competing with itself on sales.

"We'd bring security deals to IBM and one [IBM] group would want to sell it as a service and another would want to sell it as a traditional software sale," said the IBM partner that specialized in reselling IBM security solutions.

"Each IBM group was in a silo. They didn't care if they walked into another deal. They didn't care about confusing a customer. They wanted to make money," said the partner. "We lost deals. Customers would have to wait for quotes and they would be confused. Ultimately, that pushed customers to the competition."

NEXT: IBM Makes Channel Changes That Partners Cheer

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