From A Partner Program Perspective, IBM Says Its Cognitive Transformation Is Already Complete

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IBM has been talking a lot about cognitive transformation over the past few years. At least as far as Big Blue's partner program goes, that transformation is now complete, IBM's channel chief said Tuesday at the company's partner conference.

"Partner plan is done. Business model is done. Strategy is clear," Marc Dupaquier, general manager of IBM's global business partners, told CRN after delivering his keynote at the PartnerWorld Leadership Conference in Las Vegas.

"Now it's about winning, and that's what we'll continue to be doing in 2017," Dupaquier said.

[Related: IBM CEO Urges Partners To Choose Their Cloud Architecture Wisely, Noting That Decisions Made Today Will Impact Their Businesses For Decades]

That message marks a clear departure from the last three PartnerWorld conferences. Those events all consistently hit on the theme of channel program transformation as they encouraged partners to evolve their practices to prepare for the advent of the Watson cognitive platform and the strategic imperatives of cloud, mobile, big data and security.

In the past, IBM's PartnerWorld channel program had been inconsistent within business units, sending mixed signals to partners as to where IBM wanted them to be, Dupaquier said during his keynote.. One goal of the transformation was to shift IBM's channel from being product-aligned to competency-aligned, he said.

Last year, the Armonk, N.Y.-based technology revamped its program for the first time in 11 years. Since that "radical change," Dupaquier told CRN, IBM has done even more to simplify how it works with partners and streamline the on-boarding process.

While incremental updates to PartnerWorld will continue, the major overhaul intended to position partners for the cognitive era is complete, Dupaquier told CRN.

IBM did introduce on Tuesday a few of those program updates.

Among them, IBM is opening to its channel the ability to resell its solution for extending on-premise VMware installations to the IBM cloud. IBM struck the partnership with the virtualization leader last year.

IBM also introduced new competencies around security, cloud-based video services, the Watson Internet of Things platform and offering IBM financing to customers.

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