Channel Chief Kate Woolley: ‘No Better Time To Be An IBM Partner’
Wade Tyler Millward
‘As we think about the focus that IBM has on the ecosystem and the prioritization of it ... that’s what we want our partners to be seeing in terms of how they engage with IBM and and how they go forward with IBM,’ says Kate Woolley, general manager of IBM’s ecosystem.
IBM channel chief Kate Woolley said partners have seen success selling the tech giant’s offerings around data-driven insight, predictability, security and automation to customers. And to help improve partners’ relationship with IBM, the company continues to invest in new functionality for its partner portal.
Woolley shared these observations during a recent interview with CRN. She is about eight months into her role—her formal title is general manager of the Armonk, N.Y.-based tech giant’s ecosystem—with a goal of doubling ecosystem revenue in the next three to five years.
“There‘s no better time to be a channel partner,” Woolley told CRN. “And I think there’s no better time to be an IBM partner as well. As we think about the focus that IBM has on the ecosystem and the prioritization of it, and as I think about consistent focus and think about consistent revenue streams and everything like that from from the perspective of a partner—that’s what we want our partners to be seeing in terms of how they engage with IBM and and how they go forward with IBM.”
Woolley presides over a recently streamlined partner organization within IBM, with global systems integrators and strategic partners including hyperscalers, infrastructure partners, global consulting firms, large ISVs and technology partners now reporting to IBM’s channel chief, along with other IBM ecosystem businesses such as smaller ISVs, developer advocacy, channel partners and ecosystem engineering.
IBM has more than 55,000 partners today and is working to expand the base. To meet the needs of a growing ecosystem, the company has doubled the number of its channel-facing sellers to more than 2,000.
Mark Wyllie, CEO of Boca Raton, Fla.-based IBM partner Flagship Solutions Group, recently told CRN in an interview that it’s a busy time for IBM partners, with Flagship Solutions Group working to help customers through a refresh cycle with the new Power10 servers. His business is investing in more ways to help customers adopt the power of cloud computing.
“When there’s a refresh cycle on the Power systems, there’s a pretty good bump in sales because people want the additional capacity capabilities,” Wyllie said.
“One of the things that I see with Power10 is I think the customers—while they are looking to move to the cloud—there’s still a pretty large segment of customers that want to have an on-premises aspect to their solution,” he said.
IBM’s partner portal received a significant update in April that consolidated 45 tools into one, improved the deal registration process and added more ways to engage with IBM sellers, according to the company. The portal introduced an Auto Deal Share feature to speed up delivery of qualified sales opportunities. The average time to share a deal with partners decreased from 13 days to 96 hours.
Here’s what else Woolley had to say.