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Inside IBM’s New Partner Plus Program: Tiers, Benefits, Incentives

Wade Tyler Millward

IBM will launch a new incentives stack in April and new co-marketing and demand generation programs in July.

Tiers for silver, gold and platinum partners. An accelerator program for new partners. And a promise of fewer direct customers, pushing more accounts to the channel.

These are some of the pillars of IBM’s new Partner Plus program, which replaces the long-standing PartnerWorld. The program launched Wednesday, with six months for partners to transition to the new program, IBM channel chief Kate Woolley said during a press conference.

“It is a simple, transparent and predictable program,” said Woolley, whose formal title is general manager of the IBM ecosystem. “It gives our partners a simplified path for them to progress with IBM, whether they‘re building, selling or servicing. It is inclusive of all of our partner types. And we’ve built this program based on what we heard from partners.”

[RELATED: IBM Expands Partner Access To Training Resources]

IBM Replaces PartnerWorld With Partner Plus

Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM will launch a new incentives stack in April and new co-marketing and demand generation programs in July.

The new program opens up additional ways for IBM to partner with hyperscalers such as Amazon Web Services.

Tim Kreytak, CEO of Boston-based IBM and AWS partner Ironside, told CRN in an interview that he’s excited to see both vendors work on more integrations between their products.

More integration means replatforming instead of migrating projects – which can be more expensive and time consuming – plus customers can pick the best features from each service, Kreytak said.

“Customers that start on IBM often stay on IBM,” he said. “The fact that we can now move those workloads to AWS or move those workloads to other places helps IBM maintain those customers because it‘s easier – if I have someone running on Cognos (IBM’s web-based business intelligence suite), and I move them to AWS running on EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud), they’re still running on Cognos. It‘s more of a replatforming than a migration. Migration projects are larger and more expensive. So the integration between the two is good.”

Here’s a breakdown of the different components of the program.

Wade Tyler Millward

Wade Tyler Millward is an associate editor covering cloud computing and the channel partner programs of Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, Salesforce, Citrix and other cloud vendors. He can be reached at

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