IBM Expands Managed Service Offerings For Channel Partners

With the packaged services, IBM is seeking a way to "productize" its in-house expertise and intellectual property and make it available to channel partners, says Kevin Hooper, vice president of IBM's worldwide business partner strategy. The effort is similar to product bundles that IBM has built around its hardware and software products, and will help channel partners overcome the huge barriers they face in expense and expertise when trying to develop such services on their own, he says.

The move also will make it easier for solution provider sales representatives who are used to selling products to also sell services, says Mark Wyllie, senior director of disaster recovery services at Mainline Information Systems, a Tallahassee, Fla.-based reseller of IBM hardware and an IBM Global Services business partner.

"To me, that's the real advantage of going into productized service offerings," he says.

The new service products can easily be bundled with other products and services sold by Mainline and handled through a single customer purchase order, Wyllie says. That's in contrast to fee-based services that are billed back to IBM. He sees the new service products geared more to midsize businesses, while IBM's Express Managed Services are targeted toward smaller customers. He also expects the new products will help Mainline expand the amount of business it does with existing customers rather than attract new customers.

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The new service products fall into five categories: security and privacy, system continuity and resiliency, data storage services, server services, and maintenance and technical support. Server services, for example, will help channel partners offer expertise in server consolidation. Hooper says the maintenance and technical support, server and storage services will be similar to service bundles that IBM channel partners are currently reselling, while the security and continuity service packages are based on newly packaged intellectual assets.

The three security service products announced Thursday are: