IBM Dangles Margin Carrot To VentureTech

The Armonk, N.Y.-based IT giant plans to offer Ingram Micro VentureTech Network (VTN) members two margin points for all xSeries, storage and printer sales that exceed their average quarterly volume for those products, said Frank Vitagliano, vice president of global distribution channels at IBM.

"We want to get VTN members to commit to adding to the PC other aspects of IBM, and we will reward them," Vitagliano said.

VentureTech members also can earn an additional margin point if they buy 65 percent of their IBM products from Ingram Micro. The program lasts through June.


Vitagliano says IBM wants partners to sell more complex solutions.

IBM's objective is to spur solution providers to drive more complex solutions to SMB customers, according to Vitagliano. "Sometimes it's a tough transition [to selling xSeries or storage] because they are mission-critical applications that are more complex or because a competitive product is installed," he said. "We need to get SMBs engaged more. VentureTech asked us to step forward, and we have continued to do that."

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The move reflects IBM's loyalty to channel partners to reach SMB customers, said Jane Cage, owner of Heartland Technology Solutions, a Joplin, Mo.-based solution provider.

"That's the best kind of incentive because it speaks to our bottom line. IBM gives us sustained support in VentureTech," Cage said. "It's important to us that they are trying to improve the power of that partnership, and it's another case of a solid program coming to the table from Frank [Vitagliano]."

IBM also plans to unveil a new portfolio of 20 Express products to further penetrate the SMB market, Vitagliano said.

"We have renewed commitment from [IBM's Personal Computing Division]. They will be at competitive prices that won't require special bid activity because that is not beneficial," he said.