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10 Things We Learned About IBM's Channel At Think 2019

IBM channel chief John Teltsch spoke with CRN about the changes he's made to IBM's partner program and what's left to done to maximize success.

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Talking To Teltsch  

John Teltsch was a 36-year IBM veteran when he took over Big Blue's channel chief position in June of 2017. Even though Teltsch had plenty of exposure to IBM's channel over those decades, when he became general manager of global business partners he realized there was much he still didn't know.

The new channel chief quickly saw the necessity of a generational overhaul of the IBM PartnerWorld program to adapt to the realities of the cloud era and the rapidly changing nature of the channel itself.

At the PartnerWorld kickoff for the IBM Think 2019 conference in San Francisco, Teltsch spoke candidly with CRN about the changes he's made since then, which of them have worked and which haven't, and what's left to be done to maximize partner success.

Two program revamps—in October of 2017 and April of 2018—are now "in full execution." And IBM has learned a lot in the last year after those "aggressive changes," he told CRN.

In that time, IBM has added some 13,000 new partners—a record year. Many of them are not traditional resellers, but instead focus on services, IP, embed, or industry-based solutions. IBM has also "exited fulfillment partners from our channel strategy," he said.

"We made some changes that weren't necessarily the right changes. I'm going to change those. We're going to pivot," he said. But what's clear is "we're on the right path." 

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