IBM Loves Its Channel–And It Shows

Sports FansEarlier this week I talked about how companies that have continued to invest in their channel despite the down economy have wisely adopted a big-picture attitude in the face of potential cost-cutting decisions. I’d like to point to IBM as one example of a company who has evolved into a leader of channel dynamics, the very same dynamics that are promoted daily here at Move The Channel.

A recent article published by Larry Walsh in the portal Channelnomics discusses how IBM has begun to establish itself as a forerunner of holistic channel behavior. Despite its stature in the tech world, the company felt it could maximize its value in the channel more completely as a component player rather than as a one-stop solution. As Walsh remarks, “IBM sees value in driving business to solution providers who won’t necessary lead with the IBM brand.” He continues, “As the theory goes, IBM will gain sales if it [is] providing marketing support, lead generation and technical solutions to business partners who develop solutions based on IBM’s technologies.”  This all-for-one, one-for-all channel strategy has allowed IBM to establish valuable, intrinsic bonds with its partners, and helped contribute to the overall evolution of the business.  It must be tough as a leading innovator to accept the fact that conventional technology and cloud services will quickly become a commodity.  Since its products are a component, they have wisely found partners that specialize, overlap, and provide complimentary solutions built on an IBM platform. And with this approach they have added new incentives, certifications, technologies and marketing programs that continue to enable their partners to grow their businesses, to the benefit of all. As Walsh concludes, “the more business partners grow, the more they’ll consume IBM products.”

This is the new foundation for IBM’s channel strategy, along with its more than 130,000 business partners worldwide. Think they might be onto something?

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