LOS ANGELES, CA & IBM Business Partner Leadership Conference - 01 May 2008: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a series of new programs and incentives aimed at helping IBM Business Partners expand their reach by leveraging growth opportunities in existing and emerging markets that include key industry areas such as security, medical, health care, digital video and the life sciences.
These new programs represent IBM's commitment to provide IBM Business Partners skills and resources to help them increase their competitiveness and deliver unique and exceptional business value to customers. Among the programs are new Business Partner incentives to help fuel growth in the $250 billion mid-market segment by selling IBM systems and storage solutions to midsized clients.
IBM also introduced a program to enable IBM Business Partners to sell IBM systems and storage to resellers who market embedded solutions that address client needs in such specialty areas as next-generation networks, as well as two global initiatives designed to make it easier for IBM Business Partners to export unique solutions and aggregate approved certification resources across international borders.
IBM Business Partner Skills for the New Enterprise Data Center 
With an expected launch during the third quarter of 2008, the Business Partner Skills Program for the New Enterprise Data Center will focus on helping move IBM Business Partners to a higher value position in the marketplace by providing technical enablement and skill-building road maps for qualified firms that want to intensify their skills to participate in the fast-growing new enterprise data center market opportunity. Over time, the program will address an entirely new set of solution specialties that align to a number of key industries and associated market opportunities worldwide.
According to Gartner, more than 70 percent of the Global 1000 organizations will have to significantly modify their data centers in the next five years. Already, they are short of space, short of energy, and lack the power and cooling necessary for handling the next generation of high-density server and storage gear.
IBM will train and equip IBM Business Partners to perform client assessments, using IBM tools and best practices, in areas critical to the development of enterprise data centers.
An important part of the new skills program will be certifications in three new enterprise data center disciplines -- virtualization and consolidation, business resiliency and green/energy efficiency. For example, certified IBM Business Partners will have the ability to measure the energy consumption of a data center before and after a project, providing clients with information to help them claim subsequent energy efficiency credits.
Once the program is established, there will be two unique specialty levels. Those who reach the highest level will be eligible for a number of marketing and sales benefits that could include funding for co-marketing activities, education, pre-sales assessments, pre-sales proposal development, as well as technical assistance. In addition, to better align other IBM programs to the New Enterprise Data Center opportunity, IBM has announced that the Business Partner Innovation Center program will be aligned with the new specialty program.
Industry Solution Reseller Initiative
IBM's new Industry Solutions Reseller initiative allows qualified IBM Business Partners to provide certain IBM systems and storage technology to resellers who deliver integrated solutions to clients in high growth markets such as retail, next-generation networks, medical devices, health care, life sciences and digital video. Initially, IBM Business Partners will sell System x and storage products to OEM resellers.
The OEM and embedded market is growing 15 to 20 percent annually, driven by key factors that include growth of nontraditional solutions outside the data center such as communications switches in a telecommunications network, technology used under the covers of medical imaging devices, and technology used to monitor and secure retail establishments. Other key factors are the move of OEM and embedded to industry standard systems based on Intel and POWER processors, the rapid shift to unified communications leveraging Internet protocol technology, increased demand for hosted solutions for Internet gaming, and requirements for systems used to monitor and control power plants to help keep the planet green.
The IBM Industry Solutions Reseller initiative mirrors a hugely successful IBM software program where the number of IBM Business Partners who embed IBM software products increased by more than 30 percent in 2007.
IBM has already established relationships in the OEM embedded space, and last year generated double-digit revenue growth. Digitization of medical and security information presents a significant growth opportunity in systems and storage outside the data center. The Industry Solution Reseller initiative is designed to significantly broaden and simplify access to leading IBM technology for embedded solution resellers and their customers.
Integrated Product Export Program
The Integrated Product Export Program leverages IBM's ability to help Business Partners that develop and integrate approved unique industry applications in one country to deploy the solution to a client in a different, approved country. Under this initiative, IBM can authorize the IBM Business Partner to source the required IBM products, integrate and test them locally, then export the total solution to end-users in another country. The program was designed to help expand IBM's ability to support the delivery of solutions in both established and emerging markets. In addition, it facilitates and helps reduce the cost for IBM Business Partners to pursue new growth opportunities, and enables the centralization of key resources.
Cross-Border Product Certification
In order to address the requirements of customer-facing Business Partners that have subsidiary operations or IBM Business Partner relationships in multiple countries, IBM is introducing a major change in the way it manages certification criteria.
Under a new Cross-Border Product Certification program, IBM Business Partners can now aggregate country-specific certification resources in a single location to satisfy IBM certification requirements across multiple countries and geographies where the firm does business. IBM Business Partners eligible to participate in the certification initiative are those who operate subsidiary businesses in other countries.
For example, a Business Partner firm that has a sales and technical resource certified and authorized to sell AIX/POWER in the United States, and an IBM Business Partner relationship in the UK, can now use the already-certified U.S.-based skills to service both countries. The certified resources can reside in either the U.S., the UK, or a combination.
Today's announcement applies to certification requirements needed for a Business Partner to be authorized to purchase and sell eligible IBM systems and storage hardware products and offerings. Other programs that require additional certifications remain unchanged.
PartnerWorld Portal Enhancements
In conjunction with these new initiatives, IBM has streamlined PartnerWorld resources and the way they can be viewed on its PartnerWorld portal. Based on research conducted with IBM Business Partners, the changes were made to help IBM Business Partners make more productive use of the resources and tools available to assist them in generating leads, proposing solutions and closing business. The enhancements include:
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Business partner information including strategic alliances
1 All statements regarding IBM's future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only.