IBM Opens Software Labs To Global Business Partners

Delivers New Resources to Help Partners Drive Growth

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LAS VEGAS, - 04 May 2010: At the IMPACT 2010 conference today, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced it will provide its authorized business partners with direct access to technical and industry leaders across 70 IBM Software Labs worldwide. The initiative is designed to help partners enhance their knowledge of IBM software and strategy and more quickly create business applications for a smarter planet based on IBM technology and services.

With today's news, IBM also announced new resources to help partners build and grow their business including:

"IBM continues to provide the skills and resources our partners need to build, market and sell tailored solutions that meet our clients' needs," said Sandy Carter, vice president, IBM Software Business Partners. "Our clients' success often starts with the partner as the first point of contact. With a goal of helping our partners to succeed, these new resources can help our partners fuel innovation and accelerate smarter planet projects with clients."

IBM Technical and Industry Advocates

The new IBM Technical and Industry Advocates initiative offers partners direct access to an IBM advocate with a goal of helping them to develop a long-term relationship with IBM brand executives, industry experts, senior technical staff members, master inventors and other technical leaders.

With these personal relationships, partners can benefit from assistance on industry-specific software architecture, performance, migrations, upgrades and configurations. They also can enhance their knowledge of IBM software offerings, software strategies, and IBM's extensive portfolio of business partner resources and benefits.

Ultramatics, a Tampa-based IBM Premier Business Partner, has benefited from IBM PartnerWorld programs and access to IBM Technical and Industry Advocates. Using these resources, the company has successfully accelerated the design and implementation of several business transformation initiatives using IBM technologies including BPM, SOA, portal and collaboration products for banking, healthcare and transportation industry clients.

"IBM continues to lead where it matters most; enabling value-added partners like Ultramatics to help unlock the true potential of their customers' IT investments and maximize return on investment," said Saru Seshadri, Ultramatics President and CEO. "The Advocate program has directly contributed to our customer's successes, allowing Ultramatics to accelerate delivery on our commitments and ultimately on the promise of faster, more predictable implementations."

IBM Business Partner PayPal has worked through the IBM Cloud Labs to extend its global open payments platform, PayPal X into the cloud. Through direct collaboration with IBM technologists, PayPal will allow its ecosystem of developers to innovate on the IBM cloud so developers can quickly and easily monetize new applications made available via smartphones.

Thousands of developers have already started creating new and innovative applications using PayPal X. By extending the PayPal developer ecosystem into the IBM cloud, PayPal will provide more developers the opportunity to use PayPal X and bring the wallet in the cloud to life.

New Social Networking Resources

As part of the IBM Technical and Industry Advocates initiative, partners can now access industry-focused social networking groups online through PartnerWorld Communities. The new groups allow partners to network with IBM technical and sales leaders, and other partners to gain skills and explore new business opportunities.

PartnerWorld Communities, launched in June 2009, is IBM's unique social networking community designed to help its partners more easily connect and collaborate online. The community extends beyond PartnerWorld with 10,000 partners tapping 250 Linked In groups, 400 Facebook groups, and over 500 blogs on industry-specific topics ranging from SOA implementations and green IT to virtualization and cloud computing.

PartnerWorld Community users also can take advantage of a new Virtual Summit feature where partners can plan and stage online events to connect with clients.  More than 50 partners have used this no-charge benefit this year to drive new sales opportunities.

IBM also has introduced new Flash-based widgets into the community that partners can customize to receive real-time information and news from across PartnerWorld, including information on education and training resources, technology and product demos, and IBM sales and marketing events.  

These resources are new additions to several in-demand Web 2.0 co-marketing benefits IBM provides partners today such as search engine optimization to help drive more web traffic and web content syndication to bring the latest IBM product information direct to partner websites.

IBM Industry Framework Validation, Incentives and Education

Industry specific solutions have become a key growth area for IBM software. IBM is now taking decades of experience in working with clients in specific industries and bringing this knowledge to its partners. As a result, partners can leverage IBM industry frameworks to develop solutions for their clients with the assurance that their solutions will work seamlessly with the IBM framework for which it was designed.

Today, this initiative is being enhanced and expanded to the recently announced IBM Banking Industry Framework. This validation program gives partners formal and objective criteria to test their solutions on the framework.  Clients can be assured their ISV applications are pre-integrated and tested with the banking framework. Through this initiative, clients will benefit from faster time to market, reduced risk, and improved ROI, while partners will benefit from a streamlined validation program with core criteria common across the framework.

In the government industry, IBM also today unveiled Value Advantage Plus for Government Sales, a business partner incentive that provides authorized resellers with experience and expertise in sales to government clients at any level to earn rebates for value-added sales to governments.  Partners earn rebates by identifying opportunities and selling IBM software to satisfy client needs.

In support of partner skills across several industries, in January 2010, IBM announced availability of more than 130 industry training sessions online and in local markets worldwide. Since then, more than 70 partners have trained side-by-side with IBM Software Sales teams to receive education on technology and business solutions for industries such as telecommunications, government and retail.

IBM Cloud Computing Certifications

Starting this week, authorized IBM Software business partners can receive IBM Cloud Computing Architecture certifications through skills mastered to design public and private cloud computing solutions based on the same IBM software products they are authorized to sell.  As part of the certification program, authorized partners can take advantage of a new cloud business adoption guide that shows how to structure contracts based on proven IBM business models.

IBM Business Partners MSI Systems Integrators, GBM, Gemini Systems and BTBITS are the first to receive the new IBM cloud computing certifications.

At the IMPACT Business Partner Summit 2010, over 100 partners took part in a series of cloud education sessions focused on where the cloud opportunities reside, and what partners can do to develop services and solutions to capture new business opportunities. IBM's cloud education sessions will be held at IBM software and partner events and at the 40 worldwide IBM Innovation Centers throughout the year.

IBM Partners have been quick to adopt IBM's public cloud offering for collaboration, LotusLive. More than 400 IBM Business Partners are promoting LotusLive services to their customers. Resellers, system integrators and distributors worldwide, such as Sogeti, Tata Consulting and Avnet, are demonstrating the value of LotusLive's integrated email, web conferencing, social networking and collaboration services.

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