Partner Program Guide: IBM PartnerWorld in 2021


Are you interested in becoming a distribution partner with IBM? The IBM PartnerWorld program provides partners with cutting-edge technology solutions and tools to develop a marketing and sales strategy.

From Fortran to barcodes and artificial intelligence through recent proof of the smallest transistor in the world, IBM has been a global leader in innovative technologies for over a century. Today, Big Blue offers a comprehensive technology stack and a well-established partner program for interested organizations. Some of IBM’s leading technologies may not be suitable for many channel partners, but there are many other technologies available to power MSPs, VARs, and more.

IBM has one of the oldest channel programs. Beginning in 1980 with the development and release of the IBM PC, the company recognized the mutual benefits of partnering with organizations such as Intel and AMD. Over the years, the program has undergone several changes to meet evolving business needs, such as hybrid cloud and the emergence of AI.

This article explores the IBM Partner Program requirements, levels and benefits, financial incentives, training, and resources to maximize collaboration as an IBM Channel Partner.

Read also: Think 2021: IBM seeks to evolve digital transformation processes

IBM Partner Requirements

Potential partners interested in joining the IBM PartnerWorld program join by application and review. After registering, vendors complete their profile, choose a lead, and review the logistics and potential benefits of working with IBM’s solutions portfolio.

From there, organizations can sign a contract to resell or integrate IBM solutions or purchase an IBM partner package, and the distribution partnership begins. With successful sales, certifications, and skills, partners can increase their level of benefits over time.

To participate in reseller incentive programs, partners must:

  • Be an approved member at any IBM PartnerWorld level
  • Sign a Business Partnership Agreement (BPA)
  • Select a preferred value-added distributor
  • Receive authorization to resell the solution

Partner application

To get started, business leaders can access the IBM PartnerWorld registration portal. Users will be asked to provide their email, first and last name, password and country of residence.

A screenshot of the IBM PartnerWorld registration webpage for their Channel Partner program.

Read also: How IBM aims to simplify partnerships

After verifying an email address, users will have two options for the second step: 1. Register your company as an IBM partner, or 2. Register as an employee of a registered company.

A screenshot of the two options when registering users - registering an existing business or organization.

For users registering an account with an existing IBM partner, the user needs the applicable access code. To register a business, the filer will need the legal business name, trading name, address, phone number, website, and tax ID number.

With an IBMid, new registrants can explore their options for a potential distribution partnership. Right off the bat, users can filter the IBM catalog to find the solution that best suits their needs. In total, between software, hardware, service, and application solutions, there are over 700 to choose from, with 115 free trials. For specific technological needs, we break down what IBM offers.

A pie chart showing IBM's technology offerings for channel partners.
Designed by Sam Ingalls. © Channel Insider 2021.

Partner levels

  • Entrance: new construction and service partners in IBM offers
  • Advanced: add sales partners that require learning, development and testing environments
  • First: add more cloud credits and educational benefits
  • Business: exclusive partners with all the advantages of IBM Business Partner

Add-on: boosters packs

After the cost of the partner package, IBM also offers “Booster Packs” for partners wishing to rapidly upgrade their training and cloud credits.

Booster pack Benefit from The description
Certificate 10 certification test vouchers Must purchase partner package
Cloud credit 10,000 IBM Cloud credits For Entry, Advanced, Premier
Cloud Enterprise Credit 165,000 IBM Cloud credits For the company

Level features

All four packages provide organizations with a handful of valuable features. The IBM Software Access Catalog, on-premises or SaaS demos, and expert technical consultants help organizations assess whether their product development cycle matches IBM’s tools and environment. From Cloud Lite, partners can see how building products and services works in IBM Public Cloud. With tuition reimbursement and certification vouchers, partners can develop their technical prowess without too much cost. Finally, IBM offers pre-sales and pre-deployment support to ensure that partners deploy solutions without problems.

Sell, build or maintain?

In May 2020, IBM announced that it would adjust the business partner program to offer two additional leads in addition to the existing one. To sell Track. The addition of To build and Service offers flexibility to potential collaborators who are more interested in the product development synergy of the partnership than in the marketing potential. The partner tracks are currently:

  • To build: partners developing or using IBM technology for product solutions
  • Service: partners who create value-added services
  • To sell: partners providing IBM products and services directly to their customers

For To build and Service tracks, partners choose from IBM’s solutions catalog to develop a value-added product or service. The To sell track aims to serve partners who are not actively developing solutions. Instead, these organizations are partnering with Big Blue to deliver IBM solutions to their existing customers.

Read also: IBM Cloud Identity offers identity and access management tools

Financial incentives and partner funding

The IBM Business Partner Ecosystem, dubbed IPE, includes many incentives and promotions for partners looking to maximize their profits. With the IBM Global Financing division, IBM can also assess credit and meet the business financing needs of customers. IBM Credit’s capabilities include payment plans and leases, working capital solutions, and IBM Certified pre-owned components configurable for reuse.

Other benefits include software, systems, IBM Cloud, and IBM Partner Marketplace incentives. Software incentives include obtaining new licensed software on premise, subscription, support, and renewal of IBM hosted SaaS offerings. By using the Value Seller, partners can unlock additional discounts on orders. Obtaining the Systems Competency means quarterly discounts and access to the Business Development Fund. Partners can earn up to 20% for IBM Partner Marketplace when reselling through a cloud marketplace.

Partner training

IBM understands that technical skills, competencies and business success are critical to a channel partner’s bottom line and to IBM’s success. With the Across Build and Service tracks, IBM offers 17 solution skills, including industry-specific opportunities for banking and financial services and industrial and manufacturing verticals. Other skills include:

  • VMware Workload Migration
  • Modernization of applications
  • AI-powered automation for IT operations
  • Accelerate the journey to AI
  • Zero trust security

For Sell, IBM has 25+ skills to choose from in the business segments of AI, Business Operations, Cloud, Cybersecurity, and Systems. A few marketable options include DevOps, Hybrid Data Competency, Threat Management, and IBM Z or LinuxOne.

Read also: IBM bets big on cloud for public sector

Benefits of completing skills

The more a supplier knows about the technology they offer, the more likely they are to make sales and develop relationships. To help achieve this goal, IBM offers various benefits for obtaining skills or certifications.

Proactive partners can receive priority technical validation by a distinguished IBM engineer, earn the IBM Business Partner mark to educate customers, and be featured on IBM PartnerWorld and IBM success stories. IBM also offers a cloud skills program, training vouchers and more than 16,000 distributed software solutions for you to explore. With the training vouchers, partners get a 50% discount on IBM certification tests and certain IBM events.

Joint marketing

IBM offers a handful of tools to help partners achieve their goals. Through co-marketing, vendors can leverage IBM funding and drive demand and revenue for the solutions. IBM’s My Digital Marketing Advantage offers a variety of marketing tools, from web content syndication to social media automation. Seismic provides a sales support platform to close business, while Red Hat Marketplace provides partners with a window to purchase and deploy container-based software in clouds.

Read also: IBM offers its take on IoT opportunities for partners

Global directory of partner brands and solutions

Using the IBM Business Partner Directory, any organization in the world can find an IBM Channel Partner. As a leading solutions provider, millions of people use the IBM network to discover their needs. Not just visible in IBM Global solutions directory, partners can also earn their IBM Business Partner brands to show off to the rest of the world by learning skills. With the value of the IBM brand, letting existing and potential customers know about the ongoing collaboration is a plus.

Large blue edge

IBM’s history of innovative technology is its greatest asset as a distribution partner. IBM offers a complete technology stack offering from high performance computing and server power to industry leaders QRadar SIEM and consulting in hybrid infrastructure. In a class of its own, IBM’s current strategic partners are Adobe, Apple, Cisco, Salesforce, and SAP.

For 28 consecutive years, IBM has been a leader in patent technology, including a record 9,130 ​​US patents for IBM inventors in 2020. With their research teams constantly pushing the boundaries of science and an international network established, it’s easy to see why IBM is such an attractive company. channel partner for many.


About Irene J. O'Donnell

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