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Elliot Markowitz  
IBM Knows the Meaning of “Partner”
By Elliot Markowitz

Opinion: Just like you can tell what type of character someone really has by the way he or she treats a waiter or waitress, you can also tell what type of channel partner a big-time manufacturer will be if you look at the way it treats its ISV partners.

When I go out to eat I try to treat the serving staff with the respect they deserve. They work hard for little pay and are not our personal servants. And just because they happen to be taking my dinner order on any particular night, that doesn’t give me the right to boss them around or stiff them.

But there are exceptions to every rule and times when everyone falls short of an ideal standard of behavior.


I know there are times I fall short. Like when I have to deal with annoying commuters on the Long Island Railroad who shout into their cell phones while I am trying to nap or write this column.

My patience runs thin there and I can’t resist opening my mouth, but enough said.

I have found, however, that the way vendors work with their ISV partners to share technologies and bring them into bigger accounts is usually indicative of the way they will work with their VAR partners.

Case in point is IBM’s recent partnership with TurboWorx to provide drug discovery pioneer Protana with a data-procurement and management-analysis solution.

PointerRead more of The ChannelInsider’s coverage of IBM’s Channel business

IBM has been entrenched in Protana for quite some time, but the life-sciences company needed to improve its data procurement and analysis. IBM doesn’t have that vertical capability in-house.

To meet that need, IBM brought in TurboWorx, an Optimized member of its PartnerWorld Industry Networks that offers distributed computing solutions.

“We are a software provider and provide our own consulting services as well,” said Jason Alter, vice president of marketing and technical support for TurboWorx. “This is a good case of a small software company partnering with a very large partner and leveraging the strengths of both. Our working together provides real benefits for Protana,” he said.

With the focus on research and developing new drugs, the amount of data that scientists must capture and analyze is growing rapidly, Alter said. Protana was looking for a workflow solution that would automate data transfer between applications, he said. The Channel Insider Special: Managed Services in the Channel

By partnering, IBM and TurboWorx developed a workflow solution comprised of TurboWorx Enterprise supported by IBM DB2 Universal Database, WebSphere Application Server, Tivoli Storage Manager and IBM eServer xSeries. The solution allows Protana to instantly and automatically move data from one module to the next in the research process, according to Alter.

In another partnership win in the life sciences and healthcare field, IBM also worked with Waban Software to implement a bio-sample and patient confidentiality system for GeneOs of Finland.

These two wins are part of IBM’s grand plan of working with channel and ISV partners to target the growing IT needs of healthcare and life sciences companies.

Although the vendor has taken some heat as of late because of some changes it has made in agreements with its staff augmentation providers, those are mainly consulting arrangements.

These two recent partnerships, in my view, show IBM is serious about working with smaller companies that have vertical solutions and its channel partners to win big business.

You get a break from me this coming week as I will be on vacation, but I don’t want a break from you. Continue to e-mail me your success and war stories.

Elliot Markowitz is editor-at-large of Channel Insider. He is also editorial director of Ziff Davis Media eSeminars. He can be reached at [email protected]



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