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IBM Launches Partner Networking Tool
By John Hazard

IBM has launched ValueNet, a partner networking tool aimed at increasing collaboration among its stable of partners on projects across geographies, experience levels and technology.

ValueNet will allow partners to network and collaborate to provide complementary solutions for projects or extend their own reach through other resellers, IBM officials announced this week at PartnerWorld in Las Vegas.

“I see it having a push-pull effect,” said Donn Atkins, IBM’s general manager of global business partners.

“If you see a partner who has an innovative solution, you might be interested in sharing that. Or you have an innovative solution, you’re interested in sharing, but you’re not ready to expand. This is the vehicle to do that.”

ValueNet provides a set of Web-based tools to document and advertise a solution, locate partners, and a set of processes and framework for collaboration, so partners “don’t have to reinvent the discovery process each time,” Atkins said.

PointerClick here to read more about IDC research’s view of partnering in 2006.

Networking also supports IBM’s “Innovation that Matters” message, by encouraging an ecosystem of development, Atkins said.

Channel Zone Special Report: IBM vs. Microsoft

Networking begins simply, Atkins said, by encouraging partners to meet and engage each other in-person at PartnerWorld.

Through the registration process IBM assisted partners in finding each other and establishing introductions.

Numbered meeting areas and couches made the get-togethers easier.

The program builds on the mission of IBM’s PartnerWorld Industry Networks, which enables networking on industry-focused solutions.

Partnering is a hot topic as distributors and vendors have launched networks, including Avnet’s Market Connection program to team ISVs with HP VARs in vertical and geographic markets and Ingram Micro’s VentureTECH community of SME resellers.



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