Ziff Davis Internet
News & Resources for the IT Reseller
NewsReviewsTech AnalysisCommentarySecurityLinux/Unix
My Account |  

IBM, Partners to Spend $250 Million on Innovation Centers
By John Hazard


IBM and a handful of business partners are spending $250 million this year to develop Business Partner Innovation Centers worldwide, where ISVs and systems integrators can brainstorm and demonstrate solutions.

ADVERTISEMENT

IBM expects to open 40 new centers worldwide in 2006.

Each center, financed jointly by IBM and a partner or partners, assembles products to replicate customer environments for partners to design, test, validate and demonstrate solutions in their own facilities.

IBM announced the new spending at its PartnerWorld conference this week in Las Vegas, as part of a mission to "Innovation That Matters" by collaborating further with partners on solutions built on IBM platforms. IBM also announced a new business unit, Technology Collaboration Solutions, to coordinate the initiative and the invitation to consult with IBM's internal research department on vertical solutions.

IBM is promoting the centers as a driver of its innovation agenda, by letting partners "tinker," said Donn Atkins, general manager of IBM's Global Business Partners, at the opening of IBM's 96th center earlier this year in New York.

"It is helping customers and partners move to the next step, which is driving the innovation agenda," he said. "It's in centers like this, where understanding how you drive innovation—what is necessary, the set of capabilities you need. You build things that don't come in a box."

Pointer Click here to read about one IBM partner's plans to leverage an IBM Innovation Center as a demonstration tool.

Partners have since opened centers in Depere, Wash.; Rochelle Park and Denville, N.J.; New York; and Toronto.

IBM also hails the sales-boosting affect of demonstrating solutions in a live environment. Participating partners report centers influence about 40 percent of their annual revenue, IBM announced this week. On average, BPICs drive an 80 percent sales closing rate for client engagements, IBM said.

Partners in attendance touted the centers' value as a development and sales tool, but were pleased with IBM's spending.

"You have to be careful when you talk about those numbers," said Rick Kearney, president and CEO for Mainline Global Systems, in Tallahassee, Fla. "Who are you brining in for demonstrations, but your friends and family. You're bringing in customers who are likely to buy."

Mainline, an IBM storage ISV with $500 million in annual revenue, opened a BPIC in October at its Tallahassee headquarters, where delivering an on-site demonstration on a customer's own system is preferable, Kearney said. He suggested BPICs would be more useful to VARs in more remote locations, a view shared by Tom Amodio, president of Infinity Systems Software, of New York, a mainframe ISV with a BPIC of its own. "The demonstration aspect is more important if you're in the middle of the country," he said. "We're in New York. We bring clients right up to IBM to show them how it works. That matters more if you're in the Midwest somewhere. First and foremost, it's a sandbox where you can figure out if the solution works before you even show it to a customer."

IBM has also added 12 (bringing the total to 31) of its own Innovation Centers, which serve as a local presence for partners in remote outposts worldwide.

     
Email


TALKBACK

MICROSOFT RESOURCE CENTER
Help boost your sales with BONUS PACKS.
Let BONUS PACKS help you sell more PCs—with up to $1,200 in valuable products and services. Visit
Buy Local Partner site >>

Join the Microsoft Empower program for ISVs.
A relationship with Microsoft allows you to compete with the big dogs. Learn more about resources, tools and training. Get the documentation >>

Test your licensing I.Q. and get a smart offer.
Take Microsoft's brief Windows® Licensing Pop Quiz and receive a free Windows Licensing Kit - only five questions. Take the quiz now! >>
Free Hands-On Training Lab
Find out how key features of SBS 2003 can help you open up a new line of revenue. Register now >>


SBS 2003 Sales Reference Card
This handy reference card contains features at a glance, sales objection handling, pricing guidelines & more. Get it now >>


Microsoft Empower for ISVs rewards your big idea with big benefits and support.
Access key development tools at a low cost to help you develop that idea into an innovative application. Learn more >>




 
FREE WHITE PAPER
Changing Business for the Better: A Practical Guide to BPM


This paper provides an overview of the benefits of BPM technologies and identifies the characteristics of BPM solutions that lead to successful BPM process-centric integration projects.


Download this free white paper to learn more!


>> brought to you by IBM

Attention Microsoft Solution Providers!



Want to gain a competitive edge? Try Microsoft Watch – FREE!



Each week you receive:
  • Microsoft News and Insider Information
  • Expert Analysis
  • Code Names of Upcoming MS Products
  • Year-Ahead Calendar, updated monthly



    Click Here to sign up now for your FREE 14 Day Trial to Microsoft Watch.

  • POPULAR TOPICS
    SPECIAL REPORTS
    White Boxes
    MS vs. IBM
    Linux in the Channel
    Network
    CHANNEL RSS FEED
    Stay in the Zone
    Put The Channel Insider on your desktop.
    FREE NEWSLETTERS
    Subscribe to The Channel Insider: Channel News, Reviews, Resources and more.

    Make your selections below:


    Contract Watch

    The Channel Insider Update

    Preferred e-mail format:

    Enter your e-mail:


    view all newsletters >>
    Channel Insider Quick Links
    Ziff Davis Footer Logo