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IBM replaces Partner World programme with new IBM Partner Plus

The initiative introduces fresh incentives, Insider Access, and enhanced support to help partners win clients

IBM is replacing its PartnerWorld programme with IBM Partner Plus, a revamped initiative that aims to provide partners with improved access to resources, incentives, and tailored support. 

The tech giant said its new programme will play a central role in its hybrid cloud and AI strategy, and has been designed to help fuel partner growth and modernisation. 

IBM Partner Plus’ designated tiers have been structured to unlock specialised financial, go-to-market support, and education benefits. The programme also introduces badges as the standardised measure of skills with validated solutions to demonstrate expertise, all tracked through an enhanced partner portal.

Announcing the move, Kate Woolley, general manager at IBM Ecosystem, said the programme presents an opportunity for partners to “gain skills, grow faster, and earn more". 

"We've heard from partners that they want a simplified experience that helps them win with clients,” she said. “I'm confident these changes and our continued investment in our ecosystem will make IBM the partner of choice across the industry, and together we can drive growth for partners, clients, and IBM."

Ecosystem expansion

IBM said the new framework places its partners at the centre of its go-to-market strategy and will act as a “growth engine” to target the estimated $1 trillion in hybrid cloud and AI market opportunities. As part of this, the company is doubling the number of partner-facing brand and technical specialists to help win additional business. 

The firm also recently enabled partners in North America to resell its products via other marketplaces, allowing independent software vendors to embed IBM software into their own solutions – which will contribute towards progression through the Partner Plus programme.

"IBM is more serious than ever about putting partners first," said Bo Gebbie, president at Evolving Solutions, an IBM partner that helped in the development of the new programme. “They've listened to our feedback, and it is reflected in the new partner experience that makes it easy for us to collaborate, rewards our investments and fuel growth."

Incentives and Insider Access

The IBM Partner Plus programme revolves around three elements: competitive incentives, Insider Access, and enhanced support and benefits.  

Partners will be able to advance through Silver, Gold, and Platinum tiers to unlock benefits and demand generation programme, which could offer them “up to a threefold increase” in total investment from IBM, the company said.

At the heart of this, the new IBM Partner Portal serves up real-time visibility into available incentives, predictability into potential earnings, as well as an automated deal share engine for surfacing leads.

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“As they progress through the tiers, they will unlock additional benefits and go-to-market support,” Woolley said to Channel Futures.

“Sell and service will scale through based on proficiency badges, and as they scale and grow their revenue. For our ISV or build partners, they will scale through the programme based on client-ready validated solutions that integrate IBM technology and scale their revenue with IBM technology in the market."

There is also a 'Blue' designation for a select number of strategic partners that have deep partnerships with IBM Consulting and IBM Technology – including the likes of AWS, Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, SAP, Samsung, Salesforce, and more. 

Insider Access, first launched back in October, will also provide partners with badging, sales-enablement materials, as well as the training that is available to insiders to help better equip resellers in the quest to win clients.

For new partners, IBM is also introducing new IBM Partner Accelerator for onboarding and training during the first six months of the programme.

Additionally, partners will be able to leverage IBM’s technical experts to help develop AI, security, and cloud solutions on an open hybrid cloud.

IBM’s new incentive programme will take effect on 1 April, while existing PartnerWorld members will maintain their current tier until 1 July. From then, they will be able to progress to the new tiering system as they meet the relevant criteria.

“IBM Partner Plus is the next step in our investment in the IBM ecosystem,” Woolley said. “It is a simple, transparent and predictable programme. It gives our partners a simplified path for them to progress with IBM, whether they’re building, selling or servicing. And it is inclusive of all of our partner types.”

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