IBM, My Digital Marketing, Offers Partners Financial Incentives And More To Weather Coronavirus

IBM | May 04, 2020

  • IBM is taking a number of steps to help its channel partners weather the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis.

  • IBM has done an extraordinary job providing the digital tools and resources through the My Digital Marketing automation platform.

  • IBM is providing up to $2,000 in credit for first-time partner users to get started building and executing Q2 digital marketing campaigns.


IBM is taking a number of steps to help its channel partners weather the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, preserving their current PartnerWorld program levels and competencies until 2021, providing partners with expanded digital marketing capabilities and offering additional financial incentives for solution providers and distributors and flexible financing options for customers.

The measures, coming just before next week’s Think Digital 2020 virtual event, are designed to help alleviate solution providers’ two major challenges right now: Supporting their clients in tough economic times and maintaining their own liquidity, said David La Rose (pictured above), general manager of the IBM partner ecosystem, in an interview with CRN.

La Rose, a seasoned IBM sales executive and previously the head of IBM’s business in Australia, was named the head of IBM’s entire channel organization in July 2019.

Learn More: HOW DIGITAL MARKETING BENEFITS BUSINESS DURING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The channel chief has been speaking with solution provider executives on IBM’s global and regional partner advisory boards to assess the partner community’s needs. “How do we help them during this period?” La Rose said. “We’re looking at this on a day-to-day basis to provide strong programs, strong support for our partners.”

Other major IT vendors, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Dell Technologies, have also implemented measures to provide channel partners with assistance in the wake of the pandemic and the sharp slowdown in the U.S. economy. Initiatives from those vendors include preserving partner program tier designations and eliminating sales thresholds, offering richer financial incentives and extended payment terms, and providing additional sales and marketing assistance.

IBM has extended the PartnerWorld Program revalidation grace period from May 5, 2020 to Jan. 1, 2021, during which time partners will not decline in program level or lose a competency. The company also has suspended Channel Value Reward (CVR) revalidation requirements for 2020, allowing partners additional time to prepare and complete necessary testing. And IBM is allowing additional time for partners to submit competency co-marketing plans by lengthening the planning period.

La Rose said IBM is adding millions of dollars into Q2 performance incentives for IBM Power and IBM Storage competency partners. The company is also increasing base value incentives for hardware products by half a point of margin from the first dollar of sales in the quarter and offering value-added distributors an addition 1.2 points of guaranteed growth incentives during the quarter.

IBM also launched special 90-day software offerings and trials at no cost for cloud and cognitive software and defined a distinct set of solutions for partners and customers around the company’s IBM Power, IBM Security, IBM Storage, IBM Z mainframes and LinuxOne systems.

All that is good news to Michael Gray, chief operating officer at Champion Solutions Group, an IBM Platinum Business Partner based in Boca Raton, Fla.

“Extending the PartnerWorld revalidation period and certification deadlines is absolutely of value,” Gray told CRN in an email. “With testing centers closed and partners focused on helping their customers in these difficult times, we really did not have time to worry about ‘levels’ and programs. There are more important issues to focus on right now, so this was a welcome decision by IBM.”

Gray also praised the extended flexible financing options for IBM Power and IBM Storage systems to partners and customers through IBM Global Financing. “Very glad to see IGF extend special programs and terms. For us, it is the customer offerings that are more relevant as customers try to weather this storm and delay capital outlays as much as possible. The extended terms and deferred payments are definitely a welcome discussion point with our customers,” Gray said.

A key element of IBM’s lineup of partner assistance offerings is a new, state-of-the-art marketing platform, IBM My Digital Marketing, that partners can use to execute end-to-end digital marketing campaigns. That complements the My Digital Marketing Promotion assistance the company launched in February to help solution providers build and execute second-quarter marketing campaigns.

More than 1,800 partners have already taken advantage of that offering, according to La Rose. “I think this is a huge benefit for some of the smaller partners,” La Rose said.

The platform and other digital marketing and sales offerings are designed to help partners generate demand in these uncertain times. “The key thing is, how do we keep the cash engine running” for partners, he said.

We had been using the IBM Digital Platform for quite some time now. The earlier experience was really great

~ Jaydeep Vasani, sales director at Veracitiz Solutions


IBM consulting service partner in Mumbai, India, in a statement. “We got the pre-defined campaign, which we could use as-is [or] after modifying as per our requirement, and used [the content] on social media to promote ourselves.

“Now IBM has come up with the new IBM My Digital Marketing Platform with a completely new look and feel as well as some really new features like all-new campaigns, webinar creation and all-new content that is very useful to create awareness on social media and an effective way to reach the right audience without spending any extra money,” Vasani said.

IBM has done an extraordinary job providing the digital tools and resources through the My Digital Marketing automation platform. The platform has enabled us to quickly plan, build, execute and measure a recent Watson Assistant and Watson Studio email campaign

~ Christopher Lee, Chief Technology Officer with IBM partner Ucensys Research


“We did not have an in-house marketing automation tool, so to have access to My Digital, and at no extra cost, is a game changer!”

IBM is providing up to $2,000 in credit for first-time partner users to get started building and executing Q2 digital marketing campaigns. And IBM is funding 100 percent of eligible software co-marketing digital activities, up from 50 percent.

A new series of enablement webinars is intended to help partners develop their digital selling skills, La Rose said, and access to virtual selling tools will help partners shift from in-person selling to remote digital selling practices. And IBM has been updating its Seismic sales enablement platform for partners.

“Very happy to see the heavy focus on marketing and doing joint marketing with partners,” said Gray at Champion Solutions Group. “Hopefully we will continue to see focused campaigns and offerings on migrating existing customers to newer technology. Partners need the ‘air cover’ from IBM in the form of marketing, messaging and offers to help move customers along and focus on new technology and offerings.”

Spotlight

The world as we know it continues to evolve: almost all industries are consistently challenged with the need to realign their organizations to the changing demand of the market, and as such, adopting the latest digital platforms has become imperative nowadays.In the Philippines, the digital marketing landscape continues to expand as the number of Filipinos who chooses digital media over traditional channels increases. Last 2016, the internet penetration in the country has increased to 46%, up from 44% in 2015. This steady increase in internet access is predicted to transcend this year and poses a lot of opportunities for all Filipino Digital Marketers.


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Versa Networks ACE Partner Program Wins 2022 Visionary Spotlight Award for Channel Deployments of the Year

Versa Networks | July 13, 2022

Versa Networks, the recognized secure access service edge (SASE) leader, today announced that ChannelVision Magazine has named its Versa ACE (Accelerate, Captivate, Engage) Partner Program as a winner of the 2022 Overall Excellence Visionary Spotlight Award in the Channel Deployments of the Year awards category. 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The program expands the ecosystem of highly engaged Versa partners delivering unique customer value through the differentiated Versa SASE and Versa Titan solutions. The program provides formalized sales, pre-sales, and technical training focused on enabling partners to build specialties and become SASE Specialized and/or Titan Specialized. The program offers partners the industry’s first SASE accreditation. Versa ACE partners are rewarded for achieving competency and expertise in their specialty areas and are eligible for discounts, sales and marketing benefits to open new revenue opportunities. “The Versa ACE Partner Program educates and equips partners around the industry’s leading SASE solution available to deliver the best secure access deployments for their clients,” said John Atchison, Head of Global Channel Marketing with Versa. “It is an honor to be recognized for channel deployments of the year with this Visionary Spotlight Award. Our comprehensive program enables partners to capitalize on the rapidly growing SASE market opportunity and become their clients’ full-service provider of the industry’s leading SASE solutions. Versa ACE partners benefit from a program structure which fosters a synergistic relationship for growth, new opportunities, and prosperity both today and into the future.” The Versa ACE Partner Program provides partners with a ramp to revenue plan which enables them to quickly onboard and successfully start generating pipeline within 90 days. Included in the ramp-up resources is enablement through Versa Academy, a global learning platform. The program structure requires that partners complete the prescriptive sales, pre-sales and technical training and certifications to successfully facilitate customer engagements that deliver unique customer value. 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As the leader in SASE, the fastest growing security and networking category, and executing on SASE services for years, Versa is the only solution proven to deliver the industry’s leading and differentiated architecture for high performance and security. Dell’Oro Group listed Versa as the 2021 SASE market share leader with 84-percent market share for the unified category in its 4Q21 Network Security Quarterly Report; and Frost and Sullivan ranks Versa as the #2 worldwide market share leader in SASE. Gartner has identified Versa SASE as having the most SASE components out of all 56 vendors Gartner evaluated. Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) also found that Versa SASE has the most SASE supported functions, as published in its industry report. About the Visionary Spotlight Awards ChannelVision’s annual Visionary Spotlight Awards competition was created to highlight channel and service provider innovation in communications. The awards honor outstanding products, services, and deployments across numerous technology categories. Visionary Spotlight Award winners exemplify this goal, showcasing the communications industry’s overall innovation, capacity for future-thinking execution, creativity, and feature set differentiation; and offering channel partners a cornucopia of opportunities to boost their roles as trusted providers. For more information about the Visionary Spotlight Awards program, click here or contact Berge Kaprelian at berge@bekabusinessmedia.com. About Versa Networks Versa Networks, the leader in SASE, combines extensive security, advanced networking, industry-leading SD-WAN, genuine multitenancy, and sophisticated analytics via the cloud, on-premises, or as a blended combination of both to meet SASE requirements for small to extremely large enterprises and Service Providers, and via the simplified Versa Titan cloud service designed for Lean IT. Thousands of customers globally with hundreds of thousands of sites trust Versa with their networks, security, and clouds. Versa Networks is privately held and funded by Sequoia Capital, Mayfield, Artis Ventures, Verizon Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Liberty Global Ventures, Princeville Capital, RPS Ventures and Triangle Peak Partners. For more information, visit https://www.versa-networks.com or follow Versa Networks on Twitter @versanetworks.

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CTERA Announces Strategic Partnership with Wasabi Technologies to Bring Secure Cloud File Services to the Mid-Market

CTERA | May 25, 2022

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Splunk Announces Partnerverse Enhancements at Global Partner Summit

Splunk | June 17, 2022

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Spotlight

The world as we know it continues to evolve: almost all industries are consistently challenged with the need to realign their organizations to the changing demand of the market, and as such, adopting the latest digital platforms has become imperative nowadays.In the Philippines, the digital marketing landscape continues to expand as the number of Filipinos who chooses digital media over traditional channels increases. Last 2016, the internet penetration in the country has increased to 46%, up from 44% in 2015. This steady increase in internet access is predicted to transcend this year and poses a lot of opportunities for all Filipino Digital Marketers.

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