Usability - Productivity - Business - The web - Singapore & Twins

Business Partner - IBM vs. Microsoft

I had an interesting chat with a business partner, who shall not be named, over the weekend which recalled memories of similar experiences and conversations before. I've been an IBM Business Partner as well as a Microsoft partner in Germany and Singapore, so I have some recall of my own (which I would discount now since that is more than 5 respectively 10 years ago). The gist of the conversation: Both IBM and Microsoft want to earn money with the help of the business partner. However the approach is diametral opposite. My partner summed it up as: "Microsoft would periodically shower you with information: look, this is how you can make money using Microsoft while IBM would periodically request: Can you please submit your sales plan and customers to our system". I know a few conversations can't establish a trend, nevertheless they can rise an eye brow. Of course is it easy to argue looking at the stock price that IBM does it right. So the question remains: what is, once you loose the myopic quarter-end view, the most efficient and mutual satisfactory way to run your partner network?

Posted by on 10 January 2011 | Comments (3) | categories: IBM


  1. posted by Patrick Kwinten on Monday 10 January 2011 AD:
    hehe typical.

    I guess for a BP the push strategy of MS if more clear than the pull strategy of IBM.
  2. posted by Nick Halliwell on Monday 10 January 2011 AD:
    I would say both do it wrong. As an IBM BP I would say that IBM need to actually "Partner" with there BP's yes we need information, but we also need help and assistance, in sales areas as well as technical areas.

    In Thailand I feel we get very little of either, but funnily enough today 1 of the IBM sales people rang me up to ask me to do a demo for a customer, but this is rare may be once a year.

    I would like to see IBM assign a person to a BP (or several) who we can go to for support and who will help on the sales front. I know in theory they do this but don't work in practice. I could not tell you who is my IBM rep, as soon as I get to know them they get moved or leave. IBM really needs to understand what a partner is, its a small business typically employing less than 30 staff. By and large we do not do sales projections, so when IBM ask us its just a pain in the rear end to do and often make up. I would like to see IBM say OK I will help you do $250,000 worth of business rather than can I put you down for $250K.

    I we got good help we could all do more.
  3. posted by Carl Tyler on Tuesday 11 January 2011 AD:
    This is in line with my experience. The difference between dealing with Microsoft through official partner channels and IBM through official partner channels is night an day.

    I always feel like Microsoft views us as partners IBM views us as indentured servants.

    Don't even get me started on the difference around support for developers. IBM hardly has any unless you want to engage Global Services. Microsoft will get a developer to call you.

    Partners have been telling IBM this for years, but you're right, until IBM stops making serious money, they won't care.