How you paved the way to a quick start in 2019 (and another practical tip)

First, I wish everyone a fantastic end of the year. Enjoy time with your families and friends as there is truly nothing more important. Celebrate being together.

Last week I mentioned to the IBM team that the future depends on what we do today. In fact, many IBM Business Partners participated throughout 2018 in paving the way for a quick start in 2019—helping ensure we have the right design for projects in the new year.

Borrowing from security practices, we introduced the concept of red and blue team simulations—where a red team, which included invited IBM Business Partners, is assigned to find the holes or problems in a project and the blue team is assigned to defend the project and address the issues identified by the red team.

Simply put, we want to identify potential unintended consequences and avoid or fix them before we go live.

We ran six sessions in 2018 with more than 200 partners and 50 IBMers. Some of the actions and new ideas from the red and blue teams include:

  • Software Channel Value Rewards incentive
  • Software and Subscription renewal incentive
  • IBM Partner to Partner Connect
  • Software and SaaS pricing
  • BP VAD alignment
  • Deal Registration – CMR site ID

Those projects are at the center of our focus on core business, exponential growth and innovation that drives new business opportunities for all of us.

Here’s another practical idea to help you get a quick start in 2019: If you haven’t already, please take an inventory of the skills and competencies on your team.

  • In 2018 there was an uplift in deal size and value for IBM Business Partners who invested in their skills

Take note of your areas of strength and where they align with opportunities in the coming months. Certainly, highlight the gaps—do you have analytics capability to evaluate data? Industry knowledge to access a new market? Insight about SaaS to a guide a potential prospect?

The IBM Value Package is one method to help you assess the skills you have and the expertise you need. It offers expansive benefits including expert guidance, training and certification reimbursement, and software to expand your business while offsetting costs.

With your skills inventory in hand, here are two ways IBM can help close skills gaps you might uncover:

  1. The IBM Skills Gateway is available to help satisfy requirements for sales and technical badges and certifications in Cloud and Systems. Soon we’ll be able to provide complete learning roadmaps with updated content and credentials as the outcome.
  2. IBM Partner to Partner Connect is nearing 1,000 Business Partners in the pilot phase who are either requesting or offering services from one another. In Europe, many partners view teaming with one another as an opportunity to traverse countries and languages to meet client needs. The pilot continues in Asia Pacific, and all teams should encourage partner participation.

Those two initiatives are tied to our vision of an ecosystem where IBM Business Partners find in us all they need. While that vision doesn’t change with a new year, I am excited to say we’ve refined and tightened our transformational projects even further using the red and blue team approach.

I’ll share more about the projects with you in early 2019. For now, I’ll just say that your input on innovation, efficiencies and integrated experiences, and exponential growth has been essential in our journey.

Thank you for your teamwork, collaboration and creativity. Because of your involvement and dedication this year, our future looks bright in 2019.

Best wishes for the New Year!

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