Winning together in North America in 2019

If you’re like me, you’re still buzzing with excitement after this year’s PartnerWorld at Think. Thank you to all of our partners whose business made the event possible. Attendees heard about partner successes from visionaries in tech, met with executives at the BP Café, and talked with industry experts about building new ecosystems and making the most of client feedback. At PartnerWorld, Business Partners, clients and IBMers came together to share ideas and inspiration, showing that we can win together in the next generation ecosystem. Whether or not you joined us for the event, I’d like to share a few moments that I hope will resonate with the Ecosystem for the rest of 2019.

General session showcase

One of my highlights was hearing from LegalMation CEO James Lee who presented at the general session with IBM SVP Martin Schroeter. LegalMation is an AI legal services company that uses IBM Watson to bring more efficiency to the litigation process for clients such as Walmart. With Watson, LegalMation automates tasks for Walmart’s legal department, condensing a full day’s worth of work down to two minutes, driving exciting disruption in the legal industry.

Partner Heroes Film Series

Here at IBM, we’re committed to celebrating accomplishments and elevating companies like LegalMation by sharing your stories with the world. During PartnerWorld, we launched the North America Partner Heroes Film Series with films highlighting the stories of LegalMation and Uncubed. This series is dedicated to creating top-quality marketing assets produced by IBM. These films will be published on our official IBM YouTube channel and ibm.com pages. Brand and marketing programs will also be shared with participating partners.

You can watch the series here:

We invite you to submit your stories for a chance to be featured in our series. Click here to submit your success story today.

NA Team Forum: Where Champions Play

During the North America Geo Forum, we heard about IBM priorities including Software, Systems, Next Gen and Embedded Solutions, and Sales Enablement, about their 2018 highlights and 2019 goals.

Tackling Issues to Clear our Path (Becky Painter, NA SW Ecosystem Development and Sales – BPs, VADs, and Programs). Software saw two landmark launches in 2018: SaaS Deal Reg and PartnerSuccess 360. Over the past year, we emphasized their commitment to Large Channel and Compliance Deals. In 2019, we will put their attention toward proactive compliance, with more education for partners around process and tools. We also plan on making Software Deal Registration a world class program.

Running the Extra Mile for Partners (Susan Martens, VP, Systems Channel Sales). Systems launched the Ecosystem Model in 2018 and increased the number of channel-only sellers. In 2019, we will continue highlighting partners and their expertise in Ecosystem enablement and expanding In It to Win It, our direct to rep/direct to firm incentives with offerings in Power and LinuxONE.

Drive into Success with ESA (Mark Barrett, Strategic Partner Development leader). Next Gen and Embedded Solutions introduced a value-added distributor (VAD) program in 2018 and saw continued growth from embedded solution agreements (ESA), the fastest growing part of the channel. In 2019, we will focus on mainstream PartnerWorld integration, contract simplification and a renewed effort to enhance engagement with ESA distributors.

Focusing Deep to Ignite Industry (Sherri Coverdale, Ecosystem Market Sales Leader). Sales Enablement will emphasize developing a more Business Partner-friendly sales culture by driving awareness and engagement for partners and their solutions through face-to-face meetups and monthly calls.

Awards recognition

It was my privilege during our North America Geo Forum to announce the North American Partner Excellence Award winners. I’m continually impressed by how IBM Business Partners are driving innovation and transforming the world around us, and this year exemplified that. Winners included partners that delivered stand-out results, driving innovative solutions, investment in skills competencies, and participation in strategic PartnerWorld initiatives.

Click the links below to see all of the winners highlighted:

You can read even more about these prestigious awards from John Teltsch and about our North America Watson Build winner Zilker Technology from me.

While we made a lot of progress in 2018, we also acknowledge there’s more ground to cover. I’m convinced that 2019 is going to be a pivotal year for IBM and for our Business Partners. We will continue to focus on ways to help your companies grow while we also grow our Ecosystem in new ways. We’ll continue to listen to you and ensure that we’re making key improvements for your experience as a partner as we strive to become the most partner-friendly sales organization in the industry. Thank you for partnering with us in 2018 and now 2019 — I can’t wait to see what we do together.

I’m already counting down to seeing you at Think next year. Mark your calendars for May 2020 in San Francisco.