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Your clients want to feel comfortable and confident turning to Business Partners like you for guidance and support. PartnerWorld has you covered by making the development of capabilities a primary focus.



Competencies are capabilities identified by IBM PartnerWorld that are essential for developing the expertise to deliver high-value solutions — differentiating you from your competition.

You can earn a competency at a Specialist level, which means you've had repeated success in addressing client needs or at an Expert level, which means you have the deepest level of capabilities.

Get rewarded with benefits

Earn competencies to unlock even more benefits such as:


  • To drive demand for your competency solutions, products and services.

Enablement resources

  • To help you increase your competitive advantage.

IBM Business Partner mark

  • To promote your skills in the marketplace

Achieving a competency

There are three criteria when it comes to achieving a competency:

1. Skills

Skills are a demonstration of solutions, services and other applied knowledge within a competency.

2. Resources

Each competency requires a minimum alignment of sales and technical resources.

3. Sales success (competency-specific)

Sales success is based on your ability to sell and implement client solutions.

Earning Competencies

There are 30 different competencies available within a wide array of IBM products, solutions and services.

Competency categories include:

  • Cloud
  • Data and AI
  • IBM Global Financing
  • Security
  • Services


  • Systems
  • Talent Management Solutions
  • Watson Customer Engagement
  • Watson Financial Services
  • Watson Internet of Things



Achieving competencies starts by demonstrating skills like verifying a solution or service, or getting a certification and/or proficiency badge.

Demonstrate your skills in one or more ways:

Verified solutions

To earn the verified solutions, Business Partners must prove they use at least one marketed IBM technology that supports on- and/or off-premise hosted solutions. Types of verified solutions include:

Global Solutions Directory (GSD) verified solutions

Solutions as defined under the Channel Value Rewards (CVR) — Solutions (Industry Authorization)

“IBM Ready for” solutions that meet technical validation criteria

Solutions defined in the Embedded Solutions Agreement (ESA)

Verified services

In addition to using at least one marketed IBM technology that supports on- and/or off-premise hosted solutions, Business Partners who wish to satisfy the verified services criteria must recognize deployment, integration, support and hosting capabilities in support of IBM technology.

Certifications and proficiency badges

Based on competency requirements, Business Partners can verify their comprehension through certifications, mastery tests and/or proficiency badges.


Aligned resources

Resources for each of the competency areas are aligned to the method used to demonstrate your skills (Verified solutions, Verified services, Certifications and/or proficiency badges). Use the PartnerWorld Profiling System (PPS) to register skilled sales and technical employees in your PartnerWorld profile. An individual can be both a sales and a technical resource.

Sales success

Supercharge your sales

Sales success is one of the four criteria needed to advance levels in the PartnerWorld program, as well as a requirement for completing competencies. To achieve sales success, you must demonstrate applied knowledge with successful sales of associated IBM products, solutions or services.

View your PartnerWorld Program console

Keep track of all your capabilities, competencies and skills in one single location with the PartnerWorld Program console. Discover where you currently stand and learn how to take action to reach the next level.

Looking for PartnerWorld Program details?

The IBM PartnerWorld Program Operations Reference Guide provides Authorized Profile Administrators (APAs) with the roadmap to build and demonstrate competencies.

Not ready to achieve a competency?

Start your move from Registered to Silver by completing any of the following:

Discover more about the PartnerWorld journey and the tools and resources provided to help you learn, grow and profit.