What is IBM Previewing with the Partner to Partner (P2P) Connect Initiative

What is the Partner to Partner Connect Initiative?

The Partner to Partner Connect initiative opens up IBM’s Ecosystem for all Business Partners and is designed to make it easier than ever for Business Partners to collaborate with one another across the ecosystem to accelerate the creation of joint solutions that enhance client value, meets clients’ needs, and grows their business with IBM technology and solutions.

Why is IBM developing the Partner to Partner Connect Initiative, now?

The market is moving at an ever-increasing speed, while solutions are becoming more complex. As a result, Partners are expected to respond to their client’s needs faster and with more capabilities, Sometimes those capabilities require partnering to address.  While Business Partners are already connecting, current approaches can be challenging. IBM is launching P2P Connect.  P2P Connect will help Business Partners find the resources and Business Partners in a community ready to address the challenging and continually evolving IT marketplace. Whether it’s to address a current client opportunity or a strategic business development opportunity, P2P Connect is designed to help Business Partners improve their ability to respond to their client.

What kinds of opportunities will IBM Partner to Partner Connect support?

  1. Give and Receive: Business Partners who have a current opportunity and need to find a capable IBM Business Partner or are looking to offer their unique skills and capabilities to help a Business Partner who has an opportunity requiring assistance.
  2. Application and Intellectual Property: Clients who require solutions to meet business needs and to differentiate themselves from competition. That means that off-the-shelf solutions might need to be supplemented with customizations the deal-owning Business Partner does not have or wants to build. 
  3. Services Capability: IBM Business Partners who want to tap into the IBM Ecosystem to reach out to other Business Partners to join them in ensuring a successful implementation of services and skills to support a current opportunity or to support strategic expansion of capabilities in strategic areas.
  4. Sales capability: In a highly competitive marketplace, a clear advantage is knowing the benefits IBM products offer. You and another authorized IBM Business Partner will be able to enhance your sales capability to win a deal by implementing a nuanced approach to beat the competition.

Will IBM’s Partner to Partner Connect initiative create channel conflict and competition among partners?

No, and there are several dynamics that should be considered:

1) The Partner to Partner Connect initiative is designed to provide Partners with assistance in identifying partners for teaming. The business relationships created as a result of these introductions are at the discretion of the partners. The initiative does not interfere or introduce new dynamics in the client-partner relationship.

2) The Partner to Partner Connect initiative is designed to assist partners of all sizes and business models.  Solution and niche focused partners may choose to reach out to the broader community of partners to expand their market reach through partners who wish to engage in joint solution development or resell engagements.  As an example, a current cloud partner focused on integration can leverage other partners to support server and storage requirements in on-premise private cloud opportunities as well.

3) The Partner to Partner Connect initiative may not be right for all partners and opportunities:  In situations where partners have the resources and authorizations to support a particular opportunity, they most likely will not need to partner with another partner and will focus on their current business model to support and fulfill requirements for their customers.

This is also an opportunity for larger partners to find partners with applications and services that complement their portfolio as well as identify partners with niche IP to tailor client proposals for a competitive advantage. 

 

Which Business Partners can participate in Partner to Partner Connect? 

IBM Partner to Partner Connect will support all types of Business Partners including those who resell, build applications, deliver services or consult. These are just a few business models that will benefit from participating in the initiative.  Creating partnerships across the ecosystem may enable IBM Business Partners to build new opportunities and solutions together.

What are the benefits to participating in Partner to Partner Connect?

  1. Partner to Partner Community Workspaces:  It starts with the P2P Community where new and experienced Business Partners can connect discuss opportunities and meet.
  2. Partner to Partner Matching Tool built with Watson: IBM is building the P2P Matching Tool with Watson to enhance Business Partner’s ability to find the best partners to match to support their partnering objectives. 
  3. Technical Support: The PartnerWorld team is putting together unique Technical Solution and Market Development funds to help Business Partners turn their partnering opportunities and ideas into compelling offerings with IBM technologies and specific Partner to Partner go to market funds to turn opportunities into revenue.
  4. Partner to Partner Concierge: IBM’s PartnerWorld Contact Services Concierge accelerates P2P Success by assisting Business Partners in updating their Partner to Partner requests and their PartnerWorld Partner Profile. This is important as the best matches depend on up-to-date and accurate Business Partner information entered into the PartnerWorld and Matching tool.

How can Business Partners participate? 

IBM will announce the availability of Partner to Partner Connect in early 2019. IBM is rolling out an Early Adopter Initiative now to help Business Partners enhance their partnering success.

Will IBM Partner to Partner Connect support non-IBM skills in support of broader solutions for clients? 

Yes, IBM Partner to Partner Connect will provide the ability for IBM Business Partners to match with IBM Business Partners based on IBM and non-IBM skills. This is in the realization that by providing complete solutions, IBM Business Partners will need to include other vendor offerings and skills to provide the best solution for the partner and IBM clients.

What does IBM have to help Business Partners research / assess potential IBM Business Partners that will be leveraged as part of Partner to Partner Connect? 

IBM currently provides a BP Locator and a Global Solutions Directory for both IBM Business Partners and potential customers that allows them to search / research IBM Business Partners. In addition, IBM distributors can assist their partners in current matches with additional Business Partners in support of current opportunities.

IBM’s Partner to Partner Connect Early Adopter Initiative

What is the Partner to Partner Connect Early Adopter Initiative? 

The Early Adopter Initiative is a pilot of IBM Partner to Partner Connect providing an opportunity for Business Partners to evaluate and provide feedback on Partner to Partner Connect.

By participating in the Early Adopter Initiative Business Partners will be able to gain early experience with IBM Partner to Partner Connect. This will:

  • Help train Watson and ensure IBM trains the Partner to Partner Matching Tool to provide the right matches for the right opportunities.
  • Influence the IBM Partner to Partner Connect Initiative and its direction.

What will the early adopter initiative benefits include?

  • A Partner to Partner Matching Profile for Business Partners to request and/or offer partnering capabilities. IBM will work with the Business Partner to identify potential matches in support of their requirements.
  • In Person MatchUp Events that will enable Business Partners to meet, discuss a potential match, and provide IBM input on Partner to Partner Connect.
  • Virtual Matchups, coming in November 2018, will leverage early version of the IBM Partner to Partner matching tools built with IBM Watson.

Will the Early Adopter Initiative be worldwide in scope?

Initially, the pilot will cover NA, Europe, and LA. However, MEA, AP, GCG, and Japan will be included in the next few months as we move toward full implementation in February, 2019.

How do I participate in the Early Adopter Initiative? 

Review the Partner to Partner Connect web landing page and enter in your Partner to Partner profile and matching requirements. IBM will work with your channel team and distributors to recommend appropriate Business Partners.

Should I stop working with my distributor and IBM channels teams helping me to find other partners for current short-term opportunities?

No. IBM recommends that you continue to work with your distributor and other contacts as you normally would as Partner to Partner Connect moves from pilot to full implementation. Partner to Partner Connect should be viewed as an enhanced approach, not the only approach.