Assessment Criteria

Criteria and level of participation may vary per tier as noted in the Overview information

Program Tiers


The Premier tier rewards highly invested partners that have a strategic relationship with IBM Z, the deepest level of engagement,  including a joint advocacy plan to grow the IBM Z ecosystem. 


The Advanced tier provides partners with enhanced benefits for those partners that have consistently met elevated expectations and positively advance the IBM Z ecosystem.


The Ready tier provides partners access to benefits to develop on IBM Z while building IBM Z competency.

Defined Advocacy Plan

Grow the ecosystem

  • All ISV’s within the premier tier will collaborate to amplify and complement IBM’s strategy to growth the IBM Z ecosystem through community engagements, social media promotions, blogs, seminars, white papers, etc..

Annual IBM Z Revenue Contribution

IBM Z Revenue Contribution

Defined as contributing to the growth and vitality of the platform through delivering IBM Z revenue in one of the following manners:

  • Applications generating IBM Z workloads via MSUs, MIPS, etc
  • IP product development and revenue generation
  • New client acquisition
  • New workload acquisition

Revenue Contribution for Advanced Tier

  • ISV Partner must provide a proof point that the partner is contributing to the IBM Z revenue.

Revenue Contribution for Premier Tier

  • ISV Partner must be contributing significant revenue and/or developing strategic IBM Z workloads as determined by IBM. If determined that a partner meets these requirements, the expectation will be that the partner remain at this level or grows based on ensuring product currency, modernization, and market relevancy. Revenue contribution at this level will be a mutually agreed to business plan.

Public Customer References

The following qualify as an ISV's customer supplied reference:

  • Peer-to-peer conversations
  • Speaking engagements
  • Video Testimonials
  • Case Studies
  • Thought leadership (blogs)
  • Press Releases
  • Media interviews and briefings
  • Analyst Activities, Advertising
  • Client Success presentations

Supplied Customer References need to include the following information:

  • An overview of the company (end user) and its strategic business goals
  • The business challenges faced by the company and industry
  • A succinct description of the solution, including IBM Z product and service components, implementation details and IBM Business Partner contributions
  • Highlights of the achieved or anticipated business benefits

Actively Advance the Ecosystem

ISV Partners need to demonstrate how they are helping to advance the IBM Z Ecosystem in terms of:

  • Workload retention
  • Amplification of IBM Z related content on social media
  • Publish statements of support for IBM Z hardware and software that support launch activities
  • Promotion and implementation of platform modernization
  • Updating products on a regular basis
  • New clients on IBM Z or new workloads on the platform
  • Earning IBM Z Advocacy Badges 

Strategic Fitness

ISV companies need to demonstrate how they are helping to advance the IBM z Ecosystem in terms of:

  • Partner Market Share and acceleration capability
  • Portfolio Compliments IBM Z strategy
  • Partner Goals and Objectives
  • Customer Loyalty / Satisfaction with Partner
  • Client Access / New Client Opportunities
  • Competitive Positioning
  • Access to other partners

Relationship Fitness

A unique ability that a company develops and that cannot be easily imitated.

Core competencies are what give a company one or more competitive advantages in creating and delivering value to it's customers.

  • Cultural Fit and Trust
  • Problem Resolution - speed and teamwork
  • Delivery on Commitments
  • Partner Loyalty and Commitment to the Partnership
  • Executive Awareness and Support of the Partnership
  • Team Engagement
  • Participate in Early Testing Programs and ISV Disclosures

Hardware and Software Currency

Hardware Currency

  • Hardware currency is at least N-1 where N is the currently Generally Available (GA) system
  • Hardware currency is viewed from a high-end or mid range/low-end perspective
  • ISV companies with multiple IBM Z Systems only need to have one system meet the hardware currency requirement. This can be either a high-end or mid range/low-end system
  • ISVs have 12 months to meet the currency requirement from GA

Software Currency

  • Software currency is N-1 where N is the most current Generally Available (GA) version of the product
  • The software currency requirement applies to Operating Systems. Middleware products (CICS, IMS, DB2, WAS) and compilers used

Upgrade Requirement

  • ISV Partners will have 12 months to meet hardware and software currency requirements once a new hardware system, operating system or software product version becomes generally available (GA) and what was N-1 becomes N-2.

Skills Specialization

ISV companies must ensure they have the skills to support their development systems

  • Increase vitality of IBM Z skills and encourage cross training between senior and junior staff
  • Skill resource investment
  • Growth and development skills initiatives
  • Attendance at industry events and seminars

Acceptance of Agreement

All participants in the program must be...

  • IBM PartnerWorld members. Acceptance of fully executed IBM Z IBM On-Premises Development program's software discount contract Attachment and Addendum is required.


Program Tiers, Criteria, and Benefits 

Participation requirements

Information for joining the program


How the program works 


Questions ?


Collaborate with the ISV Ecosystem Community