CompTIAWorld | FALL 2017 58 IBM PartnerWorld Brings New Visibility to Partners Jamie Mendez, director of IBM PartnerWorld, discusses how IBM planned and launched a new partner program early this year and what the program means to IBM’s own strategic imperatives—including cognitive computing, big data, cloud, security, mobile and social. Q: Early this year you launched a new partner program. What has the journey been like over the past year in working with the partners to bring them up to speed? Were there any bumps in the road? A: The first thing that comes to mind is that we had some overlapping capabilities identified. We came together with the partners and we made adjustments. This has been a true partnership with our business partners in that they were very much part of developing the final go-live framework. Q: How does the new program align with IBM’s strategic initiatives like cognitive, security, cloud, mobile, social and any other new areas you expect to emphasize in the coming year? A: We absolutely designed this program with our strategic initiatives in mind because they’re critical and all about how IBM is moving with and leading in the marketplace. The competencies are aligned to the opportunities that the technologies and the combinations of technologies enable clients to do in the marketplace. It’s with that in mind that we’ve built these competencies. Q: Has this new program helped you attract a different type of partner? A: I think two things have really emerged when we talk about new partners and different kinds of visibility in partners. We’re seeing this surfacing of activity and interest in new ways of doing business with IBM. It’s not just about selling IBM products, but taking those offerings and embedding them in something that is wrapped with their IP and their services to deliver that new value to clients. As a result, we’re seeing partners that weren’t as visible before now rising up. Salesforce Partners Leverage IoT Salesforce channel chiefs Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh, vice president of partner program and marketing, and Dylan Steel, senior director of product marketing for app cloud and IoT cloud, explore the ways initial IoT partners are working with Salesforce and customers. Q: Who have been the earliest adopters for the IoT platform? A: Some of our earliest adopters from a customer perspective are customers like Emerson Climate Technologies, who build HVAC systems for home heating and cooling. They’ve already built the connected thermostats, but they’re thinking about how to get the most value out of them. We’ve seen early adopters from high- tech industries to a waste management company that is looking to put sensors on trash cans to understand when they’re full. Q: At what point does your phone start ringing off the hook with existing customers wanting to know how the IoT platform can benefit them? A: For something like IoT, we brief our partners in advance and then we run trainings. It’s not the most scalable way, but in the beginning, it is the way to do a very focused knowledge transfer. And then we think about it in phases. And in phase two, we’ve got special partner pages within our partner community, and a landing page for IoT with resources and people that they can reach out to when they want to learn more. Q: We’re seeing a lot of activity around smart cities. Do you think municipal governments, transportation systems and all these different verticals will fold nicely into what you’re building? A: I do see smart cities and smart governments fitting in nicely with the technology we’re building. And we are building in a few stages. The first [question] is how do we move from a reactive world where you identify an issue and then you go out and fix it to a proactive world? And that’s the journey we’re on today. We’ve actually built a monitoring system that allows us to fix a potential error that could be triggered in the future. There’s a next step to that evolution, which is moving from proactive to a predictive world, which is: How do we fix a problem before it actually even exists? When you think about connected cities, they’re thinking about how we can look at this aggregate set of large data and make inferences that are predictive to help our city operate more efficiently. I think that’s all on the roadmap. Sungard Partners See Evolving Approach to Disaster Recovery Sungard Availability Services’ Carmen Sorice, SVP of global channel sales, talks disaster recovery services amid natural disasters and new cyber- threats like ransomware, and how channel partners fit into Sungard’s go-to-market strategy. Q: Customers out-task their whole recovery to your company. Where do channel partners fit into the conversation? A: Channel partners are a core element in our go-to-market strategy. We have various programs with our partners. Many are sell-with programs, where we work with partners alongside our sales teams. We also have reseller programs and referral programs. Q: Are you seeing businesses become more aware of their obligations around disaster recovery? A: Yes, we definitely see a different, evolving approach to disaster recovery. What’s interesting is—the hurricanes, the earthquakes, the natural disasters—they don’t really change. They have always been here and they always will be here. What has changed is customers realizing that the impact they feel when one of these events happens is much more extreme. It really has to do