"Last year, we focused on the midmarket with partners-on recruitment, enablement and incentives-and now we want to establish more partner-led territories with the brands and continue to invest in and expand growth markets," he says.
Accordingly, IBM has more than doubled the number of branch offices it operates in emerging markets from 100 in 2010 to 250 this year, with plans to have 550 in place by 2015.
"Business partners are the critical element in growth markets. They have the local client connections, the appropriate skills and solutions," Hennessy says. "As we grow our business in new markets, we will leverage partners to make that a reality."
Putting partners at the forefront in new markets, says SMB Group's McCabe, will require "a lot of forethought and execution on exactly who's doing what for it to work."
It's going to be an "iterative process," she adds. "Partners may identify new opportunities, work with IBM to get into the account, play a role as the front face to the customer and with the solution-but on the back end expect IBM to be very involved."
Ultimately, McCabe says, "involving the channel really is the only way to grow. If [IBM] can figure out the right formulas in different geographies, it can really work."
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