Partners will be able to develop online communities that make their skills visible to other partners, connect with them on tech innovations, and develop and deliver products through interactive forums before beta testing. IBM is concurrently launching their Business Partner Development Series, an educational tool for partners who need insight on creating dynamic infrastructures, selling to the midmarket, and selling to the CFO.
This release comes on the tail of IBM's My developerWorks, a project-focused social network for collaboration that the company created for developers.
In a recent online brainstorming session with 1,100 global partners, one of the leading ideas was a call for a more social-web approach to help the partners improve collaboration with each other and establish new relationships across global markets.
The new network will allow members to discover one another and collaborate through a project-oriented framework that will include blogs, forums, private teaming spaces, social bookmarking, and RSS feeds.
The new Business Partner Development Series will moreover give the company's partners 60 no-cost online classes and 25 global in-person education and networking events to help them build and sell better products for clients.
According to our source at IBM, the company's network of 100,000 partner entities is "critical to the success and growth of our company. Today, partners from across 158 countries drive about 30 percent of IBM's revenue each year. IBM invests in its partners' success because our success depends on it. At a time when our competitors are cutting back on resources for partners to the tune of $2.5 billion this year... this investment includes sales, marketing, and technical resources to help partners go to market faster, find new market opportunities, connect with other partners to create new ecosystems, and drive revenue."
While the network undoubtedly helps IBM keep business development and innovations - and revenue - "in the family," the value of the resources they provide is huge, both in geographical scale and in terms of the content itself.