IBM Hosts Industry Days For Business Partner Channel

As technology in the midrange market grows more complex and marketing strategies demand increased precision, one message becomes clear to IBM's business partner community -- know your customers.

In an effort to facilitate relations between its business partners and the different markets into which they sell, IBM has begun hosting Industry Days at its Rochester, Minn., facilities. The Industry Days initiative targets six key industries: retail; wholesale distribution; industrial sector (or process and discrete manufacturing); banking, finance and securities; communications and insurance.

"Industry Days is a solution-based industry focused session, where there are two main pieces [technology and marketing] that break down into many subsegments," says Greg Tavalsky, global industry manager for AS/400.

"From a technology standpoint, we bring in an invitation-only group of ISVs by industry," Tavalsky says. "IBM invites to the Industry Day session key ISVs in a particular market, or ISVs IBM is looking to get on the AS/400 platform." During the technology briefing, IBM addresses how specific technologies on the AS/400 -- like Java, Domino and e-business -- can help these ISVs with their own businesses.

"From a marketing standpoint, IBM talks about marketing plans for the small and medium business (SMB) and Industry Sector (ISU) markets," Tavalsky says. ISUs are larger -- typically high-end, Fortune 100 -- accounts. "We share with them our marketing plans in both areas, so they can understand where we're going from a marketing/sales standpoint. This addresses how IBM works with its partners to deploy the technology discussed in the first portion of the session."

Industry Days are for both the distributor and reseller tiers of IBM's Business Partner channel, Tavalsky says, pointing out that both tiers of the channel are closely connected. "Distributors bring with them a whole army of second-tier solutions providers that are critical to many of these ISVs."

The schedule for upcoming Industry Days is as follows: Banking Finance & Securities -- June 23 and 24; Retail -- July 13 and 14; Industrial -- Aug. 3 and 4; Wholesale Distribution -- Sept. 1 and 2.

--L. Greenemeier