Sure, topics like business analytics remain core to IBM's channel partner strategy. But over the past year, IBM's midmarket team has quietly developed an aggressive MSP partner strategy that blends on-premises managed services with off-premises cloud services.
As MSPmentor reported in December 2011, IBM sees three managed services market segments for MSPs:
- Managed IT services. Here, MSPs maintain and optimize customers’ on-premises equipment.
- Hosted IT services. Here, the services run within the MSP’s data center.
- Cloud services: Here, the services run in a third-party data center. In this case, IBM wants to be the data center operator.
- Kristie Bell, VP, services channels, Alliances and Midmarket Services, Global Technology Services
- Jan Jackman, VP, global cloud services, Global Technology Services; and
- Rick Ruiz, GM, BCRS, Global Technology Services
IBM's growing interest in the managed services market reinforces the fact that big IT companies are finally turning to MSPs as next-generation channel partners. Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and many other IT giants have also opened their arms to MSPs in recent months.
On the one hand, it's a safe bet IBM wants MSPs to deploy Big Blue servers, software and middleware in MSP data centers and within end-customer settings. But on the other hand, IBM will increasingly promote a new range of cloud services and SaaS applications to MSPs. Among those worth watching: IBM Docs, a potential alternative to Google Docs and Microsoft Office 365.
As more details emerge at IBM PartnerWorld, we'll be sure to share the managed services perspectives here on MSPmentor.