Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What the #IBMSoftware Story Means for Business Partners

Originally published August 22nd, 2011 by Jacqi Levy on The IBM Software Business Partner Blog at http://bit.ly/qlsW8l.  Follow Jacqi on Twitter @

It was late 2008 when IBM first started to talk about building a  Smarter Planet, and how software fits into that story. Yet, occasionally, I still hear rumblings from IBM's Software Business Partners who are unsure how a big, lofty idea such as Smarter Planet ties into what they are doing on a day-to-day basis.  Recently, a series of new resources were published on PartnerWorld to help you further the IBM Software Story with your clients, so I figured now would be as good a time as any to help break this down for you and explain how IBM's Smarter Planet vision and strategy can help you generate new business opportunities. 
Quick Summary: Smarter Planet for Dummies 
Basically, Smarter Planet is a response to several fundamental shifts that have been happening in the marketplace over a number of years.  You'll see IBM using three key words to describe the shift: the world is becoming more instrumented + interconnected + intelligent.  What does this mean, in a nutshell?  Smart devices are generating more data are generating more data than ever before, and companies need help making use of this data.  Web 2.0 is enabling them to interact and collaborate with their customers in real-time, increasing the speed at which business happens.  Intelligence, in the form of software, is being integrated into all aspects of business, and into the systems and processes that make the world work: cars, appliances, roadways, power grids, etc.  With this new marketplace comes a new set of business problems that our customers need solved: managing data, security risks, global integration and connectivity, and higher expectations for value. 
Software is at the heart of the majority of  IBM's Smarter Planet solutions, integrated across hardware, software and service offerings.  IBM's Smarter Planet vision continues to resonate with clients of all sizes globally.  And it's not just marketing hype...it's generating real business results.  IBM's market analysis shows that Smarter Planet solutions in key industries are growing 2-3 times faster than the IT market overall. 
What is the IBM Software Story? 
The IBM Software Story represents a shift in the way we service our customers, based precisely on what is happening in the marketplace.  Rather than merely talking to our clients and prospects about point products, the IBM Software Story allows us to take a hard look at our clients' business challenges, identify their biggest pain points, and solve them with integrated solutions built on the capabilities of the IBM Software Story portfolio, which may involve one or more products.  IBM Software is standards based and runs on virtually all major hardware and software platforms, and can be integrated across diverse application and infrastructure software, helping you build on and protect existing investments.
Through our work in making Smarter Planet come alive for software, a set of six key business needs has emerged.  The solutions to these needs are built on a set of core IBM Software capabilities:

Need: Turn information into insights

IBM Core Software Capabilities:

Need: Drive business integration and optimization
IBM Core Software Capabilities:

Need:  Connect and collaborate

IBM Core Software Capabilities:

Need: Enable product and service innovation
IBM Core Software Capabilities:

Need: Optimize the impact of business infrastructures and services
IBM Core Software Capabilities:

Need: Manage risk, security and compliance

How will the IBM Software Story Impact You?

Fundamentally, not much will change -- you'll still sell the same products to your clients.  The IBM Software Story just represents an enhancement to the way both IBM and our Business Partners talk about them in the marketplace, by leading with a solution to a business need, rather than than a product name.  IBM internal research shows that we sell more when we lead with solutions versus products -- simple fact.  In addition, because the IBM Software Story addresses client business needs, by design it will provide you with more cross-selling opportunities because providing an optimal solution may often involve the integration of multiple products from across the portfolio.  The IBM Software Story provides a simplified and unified way to present the growing value of the IBM Software portfolio, including recent acquisitions.  Thus, the IBM Software capabilities framework provides a logical approach for evaluating opportunities to grow your skills and expand your business focus into adjacent areas of the portfolio, in order to deliver even greater value to your clients. 

IBM Software Story Resources For Business Partners

For more information, access our IBM Software Story resources for Business Partners These resources are designed to help you personalize the IBM Software Story for your clients,  build solution skills across the portfolio, and drive sales with your clients and prospects. Check out the IBM Software Story page on PartnerWorld, where you'll find a Software Story overview, information on the market opportunity for each of the capabilities listed above, a product reference guide by capability, fully scripted customer presentations by industry and more. 

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