New categories boost IBM Business Partner Awards

New categories boost IBM Business Partner Awards

Five new categories mean even more opportunity for IBM Business Partners to shine this year. The Awards, held in association with New Zealand Reseller News, are now open for entry.

The new categories are Smart Work, New Intelligence, Dynamic Infrastructure, Green and Beyond, and The People’s Choice Distributor Award.

“These new categories exemplify our desire to collaborate with business partners and resellers to help clients bring together the right insights, the right technology, the right research and the right systems to make their organisations smarter,” says New Zealand channels manager Raymond Skoglund.

“As our businesses, infrastructures and systems become smarter, we have a chance to open up meaningful new possibilities for New Zealand’s growth and prosperity.”

Skoglund says IBM relies on local business partners with industry skills and expertise to help take its “smarter planet vision” forward.

“Those who do it well deserve the recognition and acknowledgement.” Entries for the awards close on Friday, October 2, 2009. See

Smart Work

Organisations globally are transforming themselves to manage processes more efficiently, and to help their people work smarter instead of just harder.

The Smart Work award emphasises the alignment between business and IT. Technology has the potential to significantly increase business productivity, as well as reduce costs. Social networking capabilities allow us to tap into what partners and customers are thinking. People increasingly have “anytime, anywhere” access to their applications, information and resources. Employees know their jobs and have valuable ideas, but the processes often haven’t kept up to meet their needs.

Business processes must be flexible, responsive and streamlined. Businesses need to allow their people to collaborate, their customers and partners to make more informed decisions, and to form deeper relationships. This includes re-architecting operations around the ability to capture real-time data, or working and collaborating in new ways across ecosystems, supply chains and their own internal silos.

Smart Work around the world:

• Celina Insurance, a US property and casualty insurance firm, uses online collaboration tools like chat to connect its independent insurance agents and underwriters, reducing policy turnaround time from weeks to days.

• Yansha, a regional Chinese retailer, deployed a first-of-its-kind SOA-based supply chain platform from IBM for its employees and 1800 suppliers. They get a real-time performance view of their supply chain and improved lead times from 2.5 days to 4.5 hours.

• IBM is helping Norwegian oil and gas company StatoilHydro use sensors and telemetry to monitor conditions in real time. By pooling all of the sensory data from fields and rigs and combining it with 3D visualisation, employees can make smarter decisions. Benefits include an expected 5 percent increase in production and a 30 percent decrease in costs.

“In today’s fluctuating economy, the ability to adapt to changing economic conditions is a critical factor to mitigate risk and drive profit. Organisations supported by agile business models and dynamic business processes are uniquely positioned to win. Reaching the new connected customers takes personalisation, collaboration and co-creation. This includes providing a rich user experience to customers, suppliers, employees and partners,” says IBM’s New Zealand channels manager Raymond Skoglund.

New Intelligence

Information used to flow in one direction, with a visible source. Today, information constantly expands its shores. In fact, nearly 15 petabytes of data are created every day and it can be a daunting task for any enterprise to sift through massive amounts of data, extract information and transform it into actionable knowledge. But action without analysis is just guessing.

Today’s data analysis tools offer situational awareness and predictive abilities. This new intelligence gives you a window into your current operations, but also a likely view of what is around the corner and even further down the road. Analytics and reporting tools slice and dice data, crystallising trends, patterns and anomalies that yield invaluable business insights to help you drive smarter decision making.

New Intelligence around the world:

• IBM and partner Infratab, DHL, a unit of Deutsche Post World Net, developed a temperature tracking system combining sensing and RFID technology to enable real-time monitoring of temperature-sensitive shipments while in transit.

• IBM’s stream computing software helps doctors at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology detect subtle changes in the condition of critically ill, premature babies.

• The Beacon Institute and IBM have created a technology-based monitoring and forecasting network for New York’s 500 kilometre Hudson river and estuary.

“Businesses that are taking advantage of this new wealth of information are able to make more intelligent decisions and are rising to the top. They’re managing large volumes of information in real time, incorporating analytics and predictive modelling, pervasively collecting and sharing information across the entire value chain, and speeding time to value by delivering trusted, accurate and timely information to the right decision makers,” says Skoglund.

Dynamic Infrastructure

Audits show that most business and IT infrastructure is underutilised. Infrastructure is often difficult to manage, pushing operational cost and complexity to unsustainable and uncompetitive levels.

A dynamic infrastructure provides a shared, integrated and highly available infrastructure. It also can help meet customer expectations for real-time, dynamic access to new services, help contain operational cost and complexity, and achieve productivity gains through virtualisation, optimisation, energy stewardship and flexible sourcing, while also meeting security, resilience and compliance challenges.

Dynamic Infrastructure around the world:

• First National Bank of Omaha worked with IBM to design and implement a branch that used a range of new technologies to create a seamless, self-service process. It aimed to strengthen the bank’s brand and enhance customer satisfaction.

• In Austria, kika/Leiner worked with IBM on the design and build of a new energy-efficient, scalable, modular datacentre. They were able to reduce electrical power consumption by up to 40 percent. The new datacentre offered kika/Leiner a way to extend its environmental strategy to include its datacentre.

“A dynamic infrastructure spans business infrastructure and assets, datacentre systems, distributed computing resources and software applications. It integrates business and IT assets and aligns them with the overall goals of the business while taking a smarter, new and more streamlined approach to helping improve service, reduce cost, and manage risk,” says Skoglund.

Green and Beyond

Green and Beyond expands the “green” discussion past the traditional boundary of datacentre energy use to all dimensions of corporate social responsibility and sustainability, including the supply chain partners, suppliers and vendors.

This award is about using sophisticated technologies and business processes to set the right metrics and then collect and analyse information to make better decisions. This principle holds whether a company aims to reduce energy use throughout the enterprise, to design a product to be more environmentally responsible, or to monitor supply chain partners for compliance with labour standards and financial transparency.

Green and Beyond around the world:

• The Swedish city of Stockholm implemented a roadside system using laser, camera and systems technology to detect, identify and charge drivers. Stockholm’s smart toll system has resulted in 22 percent less traffic, a 12 percent drop in emissions and a reported 40,000 additional daily users of the public transport system.

• Logistics company Cosco analysed its operations across product development, sourcing, production, warehousing and distribution. The company ultimately consolidated its distribution centres from 100 to 40 to prevent 100,000 tonnes of emissions each year.

“Companies are under continuing pressure to improve their performance on Green and Beyond issues such as cost, customers and compliance. Organisations that successfully address Green and Beyond challenges gain significant advantage such as improving operational efficiency and reducing costs, attracting investors, talent and customers, gaining access to new markets and revenue opportunities, as well as meeting regulatory requirements,” says Skoglund.

People’s Choice Distributor Award

This award is open to individuals working in distribution organisations. Customers are invited to vote for those who demonstrate service excellence and offer real benefits to their organisation.

The winner of the People’s Choice Distributor Award will receive a $250 gift voucher from online gift retailer Red Balloon Day. This category is open to individuals who are members of an IBM Business Partner organisation. Voting closes on October 2.

“Distributors play an extremely important role in the local marketplace. In recognition of this, we have created this new category addition, a second people’s choice award. The People’s Choice Distributor Award, which will be judged by your peers working in the industry,” says Skoglund.

People’s Choice Reseller Award

There are some outstanding people working in partner organisations and this award recognises individual performance that goes beyond the normal call of duty. Customers are invited to vote for people in the IBM Business Partner community who demonstrates service excellence and deliver real benefits.

The winner will receive a $250 gift voucher from online gift retailer Red Balloon Day. Voting will close on October 2.

“Being recognised by your peers has special significance and this award will be given to one of the unsung heroes who work on the front line, but who always goes the extra mile to deliver exceptional service to their customers,” says Skoglund.

Last year’s inaugural winner was Ryan Balemi of Pulse IT. He formed the company in 1999.

“We’ve got a client base we do really enjoy working with. Some have been friends first and some have been clients first and become really good friends later. There’s more than just the standard transaction happening,” says Balemi.

Those who nominated Balemi said the company offered great advice and support for IBM’s hardware.

Best Non-IBM Reseller Solution

IBM wants to recognise and encourage organisations not contracted to IBM, but that are providing IT products and services to the local market. Such companies will be growing in particular markets with certain products, and could benefit from exposure and marketing funds.

Judges are looking for the most interesting and innovation customer success stories, clearly demonstrating how partners have used technology to benefit customers.

Rookie of the Year

Establishing and growing a reseller business isn’t easy, but some newcomers have been able to succeed quickly. This award recognises an up and coming reseller’s excellence in delivering and supporting IBM’s offerings and services.

Judges will be looking for a new IBM reseller business that has made the greatest impact in the past year in satisfying customer needs, promoting IBM in the market and providing solution-driven excellence.

“The Rookie of the Year award is a great opportunity for newer companies to showcase their solutions and services as well as further develop their credibility in the market,” says Skoglund.

Last year’s inaugural winner, Password, was less than 18 months old when the company won. Auckland-based Ramesh Pindoria and Rudi Stander had taken the plunge and started their own business.

The award gave Password more credibility in the market, says Stander. “When you are new it takes time to build up a reputation. Now people are more open to speak to us. It has made a change overnight for us – we’ve had congratulations from a wide array of people, who I don’t know if they really knew about us before.”

Password won the award for a project to deliver a new network environment for East Tamaki Healthcare.

Best Co-Marketing Campaign

Marketing is a key skill for IBM’s business partners. The Best Co-Marketing Campaign Award will be given to the business partner who, in the view of the judges, makes best use of marketing dollars.

Judges will be looking for impact, creativity, the clarity of the offer and a measurable return. Eligible campaigns can include IBM software, hardware and services, or a mixture of these.

“IBM recognises that there are a number of non-contracted IBM resellers that are providing interesting and innovative IT solutions to the local market.

“Through this award, IBM wants to encourage forward thinking organisations that are delivering innovative customer success stories, regardless of the technology that is used to achieve this,” says Skoglund.

Last year’s winner OSS received the judge’s nod for an original campaign, built around a nurturing theme, aimed at encouraging attendance of a sponsored breakfast in Wellington, highlighting a University of Auckland storage virtualisation case study.

OSS’ sales and marketing manager, Gavin Stone, says the theme was Creative Circle’s brainchild, with the agency using the idea of nurturing and control of IT to draw a parallel with the ancient art of bonsai cultivation.

Supreme Award

The award recognises the exceptional performance by an IBM business partner. It is given to the business partner who, in the judges’ view, has implemented the most successful, excellent and innovative customer project. The winner of the project implementation category is put forward for the Supreme Award.

“The recognition that comes with winning an international benchmark such as the Supreme Award for the most successful and innovative customer project, can provide a tremendous boost in confidence to the successful business partner’s employees and customers alike,” says Skoglund.

Solnet Solutions, the 2008 winner of the Workplace Collaboration category and also the supreme winner in the IBM Business Partner Awards, secured both prizes in recognition of its work for the Inland Revenue Department, using IBM’s WebSphere Portal technology.

Brett Arthur, general manager northern region, Solnet Solutions, says the immovable deadline for the KiwiSaver element of the project was one of the biggest challenges for the development and integration company.

Although Solnet’s main measure for project success at the outset was to meet the KiwiSaver deadline, Arthur says the potential it has created for future initiatives has presented the IRD with a number of additional benefits, which will be vital in achieving its target of servicing 80 percent of all customer transactions online by 2010.

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