IBM is rolling out a new programme to equip its partners with the tools to assess whether their customers’ software licence contracts best suit their needs.
The initiative is the brainchild of Percy Vier, global head of competitive sales in IBM’s software group, who was in the country last week as part of a world tour to launch the concept to partners and customers.
Vier, who is based in Peru, says IBM partners can help customers liberate IT budgets from ongoing licensing contracts and divert the money to more productive projects.
“We are leveraging partners to be more focused on understanding and helping their customers,” says Vier.
Although the programme does not necessarily aim to entice customers over to IBM, it does target Microsoft’s Select and Enterprise volume licensing agreements in particular.
“We are not attacking Microsoft — we are just helping customers understand the alternatives,” says Vier. “It’s about how can we help customers get the best out of their software contracts, whether it is with Microsoft or IBM.”
Vier says many customers are confused about how to get the best from the Microsoft licensing agreements, saying a lack of information from Microsoft does not help.
“Sometimes it is best not to give too much information from their point of view,” he says, adding his team wants to give customers the information they need to clear up the confusion.
IBM plans to lead by example. The company decided renewing its own Enterprise agreement is not the best option going forward.
“It does not mean we will not continue to work with Office products, but like most of our customers worldwide, we are not seeing good [enough] value to renew it,” says Vier.
Enterprise and Select are three-year agreements and include Software Assurance, which gives customers access to new versions of licensed software released during the term of their contract.
Vier says this means customers end up paying in advance for software they don’t know if they need yet, and says this money could be better spent on new or mission-critical techno-logy projects.
Under Vier’s programme, IBM is giving partners the education and marketing tools to help customers understand if it makes sense for them to keep their contracts.
To do this, partners need to evaluate what approach best suits the needs of each customer, says Vier. The initiative is part of the IBM Business Partner Advance programme, which provides partners with tools to compete better with IBM software.