IBM has appointed Sallie Purser as channel and digital leader of New Zealand, as part of plans to deepen partner engagement in 2019.
Reseller News can exclusively reveal that the change sees Mark Baker - appointed to the role in January 2017 - assume the position of running systems and software locally.
“I was delighted to have a conversation with Sallie over a period of time about the channel role, a role in which she offers more than 30 years of experience,” said Mike Smith, managing director of IBM New Zealand.
In addressing a jam-packed audience of partners in Auckland, during IBM Business Partner Summit, Smith said work is underway to increase revenue through the channel, as the vendor boosts indirect capabilities across the country.
“In looking at our focus for 2019, we’ve built a mission for IBM in New Zealand,” Smith added. “We aim to grow our channel revenue this year. We plan to increase revenue through our channel by a factor of 30 per cent and we are putting plans in place to make that happen.
“To do that we need to be easier to do business with, we need to be transparent, we need to invest in skills and we need to build trust.”
More broadly speaking, Smith said key focuses for the year also include hybrid and multi-cloud, backed up by digital, and data technologies.
“Innovation is important,” he added. “IBM’s history is traditionally around back-end systems, we were good at that and we are still good at that, so we will carry on in that respect.
“But at the front-end, we’re also in the market with new technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, IBM Watson, security and the Internet of Things.
“We have some fantastic products available and one of the most complete end-to-end portfolios that can scale up and down. Skills is also a main priority in New Zealand. The disruption and displacement of jobs creates a need to develop skills that are future-proof.”
Purser joined IBM in 1986, working in every division of the vendor across New Zealand during the past three decades, with strong ties into the channel business.
Most recently, Wellington-based Purser was operations executive - essentially acting as local COO - with a responsibility for supporting the execution and management of the IBM’s sales strategy, alongside management systems and programs.
Other key management roles spanned software, services and hardware, in addition to HR, sales and partner support.
“My personal brand is that I always do what I say I’m going to do, and partners can rely on that,” said Purser, during an opening address to partners. “To start with, we are going to be very clear and provide clarity for our channel.
“With Mark moving into the systems and software role, we are going to come together as one team to focus more on the channel, and get us working better together.
“We are also going to work hard to build trust and as a group we are committed to this, through being consistent as a starting point.”
The local change follows a string of new channel initiatives and investments from the tech giant, amid plans to build key partner skills and opportunities in the year ahead.
Unveiled during PartnerWorld at Think in San Francisco, new initiatives include a Watson-based collaboration engine called IBM Business Partner Connect; My PartnerWorld; new software deal registration and IBM Power Systems, LinuxONE and Z ‘In It to Win It’ incentives.
Globally speaking, partners created more than 84,000 opportunities and drove over US$14 billion in revenue for IBM during 2018, triggered by the migration of multiple tools to My Sales Activity (MySA), a single portal that helps partners manage their business with the vendor.
“As I reflect on 2018, you joined us on a journey to return to growth, take market share and transform together," said John Teltsch, partner ecosystem general manager at IBM, when speaking to Reseller News on the sidelines of PartnerWorld.
“Your candid feedback helped us to understand what your needs are and what’s required from us. We focused on three things - enriching the partner experience, simplifying benefits and incentives; providing skills and increasing productivity.”