A year on from its Business Partners jamboree in San Diego, California, IBM has reneged on three of its 1996 promises.
This time last year, chairman of the board Lou Gerstner told 5,000 of its BPs that it would create a Notes database for them so they could access data immediately, allow its channel access to its services business and create global terms and conditions.
That will cause repercussions at this year's Business Partner conference in Florida as dissatisfied customers take IBM to task for failing to deliver on three of its key promises.
A source at IBM said: "It's true we've failed to deliver on those promises but that's largely because of the political situation at IBM. It's as hard to turn this company round as turning round a large superoil tanker in mid-Mediterranean."
She said that one of the reasons IBM had not delivered services business to its business partners was because that was a lucrative money earner and accounted for high profit.
The Notes debacle was a different matter, she said. Its acquisition of Lotus was Gerstner's idea but because of political differences within Big Blue, it was almost impossible to spread it across the IBM Network. Gerstner, she said, was particularly incensed about breaking that promise. This year 7,500 people will attend IBM's Business Partner conference in Florida.
An IBM spokesperson said: "The Notes database is live in the UK and will be delivered by the end of the year."
He claimed IBM had made progress on delivering services business to its channel. He said: "In September we told our business partners about new offers, using focus groups. In October, we brought in maintenance services for all. We've had significant growth in revenues through business partners."
On the third point, he said that IBM operated in 163 countries across the world. "We said at BPEC [last year] that we would announce our Ts&Cs throughout the year and we did announce this in November. It has been implemented in the US, South Africa is going live. People have started to go live in the UK."
He said there was a period of time between announcement and implementation and the year will expire at next week's BPEC conference, held in Florida.
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