IBM Global Services is to sell its services to its 550 UK business partners in a scheme which will later be rolled out in the Emea region and then worldwide.
] Jim Reid, business development manager of the unit for Northern Europe, said: ?This is a major strategic move. We?ve never worked with business partners before and now we?re giving them access to a range of offerings.?
The services that will be offered include software support, business recovery, extended warranties and maintenance and network service offerings.
Reid said that the Global Services Unit had rolled out an initial pilot with some selected resellers six months ago and it had now invited accreditations from its 550 partners. That process will be complete in three to six months, he said.
The accreditation criteria embrace adherence to ISO 9000 quality standards, a "strong services culture", and commitment to customer satisfaction. He said the decision was taken to grow IBM?s overall market share.
?We can?t address the whole marketplace alone. There?s more opportunity there than there is capability at the moment,? Reid said.
The total UK size of the services market was #5.4 billion, he said, and while IBM?s initial plan is to sell its services to its BPs, it will eventually get them to fulfil the offerings too.
The services offering will include not only IBM?s own kit, but a spate of products from other vendors, Reid said.
Those include Amdahl, Apple, Bay, Cisco, Compaq, Dell, Digital, Hitachi, ICL, Microsoft, Novell, Storagetek and Toshiba, he said.
The move to involve the channel offered its business partners more breadth, he claimed, as they will now be able to offer maintenance and service packages too.
IBM often started pilots in the UK, said Reid, because of the heteregeneous nature of the market and because it was pioneer in deregulation.
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