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New story, new opportunities as IBM refocuses on Kiwi channel

08 Feb 17

Two and a half weeks into his new job, Mark Baker says his eyes have been opened to the many facets of IBM – and he’s now on a mission to do the same for channel partners.

Baker, who has taken on the newly created role of IBM New Zealand channel and digital leader, admits that in his previous roles – including most recently as Westcon New Zealand country manager – his dealings with IBM were on the storage and hardware side.

“Coming into the business has really opened my eyes to the new stuff in IBM that I wasn’t aware of, and I’m sure a lot of the channel partners out in the marketplace will really relish the opportunity to find out what is the new opportunity for IBM,” Baker says.

While the technology giant is sometimes viewed as something of a dinosaur of the technology industry, recent years have seen the company forging a new path in areas most famously with Watson in cognitive computing.

“There’s a lot of stuff sitting there. The cloud solutions side of the business is big, BlueMix and deploying and managing some of those apps, that’s going to be a great opportunity for some of our partners,” Baker says.

“Watson and some of the capability around the analytics of Watson is a great opportunity for channel partners to understand what they can gather from the Watson platform and how to turn it into business opportunity,” he says.

Baker says analytics in particular offer resellers a great opportunity.

“There’s a lot of capability from that platform that the business is developing a lot of solutions off the back of,” he says.

Baker says IBM also has a host of security and mobility solutions, as well as the traditional IT infrastructure, for resellers to capitalise on.

“And there’s obviously the services there. It’s another part of the business that I didn’t have a lot of exposure to, but there’s more opportunity for the channel to understand what that is and how they can enhance their offerings off the back of that and gather some new opportunities there as well.”

Baker says there’s a wide scope of opportunity for net new and traditional business partners where IBM can enhance their businesses and help grow them ‘a lot more’.

The newly created role of channel and digital leader ties together the channel directive in New Zealand with the digital sales.

“It’s quite a nice fit,” Baker says.

“The digital sales team has been established for a while, so that’s a positive. But it really ties together what the one channel strategy is across New Zealand into one role.

“The digital side of the business is really just the selling side, so it’s all the hardware, software, marketplace opportunity and tying that together into the channel.”

Baker says that move gives solid direction to the business locally around channel development, where Baker will be focused on enhancing and growing existing partnerships and fostering net new relationships.

He admits a big part of his role will be education to provide the channel with a better understanding of all of IBM’s new offerings – and how the channel can capitalise on them – and ensure resellers are in touch with the right people within IBM and understand where the expertise lies.

“IBM are prepared to invest in the channel strongly and invest in the digital sales side of the business, and to invest in educating partners in where the opportunity is to work with the new IBM ahead.”

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