IBM (IBM) has introduced a host of development capabilities, training and benefits programs to help its business partners succeed in cloud computing, data analytics, mobile computing, social business and security. The news came as part of IBM’s PartnerWorld Leadership Conference held this week in Las Vegas.

Some of the most important announcements at today’s conference were:

  • The introduction of the Power Development Program, which will allow developers access to IBM Power System Servers to build, port and test applications for free.
  • Partner access to pre-built Business Partner solutions with validated cloud integration and mobile and social capabilities.
  • A new massive open online course (MOOC) education platform called ThinkAcademy, designed to help business partners develop skills around cloud delivery services and solutions.
  • Access to the FlashSystem V849 Enterprise Performance Solution, which will help integrate IBM’s virtualizations software with its all-Flash array.

"As the world is being transformed by cloud, mobile, social, Big Data and analytics, we need to enable our business partners to transform with it so they can take full advantages of the opportunities these changes bring,” said Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president, IBM Systems & Technology Group and Integrated Supply Chain in a prepared statement. “Our goal is to provide our business partners with the broadest set of capabilities, programs, incentives and solutions in the industry, allowing them to move to higher-value opportunities and achieve greater success."

According to the press releases, IBM also wil be working to help its business partners increase their participation in the PartnerWorld program by allowing cloud-based partners to receive incentives after fulfilling certain criteria, such as demonstrating customer satisfaction and providing customer references. Incentives include expanded solution verification for on- and off-premise hosting services as well as double value for "publishable references."

From today’s announcements, IBM seems to be putting a renewed focus on strengthening its ties with VARs to improve the end user experience. The added emphasis on training for cloud-based services is also a good indicator that IBM is aware of the influence that the cloud will likely have in the future for all parts of the supply chain—including its own success.