IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference is filled with the usual buzzwords -- cloud, mobile, Big Data analytics, and social. To boil the conversation down to its core essence, Channel Chief Mark Hennessy offered four key insights for new and existing business partners. Then, Mike Gerentine, VP of IBM Global Business Partners, described some incentives to get partners going on mobile and cloud-based business analytics. Here's the recap, which just unfolded in a press conference and panel discussion in Las Vegas.

Hennessy mentioned:

  1. New offerings: It's around the infrastructure with Smarter Computing and integrated infrastructure offerings. PureFlex systems is one key example.
  2. New markets and buyers: IBM is helping partners engage new buyers like chief marketing officers, chiefs of police and chief financial officers.
  3. New types of partners: IBM thinks cloud will be a $7 billion business for the company by 2015. Customers, particularly in the mid-market and SMB space, are demanding MSP services. IBM now has about 3,000 MSPs working with the company.
  4. New types of programs: IBM is spending $150 million per year across the company specifically for partners. IBM has taken rapid online financing capability and extended it out to smart phones and tablets.

Mike Gerentine, VP of IBM Global Business Partners, then offered some details about how IBM will empower partners to pursue mobile, cloud, Big Data analytics and social opportunities. Among the initiatives:

  • Cloud: One year free access to IBM Cloud-based digital analytics technology. "We believe there a few hundred partners who will take advantage of this."
  • MobileFirst: There is a Mobile App showcase, incentives and more coming for partners. It's significant for both solutions providers and ISVs, he asserted.

On the case study front, Cheesecake Factory has become the poster child for this conference. Donald Moore, chief culinary officer, is describing how IBM solutions empower his business. N2N Global is the business partner on the engagement, promoting IBM Cognos Analytics and DB2. The key concept: Moore is not a technology buyer. He's a business manager -- an executive who has to run kitchens that serve thousands of meals daily. And IBM wants to empower partners to engage those types of buyers.

N2N Global's Angela Nardone, chairman and chief innovation officer, said she now navigates multiple departments while engaging customers. N2N has always focused on the food vertical but you still need to do deeper dives with each department, she added.