IBM is opening up its software developer programme in order to get more bodies behind its battle with Microsoft.
Big Blue wants to increase the number of independent software vendors it works with. The company's improved partner program, nattily-titled Advantage Initiative Partnerworld Industry Networks, gives vendors access to marketing funds and to IBM sales people.
IBM wants to make it easier to get registered as an IBM partner. ISVs will be able to nominate themselves for higher levels of accreditation, previously the top tier was by invitation only. They will have better access to IBM's sales teams as well as to marketing funds and discounted adverts in trade magazines.
Lesley Norris, director of ISV and developer relations at IBM, said: "The biggest advantage is the ability of ISVs to nominate themselves to qualify for advanced levels. Other benefits include discounted adverts and free web services like getting in contact with IBM sales staff. The changes we have made address the concerns raised by our partners."
IBM said its customers increasingly wanted software development partners who are regional and focussed on specific industries. Since March IBM has organised partners according to market segment or industry focus. The "Partnerworld Industry Networks" gave ISVs access to other industry-focussed companies as well as offering specific training and marketing support.
Observers said the moves would make it easier for IBM to sell into small and medium businesses rather than chasing enterprise business. ®