IBM revamps technical training, Partners get same materials as Insiders

All technical courses and training, as well as commercial content, are now free for registered partners.

IBM has consolidated its technical training programs, giving partners the same skills and entitlements offered to the company’s internal sales force. The revised training curriculum, which IBM released on Tuesday, provides more comprehensive materials covering all product lines and industry specializations.

Under the new program, IBM wants to empower a broader audience within its partner base with more technical skills. To do this, IBM has decided to unify its training, certifications and badges, putting partners on the same footing as insiders.

The move meets IBM’s broader goal of treating its partner ecosystem as an extension of its internal sales organization. For example, IBM invited its partners to its quarterly sales launch on Tuesday, an approach the company began last quarter. IBM launches the new training program and the new catalog during the sales launch.

IBM Ecosystem General Manager Kate Woolley introduced the new program in a blog post.

IBM’s Kate Woolley

“We are taking the next step in our partner journey by announcing a revamped approach to skills that, for the first time, gives all registered members of PartnerWorld access to the same training and enablement as IBM salespeople” , she noted.

“Importantly, partners now have access to these resources at the same time as IBM vendors, and at no cost to them. We are also rolling out a one-stop shop for learning and accreditation,” added Woolley.

Offering the training for free is an important step, said Anurag Agrawal, founder and chief global analyst at Techaisle.

Anurag Agrawal of Techaisle

Anurag Agrawal of Techaisle

“The most important element of the initiative is that skills and training will be free for partners,” Agrawal said.

He added that it is not common to provide the same training to partners as to company insiders.

Initial deployment of 60 courses

According to Woolley, IBM’s new skills correlate with products that provide hybrid cloud and AI-based solutions. She noted that it addresses high-demand offerings, including automation, security, sustainability, and infrastructure.

Initially, with Tuesday’s release, IBM is offering 60 courses tied to specific technical badges offered by IBM, Woolley told Channel Futures.

“We will continue to develop this over the next 30 to 60 days to have a very comprehensive skill set,” she explained.

In addition to providing technical badges, IBM has created more digital content that Woolley said partners can easily discover, access and use. Additional materials offered by IBM include business demonstrations and presentation and demonstration scripts. Likewise, it provides vendor presentations that include positioning and competitive comparisons. IBM’s new “digital prospecting” tools include documents such as white papers, analyst reports, and solution briefs.

First feedback from partners

Woolley said his team worked closely with IBM partners in developing the program. Among them was Megan Amdahl, Senior Vice President of Partner Alliances and North America Transformation at Insight. Amdahl noted that Insight, a member of IBM’s Partner Advisory Council, has a team of 8,200 client-facing professionals.

Amdahl believes the new program will allow Insight to integrate more into its IBM practice.

Insight's Megan Amdahl

Insight’s Megan Amdahl

“They really see the ability to scale through partners in ways that they couldn’t before,” she said.

She added that customers expect Insight employees to have deep technical capabilities.

“The commercial part is important, but the technical part helps us close deals much faster,” Amdahl said. “Thus, we are constantly investing more in our technical capabilities. Our sales teams are also important. But most of the time, our customers say they would like to have access to our technical experts. And that’s why Insight is so invested in this area.

Milton S. Rodgers