IBM’s Software Incentive Programs Are Way Ahead of Competition | Kalyan Sridhar | Channel Head, IBM SWG, ISA | Interviews |


IBM’s Software Incentive Programs Are Way Ahead of Competition

Interviewed on Jun 22, 2012 by Shantheri Mallaya

IBM SWG, ISA Channel Head, Kalyan Sridhar speaks about IBM’s expansion plans, partner initiatives and strategies for the Indian market.

Kalyan Sridhar
Kalyan Sridhar, Channel Head, IBM SWG, ISA For IBM, business development activity is effectively co-marketing and all activities surrounding that. It also has to do with what we can do to help partners maximize potential.

Interview Questions

Full Interview with Kalyan Sridhar

CW : IBM Software has just announced its Business Partner Led Market (BPLM) program, besides the existing Software Value Incentive (SVI). How does it all tie back to the overall strategy?

Sridhar: IBM’s Software Value Incentive (SVI) has been around for a while and we try to make it a lot simpler and much more lucrative than what it was before for our partners. If a partner does reasonably well in closing an opportunity, he gets 20 percent of the sale value. Further, if a customer becomes a reference to a partner, the partner gets up to 40 percent. We provide for a situation wherein even if the partner helps progress the opportunity without closing it, we still reward him.

What is latest is Business Partner Led Market or BPLM. With this, we have identified 27 cities including the bigger regions of BangaloreHyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai and NCR.

The rest of the 22 cities are geographically well spread - NasikCochinTrivandrum, to name a few, are on the radar.

Under BPLM, we stipulate a few conditions. Firstly, a partner signing up for a territory should have a sales office locally. He should be able to support local clients.

Secondly, in these markets, we have fixed target size for partners based on opportunity sizes based on IDC data points and internal data to match.  So, in these markets, a partner will get an additional incentive of 8 percent on every software deal he makes, and should he achieve 100 percent of his target, an additional 7 percent more. Now, it is a lot of money that we are talking about, over and above the SVI.

Thirdly, we have picked solution areas with hardware, which still remains a substantial part of our portfolio. If a partner goes to a customer with a mix of 30 percent IBM hardware and 70 percent IBM software, we have a Software Accelerated Incentive of 20 percent. We have observed that there is no other vendor who offers anything even remotely close to this. In effect, an integration of the hardware and software will positively impact our overall focus, and bring hardware partners into the software fold.

CW : By geo-expansion, are you referring to the recent business development activities that IBM has undertaken towards moving into smaller cities?

Sridhar: Yes, and we have ensured that we help partners choose the right portfolio to take to the customer. They have the liberty to add on to the bouquets. The partner is a key interface for the success of the bouquet. For IBM, business development activity is effectively co-marketing and all activities surrounding that. It also has to do with what we can do to help partners maximize potential.

CW : While customer acquisition and exploring new markets is a balancing act, the middleware market is an under-tapped opportunity for vendors as well as partners. Your thoughts?

Sridhar: Yes, we are in an under penetrated market; the middleware opportunity has been estimated globally at around1 billion USD. Among the sectors in India, to date, only the BFSI has gone ahead and implemented core banking but if you observe, the surrounding apps are still nascent. Government is and will remain a huge buyer. With concepts such as Smarter Government, security and the like, middleware consumption will move in the right direction. More and more state governments are embracing sophisticated solutions. We have departments such as the police too, who are god buyers. These customers are talking about newer areas such as analysis, customer experience and also about scaling up to the next level with mature solutions in core areas such as sales and marketing. So there are a ton of opportunities with partners. Smaller cities such as SuratChandigarh and Coimbatore, among others hold some promise for expansion.

CW : It is widely believed that IBM software partners play only in the large enterprise space. Is this true?

Sridhar: The perception has changed in the recent past. IBM software, being complex or only high-end is a thing of the past. With all these acquisitions in the last 5-6 years, we have beefed up our middleware portfolio, the most critical link between the OS and the application layers. We cater to the broader spectrum, be it with analytics, productivity, software development, application servers, databases, messaging, among many others. More so today, when there is a set of point products that is growing.

CW : So, in that case, shouldn’t your ISV strategy be getting the larger thrust?

Sridhar: We have always been ISV-friendly. Where we don’t have apps, so we try and port it on to what we have or we help ISVs to build those apps. ISVs continue to build applications on our middleware. We have small to big complex solutions coming from a team of dedicated ISVs who work towards delivering core apps for us and our customers.

CW : What does the middleware strategy look like for the remainder of this fiscal?

Sridhar: From a strategy standpoint, we are looking at three core areas. One, we are expanding the capabilities of partners in terms of what they can do. Secondly, we are helping them embrace newer acquisitions. Some of these partners are very skilled, but as we make acquisitions, then the strategy is to make sure they are well equipped, and they get to the market quickly, profitably. And most importantly, we are assisting partners to enter newer markets autonomously. For instance, we have the IBM Virtual University, which is an On-Demand online enablement tool built for SIs and consultants, enables them to chat with experts, attend webinars, ranging from specific product to industry enablement.

On the other hand, the IBM Software Value Plus (SVP) Program is an entry-level criterion for software partners. Anybody who wants to be a partner has to qualify for SVP with a minimum of two types of certifications. So, we are not into signing up with thousands of partners, but a strategic set of skilled partners. We believe this is a step in the right direction. What we are also seeing is that System Technology Partners (STG) partners, who are traditionally hardware partners, are moving to providing more and more value added services to customers from a software standpoint.

Other Latest Interviews

India's Leading VADs

Why Channels Want to Partner With Inflow Technologies

Inflow Technologies’ tie up with 39 vendor companies, an extensive tech portfolio, and a services play, are great value propositions for enterprise channels, says its President and CEO, Byju Pillai.

iValue Creates Real Value for Channels in India

Focused on niche vendor alliances around data, network and app management backed by a robust channel ecosystem marked iValue's success in 2014. What clicked for the seven-year-old VAD?

RAH Infotech Shows Channels the Way Ahead

Mutual trust and long lasting bond with vendor companies and channel partners helps VADs to evolve and succeed in today’s aggressively competitive market. Leveraging competent channel partners and forge niche vendor alliances marks RAH Infotech’s success in 2014.

How Satcom Infotech is Adapting to New Security Landscape

As a leading value added distributor, Satcom Infotech is emerging as an end-to-end security player, helping both customers and partners grow.

How ComGuard Shields Channel Partners

As emerging technologies introduce new threats to the enterprise landscape, they are making channel partners anxious. But VADs like ComGuard are putting their worries to rest. Here's how.

Tech Chat

Collaborating To Outcome Based World: Priyadarshi Mohapatra, Avaya

Priyadarshi Mohapatra, Managing Director, India and SAARC, Avaya, on how IT is transitioning from a keep-the-lights-on role to one that enables customers to deliver results.

The Dawn of the Digital Age: Akhilesh Tuteja, KPMG

The development of digital infrastructure will be a key growth driver for technology and solution providers. 

Paradigm Shift from End-Users to User-First : Parag Arora,Citrix

Parag Arora, Area Vice President and India Head, India Sub-continent, Citrix, says new technologies will force organizations to take a user-first approach in 2015.

Mobile and Cloud Are Gamechangers of the Future: Karan Bajwa, Microsoft

Karan Bajwa, Managing Director, Microsoft India, says, in  2015, organizations will adopt a mobile-first and cloud-first strategy to get ahead of competition.

A Network for the Internet of Everything : Dinesh Malkani,Cisco

Dinesh Malkani, President, India and SAARC, Cisco, talks about IoT and the significant technology transitions in the networking world.

Moving to the Third Platform: Jaideep Mehta, IDC

Cloud and mobility are the two technologies that will fuel the rapid adoption of the third platform in India.

Envisaging a Holistic Security Strategy For 2015: Sanjay Rohatgi,Symantec

Sanjay Rohatgi, President–Sales, Symantec India, says the company has a set of holistic solutions in place to secure organizations from security threats. 

Beating the Bad Guys: Sivarama Krishnan, PwC

Organizations will need to turn inwards to establish robust information security strategies.

Building Capabilities for a Digital Tomorrow: Alok Ohrie,Dell

Alok Ohrie, President and Managing Director, Dell India, on the company’s investments to build end-to-end solutions and delivery capabilities for a digital world.


CIO Survey: What’s Inside Your Customer’s Mind (Cloud Computing)

A look at the findings of the State of the CIO 2014 survey and the challenges, benefits, and strategies of cloud computing that are keeping your customers on their toes. As their channel partners, here's what you need to know.

CEO Comebacks: For Better or for Worse?

We bring to you six global CEOs who made the idea work, or not.

Datacenters in the Weirdest Places

A peek into some of the most unusual datacenter locations in the world. Here are 13 datacenters that are built in unusual locations like mines, ships, trucks and even a nuclear collidor. Taking about common wisdom, eh?

6 Leaders Who Headed for an Abrupt Exit

The abrupt exit of top leaders of Indian and global tech companies this year, with many of them citing ambiguous reasons, surprised the technology world.


Kamtron Systems

Transitioning towards a service-oriented company will boost our growth, believes Kavita Singhal, director, Kamtron Systems.

TIM Infratech

Delivering ‘best of breed’ technologies to enterprises is key to success, says Monish Chhabria, MD, TIM Infratech

Mudra Electronics

A vendor-agnostic strategy helped us sustain business, says Bharat Shetty, CMD, Mudra Electronics.

Systematix Technologies

Our USP is a customer-friendly approach backed by services, says Akhilesh Khandelwal, Director, Systematix Technologies.

CorporateServe Solutions

Our ability to turnaround complex ERP projects in record time is what gets us customer referral, says Vinay Vohra, Founder & CEO, CorporateServe Solutions.

KernelSphere Technologies

We are emerging as an end-to-end systems integrator, says Vinod Kumar, MD, KernelSphere Technologies.

Uniware Systems

We constantly validate emerging technologies for first-mover advantage, says Vergis K.R., CEO, Uniware Systems.

Astek Networking & Solutions

An innovative approach helps us stay successful, says Ashish Agarwal, CEO, Astek Networking & Solutions.

CSM Technologies

Our approach is backed by innovation and simplicity, says Priyadarshi Nanu Pany, CEO, CSM Technologies.


Partnering for Profitability

Atul H. Gosar, Director, Network Techlab, shares how the company’s association with EMC has provided it with a competitive edge and a wide customer base, leading to increased profitability.

Sponsored Content

Promising Pipeline

Venkat Murthy, Prime Mover, 22by7 Solutions, shares how EMC brings in competitive edge by enabling technology, GTM and lead generation, helping 22by7 acquire new customers and retain old ones.

Sponsored Content

Powerful Performance

Deepak Jadhav, Director, VDA Infosolutions, says initiatives by EMC around training and certification have helped the company’s staff improve its performance and enhance customer experience.

Sponsored Content

Performance Booster

Rajiv Kumar, CEO, Proactive Data Systems, says that the solution provider’s association with EMC has helped expand its customer base and added value to existing offerings.

Sponsored Content

Pursuit of Profitability

Santosh Agrawal, CEO, Esconet Technologies, shares insights on how the systems integrator’s association with EMC has spelled sustained success over the years.

Sponsored Content

Non-Performance is Not an Option

Nitin Aggarwal, Director, Trifin Technologies, shares insights on how the association with EMC has helped the system integrator stand out and empowered its personnel to deliver consistent performance.

Sponsored Content


Signup for our newsletter and get regular updates.