IBM SaaS Partner/Customer Event

IBM has not tackled SaaS the traditional way (CRM/ERP…BPO), nor has it (yet) offered a PaaS solution.  Instead, we’ve enabled partners onto our platform, rolled out an appliance called the Blue Business Platform, offered some SaaS solutionsin the non traditional (CRM/ERP) space from some of our aquisitions like Sametime Unyte. Further, we have hosted virtually every SaaS vendor or application through our Services group….yes, even the market leaders we all know by name.

While I’ve personally been on over 100 analyst briefings for our SaaS offerings, it’s time to get to the customers and partners.  We will be holding a SaaS event named Accelerating Business Value on October 15/16 in NY.  Our story has been good and virtually every analyst we’ve spoken to has raved about our pricing structure, but now it’s put up or shut up in front of the buying audience.

Here is the tagline for the event:

Accelerating Business Value. Oct 15-16, 2008

Leverage Emerging Delivery Models to Accelerate Business Value – Bringing Line of Business Executives and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) Together.

The schedule is as follows:On Day One, “ISV Day” – Software vendors will

  • Hear about IBM’s strategy for Blue Business Platform (BBP) and how they can engage as an IBM business partner
  • Ascertain best practices from analysts and successful SaaS ISVs. Learn how to leverage IBM’s SaaS Partner program
  • Discover how to grow their SaaS business by adding Business Intelligence and Collaborative capabilities
  • Network with IBM executives and other IBM business partners

On Day Two, “Customer Day” – Line of business executives and IT decision makers will

  • Learn how alternative IT delivery models can radically simplify the deployment of IT solutions
  • Gain insights from CIOs, analysts and IBM partners who have already successfully integrated these new delivery models
  • See demonstrations of relevant Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions from IBM SaaS partners
  • Network with peer executives and subject matter experts

It’s very interesting when you put yourself out there to be judged.  It was easy with the analysts as our story has been solid.  But this is going to be like asking the best looking girl out for a first date.  We’re putting our offering out there and inviting the top customers and partners to dance.

If Linux is Open, Why do users Owe Microsoft?

Once again, in a show of misunderstanding about the meaning of Open, and a further misunderstanding about the where the future of license model vs. the implications of SaaS and where the industry is heading, the 8000 lb gorilla opens mouth and inserts body parts.

Greedy, Greedy, Greedy… or maybe Control, Control, Control

SaaS, the Partner work begins

It’s after PartnerWorld and the SOA partner train has left the station. So the next project is Software as a Service – as it relates to our Partnering efforts.

Rather than trying to describe the entire program in one blog, analogous to eating the entire elephant in one sitting, I’m going to work on it as it progresses. We’ve made the press announcement, now the real work begins.

Here’s how we’re going to do it. We’re “test marketing” our presentation to a number of constituancies to distill it properly. Then we’re going to roll it out as a total plan to the entire analyst and partner community. After that we’ll provide updates on how we are doing. So while the plan is baked, it’s how you lay it out to tell the long term story properly, because we’ll be held to it to see if we stacked up or not.

The key to working successfully within IBM is your ability to form matrix teams and get along with other groups, so the other group here is IGS/BCS. Briefings may be IDR or IGS or both together depending on what and when we are talking. Stay tuned.

If it's Tuesday, I must be in Paris, No, make that San Francisco

Here I am in San Francisco looking out over the bay waiting for a cross IBM meeting on SaaS. This is a big issue for us so this is a big Pow-Wow. They’ve brought together the technical, marketing, p/r, a/r and executives to map out our yearly activities.

I go to a thousand meetings, most of which cover a lot of topics. This one is special, so take from it that it’s IMPORTANT to us. More on that in later blogs.

I’m going to be on the road a lot until April, so I’ll try to post what we’re up to. There’s a big target on PartnerWorld the week of March 13.

On another note, IDC rated our developerWorks program number one (tied with Microsoft) which is good for us as we have only had the program for 5 years, and Microsoft has been in the game for 15 years.

Finally, I sat next to a fellow trekkie on one of my connecting links, so instead of climbing into my travel cocoon, I actually had a pleasant plane conversation.

Life at IBM analyst relations, Kicking off another year

After making it through the start of the year, Lotusphere is under our belt, kickoff meetings mostly done, PartnerWorld planning in full gear, it’s time to get the nose back to the grindstone.

This means that one has to search out all of the analyst report opportunities for the year (done), identify the Brand/Group/Beat/whatever you’re a part of strategy and get going on it. This means SOA, SaaS and AJAX partnering issues for me, but everyone has their own issues. So we’re about to kick off the travel schedule of talking about our strategy (ok, we really started at the big A/R meeting in December) but you have to repeat any advertisement 3 times for it to have full effect.

If you were a single product company, that would be an easy issue, take Intel based servers, or a database product… would be cut and dried. Not at the Big Blue. We cross territories that range from hardware to software to services to research to this, that and the other. So the trick is finding the opportunities and building virtual teams. Oh yeah, there is the analyst side too when coverage area’s or industry trends change and you have to relearn their lineup.

Doing this properly requires talent at identifying opportunities, experience in working with others on similar things, a lot of elbow grease and a little luck sometimes. If you pull it off, you get to show IBM in it’s best light. We do a lot of things well for customers, remember they vote with their money….financials are out for the year…anyone can see who has been getting the votes and who is losing votes.

Not doing this properly is a missed analyst opportunity. I hate losing as much as anything so we’re trying always to get this right. It involves talking to the analysts (sometimes they’ll help by saying all of the angles of the focus of their study), asking a lot of questions and good organization.

IBM analyst relations is in as good of shape right now for this as I’ve seen. So maybe my vision isn’t 20/20 anymore, but I can tell when things are working and when their not. We’ve done some behavioral things correctly with the analyst groups and with the analyst teams to be able to perform well for the company. Kudos to the execs that have done this.

What I need most is space to work without IBM Corporate Communications getting in the way as they try to treat a/r like p/r.  At least for now, they don’t have a clue what we do, so it’s easier to get a good job done than the crap they have to put up with on the PR side.

So onward to the projects, MQ’s, Waves, white papers, studies, focus groups, meetings, briefings, all the things we should be doing to properly tell the story that should be told. Remember the fable about the 5 blind men describing an elephant????? Well, we continue to open our eyes in analyst relations, and if you believe our past CEO’s and their successor’s, Elephants can dance.