IBM business partners see incentives for storage systems, software

IBM is spurring partners to win more deals in the storage market, specifically around its software-defined storage and all-flash array products.

The company this week introduced a new set of sales performance incentive funds (SPIFs) for its storage systems and software portfolio. IBM said the incentives are the latest move in the transformation of its channel strategy and partner program. Earlier this year, IBM overhauled its incentives programs for hardware and software.

“As we all know in the competitive, demanding space around storage, as a lot of [IBM partners] and a lot of our clients continue to focus in on the cloud and the migration to the cloud, storage is a huge piece of that business model,” said John Teltsch, general manager of global business partners at IBM.

He described the new SPIFs as part of “the rolling thunder” of IBM’s “incremental incentive changes to our partner channel.”

The incentive program provides eligible partner sellers and system engineers with up to $100,000 in SPIFs that they can earn annually.

  • New clients: Partner reps can earn 3% of the deal size, up to $30,000 per rep, per deal with a new client.
  • All-flash arrays: Reps can earn 1% of the deal size, up to $10,000 per deal, split between reps.
  • IBM storage hardware and Spectrum software: Up to $20,000 per deal based on deal size, split between reps.
  • New deal registrations: For registering an opportunity of $100,000 or more, reps can receive $500, split between reps.

IBM added that the storage SPIFs are stackable, which lets partners bundle multiple incentives on each deal for greater financial payout.

According to Eric Herzog, chief marketing officer of worldwide storage channels at IBM, the global market for external storage systems and software, while about $40 billion in size, is relatively flat. However, he noted software-defined storage and all-flash arrays are growing market segments.

“Certain markets are shrinking: hard drive arrays, hybrid arrays, management software for devices,” Herzog said. “While we do offer those, our focus is on flash arrays and software-defined storage. Those are growth markets, and we’ve wrapped these incentives around those market engines.”

The SPIF program will run until the end of the calendar year and are open to all IBM business partners, regardless of their program tier levels, in North America, Western Europe and Latin America. IBM said it will roll out storage incentives in other geographies, adapted to countries’ local laws and customs, later this quarter.

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