IBM Encourages BPs to Get Smarter About Mobile and Social Computing
June 13, 2011 Jenny Thomas
Our motto at IT Jungle is to “survive, adapt, and thrive,” and that is a fitting mantra for many businesses trying to make it in today’s economy. To survive, companies must adapt to changing technology, and nothing is changing faster than the opportunities brought on by mobile and social computing.
IBM is looking to help business partners (BPs) adjust to shifting buying patterns brought on by mobile and social computing by expanding its Smarter Commerce initiative, which delivers software and services to help companies get their brand wherever a customer might be shopping, be it on partner Web sites, social networks, blogs, or mobile stores. In addition to sales, marketing, and technical guidance, BPs can qualify to earn incentives of up to 50 percent of the software sales transaction and receive zero percent financing.
“With Smarter Commerce, IBM is defining a new market opportunity for our global business partners that will enable them to increase their skills and expand their business in support of growing client demands,” said Craig Hayman, general manager of IBM Industry Solutions. “IBM is extending Smarter Commerce to our ecosystem of partners through the broadest support of industry experts, technical experts and sales enablement support to help them drive higher-margin sales in this emerging market.”
The first stage of the Smarter Commerce initiative will focus on BPs in the retail, telecommunications, banking, and consumer products industries. Qualified BPs can get an assigned IBM relationship manager to provide day-to-day support, business development funds to invest in marketing and events, and attend IBM business development workshops and assessment tools to develop customized client requirements.
BPs in these industries are also eligible for special financing through IBM’s Global Financing arm, including zero percent financing for 12 months (if you have good credit) and BPs purchasing new IBM software licenses and first subscription and support charges. BPs that are authorized IBM software providers with certifications in sales and technical support can receive incentives up to 50 percent of the sales transaction for Smarter Commerce software, including Unica, Coremetrics, and Websphere Commerce offerings.
In order to survive, companies are getting on-board with the idea that they have to be willing to try new avenues to capture customer dollars, but savvy companies recognize that social media isn’t just a cool new way to make sales. It’s also an opportunity to create and maintain relationships with customers. In March, we reported on Station Casinos plans to dive into the social media space. Station Casinos runs three IBM i systems, including two Power 5-based eServer i5 Model 570s–one with eight of eight processors activated–and one high availability (HA) model using six of eight processors.
With an established presence on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, Karen O’Dell, business intelligence product director at Station Casinos, said the future could include things like using a cell phone to enter credits and apply offers. Instead of printing tickets at the kiosks, those credits would register on the player’s phone. Alerting patrons of concert events that fit their tastes is another example of how Station Casinos hopes to use social media to gather more information on their customers and communicate back to those customers with messages specific to them. rnAccording to IBM’s Smarter Commerce site, which you can see here, Big Blue also gets it that the sale is just one aspect of the experience. The bigger idea behind Smarter Commerce is to turn customer interactions into action by enabling new business processes that help companies buy, market, sell, and service their products.
A recent study conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value found a perception gap between marketers and their customers. The top reasons customers cited for using social media activities to seek out information from trusted brands were discounts and purchasing. Companies stated they believed the top reasons customers use social media were to learn about new products and for general information.
Certified BPs can take advantage of IBM’s Smarter Commerce University to increase their knowledge and skills. The university offers virtual and face-to-face course materials to give BPs access to quick-start sales plays, role-based learning, competitive analysis and analyst review information as part of the training.
For more information, visit the IBM Smarter Commerce Website here.