IBM, which expects to unveil better-than-expected quarterly figures, has announced it will spend some of its cash on incentives to encourage some of its largest partners to invest more in training and other areas.
On Wednesday, the company introduced a scheme to help its business partners who are cooperating on its New Enterprise Data Center strategy. The scheme involves incentives for IBM partners to improve their knowledge in three specific areas: virtualization and consolidation; energy efficiency; and business resiliency.
And Mike Bernard, general business and channels marketing leader at IBM, told ZDNet.co.uk that there is also a fourth area under consideration, but not yet announced: information infrastructure.
"Skills in those areas are what's most needed," Bernard said. "From that the clients will benefit as well as the partners."
There are two levels of incentive for training that partners can apply for: general specialty, for which they will receive $25,000, and specialty elite, for which they get $100,000.
Bernard said the scheme was open to any qualifying partner. "There is no qualification other than that they are undertaking work in the chosen areas. They do that and they qualify and they get the money for it," he said.
According to IBM the money is there to invest not only in marketing but in business-development activities, marketing intelligence, investment, and certification training and even personnel salaries. It will also offer access to IBM Labs, use of IBM tools and more sales support, the company said.
Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London.