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 user 2007-08-08 at 11:38:00 am Views: 66
  • #18553

    Top ten complaints about IBM
     August 2007  
    1. IBM Can’t Get Timely Special Bid Product Price Quotes
    has been an issue for years. It’s still an issue that comes up time and
    time again: VARs say IBM is slow to respond to any special bid pricing.
    “Being a US$90 billion company, the process of trying to get price
    quotes in a timely fashion has been very, very diffcult,” says one IBM
    partner complaining about the IBM bureaucracy.

    “If I order some
    X Series open system servers for a customer, I put in for pricing with
    IBM, and wait for the pricing, which could take a week to two weeks.
    Meanwhile, if the customer calls CDW, HP’s largest business partner,
    the customer can set up a a configuration and in less than 20 minutes
    CDW gets a price back to customer.

    It goes to the integration center and it can be on a truck that afternoon and arrive at the customer the next day.”

    2. IBM Is Arrogant
    frequently use the word arrogant to describe IBM reps and executives in
    the field. They say IBM representatives are not doing a good job of
    listening and responding to VAR complaints and concerns. One VAR
    decided to pull the plug on his IBM relationship after what he called a
    “pompous” and “arrogant” IBM rep demanded an additional US$10,000 to
    US$15,000 investment from the solution provider in certifications and
    training without any offer for support or assistance.

    large partner complained of a hard nosed IBM executive that was simply
    not interested in listening to solution provider complaints. Solution
    providers say IBM needs new channel talent. “They have the same 30-year
    veterans they have always had,” complained one IBM partner. “They need
    a new mindset and new blood: someone who knows how to get the channel
    involved.” 3. IBM Pricing is Not Competitive With HP And Dell.
    Solution providers say that IBM’s pricing remains 10 to 15 percent higher than Hewlett Packard’s or Dell’s.

    occurs at a time when rival Hewlett Packard has replaced IBM as the
    number one technology company in the world. VARs say the pricing
    premium is another sign of IBM’s tendency to position itself in the
    often less price sensitive enterprise market segment rather than in the
    heart of the small and medium business (SMB) market.

    4. IBM Offers A Limited SMB Product Line
    say IBM’s small SMB product footprint may be the biggest hurdle the
    computer giant has to overcome as it attempts to double its SMB market
    share. The IBM Thinkpad and desktop computers often opened doors into
    the SMB that led to more profitable hardware and software sales. VARs
    say IBM appears to be pushing them to sell System I and System P
    products rather than Intel based System X products.

    “Ever since
    they got rid of Lenovo, they can’t handle resellers that sell just low
    end blade servers and low end storage,” complained one SMB VAR. “They
    would rather you sell high end stuff.” IBMers publically scoff at HP’s
    desktop and printer products, particularly consumer offerings, but
    those products are opening the door to more sophisticated small
    business solution sales.

    5. IBM Lacks Highly Visible Executives That Understand The SMB Channel
    say that IBM simply does not have a lot of executives that have a deep
    knowledge of the small to medium systems (SMB) channel. They say former
    IBM Vice President of Distribution Channels Frank Vitagliano’s decision
    to leave IBM last March and take the top channel job at Juniper
    Networks has left the company without a highly charged and visible
    advocate in the SMB channel.

    “IBM may say they are channel
    friendly but they don’t have the experience to engage the channel
    properly,” says one large IBM hardware partner whose IBM sales are down
    30 percent this year. “They need to have a channel presence and relearn
    how to engage with the channel.” So just who is IBM’s US Channel Chief?
    Manys VARs say they have no idea who that is.

    6. A Falloff In Channel Field Rep Coverage
    complain that their IBM channel rep coverage disappeared after IBM sold
    the PC business to Lenovo two years ago. IBM insists that channel
    face-to-face coverage is not down and tells VARs that there are more
    IBMers than ever helping VARs in the field. Many VARs say that is
    simply not the case. “I have not seen an IBM rep in here in a year,”
    said one solution provider. “HP brings a team that is right there
    working with the reseller. We have an HP printer rep, a system rep, a
    storage rep, and a server rep. We have a team of five people that
    attack our account.”

    Pete Busam, vice president and COO of
    Decisive Business Systems, a Pennsauken, N.J. solution provider, said
    he invited IBM to discuss strategic account opportunities a number of
    times, but never had anyone follow up with him. “IBM never came in and
    talked to us,” he said. “We got a bunch of lip service. What am I
    supposed to do? I’m not going to chase them. They keep saying they want
    more of my business, but they don’t do anything to get it. I’m doing
    great with HP. They are partnering across the board with us.”

    7. IBM’s Channel Programs Are Not As Strong As Hewlett Packard’s PartnerOne
    SMB partners say IBM’s SMB channel programs, which used to be
    considered the most lucrative in the channel, have now taken a backseat
    to rival Hewlett Packard’s PartnerOne program. They say IBM’s SMB
    channel programs are no longer the gold standard for partner
    profitability. At the same time, they say the sales, general and
    administrative (SG&A) costs associated with managing the IBM
    partnership have risen dramatically in the last years. “IBM has made so
    many bad choices on programs that half the time you don’t get your
    commission even after the deal is done unless they decide to give it to
    you after filing three more documents, a purchase order and a letter
    from the customer that says the work was done,” says one IBM partner.

    8. IBM’s Bureaucracy Makes It Hard To Do Business With The Company
    say it is just plain difficult to cut through the IBM bureaucracy to
    get answers or help working through SMB customer problems. “At HP, the
    message is clear, everything is defined and everything runs smoothly,”
    said a senior executive for a large VAR 500 solution provider. “At IBM
    the left hand doesn’t talk to the right hand. They don’t know their own
    programs. The IBM channel reps working with the resellers are not
    working functionally with the product reps. It is a disorganized ugly

    The same solution provider executive complains that IBM
    has become a lot like a bloated government agency. “They’ve got a
    seriouis management problem over there,” he says. “They are the
    government. They have turned into a bureaucracy and everybody is just
    waiting for retirement. Ultimately that’s the issue. It’s about not
    setting clear business objectives, accountability, roles and
    responsibilities. They are not doing it. There is nothing worse than
    ambivalence. And that is pretty much where we are sitting right now
    with IBM.”

    9. IBM Creates Direct Sales Channel Conflict
    claims that VARs are the primary route to market for SMB sales, but
    VARs report time and time again that IBM’s direct sales group is taking
    deals direct. “The IBM direct channel conflict is as big as ever
    because they don’t have a champion of the channel who is getting the
    business to go through the channel,” said one top solution provider
    executive. “They don’t care how they get it. They just want the
    business.” Another large IBM partner complains that the vendor’s
    tendency to want to take all large deals directly is its biggest
    problem. “There is a 20 percent delta between IBM direct pricing and
    channel pricing,” said the executive. “Channel pricing should be
    cheaper, not more expensive than IBM direct.”

    10. IBM Has Failed To Leverage Its Software And Services Assets
    providers say that IBM’s inability to leverage its software and
    services assets. They complain that IBM’s Software Group, which remains
    a standalone unit under the recent IBM SMB restructuring, is just not
    working all that closely with hardware partners. “I think you can
    develop more share of the wallet coming from the software stack,” said
    one channel executive. “They should leverage that. But I don’t see a
    lot of that going on.” Another solution provider says the only part of
    IBM that he views as strategic to his business is the software group.

    solution providers complain that they still are not being aggressively
    courted to work with IBM Global Services. Greg Starr, COO of I.T.
    Works, a Houston Texas solution provider specializing in VoIP, which
    had worked closely with IGS in the past, said his IGS related work is
    down significantly this year. He said his IGS-related business is down
    to about $30,000, down from about $125,000 in the same period one year
    ago. “They’ve had a lot of changes with principals leaving, a lot of
    project managers layed off, and some things moving overseas,” said
    Starr. “The new people coming in don’t know the partners and we have to
    build up the relationships between IGS and us all over.”