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Positive partner investment

IBM Canada and Microsoft investing millions in partner programs and servicesrn



CDN has featured a story in this issue about IBM Canada investing $35 million over the next five years to support a Business Partner Services Strategy. This includes new centres and services to better serve the technology needs of small and mid-sized businesses.

This announcement followed the

much larger commitment made by Microsoft in terms of its overall partner investment. A whopping US$1.7 billion is going to business partners.

Companies such as IBM and Microsoft are willing to invest in supporting partners because of two reasons. First, they have no choice but to. The small and medium-sized market is the only one with any real activity these days. The SMB market is up to $5.6 billion in Canada. The only way to successfully navigate the SMB market here in Canada and in the U.S. is with resellers. Companies such as Microsoft and IBM may be giants, but they now there is no way to put that much feet on the street and still turn a profit. Other companies who predominately sold direct such as SAP and PeopleSoft are now embracing the channel because the corporate market has literally dried up for them.

The second reason is they can afford to be generous. The market has turned around to the point where companies are able to make decent profits and, in turn, spend more soft dollars. Believe me if there is no money in the till these feel good channel stories would not be written.

Distributors are also doing well across the board EMJ Data Systems along with soon to be partner Synnex Canada have posted profits. Tech Data Canada has strung 12 consecutive profitable months in a row and their parent company surpassed expectations.

Successful distributors mean successful resellers. And, successful resellers can take advantage of all the programs, services and overall investment by companies such as IBM and Microsoft.

Think what you will but channel investment of this magnitude means the market has finally turned a corner. The VAR community, the major distributors and a handful of vendors have to take credit for this turn around. Collectively they have stopped the bleeding. Now it time to turn it up a notch and begin reporting double-digit growth instead of single-digit growth.

Charity golf

It’s a staple on everyone’s calendar every year. Anyone who is anyone in the Canadian IT industry makes sure to attend this function.

Top distributors, key vendors and the best resellers, not to mention the press show up every year to basically catch up on what everyone else is doing.

True, times are not what they used to be. It is getting harder to book off six hours in one’s day to play golf, socialize, have dinner, win prizes, bid on other stuff, and help an important cause such as Easter Seals.

But, the Computer Charity Golf Classic, which celebrated its 20th anniversary is one of those events that needs more support.

Thanks goes out to companies such as Tech Data Canada, Ingram Micro Canada and Bell Microproducts Canada. They again, along with several others, stepped up to the plate this year and managed to chip in with more than $200,000 in total for Easter Seals. These companies along with the organizing committee should be honoured. But more is needed if this event is to flurish in the future.