IBM used day one of its PartnerWorld conference to roll out a cloud computing speciality programme.
The initiative covers five partner types - cloud application providers, cloud builders, cloud infrastructure providers, resellers and cloud technology providers.
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Jacqui Davey, IBM UK and Ireland vice president of the business partner organisation, said some partners already sold its public clouds services including Lotus Live or Cloud Burst but the scheme would highlight specific skills.
"This allows partners to use a speciality mark," she told MicroScope, "something to give them a stamp of authority in the market that says 'I have invested in the cloud, I understand it, trust me'".
According to a recent IBM developerWorks survey of more than 2,000 IT professionals worldwide, 91% reckon cloud computing will bypass on-premise as the primary way of procuring IT by 2015.
Davey reckoned cloud computing had already crossed over into "mainstream" adoption but forecast deployments to double over the next four years.
To qualify for the programme, partners need to satsify a range of criteria; passing two IBM cloud computing certification tests; provide cloud services based on multiple IBM technologies; and detail client deployments.
In return, partners get access to business development workshops and funds, assessment tools, an assigned IBM relationship manager and confidential updates on Big Blue's cloud strategy and roadmap.
The first IBM Cloud Computing Authorisation was introduced today, an extension of the existing software Value Plus programme, however enrolment does not start until May.
Nick King, chief executive at IBM business partner Apex, welcomed the development of the cloud programme.
"This will give us an extra string to our bow," he said, "for resellers to get the backing of IBM to compete with system integrators will be a real tonic."