IBM is banking on the organisational restructure of its x86 division to set the server range back on the road to recovery but it disagrees with partners that the market has become commoditised and the technology standardised.
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Under the auspices of Project x, Big Blue has re-instated a team of 20 sales staff in the UK headed by Richard Potts to drive its Intel-based server line, whereas last year the range was handled by the generalist sales team.
This followed a weak third and fourth quarter for IBM in the Intel based server market in the UK, leading partners to query if the company was the right horse to back for the long term in the volume server space, as HP's dominance grew.
The vendor recently held a global teleconference with partners said Jacqui Davey, vice president of the Business Partner Organisation at IBM to make sure the channel understands its strategy around System x.
"As an organisation we are re-committing ourselves and the channel to going back into some more significant growth in that space," she told MicroScope.
Partners have accused IBM of lacking the competitive edge in terms of pricing in a commoditised sector but IBM believed it maintained a technological lead, citing x4 and high-end scalability as examples of this.
"We think customers are not just looking for price and availability, its scalability, availability, total cost of ownership and we think the footprint that our x86 provides gives some genuine differentiation in this market," she said.
Partners have given the thumbs up to the new structure at System x and expect more consistency around the business.
"The focus IBM puts around brands is usually very good but System x lots its direction because nobody owned it, Richard Potts will wrap his arms around the unit," said one integrator that asked to remain anonymous.
Rob Tomlin, business unit director at Interface Solutions International said it had been challenging for System x "but the Project x programme IBM put in place in encouraging and we have seen an upturn in that business as a result".