NOTE: The criteria for IBM Business Partners in ANZ are slightly different to those for other regions so please check the details before you post 'corrections' to anything I say here.
To be an IBM/Lotus Business Partner in ANZ you need to...
- Get Member-Level membership in the IBM PartnerWorld® program - Go here to get your free membership.
- Register with the A/NZ Business Partner Program Manager - Either call your local IBM office and ask for her name or send me an email and I'll give you her details.
- Nominate a Brand or Product group - IBM/Lotus please.
- Obtain 2 Lotus technical certs for that product group - No problem...I'm a Certified Lotus R8 Application Developer and Certified Lotus R8 System Administrator.
- Obtain a Lotus sales cert for each location you have registered in PW - Yep... I've got that certification also. Note that the IBM Business Partner criteria are different to the IBM Partnerworld criteria for Advanced-Level status because Partnerworld imposes a two-certification-per-person limit while the IBM Business Partner criteria allows all certifications to be held by the same person.
- Submit your client reference document - OK, that might be a problem if you're just starting out because you haven't got any IBM/Lotus customers yet. Have a chat to the ANZ Business Partner Program Manager and see if you can negotiate an extension on this point.
- Submit your Business Plan (via PartnerWorld online tool) - Ten minutes work on-line to type in my numbers.
- Register to participate in SVI or VAP - Another five minutes of paperwork.
- Accept the additional resell terms and conditions - And even more paperwork.
So it really comes down to getting three Lotus certifications (one sales and two technical) and paying your annual partner fee, and if you chose not to get the certifications then you can't be a Business Partner. I think Vaughan's major problem was that he presumed that one person could not hold all of the certifications, but that is incorrect. I believe the requirements are similar for the Tivoli, Websphere, Rational and DB2 crowd but since I don't play in those ballparks I'm not sure of the finer details.
I have my disagreements with IBM (don't get me started on any Lotus Foundations issues here) but I believe they are heading in the right direction with the new Business Partner model. For all of the Business Partners who made the effort and retained their certified status after the September 1st cut-off I think we might be pleasantly surprised by the benefits coming out of the renewed relationship with IBM.