IBM's Business Partners Finally Check Out Social Media
Evidently, IBM (news, site) is trying very hard to believe in social media. Forty-five percent of the company's Business Partners are experimenting with a social media business strategy to generate new revenue, even though most of them (three quarters) are still unsure of how to apply it as an effective sales tool. 

IBM's new skills initiative is designed to provide education on the effective use of social media to support business growth. New resources for partners include: 

  • Training sessions and a social media guide on the IBM PartnerWorld website
  • A webcast and podcast series on Web 2.0 social media opportunities and successful strategy implementations
  • A live session on "Leveraging Social Media for your Business" at the October 2010 IBM Information On Demand Conference 
  • Virtual and in-person workshops at the IBM Virtual Innovation Center and 40 IBM Innovation Centers worldwide on LotusLive, IBM's online collaboration and social networking services in the cloud

The resources answer an important need, as a recent survey of 1,000 IBM worldwide partners revealed that seventy-four percent of them are looking to be more familiar with social media. Many also indicated that they felt overwhelmed by the amount of social media outlets floating around, and have particular interest in learning about what many would consider to be the basics of social media (RSS, Facebook and Twitter). 

It's About Time, Guys

"Many of our partners are recognizing this shift in how businesses communicate with their customers, potential customers, and each other, and yet they have not created a strategy for embracing social media," explained Sandy Carter, vice president, IBM Software Business Partners. "Through this new skills initiative, we're arming our partners with the skills they need to elevate their sales and marketing teams with social media strategies to establish smarter business practices in the Web 2.0 world."

The  initiative is slated to begin for partners in August of this year with a series of online events, including "Internet Marketing: Your 24/7 money machine" with IBM Business Partner Black Diamond Software.

To keep up, check out the IBM Software Business Partner Blog