Boling, David E. wrote:

>The fact is, Ford wouldn't sell many auto's if they didn't have a system in
>place to service their products (rebuild their tranmissions).  Having good
>dealerships takes money, time, effort and leadership on Fords part.  Ford
>surveys new car purchasers about the dealer and the service they received.
>Ford web site sends your request to purchase auto' to dealers in your area
>and tells you of dealer only options that are available.  I would image Ford
>spends millions on building dealers.
Your comparison to the auto industry is still not valid. Regardless of
all the other factors, IBM did have a method of sales/delivery in place
and the industry changed out from under it. While some buyers would
still like to follow the old pattern, or something close to it, the
industry has shifted enough that this won't work.

So IBM is trying to make the Business Partner strategy work for
providing solution support. Obviously, there' s some problems with the
way it is going.

>The point is, it's the manufactures duty to have these in place and have
I'm not sure "duty" is the word you were looking for.

>them working correctly.  IBM could have industry call centers that would
>field all calls for solutions.  These could then be turned over to marketing
>Reps with personal connections to BP's that are the best in their industry.
>Ones that they know, first hand, will do an excellent job.  All thing equal
>(incentive, etc.) I think the Iseries would fair well.  To the customer one
>call for a solution gets you connected to a list of the best solution
>providers for what you want to do.
I think it is very appropriate that the effort to change this be
resolved at the point of contact. It's not even necessary to establish
"call centers", perhaps, because with modern telephony people trained to
do what you are talking about could be located anywhere.

But what bothers is whether or not IBM can get such a group of people. I
think the range of what they will need to be able to deal with is pretty

For instance, the first question to resolve is probably simple. Business
or personal? I'd say, "hardware or software" but a person looking for
some kind of solution doesn't necessarily know what would be involved.

But if the lady calling in wants a web server, what is the response of
the person at the call center? Is that when you see the call center
referring the caller off to an industry specialist business partner? To
me, I still think there are lots of questions to be answered. And I
really think that the challenge that IBM faces is a way of getting all
those questions answered so the customer can be referred off to a
solution without offending the customer. And still make sure that an
iSeries solution is considered when appropriate.

I think IBM would be well served to make a sizable investment in solving
this problem. But I really have trouble even picturing what the solution
will be. Other vendors might find it easier by not having product lines
that compete with each other. Even that factor alone wouldn't be a
problem if it weren't for the fact that BPs don't necessarily represent
more than one product line. After all BP referrals (off the call ins)
will need to protect all the BPs who represent IBM's products. A BP who
doesn't get referrals because some other BP or product line is
considered preferable will sooner or later find a new area to do business.

Chris Rehm

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one
that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 1 John 4:7

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