“We can‘t be essential unless our partners are skilled in our products and confident in going to their clients with our products and selling them with us and for IBM,” IBM channel chief Kate Woolley said.
IBM has started giving registered members of its PartnerWorld program access to the training, badges and enablement IBM sales employees get along with a new learning hub for accessing materials.
The expansion is part of the Armonk, N.Y.-based tech giant’s investment in its partner program, IBM channel chief Kate Woolley told CRN in an interview.
“We can‘t be essential unless our partners are skilled in our products and confident in going to their clients with our products and selling them with us and for IBM,” said Woolley (pictured), general manager of the IBM ecosystem.
[RELATED: Channel Chief Kate Woolley: ‘No Better Time To Be An IBM Partner’]
Partners now have access to sales and technical badges showing industry expertise, according to a blog post Tuesday. Badges are shareable on LinkedIn and other professional social platforms. IBM sales representatives and partners will receive new content at the same time as it becomes available.
“This is the next step in that journey in terms of making sure that all of our registered partners have access to all of the same training, all of the same enablement materials as IBMers,” Woolley told CRN. “That’s the big message that we want people to hear. And then also in line with continuing to make it easier to do business with IBM, this has all been done through a much improved digital experience in terms of how our partners are able to access and consume.”
Among the materials available to IBM partners are scripts for sales demonstrations, templates for sales presentations and positioning offerings compared to competitors, white papers, analyst reports and solution briefs. Skilling and enablement materials are available through a new learning hub IBM has launched.
“The partners are telling us they want more expertise on their teams in terms of the IBM products that they‘re able to sell and how equipped they are to sell them,” Woolley said. “And as we look at what we’re hearing from clients as well, clients want that. … Our clients are saying, ‘We want more technical expertise. We want more experiential selling. We want IBM’ – and that means the IBM ecosystem as well – ‘to have all of that expertise and to have access to all the right enablement material to be able to engage with us as clients.’”
The company has doubled the number of brand-specialized partner sellers in the ecosystem and increased the number of technical partner sellers by more than 35 percent, according to IBM.
The company’s exact program changes have led to improved deal registration and introduced to partners more than 7,000 potential deals valued at more than $500 million globally, according to IBM. Those numbers are based on IBM sales data from January 2022 to August.
Along with the expanded access to training and enablement resources, Woolley told CRN that another example of aligning the IBM sales force and partners was a single sales kickoff event for employees and partners. A year ago, two separate events were held.
“I want our partners to continue to feel and see this as a big investment in them and representative of how focused we are on the ecosystem and how invested we are,” she said.
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to learn things faster than others? It may not be about being smarter—it could just mean that they process and learn information differently. Determined to help demystify the learning process, Neil Fleming and Colleen Mills, academics from New Zealand's Lincoln University in Canterbury, did a deep dive into the different ways individuals approach learning. They developed the VARK model based on their claim that "learners of all ages have different yet consistent ways of responding in learning situations."
The VARK model is an acronym for visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic types of learning styles. Neuro-linguistic programming, or NLP, was key to Fleming and Mill's research. Someetimes described as the "users manual for your mind," NLP has also been characterized by the Association for Neuro Linguistic Programming as a combination of theories, models, and techniques that can be used strategically to Strengthen learning outcomes.
It's important to note that not all educators buy into the idea of learning styles—whether VARK or other forms—as a proven teaching technique. Many educators also believe that people can build and strengthen different types of learning styles, even if they may not come naturally at first.
From Fleming and Mill's perspective, using the VARK model to understand learning styles would help empower individuals to adjust their behavior to different learning environments. One exact example of such an environment occurred during the height of the coronavirus pandemic: remote learning. This form of distance learning—which usually involves listening to lessons through video calls—might speak to certain styles such as auditory or visual learners. But for others, it may require supplemental materials to make the information stick. Keeping online learning varied, relevant, and engaging can keep students attuned in the classroom.
What's your VARK style? Citing the VARK model, Tovuti LMS outlined the learning model's four core types of learning styles.
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we asked three IBM employees to share their experiences. Romelia Flores is an IBM distinguished engineer and a master inventor currently on IBM's client engineering team based in Dallas, Texas. Robert Loredo is the IBM quantum ambassador worldwide lead and a master inventor based in South Florida. Catherine Treviño is a z Hardware brand technical specialist based in Poughkeepsie, New York.
In this Q&A, these three employees open up about how mentorship has benefitted their careers and share the importance of giving back to fellow members of the Hispanic community.
Flores: I joined IBM over 30 years ago as an intern and student at the University of Texas at Austin where I obtained a degree in computer science. As a software developer, I thrive on leveraging technology to accelerate business and collaborate with clients to drive app modernization. IBM has superlative talent around the world, many of whom have guided my journey. Being a strong technologist means being a continuous learner of technology as well as establishing a strong network.
Loredo: I joined IBM in 2004 and am fortunate to have a successful career because of IBM's network and community. I have 20 years of experience in enterprise product development leveraging leading-edge technologies, most recently with quantum computing, a technology that's expected to solve intractable problems that today's most powerful classical supercomputers find challenging to solve.
Treviño: My journey at IBM has been short but accomplished! I joined in 2020 as an intern and rising senior from the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley. Upon completing my internship, I accepted an offer and returned in 2021. I've since switched roles to a different business unit, thanks to the guidance of fellow volunteers of Hispanics@IBM, the community for Hispanic IBM employees.
Treviño: Networking led to a new opportunity within my first year at IBM. When I first joined full-time, I quickly realized the role was not the right fit. As a first-generation professional, I wasn't sure how to navigate the situation. I chatted with Alan, IBM D&I leader for the Hispanic community, who connected me with Cleo, a Hispanic executive council leader, who brought up an open role. I'm grateful for that connection! Long story short, I'm now part of Cleo's global sales team, where I help financial market clients find solutions with our z Systems.
Loredo: I'm grateful for the mentor who saw my potential and found a unique way to teach me complex subjects. While at Miami-Dade College, I struggled with the courses for engineering majors. My professor knew I enjoyed music and began teaching me mathematics using music as an analogy. That was my 'aha!' moment. My grades improved, allowing a transfer to the University of Miami, where I completed my bachelor's and master's degrees in computer engineering. That moment, when my professor found an unconventional way to teach, had a profound impact on me. I use that technique today. I wrote a book that teaches quantum computing implementation and I use analogies to explain it.
Flores: I've mentored hundreds of college students and IBM employees, including distinguished engineers and technologists. I've been told— especially by females and underrepresented minorities — that they've never seen a technologist with my level of impact, and they ask, "What's your secret to success?" This inspired me to develop the "Eight Cs: Blueprint for Success" which I believe are key attributes for attaining success: competence, communication, commitment, creativity, collaboration, confidence, community, and chuckle – we often forget about this last one, but our work should be fun!
This post was created by IBM with Insider Studios.
A four-year bachelor’s degree has long been the first rung to climbing America’s corporate ladder.
But the move to prioritize skills over a college education is sweeping through some of America’s largest companies, including Google, EY, Microsoft, and Apple. Strong proponents say the shift helps circumvent a needless barrier to workplace diversity.
“I really do believe an inclusive diverse workforce is better for your company, it’s good for the business,” Ginni Rometty, former IBM CEO, told Fortune Media CEO Alan Murray during a panel last month for Connect, Fortune’s executive education community. “That’s not just altruistic.”
Under Rometty’s leadership in 2016, tech giant IBM coined the term “new collar jobs” in reference to roles that require a specific set of skills rather than a four-year degree. It’s a personal commitment for Rometty, one that hits close to home for the 40-year IBM veteran.
When Rometty was 16, her father left the family, leaving her mother, who’d never worked outside the home, suddenly in the position to provide.
“She had four children and nothing past high school, and she had to get a job to…get us out of this downward spiral,” Rometty recalled to Murray. “What I saw in that was that my mother had aptitude; she wasn’t dumb, she just didn’t have access, and that forever stayed in my mind.”
When Rometty became CEO in 2012 following the Great Recession, the U.S. unemployment rate hovered around 8%. Despite the influx of applicants, she struggled to find employees who were trained in the particular cybersecurity area she was looking for.
“I realized I couldn’t hire them, so I had to start building them,” she said.
In 2011, IBM launched a corporate social responsibility effort called the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in Brooklyn. It’s since expanded to 11 states in the U.S. and 28 countries.
Through P-TECH, Rometty visited “a very poor high school in a bad neighborhood” that received the company’s support, as well as a community college where IBM was offering help with a technology-based curriculum and internships.
“Voilà! These kids could do the work. I didn’t have [applicants with] college degrees, so I learned that propensity to learn is way more important than just having a degree,” Rometty said.
Realizing the students were fully capable of the tasks that IBM needed moved Rometty to return to the drawing board when it came to IBM’s own application process and whom it was reaching. She said that at the time, 95% of job openings at IBM required a four-year degree. As of January 2021, less than half do, and the company is continuously reevaluating its roles.
For the jobs that now no longer require degrees and instead rely on skills and willingness to learn, IBM had always hired Ph.D. holders from the very best Ivy League schools, Rometty told Murray. But data shows that the degree-less hires for the same jobs performed just as well. “They were more loyal, higher retention, and many went on to get college degrees,” she said.
Rometty has since become cochair of OneTen, a civic organization committed to hiring, promoting, and advancing 1 million Black individuals without four-year degrees within the next 10 years.
If college degrees no longer become compulsory for white-collar jobs, many other qualifications—skills that couldn’t be easily taught in a boot camp, apprenticeship program, or in the first month on the job—could die off, too, University of Virginia Darden School of Business professor Sean Martin told Fortune last year.
“The companies themselves miss out on people that research suggests…might be less entitled, more culturally savvy, more desirous of being there,” Martin said. Rather than pedigree, he added, hiring managers should look for motivation.
That’s certainly the case at IBM. Once the company widened its scope, Rometty said, the propensity to learn quickly became more of an important hiring factor than just a degree.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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When we browse for something to buy online, say a coffee maker, we see “coincidental” ads on our screens for days after. Of course, those ads are not coincidental but rather a result of hidden search-engine algorithms that monitor browser clicking. Sometimes we experience things that supply us feelings that our thoughts are weirdly connected to a world beyond. As soon as you buy a car of an unusual color, you suddenly notice all other cars of that color. You could call it a coincidence, but it is not. Those cars that you now notice were always there to be seen because it turns out that the color of your new car is not so unique. Events that we think are coincidences are merely happenings of elevated awareness.
Conspiracy theorists, always searching for weak connections between truths and coincidences, find opportunities to fabricate facts. As one example among many, take the alleged connection between major Democratic donors and pedophilia. It’s not a statistical correlation. There was only one such donor: Jeffery Epstein. But one weak connection is all that’s needed to build a fiction that sounds like a true story. Some Democrats may in fact be pedophiles, but pedophilia is not a symptom of any political affiliation. We know that Epstein was a pedophile from his high-profile case, interest in which was heightened by his wealth and connections. Seventeen witnesses testified against him. But if a billionaire living in West Palm Beach is a Democrat and a pedophile, implanting the connection in someone's mind is not difficult. Repeat the words Democrat and pedophile a hundred times, and you may soon imagine a hundred cases. One becomes 100 like one red car becomes many.
The myth of coincidences is that they are rare. But they are not. It all depends on how well one notices one’s surroundings. By definition—at least by mine—a coincidence is a surprising overlap of two or more circumstances with no apparent causal connection. Any coincidence must have a presence of surprise, and if there is any cause, it must be undetermined. Coincidences pull our enormous world together to supply us meaning and a sense of purposeful existence. Unfortunately, the connections can also be distorted and abused.
Humans naturally tend to make connections where there are none, and to miss connections that are too complex to predict. We search for causes so we can build reasons for being. We see coincidences as events that are mysteriously fated by some deeply significant design. In a highly connected world of interconnected phenomena, some connections are so subtly coupled through long chains of indirect links that we can never envision the effect of one on another.
When the significance of a fluke is intentionally mistaken, the distinction between fact and fiction hits a blurry suspension of objective reasoning often driven by delusional leaders who promote conspiracies from hints of truth explained as significant when they are circumstantial. The QAnon movement took one case of someone who “coincidentally” was diagnosed with autism soon after being vaccinated and ran with it to tell its followers that vaccinations cause autism. That ridiculous story and others like it are pumped into a social-media pipeline that tends to overwhelm the news cycle.
Why should anyone believe unknown sources of false stories from a ridiculous and dangerous virtual cult? Because, with the new ease of browsing for news, we are more easily connected to pundit “experts.” They navigate through the confusing politics of our present to get millions with the inner need to feel part of a team to follow and applaud anything, like QAnon, that seems to be an insider worldview.
Remember Pizzagate? Online commentators successfully convinced people that the nouns “pizza” and “pasta” in email exchanges between John Podesta, a former White House chief of staff, and James Alefantis, the owner of Comet Ping Pong Pizza, actually stood for the nouns “girls” and “little boys." The conspiracy theory took off from there: Given Podesta’s connection to Hillary Clinton, followers surmised that Clinton was involved in running a child-sex ring out of the back rooms of the pizza shop.
When we don’t know how to reason because we don’t understand a cause, we latch onto someone who will tell us a "truth" without having to do it for ourselves. It’s much easier if someone else can untangle Gordian truth knots for us. We don't have to labor through tedious reasoning if someone else says they've already done it. And so, Democrats are Satan worshipers; school shootings were staged; the moon landing never happened; Joe Biden didn’t win the 2020 election; and vaccines cause autism. And believers then know what to think.
Joseph Mazur, Fluke: The Math and Myth of Coincidences,” (New York: Basic Books, 2016) 128.
HBCUs will work with IBM to establish Cybersecurity Leadership Centers, giving students and faculty access to IBM training, software, and certifications at no cost.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- During the National HBCU Week Conference convened by the U.S. Department of Education and the White House, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced its collaboration with 20 Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) to help them establish Cybersecurity Leadership Centers.
With 500,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the U.S., the need for expertise is critical: According to a exact IBM Security study, insufficiently staffed organizations average $550,000 more in breach costs than those that state they are sufficiently staffed.**
"Collaborations between academia and the private sector can help students prepare for success. That's especially true for HBCUs because their mission is so vital," said Justina Nixon-Saintil, Vice President, IBM Corporate Social Responsibility and ESG. "The Cybersecurity Leadership Centers we're co-creating with Historically Black College and Universities epitomize our commitment to the Black community and STEM education; it also builds on our pledge to train 150,000 people in cybersecurity over three years."
IBM will collaborate with the following 20 HBCUs across 11 states to co-create Cybersecurity Leadership Centers, helping to create talent for employers and opportunities for students. (Six of these collaborations were previously announced in May*)
Through IBM's collaboration, faculty and students at participating schools will have access to coursework, lectures, immersive training experiences, certifications, IBM Cloud-hosted software, and professional development resources, all at no cost to them. This includes access to:
About IBM Education
As part of the company's Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, IBM's education portfolio takes a personalized, diverse, and deep approach to STEM career readiness. IBM's pro bono programs range from education and support for teens at public schools and universities, to career readiness resources for aspiring professionals and job seekers. IBM believes that education is best achieved through the collaboration of the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors.
IBM SkillsBuild is a free education program focused on underrepresented communities, that helps adult learners, and high school and university students and faculty, develop valuable new skills and access career opportunities. The program includes an online platform that is complemented by customized practical learning experiences delivered in collaboration with a global network of partners. The online platform offers over 1,000 courses in 19 languages on cybersecurity, data analysis, cloud computing and many other technical disciplines — as well as in workplace skills such as Design Thinking. Most important, participants can earn IBM-branded digital credentials that are recognized by the market. The customized practical learning experiences could include project-based learning, expert conversations with IBM volunteers, mentors, premium content, specialized support, connection with career opportunities, access to IBM software, among others. As of February 2022, IBM SkillsBuild operates in 159 counties and is supporting 1.72M learners since its launch.
About IBM Security
IBM Security offers one of the most advanced and integrated portfolios of enterprise security products and services. The portfolio, supported by world-renowned IBM Security X-Force® research, enables organizations to effectively manage risk and defend against emerging threats. IBM operates one of the world's broadest security research, development, and delivery organizations, monitors 150 billion+ security events per day in more than 130 countries, and has been granted more than 10,000 security patents worldwide. For more information, please check www.ibm.com/security, follow @IBMSecurity on Twitter or visit the IBM Security Intelligence blog.
* Announced in May 2022
** Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022, conducted by Ponemon Institute, sponsored & analyzed by IBM
IBM Media Relations
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By The Valuentum Team
International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) has become a fundamentally different business in the past few years, one focused on providing hybrid cloud computing offerings. The company is a stellar free cash flow generator which enables IBM to reward investors via generous dividend increases, with shares of IBM yielding ~5.1% as of this writing. Substantial near-term headwinds remain, largely due to the various exogenous shocks seen of late (such as major inflationary pressures, rising interest rates, supply chain hurdles, and raging geopolitical tensions), though IBM is still worth considering as a high-yielding income generation idea.
IBM solves business problems via integrated hardware/software solutions that leverage IT and its knowledge of business processes. Its solutions help reduce a client's costs or enable new capabilities that generate revenue. The company was founded in 1924 and is headquartered in New York.
Back in 2019, IBM bought Red Hat (a top provider of open source cloud software) through a ~$34 billion deal which made IBM a contending hybrid cloud provider. IBM is looking to seize what it describes as a ~$1 trillion hybrid cloud opportunity, and exact growth in this area has been encouraging. IBM's revamped management team is working hard to turn things around after the company made various blunders during the 2010s decade. Its current Chairman and CEO, Arvind Krishna, has done a solid job righting the ship at IBM since taking on the top role in 2020.
In November 2021, IBM spun off its legacy business tax-free to shareholders as a new publicly traded entity, Kyndryl Holdings, Inc. (KD). Initially, IBM retained a 19.9% stake in Kyndryl though the firm intends to exit that position within 12 months of the spinoff.
On July 18, IBM reported earnings for the second quarter of 2022 that beat both consensus top- and bottom-line estimates. Its GAAP revenues rose by 9% year-over-year to hit $15.5 billion with strong growth at its Red Hat, various consulting services, and hybrid infrastructure offerings being key here. When removing foreign currency headwinds arising from the strong US dollar seen of late from the picture, IBM's non-GAAP constant currency revenues were up 16% year-over-year last quarter. IBM's portfolio optimization efforts are having a very powerful impact on its financial performance.
The firm's GAAP gross margin fell by ~185 basis points year-over-year last quarter, falling down to 55.4%. However, economies of scale helped drive its GAAP income from continuing operations up by 81% year-over-year in the second quarter, rising to $1.5 billion. There is some noise here due to the separation of IBM's legacy businesses (via the spinoff of Kyndryl) from its core operations. Keeping that noise in mind, IBM's underlying operations have performed quite well of late.
During its second quarter earnings call, IBM's management team noted the firm now forecasted that its full-year free cash flows would come in near $10.0 billion in 2022, at the low end of its previous forecast. IBM generated $3.6 billion in free cash flow (defined as net operating cash flow less 'payments for property, plant, and equipment' and 'investment in software') while spending $3.0 billion covering its dividend obligations during the first half of 2022. Its modest share repurchases during this period were related to tax withholding purposes as the new IBM is focused on retaining cash to invest in the business. We appreciate that IBM's dividend obligations remain well-covered by its traditional free cash flows.
The company exited June 2022 with a net debt load of $42.8 billion (inclusive of short-term debt, exclusive of restricted cash). One of the biggest risks to IBM's dividend is its large net debt load. IBM had $7.6 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and current marketable securities on hand at the end of June 2022 which provides the company with ample liquidity to meet its near-term funding needs.
IBM continues to expect that its constant currency revenues will grow decently this year (in the mid-single digit range), though sustained foreign currency headwinds are expected to offset strong demand for its offerings, to a degree. Over the long haul, we forecast that under its new management team, IBM will return to stable revenue growth which in turn should see the company's free cash flows swell higher. That would allow IBM to boost its dividend in a sustainable manner going forward, though we caution that its net debt load could limit the size of any future payout increases.
The Dividend Cushion Ratio Deconstruction, shown in the image up above, reveals the numerator and denominator of the Dividend Cushion ratio. At the core, the larger the numerator, or the healthier a company's balance sheet and future free cash flow generation, relative to the denominator, or a company's cash dividend obligations, the more durable the dividend.
The Dividend Cushion Ratio Deconstruction image puts sources of free cash in the context of financial obligations next to expected cash dividend payments over the next 5 years on a side-by-side comparison. Because the Dividend Cushion ratio and many of its components are forward-looking, our dividend evaluation may change upon subsequent updates as future forecasts are altered to reflect new information.
In the context of the Dividend Cushion ratio, IBM's numerator is smaller than its denominator, which suggests weak forward-looking dividend coverage. However, given IBM's strong and stable cash flow profile, we view its forward-looking dividend coverage favorably when considering IBM's ability to tap capital markets into account. Should IBM stumble for any reason, its ability to make good on its payout may be in danger.
The best measure of a firm's ability to create value for shareholders is expressed by comparing its return on invested capital ['ROIC'] with its weighted average cost of capital ['WACC']. The gap or difference between ROIC and WACC is called the firm's economic profit spread. IBM's 3-year historical return on invested capital (without goodwill) is 41.6%, which is above the estimate of its cost of capital of 9.2%.
In the chart down below, we show the probable path of ROIC in the years ahead based on the estimated volatility of key drivers behind the measure. The solid grey line reflects the most likely outcome, in our opinion, and represents the scenario that results in our fair value estimate. Assuming IBM's exact portfolio optimization efforts go as planned, the firm's ability to generate shareholder value (which historically has been impressive) should continue to improve.
Our discounted cash flow process values each firm on the basis of the present value of all future free cash flows, net of balance sheet considerations. We think IBM is worth $136 per share with a fair value range of $101-$171 per share. Shares of IBM are trading moderately below our fair value estimate as of this writing.
The near-term operating forecasts used in our enterprise cash flow model, including revenue and earnings, do not differ much from consensus estimates or management guidance. Our model reflects a compound annual revenue growth rate of 3.4% during the next five years, a pace that is higher than the firm's 3-year historical compound annual growth rate of -10.3%.
Our model reflects a 5-year projected average operating margin of 17.6%, which is above IBM's trailing 3-year average. Beyond Year 5, we assume free cash flow will grow at an annual rate of 2% for the next 15 years and 3% in perpetuity. For IBM, we use a 9.2% weighted average cost of capital to discount future free cash flows.
Although we estimate IBM's fair value at about $136 per share, every company has a range of probable fair values that's created by the uncertainty of key valuation drivers (like future revenue or earnings, for example). After all, if the future were known with certainty, we wouldn't see much volatility in the markets as stocks would trade precisely at their known fair values.
In the graphic up above, we show this probable range of fair values for IBM. We think the firm is attractive below $101 per share (the green line), but quite expensive above $171 per share (the red line). The prices that fall along the yellow line, which includes our fair value estimate, represent a reasonable valuation for the firm, in our opinion.
The steady decline in IBM's legacy business since 2010 represents a major reason why the firm spun off Kyndryl in November 2021. Going forward, IBM will need to prove that as a leaner and more focused enterprise, it can maintain solid revenue and operating income growth over the long haul. We think that will be the case, though substantial near-term headwinds remain. Investors looking for an income generation idea backed up by a strong cash flow profile should take a closer look at IBM.
IBM is on a mission to double its revenue via its partner ecosystem in the next three to five years, making some significant updates to its PartnerWorld program along the way.
As part of its efforts to re-position ecosystem partners at the center of the company’s go-to-market strategy, partners will now have access to the same badges and selling enablement materials as IBM sellers.
This is part of IBM’s ongoing commitment to growing its ecosystem.
“We will continue to make investments in the partner experience so that together, as a single team, we can achieve our goal of doubling revenue through the IBM ecosystem in the next 3–5 years,” said Kate Woolley, IBM’s ecosystem general manager.
The badges and additional materials are available through a new learning hub, designed to Strengthen the digital experience for partners.
“Users will notice a more modernised and consistent experience on the IBM training site, making it easier to find resources,” Woolley said.
All registered partners have access to these resources at the same time as IBM sellers, and at no cost.
“Partners have told us that the more expertise they attain in the IBM products they sell, the better equipped they are to win with clients,” Woolley said. “With this in mind, and with the goal of helping them win more, we have extended access to the same trainings, badges and enablement materials that our own sellers enjoy.”
New sales and technical badges aim to demonstrate a partner’s expertise, including the ability to position and differentiate an IBM solution to clients. The badges are also sharable on professional social platforms including LinkedIn.
Additional materials available to partners include sales demos, seller presentations, client presentations, and digital prospecting.
“I want to be clear – partners and IBMers are considered a single team,” Woolley said. “The investments we continue to make in the partner experience are a part of our ongoing commitment to be more essential to their businesses.”
According to Woolley, over the past year IBM have doubled brand-specialised partner sellers in the IBM ecosystem, increased technical partner sellers by more than 35 per cent and have launched its Partner Portal.
In April newly minted IBM APAC general manager, Paul Burton revealed two-thirds of IBM's revenue in APAC comes from the channel and had goals in place to make the overall pie even bigger.
To aid this, IBM APAC increased its channel account team by 20 per cent. Unlike previous teams, this new channel line-up will be unable to claim any commissions based on direct sales and will only be rewarded for channel deals. This, Burton hopes, will prevent any disintermediation of partners.
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Investors this year increasingly turned away from dividend stocks in favor of the rising yields being offered on bonds. Given that investors can now earn a 4.3% return on a 2-year Treasury note, many prefer that guaranteed return to the risks of putting money into the stock market.
International Business Machines (IBM 1.66%) offers a dividend yield that exceeds that bond return. But with a bear market in progress, are investors better served to take a chance on the cloud stock or to take the 4.3% return at virtually zero risk?
IBM didn't participate in the bull market of the 2010s. The stock dropped as its tech businesses suffered a considerable growth slowdown. In an effort to change that, IBM pivoted into the cloud computing sector aggressively, in part via its $34 billion purchase of Red Hat in 2019. Grand View Research forecasts a compound annual growth rate of 16% through 2030 for the cloud industry. Growth like that could certainly help both IBM and its stock.
Also, IBM spun off its managed infrastructure business into a new public company, Kyndryl. This business was less of a fit with the parent company amid its pivot to the cloud. Separating it off should make it easier for IBM to grow its revenue.
Time will tell if these moves can help the stock price recover. Nonetheless, IBM currently pays its shareholders $1.65 per share every quarter, or $6.60 per share annually. At the current stock price, that adds up to a yield of 5.6% per year. Moreover, depending on your financial situation, the IRS may tax your dividends at a lower capital gains rate, which can offer an added advantage.
Additionally, IBM hiked its payout annually for 27 consecutive years, making it a Dividend Aristocrat. That status carries some importance as many income investors will be more inclined to buy and hold IBM stock because of this status. Also, since abandoning Dividend Aristocrat status tends to hurt a stock, management will probably prioritize maintaining it by continuing to raise those payouts.
Investors also can also reinvest their dividend payments into more IBM stock. However, such newly purchased shares will pay you the dividend yield at that time. The return will rise if the stock falls since investors can buy the exact cash return at a lower price. Conversely, cash yields will drop if the stock rises, but those investors still benefit since the stock has increased in value.
U.S. Treasury notes offer more stability than stocks such as IBM. Investors who purchase the 2-year Treasury note receive semiannual interest payments. At the current interest rate of 4.3%, investors will receive a 2.15% cash return on their invested amount in each of the subsequent three six-month periods. In the fourth period, when the note matures, investors receive the final 2.15% payment along with the return of their principal.
Investors should also be aware that bond values can fluctuate. If interest rates drop, the value of the bond will fall; the opposite will happen if rates rise. This affects investors if they decide to sell the bond early. Upon maturity, the note will return to its par (or nominal) value.
Additionally, bond interest payments are subject to federal income tax but exempt from state and local taxes. In some cases, this is higher than taxes on dividends. Still, bond issuers are obligated to make such payments. In contrast, IBM faces no legal obligation to continue its dividend.
Also, like with a stock, investors can reinvest their interest payments into more notes or other forms of Treasury bonds. However, those purchases will be subject to the prevailing interest rates at that time.
Investors who lack much risk tolerance should choose the Treasury note. Given its guaranteed return, they will not have to worry about volatility.
Nonetheless, for investors comfortable with buying stocks, IBM is a surprisingly strong buy. The cloud industry is in growth mode, which should propel IBM stock to a long-awaited turnaround. Moreover, IBM has repeatedly shown it wants to hold on to its Dividend Aristocrat status. This should supply its income investors returns that are not only larger than the bonds offer, but also likely to increase in size.
During the National HBCU Week Conference convened by the U.S. Department of Education and the White House, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced its collaboration with 20 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to help them establish Cybersecurity Leadership Centers.
With 500,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the U.S., the need for expertise is critical: According to a exact IBM Security study, insufficiently staffed organizations average $550,000 more in breach costs than those that state they are sufficiently staffed.
“Collaborations between academia and the private sector can help students prepare for success. That’s especially true for HBCUs because their mission is so vital,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, vice president, IBM Corporate Social Responsibility and ESG, according to a press release.
“The Cybersecurity Leadership Centers we’re co-creating with Historically Black College and Universities epitomize our commitment to the Black community and STEM education; it also builds on our pledge to train 150,000 people in cybersecurity over three years.”
IBM will collaborate with the following 20 HBCUs across 11 states to co-create Cybersecurity Leadership Centers, helping to create talent for employers and opportunities for students. (Six of these collaborations were previously announced in May*)
– Alabama – Alabama A&M University, Talladega College, Tuskegee University.
– Florida – Edward Waters University, Florida A&M University.
– Georgia – Albany State University, Clark Atlanta University*.
– Louisiana – Grambling State University, Southern University System*, Xavier University of LA*.
– Maryland – Bowie State University, Morgan State University*.
– Mississippi – Alcorn State University.
– North Carolina – North Carolina A&T State University*, North Carolina Central University.
– South Carolina – South Carolina State University*, Voorhees University.
– Texas – Texas Southern University.
– Virginia – Norfolk State University.
– West Virginia – West Virginia State University.
Through IBM’s collaboration, faculty and students at participating schools will have access to coursework, lectures, immersive training experiences, certifications, IBM Cloud-hosted software, and professional development resources, all at no cost to them. This includes access to:
– Cybersecurity curricula: IBM will develop for each participating HBCU, a customized IBM Security Learning Academy portal – an IBM client offering – including courses designed to help the university enhance its cybersecurity education portfolio. In addition, IBM will continue to supply access to IBM SkillsBuild.
– Immersive learning experience: Faculty and students of participating HBCUs will have an opportunity to benefit from IBM Security’s Command Center, through which they can experience a highly realistic, simulated cyberattack, designed to prepare them and train them on response techniques. Moreover, HBCUs’ faculty will have access to consultation sessions with IBM technical personnel on cybersecurity.
– Software: Multiple IBM Security premier enterprise security products hosted in the IBM Cloud.
– Professional development: Forums to exchange best practices, learn from IBM experts, and discover IBM internships and job openings.
As part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, IBM’s education portfolio takes a personalized, diverse, and deep approach to STEM career readiness. IBM’s pro bono programs range from education and support for teens at public schools and universities, to career readiness resources for aspiring professionals and job seekers. IBM believes that education is best achieved through the collaboration of the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors.
IBM SkillsBuild is a free education program focused on underrepresented communities, that helps adult learners, and high school and university students and faculty, develop valuable new skills and access career opportunities. The program includes an online platform that is complemented by customized practical learning experiences delivered in collaboration with a global network of partners. The online platform offers over 1,000 courses in 19 languages on cybersecurity, data analysis, cloud computing and many other technical disciplines — as well as in workplace skills such as Design Thinking. Most important, participants can earn IBM-branded digital credentials that are recognized by the market. The customized practical learning experiences could include project-based learning, expert conversations with IBM volunteers, mentors, premium content, specialized support, connection with career opportunities, access to IBM software, among others. As of February 2022, IBM SkillsBuild operates in 159 counties and is supporting 1.72 million learners since its launch.
IBM Security offers one of the most advanced and integrated portfolios of enterprise security products and services. The portfolio, supported by world-renowned IBM Security X-Force® research, enables organizations to effectively manage risk and defend against emerging threats. IBM operates one of the world’s broadest security research, development, and delivery organizations, monitors 150 billion plus security events per day in more than 130 countries, and has been granted more than 10,000 security patents worldwide. For more information, please check www.ibm.com/security, follow @IBMSecurity on Twitter or visit the IBM Security Intelligence blog.