Frequently asked questions

Overview

Q. How does the 2017 enhanced PartnerWorld program impact the Business Partner mark?
A. A new mark design will be launched at the same time as the new program design and goes live on January 1, 2017. The mark will incorporate a new design and include the new membership levels, Competencies and authorizations.

Q. Are all IBM Business Partners eligible to use the IBM Business Partner mark?
A. When a Business Partner achieves the Platinum, Gold, or Silver level, an IBM Business Partner mark is automatically available. For Registered Business Partners, they must have a Business Partner Agreement (BPA) in place, OR a verified solution in the Global Solutions Directory OR a verified service in the Global Solutions Directory.

Q. Why should I use the IBM Business Partner mark? Where should it be used?
A. The mark should be an integral part of your marketing strategy and be included in your marketing collateral, website, digital marketing, social marketing, requests for proposals, solution briefs and even your email signature. Add the mark to any location where marketing your IBM relationship and capabilities can help position your company as a valued technical leader.

Q. When should I replace my current Business Partner mark with the new mark design?
A. The new marks are intended to be available January 1, 2017. Plan to update your web pages by February 28 and your print materials by March 31, 2017.

Q. With the new 2017 Business Partner mark design, am I required to update my Business Partner marks?
A. Yes. It is to your advantage to display the most current Business Partner mark to demonstrate and promote your PartnerWorld membership as well as current IBM capabilities such as Competencies.

Q. How can the Business Partner mark be used to promote my relationship with IBM?
A. The Business Partner Identity System Usage Guidelines provide detailed information on how the mark can be used in a variety of print and digital applications.

Q. I'm a Registered Business Partner, but do not have access to a Business Partner Mark. How do I qualify for the Business Partner Mark?
A. There are three methods to qualify for the Registered mark
1) A Business Partner Agreement must be in place OR
2) Submit a solution in the Global Solutions Directory and request client verification of that solution OR
3) Submit a service in the Global Solutions Directory and request client verification of that service

Q. How is access to the Business Partner Mark determined?
A. Access to the Business Partner mark is set automatically in your PartnerWorld profile according to your membership level and to meeting the various achievement requirements for marks, e.g., Competencies, authorizations, awards. The choices presented to you in the Business Partner Mark Generator tool reflect your eligibility for the basic mark and your achievement entitlements. If you are not eligible for any marks, no marks will be visible to select when you access the tool.

Q. I want to use the Business Partner mark on a marketing brochure and on our web site. How do I generate the mark with my Competencies or awards?
A. Use the Business Partner Mark Generator tool to customize a mark appropriate to your needs. The Business Partner mark for which you are eligible will be displayed, as well as any eligible achievements.

Q. Is there a certificate available to prove I am an IBM Business Partner?
A. A certificate is available for Platinum, Gold, and Silver Business Partners confirming their IBM PartnerWorld membership leve.

Q. Will all 2016 achievement marks (e.g., Specialty and Software Accreditation marks) be available in 2017?
A. No, the Specialty and Software Accreditation marks are being retired effective January 1, 2017. The marks will be replaced with the new Competency achievement marks. If you currently have a Specialty (and corresponding mark), you will transition to an appropriate Competency January 1 for a grace period of 6 months. To retain your Competency after the grace period, you will be required to meet the specific Competency requirement.

Q. What other 2016 marks will not be available in 2017?
A. The following marks are being sunset and Business Partners are encouraged to leverage the Competencies to achieve IBM capabilities which demonstrate your expertise. Software Value Plus - Industry, Software Value Plus - Solutions, Managed Service Provider, and Ingredient Brand Enhanced mark.

Business Partner Mark Generator tool

Q. How do I download the IBM Business Partner mark?
A. The Business Partner Mark Generator tool is available via a link at http://www.ibm.com/partnerworld/bpmarks. If you are not eligible for a mark, the system will prompt you accordingly. Information on qualification for the Business Partner marks is also available at http://www.ibm.com/partnerworld/bpmark.

Q. What formats are available for the Business Partner mark?
A. Each time you use it, the Business Partner Mark Generator tool creates your mark in three formats for download as a .zip archive (GIF and JPEG formats for digital use, and PDF format for print). PDF is the vector format. Be sure to use the appropriate file format to ensure the best result in your finished communication.

Q. I need the mark in an EPS format. Is that available?
A. PDF and EPS (encapsulated post-script) were both developed by Adobe. PDF uses the same instruction set as EPS but in a different way. If the EPS format is still required, there are ways of obtaining this format by converting the PDF to EPS via third party image editing software such as Photoshop.

Business Partner Certificate Generator tool

Q. What IBM certificates are available?
A. The following certificates are available:
1) Membership level status for Platinum, Gold or Silver levels
2) Expert level Competency
3) Specialist level Competency
4) Global Training Provider

Q. What value is the IBM membership certificate?
A. The membership level certificate provides a means to demonstrate your IBM relationship to current and prospective clients, other Business Partners, and IBM. You can include the certificate with appropriate marketing collateral, e.g., customer proposals, award submissions, frame for your office display, and more. The membership certificate is available in multiple languages. The current year is noted on the certificate.

Q. What value is the IBM Competency certificate?
A. The Competency certificate identifies specific capabilities your firm has achieved. You can include these certificates with customer proposals, media materials, award submissions, frame for your office display, and more. The current year is noted on the certificate.

Q. How do I download the IBM Business Partner certificate?
A. The Business Partner Certificate Generator tool is available via a link at http://www.ibm.com/partnerworld/bpmarks. If you are not eligible for a certificate, the system will prompt you accordingly.

Competency level marks

Q. What is a Competency? Does it have a mark?
A. A Competency is a demonstration of a Business Partner's ability to deliver high client value as demonstrated through three elements:
1. Capabilities: certifications or verified solution or verified service
2. Sales success as demonstrated by resale, influence and/or XaaS IBM revenue
3. Sales and technical subject matter expert resources
Yes, each Competency has a corresponding Business Partner mark.

Q. Can I choose which earned Competencies I use with the mark?
A. Yes. You may choose to use the base mark on its own, or include some or all of the achievements, e.g., Competencies, for which you have met the criteria. The Business Partner Mark Generator tool enables you to tailor the mark for each use, according to the various achievements recorded in your profile in the PartnerWorld Profile System (PPS). Determine how you will use the mark and then select the achievement(s) according. Example: if you are promoting your analytics Competency mark to include on a web page where the analytics solution is detailed.

Q. Is there a limit to how many Competencies or other achievements I can use with the Business Partner mark?
A. There is no limit to how many earned achievements you can list with the mark. Consider how you will use the mark and select an achievement(s) accordingly.

Q. If my company achieves multiple competencies, must I electronically sign a trademark supplement for each one?
A. No, once IBM receives a signed trademark supplement for a competency, it will apply to all subsequent competencies achieved.

Authorization marks

Q. What is an authorization? Is it represented with the Business Partner mark?
A. Authorized IBM Business Partners demonstrate advanced skills through certifications and approved solutions for resell of IBM products. Authorization criteria is designed to help Business Partners gain and demonstrate the skills necessary to identify an appropriate solution for the client, reduce potential deployment risks and increase client value. Example authorizations include Software Value Plus, Systems and Storage, PureSystems, and Training.

Q. Is there a limit to how many authorizations I can use at once with the Business Partner mark?
A. No, there is no limit. Consider how you will use the mark and select the earned authorization achievement(s) accordingly.

Award marks

Q. I received an IBM Business Partner award. Is there an award mark?
A. Several IBM Business Partner awards have a corresponding award winner mark, e.g., IBM Beacon Award. IBM awards presented at IBM conferences such as PartnerWorld Leadership Conference (PWLC), Amplify, Connect, Edge, InterConnect, and World of Watson have award marks. Use the mark as an important marketing tool to share with your current and prospective clients to promote your recognition and success.

Q. I received an award in 2016. Will the 2016 award marks be available in the new 2017 mark design?
A. Yes. The 2016 awards will be updated to reflect the 2017 mark design. Simply download the new design for your award mark from the Business Partner Mark Generator tool, beginning in January 2017. The updated 2016 award marks will be available for download until the end of 2017.

Q. Can I customize the mark with my awards?
A. Yes. You may choose to use the base mark on its own, or include some or all of the achievements, e.g., awards, for which you are a winner. You can also combine the award with other achievements, e.g., Competencies. The Business Partner Mark Generator enables you to tailor the mark for each use, according to the various achievements recorded in your profile in the PartnerWorld Profile System (PPS). Determine how you will use the mark and then select the achievement(s) according. Example: if you are promoting your analytics award and your analytics Competency, select both marks to include on a web page where the analytics solution is detailed.

Ready for marks

Q. What is a 'Ready For' designation? Does it have a Business Partner mark?
A. Ready For are technical validations which test your products against pre-established criteria to demonstrate compatibility with certain IBM offerings. You will receive development and integration assistance during the validation process. These licensed marks can help you identify and promote your software, hardware, services, or technology solution as a qualified offering that has met compatibility and integration specifications established by IBM. Each 'Ready for' solution has a corresponding mark.

Q. Can the 'Ready for' mark be combined with other achievement marks?
A. No. The “Ready for IBM…” mark is used as a stand-alone achievement. It cannot be combined with other Ready for achievements, or Competencies, authorizations or awards. It refers to a specific solution so should be used when describing the solution, e.g., on a web page or in a customer proposal.

Global Training Provider mark

Q. I am one of IBM's Global Training Providers. Is there a mark to promote this achievement?
A. Yes, there is a Global Training Provider mark. Use it on your website and marketing collateral to promote your training offerings.

Q. Can my downstream partners use the Global Training Provider mark?
A. No, only designed Global Training Provider companies can use the mark. If your downstream training partners are members of IBM PartnerWorld and qualify for a Business Partner mark, they may use that mark.

Value Added Distributors

Q. Is there a mark for Value Added Distributors?
A. Yes, a mark for VADs is available indicating that the Distributor is an authorized IBM Business Partner, as well which products are authorized.

Business Partner Innovation Center

Q. I have a Business Partner Innovation Center. Is there a mark to promote the center?
A. Yes, a mark is available for Innovation Centers. Eligible Business Partners can download the mark at http://www.ibm.com/partnerworld/bpmarks.

IBM 8-bar logo

Q. May I use the IBM 8-bar logo in my communications?
A. The IBM 8-bar logo is IBM's identity mark and is reserved primarily for use by IBM. The Business Partner marks, which contain the IBM 8-bar logo, were created for use by Business Partners to identify their relationship with IBM. Their primary role is to authenticate and endorse our Business Partners in the minds of their customers. They validate our channel relationships, and represent access and a connection to IBM. Business Partners should use the Business Partner marks in their communications.

NOTE: If IBM is a formal sponsor of a Business Partner event, the IBM 8-bar logo may potentially be used. An IBM employee must request use of the logo via the IBM Logo Request tool.