PROFI boosts offerings with IBM Solution Accelerator Incentive

Sales incentive contributes to more cost-effective hardware and software solutions for customers

Published on 08-Jul-2013

"The IBM Solution Accelerator Incentive is one of the most successful programs our company participates in." - Sabrina Winkler, head of sales operations, PROFI

Customer:
PROFI

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
Germany

IBM Business Partner:
PROFI

Overview

Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany, PROFI Engineering Systems AG recognized the value of IBM partnership from its earliest days—becoming a certified Business Partner only a year after its founding. As Sabrina Winkler, head of sales operations for PROFI explains, “We decided to cooperate very closely with IBM when developing our solutions. The successful partnership is based on fairness, trust and mutual respect.”

Business need:
IBM Business Partner PROFI wanted to grow its business with offerings that combine hardware and software into a single solution, rather than providing hardware and software as individual products.

Solution:
By participating in the IBM Solution Accelerator Incentive (SAI), PROFI leverages rewards from selling cross-brand IBM hardware and IBM software solutions to its customers.

Benefits:
Participation in the SAI program has enabled PROFI to build an informed, customer-focused sales approach to create trusted, long-lasting relationships that help increase demand—and future revenue.

Case Study

Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany, PROFI Engineering Systems AG recognized the value of IBM partnership from its earliest days—becoming a certified Business Partner only a year after its founding. As Sabrina Winkler, head of sales operations for PROFI explains, “We decided to cooperate very closely with IBM when developing our solutions. The successful partnership is based on fairness, trust and mutual respect.”

PROFI quickly became a Premier Business Partner and today is a three-time winner of the IBM Beacon Award for innovative solutions and exemplary client satisfaction, providing high-quality IT infrastructure solutions for optimizing IT processes and systems. With more than 340 employees serving 1,300 customers from 14 German locations, PROFI specializes in solutions for high availability, data management, disaster recovery, virtualization and IT business process integration across industries. It serves midsized and large enterprise customers with an emphasis on the automotive, healthcare, and media and entertainment sectors. PROFI also serves municipalities and state agencies with specialized software solutions for use in public administration.

The PROFI sales operations team includes 15 employees divided into two teams—a purchasing team responsible for the complete fulfillment process from ordering to invoicing, and a program team responsible for incentives and promotions from vendors and distributors, such as the IBM SAI program. According to Winkler, “SAI is one of the most successful programs our company participates in.”

Rewarding valuable Business Partners

Created to encourage greater cross-brand selling by Business Partners, drive greater solution content to meet customers’ critical business needs, and better leverage the breadth and depth of IBM offerings, the SAI program rewards sales of eligible IBM servers and/or storage along with eligible IBM software offerings. The products eligible for rewards have been chosen to align with customers’ top business needs in an effort to provide as much value as possible from their IT investments.

Rewarding Business Partners for selling IBM hardware and IBM software together for solution-based selling accelerates the design, development and deployment of key business solutions. Ultimately, the goal of the SAI program is to incentivize partners to more quickly address customer solution needs—while enabling IBM and its Business Partners to reach new markets and take advantage of new business models.

Realizing SAI program benefits

PROFI has found the SAI program to be a major ingredient of the company’s success. Winkler describes the program’s advantages this way: “We can provide hardware, software and services on the one hand combined with attractive pricing on the other. So now we have the possibility to bundle IBM products much more easily. We can offer lower pricing that creates special offerings for our customers who buy both elements in one order, rather than only the hardware or only the software element.”

Another reason the SAI program has been so advantageous for PROFI is because it aligns well with many of the IBM products—from across the IBM Systems and Technology Group and IBM Software Group product portfolios—that the company is already focused on selling. “We do business with every kind of server in the IBM portfolio,” says Winkler—including IBM® BladeCenter®, IBM Flex System™, IBM Power Systems™, IBM System x® and IBM System z® solutions. PROFI, in fact, is the German leader in IBM PureSystems™ sales. The company’s principal offerings in storage are the IBM Storwize® V7000 disk system and tape libraries combined with IBM System Storage® SAN Volume Controller. Its software offerings focus on IBM Tivoli® solutions (especially IBM Tivoli Storage Manager) and IBM Collaboration Solutions.

Extending benefits to Business Partner customers

Most importantly, the SAI program offers customer-focused direction and insights that PROFI can put to work supporting and building its business. “The SAI program definitely helps us to understand the needs of our clients more easily so we can flexibly search out the right hardware and software combination that best suits their issues,” explains Winkler. “Due to the flexible nature of the SAI program, these solutions can be customized to the client’s business need.”

This understanding and the ability to provide flexible answers become increasingly important when customers are looking for something more than individual products—when they are looking for solutions targeted to their critical business needs. “Because we are an innovative IT house and we provide large, difficult and complex IT solutions for our customers, it is very important not to focus on only the IBM hardware products,” says Winkler. “The SAI program helps build a bridge between independent IBM brands, and it helps us as a Business Partner to pitch and sell hardware and software as a solution.”

This influences customers directly because they receive more comprehensive solutions, more easily and with more predictable pricing. PROFI benefits because the understanding of customers it gains through the SAI program helps build trusting and long-lasting business relationships that can help create future demand and generate future revenue. Additionally, the strong customer relationships the program supports further enable PROFI to go beyond the products that qualify for the SAI program and place additional IBM products or services, such as IBM solutions for cloud computing, with its customers.

Informing sales teams, meeting customer needs

Overall, insights gained through the SAI program help drive an informed, customer-focused approach to sales for IBM Business Partner PROFI. Knowing how to combine hardware and software products to create industry-leading solutions helps the company’s sales representatives more effectively address their clients’ diverse, often complex business-critical needs.

“On a day-to-day basis, we are trying to find innovative and creative ways to provide our clients with the best possible products and services,” explains Winkler. “The ever-changing IT world and the customer environments that we deal with are more complex than ever. In a lot of cases our customers work on an insufficient dynamic server and storage infrastructure. The new IBM technologies we provide help them operate and manage a modern infrastructure much more easily than before.”

For more information

To learn more about the IBM Solution Accelerator Incentive for IBM Business Partners, including how to participate and a list of eligible products, please visit: ibm.com/SAI

For more information about IBM Business Partner PROFI Engineering Systems AG, visit: http://www.profi-ag.de or connect with them on Facebook at facebook.com/pages/PROFI-Engineering-Systems-AG/430416317003976

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
BladeCenter, Flex System, Power Systems, Storage, System x, System z, Flex System

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation IBM Systems and Technology Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America July 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, BladeCenter, IBM Flex System, Power Systems, PureSystems, Storwize, System Storage, System x, and Tivoli are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided. Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only.