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And first let’s look at the changes to the PartnerWorld program criteria. PartnerWorld uses a system of points to set program requirements. Business Partners earn points to advance through the program and earn greater benefits. In 2010 IBM is simplifying these PartnerWorld program requirements around four consistent criteria: Skills, Revenue, Customer Satisfaction, and References. These criteria will be used for program level advancement, authorization for resale, and the new specialties. Point values and thresholds will also be adjusted for consistency. These consistent criteria will make it easier to understand how to advance and attain additional benefits through qualifying for higher program levels and / or specialties. As part of this change we are introducing a new system of weighted skill points. This weighting recognizes that the effort a BP expends in acquiring and validating their skills should be related to the value they receive. In the new system, one point will be awarded for Sales Certifications and all Mastery skills; Two points will result for most technical certifications, and three points will be awarded for Advanced or Expert level certifications. In the revenue area, additional categories of revenue are now eligible to earn revenue points. Specifically, total ISV influenced and Application Specific License (ASL) revenue will be included in the total revenue calculation. And we are introducing a new midmarket accelerator: Revenue from mid market accounts will now be subject to an accelerator, earning three times the point value of equivalent revenue from a large enterprise account. Client references are now eligible to earn points credit….and our focus on customer satisfaction remains. Overall, the new criteria have fewer rules and minimum requirements, are simpler to understand, are more equitable across partner types, and provide a clear pathway to higher program levels and increased benefits. Now lets look at how this impacts the structure of the program and how Business Partners advance to higher levels and earn more benefits.
First what is not changing is the basic three tiered structure. We will still have 3 membership levels in the PartnerWorld program. Member Advanced and Premier. Members who move up through these those levels are demonstrating their deepening commitment to their IBM relationship. In return IBM provides a broader and deeper array of benefits. As part of this change, the number of points required to qualify for Advanced status is changing from 7 to 10 points. And the total points required to qualify for Premier status is changing from 25 to 30 points. While these points thresholds are higher, that is offset by the higher values achieved according to the new weighting of skill points, so the overall level of investment and effort is about the same, Based on our modeling very few partners will experience an impact on their current program level qualification, and any who do will have a 90 day transition period to enable them to meet the new criteria and retain their program level, or move up. In addition, the attainment of a specialty entitles the specialty partner to unique, incremental benefits, in addition to those earned through their PartnerWorld program level. These benefits will vary for each specialty but will generally include enhanced technical support, co-marketing efforts, business development funds, participation in sales programs, and market recognition through logos and emblems. We’ll take a closer look at specialties a later on. The other point of this slide is to show how specialties relate to the program level. Note that a membership level is not a prerequisite to earn a specialty, nor is a specialty required to attain Advanced or Premier level. However, because of the skills investments required, in general a partner who has attained a specialty will typically have earned enough points to attain the Advanced or Premier level in PartnerWorld. Now let’s take a look at the additional benefits a Business Partner can earn as they move up.