IBM Z and LinuxONE On-premises Development Program

Program participants collaborate with IBM to drive the success of the IBM Z and LinuxONE platform, earning discounts on software and system capacity consistent with their level of engagement. IBM assesses participants on the categories described below to assign a program benefit tier. The assessment process is collaborative, with participants having the opportunity to showcase their contributions to the IBM Z and LinuxONE ecosystem. Assessments are performed upon initial admission to the program and in conjunction with hardware purchases and upgrades. Participants have an annual opportunity to unlock additional benefits by working throughout the year to meet the criteria for higher tiers.

Tiers vary by system type with three tiers available for IBM Z with purchase capacity greater than 45 MSUs, two for IBM Z with purchased capacity of 45 MSUs or less and LinuxONE, and a single tier for zPDT. For participants with more than one development system enrolled in the program, participants are assessed on the cumulative purchased MSUs for all enrolled systems. Formal tier assessments do not apply for participants who only use zPDT systems as there is only one benefit tier for zPDT, though zPDT participants are still required to certify their systems annually and are subject to annual vetting to confirm they continue to meet basic requirements for program participation.

Hardware Currency
The program's hardware currency requirement for IBM Z and LinuxONE machines enrolled in the program is N-1 where N represents IBM's latest generally available (GA) release. Participants with multiple systems in the program must have at least one system that meets the currency requirement. Participants with older systems will have 12 months from the general availability date of the latest system to upgrade to a compliant machine. Participants who decide not to upgrade during the 12-month grace period will no longer be eligible to receive program benefits. Participants may be subject to an assessment when making hardware purchases, including new hardware or system upgrades, to re-evaluate their program participation level and tier which corresponds to benefits such as software discounts, microcode capacity loaners, and specialty engines. USB hardware keys for zPDTs are not subject to an ongoing hardware currency requirement but may require refreshes when existing models in circulation reach end-of-service.
ISV Ecosystem User Group
The ISV Ecosystem User Group provides partners opportunities to publish original content (blogs), amplify content published on other channels, learn about or promote upcoming events, access IBM technical resources, and participate in discussion forums. All program participants are required to join the user group and are encouraged to become active participants in the user group community.
Skills Specialization
ISVs maintain the vitality of the mainframe workforce and must continuously work to enhance and build their skills pipeline. Partners can demonstrate IBM Z and LinuxONE skill specializations by number of IBM Champions, employees using the IBM Credentials (Skills Badging) Program, attendance at industry events and seminars, leveraging and promoting IBM Z Xplore and IBM Z Mainframe Skills Depot, participation in the Mainframe Skills Council, working with universities to establish recruiting and education programs, offering internships and apprenticeships, or investments in similar growth initiatives.
Customer References
The goal of customer references is to publicize positive experiences with products and solutions in the IBM Z and LinuxONE platform. Each ISV at the Advanced tier must provide at least one customer reference each year. Premier ISVs are expected to provide two customer references annually. References should be published on the partner's corporate social media channels or on their business website and should include the following:

  • An overview of the customer organization (end user) and its strategic business goals
  • The business challenges faced by the company and their industry
  • A succinct description of the solution, including IBM Z and LinuxONE products and service components used, implementation details, and IBM Business Partner contributions
  • Highlights of the achieved or anticipated business benefits
Customer references including this information can be provided by the customer in the following formats but must be documented/published by the program participant to fulfill the customer reference requirement:

  • Peer-to-peer conversations
  • Speaking engagements
  • Video testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Thought leadership (blogs)
  • Press releases
  • Media interviews and briefings
  • Analyst activities
  • Advertising
  • Client success presentations
References may be blinded to protect client confidentiality, so long as the reference sufficiently describes the value achieved by the IBM Z and LinuxONE platform.
Actively Advance the Ecosystem
Participating ISVs may demonstrate how they are helping to advance the IBM Z and LinuxONE ecosystem through:

  • Amplification of content or participation in other advocacy opportunities listed in IBM Z Advocacy Hub
  • Promotion and implementation of platform modernization initiatives
  • Leveraging the latest IBM Z and LinuxONE capabilities in product releases
  • Bringing new clients or new workloads to the platform or helping to retain existing workloads
  • Earning IBM Advocacy Badges
  • Publishing video testimonials and case studies, thought leadership (blogs), press releases, media interviews and briefings, analyst activities, advertising, and client success presentations
Dedicated Landing Page
Having a dedicated landing page focused on IBM Z or LinuxONE solutions gives partners an opportunity to publicly demonstrate their commitment to producing products for the IBM Z and LinuxONE platform. A strong landing page will include benefits of the IBM Z and LinuxONE platform, information about the partner's IBM Z or LinuxONE solutions, testimonials, and other relevant resources.
Strategic and Relationship Fitness
Partners with strong strategic fitness have a portfolio of products and customers that complements IBM's goals for the IBM Z and LinuxONE platform. Strategic fitness may be assessed in terms of partner market share, acceleration capability (how quickly the ISV can get products and new features to the marketplace to support IBM Z and LinuxONE platform growth), customer satisfaction/loyalty, access to other partners, and competitive positioning.

Partners with strong relationship fitness have a company culture and values that align with IBM's, including high levels of team engagement, executive awareness and support for the IBM partnership, and the ability to deliver on commitments and quickly resolve problems through teamwork.

Annual IBM Z and LinuxONE Revenue Contribution
Program participants help drive the growth and vitality of the IBM Z and LinuxONE platform. Advanced tier partners must demonstrate they are contributing to IBM Z and LinuxONE revenue. Premier partners must be contributing significant revenue or developing strategic IBM Z and LinuxONE workloads as determined by IBM. Revenue contribution can be demonstrated by:

  • Applications generating IBM Z and LinuxONE workloads (i.e. increased MSUs, MIPS, etc.)
  • IP product development and revenue generation
  • New client acquisition
  • New workload acquisition
IBM expects the partners who are awarded Advanced and Premier tier status to ensure product currency, modernization, and market relevancy as needed to sustain or grow revenue contribution.
Advocacy Plan
ISVs in the Premier tier amplify and complement IBM's strategy to grow the IBM Z and LinuxONE ecosystem through joint advocacy. IBM collaborates with Premier ISVs to create and execute a plan outlining the specific advocacy activities the partner will complete throughout the year with links and frequency noted where appropriate. Examples of advocacy activities include publishing blog posts, podcasts, research/white papers, videos, webinars, etc.