Avnet, Inc. has announced that it is the first solutions distributor offering IBM® Connections™ Cloud, including IBM Verse, which provides businesses easier-to-access integrated email, social collaboration software and third-party applications, all delivered through IBM Cloud technology. IBM Connections Cloud will be available through the Avnet Cloud Marketplace to Avnet’s IBM Business Partners, including value-added resellers (VARs), independent software vendors (ISVs), managed service providers (MSPs) and system integrators (SIs), in the U.S. and Canada. IBM Connections Cloud is the first IBM Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product offered through the Avnet Cloud Marketplace.

“IBM Connections Cloud will help our IBM Business Partners expand their cloud portfolios and allow them to leverage all the benefits of the Avnet Cloud Marketplace,” said Mark Martin, vice president of Avnet’s IBM solutions business unit in the Americas. “IBM Connections allows Business Partners' customers to accelerate collaboration and innovation, and deliver results. In addition, our Business Partners will be able to help their customers confidently share knowledge beyond traditional organizational boundaries and provide improved decision-making integral to long-term success.”

In addition to being available to customers via the traditional pay-upfront (subscription) transaction model, IBM Connections Cloud is now available through a unique pay-as-you-go (consumption) model through the Avnet Cloud Marketplace. This one-stop shop offers access to comprehensive solutions from leading cloud service providers, flexible payment models and Avnet’s sophisticated management and optimization tools. Customers now have even more options in terms of what can be accomplished as a consequence of the integration provided by the Marketplace dynamic (e.g., ordering, provisioning and billing). Other IBM Cloud solutions available in the Avnet Cloud Marketplace include SoftLayer and IBM Bluemix.

“As businesses of all sizes embrace the Cognitive Era, it is imperative that enterprises engage and empower their most valuable resource: their people. IBM Connections provides employees the opportunity to participate in dialogues within a thriving, people-centric community,” said Michele Stern, vice president, Global Business Partner Sales, IBM. “By delivering IBM Connections, either on-premises or as SaaS on IBM Cloud, Business Partners can offer their customers the ability to safely and conveniently collaborate. This will bring them fully into the conversations that create new routes to market, drive new revenue and inspire new ‘born in the cloud’ IBM solutions.”

Avnet also offers IBM Business Partners a host of educational and training resources to further expand their cloud expertise. For example, Avnet offers a wide range of courses related to IBM Connections Cloud through the award-winning Avnet Academy, Avnet’s technical education and training organization, and an IBM Global Training Provider. Courses range from the essentials of cloud application development to immersive development experiences.