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IBM's Donohue lays out plan for iSeries

After posting double-digits revenue drop-offs in three of the past four years, IBM decided the iSeries sales team needed new blood, so Big Blue recently named Bill Donohue as its vice president of worldwide sales for the iSeries. Donohue, the former vice president of eServer pSeries sales, took over the Americas sales team for the pSeries server division in 2001. During Donohue's tenure, the pSeries division went from last in Unix market share at 18% to 12 consecutive quarters of market share gains over its competition and the top spot in the Americas market, 4% ahead of Sun Microsystems Inc. Search400.com interviewed Donohue to see how he plans to perform the same kind of magic with the iSeries that he pulled off with the pSeries.

Bill Donohue, vice president iSeries worldwide sales
Bill Donohue, vice president iSeries worldwide sales
What are your plans for jumpstarting the "i"?

I think a lot of progress has been made in the past year in improving the presence of the iSeries brand, and we need to piggyback on the work that they've done.

I think the brand has improved under [iSeries general manager] Mark Shearer in [key] areas. One is in improving the presence of the iSeries across the world. I think the work remobilizing our channel partners with an increased and stronger incentive stack has been terrific. [Also], in extending solutions portfolio for customers. There's been a lot of focus on our ISVs [independent software vendors], and they've shown a lot of progress in the first half of this year. They've done their part to make partners very interested in working with us. What do you think of IBM's marketing efforts in support of the iSeries?
We have a [much stronger] market presence. I believe that the marketing team, in my short time here, has made a lot of progress. We need to do our part on the sales execution side to drive the brand around the world. They've really improved our brand presence. What did you learn working on the pSeries you think you can bring to the iSeries?
There is a strong affinity [between the 'p' and the 'i'] with the products both Power based. But there are areas in the pSeries that we focused on that brought [the pSeries] from last place to first place. Understanding the coverage model, making sure you have the right resources against the right targets, [having] a strong focus on good linkage with partners on a regional level ... that helped turn around the pSeries, and we'll continue that with the iSeries. It's very important for our partners and sellers that we attract the best and brightest [talent] to this brand. How long do you think it will take before the iSeries is consistently in the black?
My goal is to have an immediate impact. I want to start off with a very solid quarter, and establish an infrastructure that creates almost immediately quarters of growth. The goal is to sustain consistent quarters of double-digit growth. That's what we're trying to shoot for.

For more information:
Big Blue puts Donohue in charge of iSeries sales
I hear you have a reputation as a "heavy hitter." How do you think you came to be known as that?
We had a very good run with the pSeries in the Americas [team]. I've been lucky enough to have been involved in a lot of pieces of the business with IBM. The success we've had with the pSeries [contributes to that reputation]. Three years ago we were last in the market, and we turned that around to a business that has had significant growth and is first in market share. Quite honestly, the big hitter thing made me laugh. But it's all about a great product and a terrific team, and we built a terrific team on the pSeries.

This article originally appeared on Search400.com.

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