Client

IBM PartnerWorld

Services

Strategy
UI/UX Design
UX Strategy

The Ask

Define a program that helps business partners connect and sell with overall improved interfaces, experiences, and resources by transforming the program from the inside out.
PartnerWorld Site Experience

Somnio & IBM Workshop

The Approach

Beginning with a specialized, in-person workshop with IBM’s PartnerWorld team, we compared other competitive programs, defined content pillars, and created an actionable roadmap for the project.

 

The workshop revealed the need to rethink, redesign, and rewrite navigation for over 175,000 unique pages to build a connected brand experience that gives Business Partners easy access to the true value of PartnerWorld.

 

Over the course of our five-year partnership, the work expanded and evolved to include personalized incentives, public-facing web pages, email campaigns, marketing materials, benefits packages, and member-centric tools.

Audience identification exercise
Empathy mapping for communication alignment workshop to pinpoint the human element within PartnerWorld

The Roadmap

Group 27

Define PartnerWorld’s mission statement — the brand’s core story and differentiators — by aligning IBM’s cross-functional PartnerWorld team

Group 19

Identify core partner audience users, understand their needs, and recognize their fears to determine how PartnerWorld should support them

Group 21

Identify how audiences interact with the program at different relationship stages and information levels

audience

Establish five content pillars to support the ParterWorld narrative and align it to business and audience/user needs

leadership

Align PartnerWorld leadership to identify and reduce resourcing gaps to deliver on the project

"In all my years, I've not been part of such a productive workshop as this."

– IBM PartnerWorld Leadership –
Stages of partner engagement
Stages of partner engagement
User experience journey mapping
User experience journey mapping
PartnerWorld Site Experience

Improving the User Experience of PartnerWorld

The Challenge

search
Partners needed a clear path to useful resources and available benefits that inspired them to join

Navigating to relevant resources should be easy for partners. PartnerWorld needed to communicate more clearly what resources and benefits were available to partners to streamline their online experience and support their business growth.

Group 20
Streamlining navigation to minimize search

How can you tell if a program’s website is hard to navigate? Find out how often users are using the search function to find what they need — the more they do, the clearer it is that your navigation isn’t intuitive enough. By redesigning the PartnerWorld UX to focus on navigation efficacy, users can more easily locate tools, resources, and offerings they need while still allowing for personalization by partner type, tier, region, etc.

Group 29
Showing Partners what to do, where to go, and how to get there

Consistency is as crucial as clarity. A lack of persistent and well-organized menu systems left Business Partners without a true understanding of site structure and hierarchy. Without an easy-to-navigate high-level partner site menu, Business Partners were wasting valuable time searching instead of networking or reselling products and services. Eliminating obstacles for users allows them to fulfill their partnership roles by making valuable information and resources appear in persistent, consistently well-organized menus on every page, site-wide.

engagement
Creating a seamless user experience that brings lasting engagement

Usability friction was causing higher abandonment rates, prolonging the ROI of PartnerWorld for IBM. Identifying usability problems and removing roadblocks helped Partners complete onboarding faster. They were able to take advantage of selling and networking tools in less time, accelerating ROI for both Partners and IBM.

The Approach

To gain a better understanding of Business Partner needs, Somnio led in-person Business Partner interviews and card-sorting exercises at the PartnerWorld Leadership Conference. We also conducted a design thinking workshop with IBM stakeholders and subject-matter experts, surveyed users, analyzed user behavior through click data, heatmaps and user recordings (via online usage tools such as Coremetrics and Hotjar), completed a competitor analysis and explored usability best practices for large-scale websites.

Utilized heat mapping to maximize the UX for partners
Utilized heat mapping to maximize the UX for partners
User journey mapping
User journey mapping
IA - annotated wireframes
IA - annotated wireframes

The Outcome

Based on partner usage patterns, strategic pages were identified and redesigned to provide a consistent brand experience:
  • Public microsite creation – 11 pages designed
  • Welcome home page
  • Program benefit pages
  • Target audience pages for System Integrators, Resellers, and ISVs
console-site
Based on competitive research and SEO best practices, a public microsite was created to promote partnering with IBM, as well as to market existing partners and their solutions to potential clients
  • Member portal – 30+ gated pages redesigned
  • Critical program-level pages redesigned
  • Improved overall site taxonomy
  • Reduced and refined unique pages from 175,000 to 50,000
console-nav
A stylized style guide

Somnio concepted, designed and developed a digital style and pattern guide for the IBM PartnerWorld digital experience. The guide gives internal content creators and designers direction on how to correctly represent the PartnerWorld brand.

 

The outcome was improved consistency between the public and member experiences and beyond other PartnerWorld tools and communication.

console-style-guide
Value Package

Communicating the Value of a Subscription-Based Service Offering

The Challenge

vp-1-icon
The value of Value Package wasn’t being shared with partners

The true value of the Value Package was being watered down by the numerous other elements of PartnerWorld. PartnerWorld was having difficulty communicating the value of Value Package, PartnerWorld needed to show partners this subscription service was a lot more than just a yearly payment. PartnerWorld had to showcase Value Package as a plethora of untapped partner resources that enabled partners to better succeed by providing a sandbox of extra tools and incentives.

The Approach

vp2-icon
Educate your partners on benefits they could be missing out on

Grow adoption of Value Package and Software Access Option by spotlighting the competitive value Business Partners gain within long-term and short-term attainment through the subscription-based service. In order to do so, Somnio and IBM created an automated email program targeted to specific audiences to communicate the five pillars through a messaging framework that was then the guardrails for the automated email campaign. In addition, we create new custom landing pages that separated Value Package vs. Software Access Option so users could choose the offering best suited to their business needs.

The Results

A mutually beneficial subscription service

Value Package is a critical element of the PartnerWorld ecosystem as it provides “unmatched domain expertise” to Business Partners. Somnio created an email campaign along with landing pages and social promotions to communicate that Value Package is the only exclusive suite of resources that reimburses your achievement, gives back as partners grow, offers reimbursement, and offers a price-first user experience.

Launched an email campaign for PartnerWorld to share news of the improved Value Package
Launched an email campaign for PartnerWorld to share news of the improved Value Package
Experimented with UX discovery for updated landing pages
Experimented with UX discovery for updated landing pages
Final output of landing page produced for Value Package
Final output of landing page produced for Value Package
PartnerWorld Tools

The Power of Partners Lies in the Power of Their Tools

The Challenge

Group 19
The Partner Ecosystem

PartnerWorld needed to create a better platform and experience for partners to connect with each other, creating organic growth throughout the organization. The existing platform needed to be modernized and adapt both UX/UI to the changing needs of the program. Networking is an extremely vital aspect of partner programs making the platform partners use to network even more important.

The Approach

Group 17
User-focused

PartnerWorld needed to focus entirely on the user experience of each partner. Why do partners use these tools? How do partners use these tools differently? The UX/UI was to be adapted depending on the type, tier, region, and role of each partner. Focusing on each individual user ensures the program tools will work to serve all partners.

Group 13
Iterative

All of the new PartnerWorld tools were uniformly built to provide a similar experience leading partners not to notice they are using entirely different tools. A similar UX experience for the plethora of tools allows partners using new tools to already have familiarity with the interface. The iterative yet sleek design of PartnerWorld tools provided a seamless experience for partners, no matter the program

Group 15
Networking enablement

Partners require a solid networking foundation that enables the sharing of information and technology. Partner directories must be routinely updated and distributed so partners can receive maximum networking benefits. Keeping partners connected helps keep them prepared and motivated to sell, service, and build.

User journey whiteboarding
User journey whiteboarding
Site map strategy
Site map strategy
Landing page development
Landing page development

The Results

PartnerWorld Console

We worked to develop and design the first PartnerWorld Console where partners could view their current status and next steps to take within the program. Since the launch of the PartnerWorld Console, we’ve done a full re-skin by updating it to the latest IBM Carbon design system. We also examined the overall UX, leading to a redesign after taking a deeper dive into how exactly partners were interacting with PartnerWorld Console.

Evolution of the Console landing page
Evolution of the Console landing page
IBMer view of Console
IBMer view of Console
Notifications system design
Notifications system design
Business Partner Connect

The new Business Partner Connect allowed for simple and fast partner collaboration so partners could multiply their opportunities with access to an extensive partner network designed to help build new relationships. Business Partner Connect was built to ensure partners could pair with the right partners who complimented or enhanced their abilities. From immediate needs to long-term strategic partnerships, Business Partner Connect uses AI-driven matching technology to accelerate collaboration and help partners grow their business.

Business Partner Connect landing page
Business Partner Connect landing page
BPC Partner dashboard
BPC Partner dashboard
BPC Admin dashboard
BPC Admin dashboard
Address:
Email:
Phone:
Future Vision

Partner Ecosystem 2.0

Although PartnerWorld improvements are ongoing, the dramatic enhancements instilled within the PartnerWorld landscape have set new standards for partner programs everywhere. PartnerWorld seeks to disrupt industries and emerge as market leaders by striving growth, enabling innovation, and delivering value. The future of Business Partner Connect 2.0 holds even more innovative AI matching technology. PartnerWorld has undergone massive improvements and even more benefits, opportunities, and passive revenue generation is sure to come.

dashboard-future
results-future
client-card-future
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