It’s disruptive! No, it’s probably not.

Van's Disruption Meme

Nearly a decade after its initial introduction by Bower and Christensen, I first learned about disruption theory as a student in business school.  And whether it’s my own newly found understanding or journalistic overuse, the term disruption seems to be everywhere.  But is disruption really everywhere?

“Disruption” describes a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses.

To most of us, disruption is simply the overtaking of corporate Goliath by startup David.  Is Tesla disruptive?  Is Uber disruptive?  Again to most, the answer is probably, “Of course.”

But there’s more to disruption than the outcome between market winners and losers. In his recent HBR article, Christensen summarizes his seminal theory and analyzes whether Uber is disrupting the taxi industry. If you’ve never investigated what really makes something disruptive, read the articles in the links.  You may find what you once thought of as disruptive – well – isn’t.

Get to Know IBM Application-Specific Licensing

Every day I help partners sell their products and solutions using an IBM program called Application-Specific Licensing (ASL). Unfortunately, the ASL program and its benefits are sometimes overlooked. Partners often tell me, “We had no idea this option even existed.” And even partners that are aware of ASL tend to say, “But that [ASL] doesn’t apply to us.”

So let’s make this simple.

If you sell or require an IBM software license as part of what you do, you should consider Application-Specific Licensing.


The ASL program works very well for independent software vendors that embed or build on IBM software. For example a product requires an application server or database. It also applies to partners that act as managed service providers (MSP).

It usually does not apply to partners that resell licenses. For example partners engaged in services focused on IBM software deployment and customization. Again, ASL is specific to the partner’s product rather than general purpose usage of IBM software. But as a reseller refines and repeats their solution, it could possibly be bundled into a product and qualify for ASL.

The ASL process is simple.

  • We describe your product’s value-add components.
  • We identify the IBM software that’s included in your product.
  • We assign fixed pricing during the term of the agreement.
  • We start sales and technical enablement to get your product to market.

What are some of the reasons partners choose ASL?

  • Increased margin when compared to other procurement methods
  • Ownership of the sales cycle; fixed pricing means no IBM quoting or special biding
  • A global contract, sell anywhere in the world

Having worked in the IBM Lotus/ICS/ESS brand for over a decade, helping partners get to market is a personal process. I focus on selling and demonstrating, knowing product capabilities that enhance partner solutions, and even writing a bit of code to bring it all together.

And to give you an idea of some successful partnerships, consider:

  • IBM Forms for data entry and processing in insurance, healthcare, financial, and legal services
  • WebSphere Portal and IBM Web Content Manager for B2B, B2C, and B2E websites and intranets
  • Focused collaboration in vertical markets using IBM Connections
  • IBM Domino applications – new and legacy – that include workflow, security, mail, and web for mid-market customers

Feel free to reach out via LinkedIn or Twitter if you’d like to know more.