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IBM is becoming a lot more social. The company launched a social network for its software developers in April. And today it’s launching a social network for its various partners to help bring technology to market faster and close sales more efficiently.

The company is essentially integrating social networking and community fabric into its sales process.

The new community lets companies gain instant access to IBM’s subject matter experts in support of sales. Partners can personalize their profiles and technology needs and connect with other IBM partners. IBM can test market ideas in the network before launching products.

Big Blue recently tested the concept with an online idea exchange with 1,100 global partners to brainstorm new ways to grow profitably. The result is PartnerWorld Communities, which connects more than 100,000 IBM partners worldwide. The partners can drill down on interest areas such as emerging business in analytics, cloud computing, green technology, and economic stimulus projects. As stimulus spending accelerates smart energy projects, partners can collaborate instantly on how to implement energy-related makeovers.

IBM is offering 60 online education classes on building smarter infrastructure through PartnerWorld, which is based on Lotus Connections technology. Members can operate in a secure network and get access to blogs, forums, private team spaces such as web meeting rooms, live chat RSS feeds and other social technologies.

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