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IBM to invest US$1bn in partner ecosystem to drive AI, cloud adoption

Craig Holmes, Southern Africa Technology Leader at IBM
Craig Holmes, Southern Africa Technology Leader at IBM

IBM has fine-tuned its corporate go-to-market strategy – underpinned by a global investment of US$1-billion - to leverage open hybrid cloud and Artificial Intelligence and strengthen its partner ecosystem.

A mature, value-centric partner ecosystem is vital to the company achieving its objective to establish itself as a leading open hybrid cloud and AI firm.

To this end, it has simplified engagements, streamlined go-to-market strategies, and designed specialised Build, Service and Sell tracks with tailored offers to help speed time to value.

In 2018, IBM identified hybrid cloud as the dominant force in the industry and has since introduced new technologies and in 2019, acquired Red Hat in a landmark US$34-billion deal.

According to IBM, Red Hat OpenShift supercharged its open and secure hybrid cloud platform “and helps customers operate in any cloud environment, including on-prem, private, and public cloud environments.”

The company stresses the value of agility and flexibility in integration of cloud architecture.

Craig Holmes, Technology Leader, IBM Southern Africa, said: “We have completely integrated our systems, our hardware and storage portfolio to not only run on-premise, on IBM private cloud, but also the ability, because its open source and its running open systems, we can actually run our infrastructure on public cloud. And then, above the hybrid cloud layer, above the Red Hat OpenShift layer, what we’ve done is repackaged all of our software to run in what we call cloud packs. You can run our hybrid cloud infrastructure with our software on any cloud.”

IBM said it has shifted over 300 resources into Technical Partner Architect roles available in every market. These architects are specialised in different elements of the portfolio like analytics, security, automation, power systems and storage, among others. IBM’s Hybrid Cloud Build Team is also available to help partners accelerate their modernisation efforts by infusing AI into their workflows.

Expanded competencies

The IBM Competency Framework is based on market demand and designed to differentiate each partner’s areas of specialisation in the marketplace.

The company explained that this framework offers a unified design across build and service tracks allowing partners to benefit from a guided skills development.

The company has expanded the availability of IBM’s Cloud Engagement Fund (CEF) to all partner types, whether they build on, service or re/sell IBM technology. CEF is an investment in technical resources and cloud credits for partners to help migrate customer workloads to hybrid cloud environments.

Holmes added: “The recent changes we’ve made to our growing partner ecosystem in Southern Africa demonstrates our continued commitment to our partners. As organisations across industries look to improve performance – new programs, funding, simplified approach will empower our partners to deliver innovation for customers. This will also drive IBM’s hybrid cloud and AI strategy as customers modernise, migrate cloud workloads, and infuse AI into their businesses.”

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