By David La Rose, General Manager of the IBM Partner Ecosystem and Evaristus Mainsah, General Manager of the IBM Hybrid Cloud and Edge Ecosystem.
New competency framework, skills development and an expanded Cloud Engagement Fund to help partners address client digital transformations with hybrid cloud and AI.
At IBM, we know that when our partners succeed, our customers do and so do we. That’s why, over the past year, as we have honed our corporate strategy around two major forces driving change for business—open hybrid cloud and AI—we have evolved our relationship with the ecosystem to enable more opportunities for our partners to deliver shared value to customers.
IBM’s ecosystem is central to our growth strategy, so we’re investing $1 billion to help partners and their customers capture the estimated $1 trillion hybrid cloud market opportunity. We’re simplifying engagements, streamlining go-to-market strategies, and have designed specialized Build, Service and Sell tracks with tailored offers to help speed time to value. Today, we’re also unveiling new competencies, training to learn market-leading skills, and benefits to cultivate partner success in an increasingly competitive market.
Expanding Partner expertise with new competencies, benefits and skills
As the importance of the ecosystem grows in delivering the value that customers demand, the IBM PartnerWorld Program continues to evolve to connect partners of all types and sizes to the technical, marketing and selling resources they need to co-create, drive more wins, enter new markets and accelerate revenue.
At IBM Think last year, we unveiled new Build and Service tracks, which included Partner Packages containing resources to help partners learn, develop, test, and create proofs of concept to accelerate implementation and scale in the market. Since then, more than 4,000 partners have signed on to use the packages.
As analyst firm IDC notes, “The further evolution of PartnerWorld in 2021 builds upon the reimagination in 2020 and provides more depth for partners to differentiate across the three tracks of build, service and sell.” And it’s enabling the type of partner success embodied by the 2021 winners of the IBM Beacon Awards, Geography Excellence Awards, and Business Unit Excellence Awards. To that end, today’s program updates include:
The launch of a new competency framework to enable partners to demonstrate expertise, technical validation, and sales success in specialized areas such as hybrid cloud infrastructure, automation, and security. Based on IBM internal performance data from 1Q2019-1Q2021, IBM PartnerWorld participants that earn one or more competencies drive on average 25x the IBM revenue of partners that have not achieved a competency. For example, IBM ecosystem partner Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has already achieved competencies that have expanded their engagement with different customers to modernize their applications across hybrid cloud environments.
New benefits such as co-creation client centers, proof-of-concept incentives to fuel co-innovation, and messaging acceleration workshops to help partner organizations develop custom, buyer-centric messaging plans. Over the course of an eight-hour workshop, PartnerWorld participants work to develop core messaging that informs and aligns all sales and marketing materials to help maximize opportunity generation for their defined market.
New skills aligned to the competency framework and job roles, along with technology to bring IBM training into partners’ own learning management systems, to help build credibility for our partners in the market. As an example, IBM’s catalog of learning is included in IBM ecosystem partner Capgemini’s learning experience platform alongside other resources to give a central, more holistic view of training.
Activating our Ecosystem to address customer needs
Today at Think, where we have now integrated partners into every aspect of our flagship conference, we announced the launch of a number of breakthrough hybrid cloud, automation, and Watson AI innovations. These include IBM Automation Foundation which underpins IBM Cloud Paks for Automation, with support from an ecosystem of more than 30 partners like Confluent, HCL, Infosys, Intel, LTI, Sysdig, TCS, Tech Mahindra, and Wipro who will be able to unlock the value of IBM automation solutions to accelerate productivity for customers.
Automation is the latest example of how IBM relies on its ecosystem to spur innovation and scale, and why ecosystem partners count on IBM to bring the best technology to market. Recently, we announced the general availability of IBM Cloud for Financial Services with support for Red Hat OpenShift and other cloud-native services, backed by a growing ecosystem of more than 90 partners. Along with one of those partners, EY, today we are announcing a Center of Excellence that offers new open hybrid cloud solutions centered on regulatory compliance, digital trust, and security to help financial services institutions leverage the cloud at scale.
Driving Partner success in open hybrid cloud and AI with an expanded cloud engagement fund
Among the many ways we support our ecosystem is IBM’s Cloud Engagement Fund (CEF), an investment in significant technical resources and cloud credits for partners to help migrate customer workloads to hybrid cloud environments. Today, we are expanding the availability of the funds to all partner types, whether they build on, service or resell IBM technology.
IBM’s collaboration with Siemens Digital Industries Software illustrates just one way the CEF is helping our partners scale. Through our joint initiative, Siemens will apply IBM’s open hybrid cloud approach, built on Red Hat OpenShift, to extend the deployment flexibility of MindSphere, the industrial IoT as a service solution from Siemens.
Through the power of our partner ecosystem, combined with a vast technology portfolio with Red Hat OpenShift at the core, IBM has never been in a better position to help drive transformative change for customers that allows them to modernize, predict, automate, and secure their critical technology infrastructure and platforms. What our partners ask of us is simple: Let’s create what’s next, together.