IBM Wants A More Specialized Ecosystem

As part of the Think 2021 event, Ana Paula Assis, the company’s General Manager for Latin America, explained the main guidelines of the strategy with business partners, based on new capabilities, better support and benefits. Paulo Battaglia, COO Latin America Partner Ecosystem, presented the experience and successful stories of some of the region’s leading partners.

In the 2021 edition of its annual event, IBM announced new hybrid cloud, artificial intelligence and quantum computing capabilities with the aim of accelerating the digital transformations of clients and partners in this context of a gradual return to face-to-face operations. In this sense, Ana Paula Assis, said that today technology is not only the responsibility of the CIO and that computing «can and should» be implemented anywhere: «Hybrid Cloud, Cloud & IA Software, and Services & Research will make the difference in 2021″, she said.

As important matters for this year, the executive pointed out that companies are building their business models that come with embedded technology to manage their operations with agility, and remarked IBM’s commitment to provide value to customers and consumers. While she mentioned the hybrid cloud as one of the technologies that enable this transformation, she made special emphasis on AI: «It is crucial and has grown a lot,» she said, and pointed out: «Watson Assistant doubled its use in 2020,» and stated that 4 out of 10 companies in Latin America plan to increase its use.

She also referred to the challenge companies face in attracting and retaining talent in this context in which explosion of data and the growing use of AI have been transforming the work model, even before the pandemic. «One in four people have thoughts about changing employers,» she warned.

Trust

Assis shared an interesting fact: 8 out of 10 IT professionals in Latam believe they can trust AI for their business, and assured that IBM’s AI is among the most reliable in the industry. «It is very important to have a reliable ecosystem, that they are leaders in what they do,» she said. In this sense, the executive highlighted that the company is investing heavily in its business ecosystem so that its partners have a more prominent role in meeting customer needs.

In its efforts to provide technology to clients with a more simplified approach, Assis emphasized that IBM’s go to market is currently designed to elevate the positioning of its partners: «A more integrated, simpler go to market that allows them to showcase their technical capabilities to expand their business models,» she said.

«Value is key for customers to have access to the best technology.»

The executive pointed out that IBM has also changed the way it reaches out to partners. «IBM listened to them and was able to change the business models with its channels, making it easier to operate with them and go to market,» she concluded.

Then it was the turn of Paulo Battaglia, who introduced four IBM partners to tell their experiences in their relationship with the company and share their stories.

Pablo Molano, from Pratech, highlighted the flexibility offered by IBM in addition to the global service, which allows them to reach different countries: «This allows us to generate opportunities that guarantee us persistence over time as partners,» he said.

Martín Banda, from Emergys, said that in 18 years as an IBM Business Partner, focused on software, he was able to notice the evolution of the role of the partner for the company. «Before it was how I let you know my solutions and today the approach is more comprehensive, together as partners, how we understand the customer’s need and how we solve it,» he explained.

Eduardo Laens, from Varegos, commented: «I am a first-hand witness of this partner-brand relationship transformation. The value it brings us is very tangible, the support, empowering our offerings, the development in other countries with an ease that we did not have before the pandemic because the market was not prepared. IBM opened the doors to empower us and I think it will prepare us very well for what is to come,» he said.

Percy Enciso, from MDP, assured that IBM’s go to market model is very favorable for them, and said that in this partnership with IBM they focused a lot on problems such as health: «We were able to solve telemedicine problems for Covid-19 follow-up, and progressively solve collection management problems with voice assistants based on Watson».

Succesful stories

The MDP executive shared that his company designed two platforms, one for telemedicine based on Watson through Whatsapp voice messaging, and the other called Notify, with voice-based notifications by phone call, for sales, collection management, which offers greater capacity in AI with predictive models, either with voice or text assistants according to how the customer wants to be addressed.

The Pratech representative commented that they have more than 30 virtual assistants in the market with Watson Asistan, in public entities and companies, including one of the main investment funds in the country. Pronto has 95% positive customer ratings, and today 98% of protection transactions are executed virtually, with 675,000 interactions per month by 2020. «We went from processes in which a client could take weeks and now transactions are done in seconds,» he assured.

From Varegos, he said that in this context the automation of processes and tasks, the excellence of operations, i.e., doing more with fewer resources, were also boosted. In this sense, he described the case of Garantizar, an SGR that had the challenge of growing its operation so it needed the approval criteria to be easy, agile and quick. «IBM technology allowed us to work on the core of the guarantee issuance processes, which resulted in a growth of more than 64% year on year with the same resources,» he said.

Finally, Martin Banda, from Emergys, said that the company specializes in software solutions for digital process automation and improving business architectures. He mentioned the case of the largest tuna company in Latam, which has a very strong horizontal and vertical integration: «There has been a need to improve business processes, greater agility and operational efficiency to interact between business areas and improve the architecture of enterprise applications,» he described. «One headache they had was the visibility of accounts receivable with the chains. With IBM RPA we were able to reduce this cycle from 32 hours to 40 minutes. We improved the speed at which they receive payments by 30%, and the frequency of invoice monitoring becomes daily if you want it to,» he noted.

To conclude, Ana Paula Assis recalled that to help partners in demand generation, IBM announced at Think 2021 the three elements of the US$ 1 billion investment that the company will invest in its partner ecosystem: Technical Support, Competencies and Benefits. Regarding the first axis, she assured that in each country there are people dedicated exclusively to partners, for co-creation, co-development and co-selling.

Regarding technical skills, she reported that IBM is announcing new certifications to accelerate partners’ expertise: «It is going to promote their technical validation. Today, partners who participate in one or more of these certifications can generate up to 25 more revenue,» she said. In reference to the benefits, the company offers toolkits for innovation, co-marketing tools for demand generation, among others.

Finally, Paulo Battaglia explained that there are three business models for partners: reselling, embedding technology to provide solutions, and embedding technology to provide services.