May 9, 2023 By Kate Woolley 3 min read

If you’ve followed IBM over the past few years, you know how critical the IBM Ecosystem is to our growth strategy. It’s why we gave partners access to the same training and enablement as IBMers last year, launched a new partner program in January, and continue investing in and growing the IBM Ecosystem.  

So, it should come as no surprise that partners are front and center during our annual Think conference this week. In fact, we kicked off the event with a day dedicated to partners — aptly named Partner Plus Day. It was a phenomenal opportunity to interact with and learn from hundreds of partners, who also heard directly from IBM CEO Arvind Krishna, other senior IBM leaders, and many of their peers.  

Three observations stand out to me from Partner Plus Day and Think: First, there is no question we are on the right path, with a singular focus on supporting our partners and clients with a clear strategy and new AI and Hybrid Cloud offerings. Second, it has never been more apparent that IBM and our partners are better together. Third, our growing ecosystem of partners share an inspiring commitment to continued innovation and delivering client value.   

Focus, focus, focus 

Three years ago, our CEO declared that IBM’s strategy is focused on hybrid cloud and AI. Since then, we have concentrated R&D in those areas, acquired companies with the right mix of capabilities and divested those that don’t align with our focus.  

IBM’s announcement today of the Watsonx platform to power next generation foundation models for business is a prime example of how we are doubling down on the technology that will transform the enterprise. For example, our focus on enterprise AI will create significant opportunity for partners to increase their capabilities and the value they can bring to clients in this white-hot space.  

Today’s news follows last week’s announcement that SAP will embed IBM Watson AI into SAP solutions to deliver a better user experience, faster decision-making, and greater insights to boost productivity. Partnerships like this are increasingly important as we continue scaling hybrid cloud and AI adoption worldwide.  

We’re better together 

We’re operating in a market where no one company can succeed alone. But together, we have a massive opportunity to bring solutions to market faster and help achieve more collective success.  

In my on-stage conversation with Ruba Borno, VP of Worldwide Channels & Alliances for AWS, we talked about how work with one partner – in this case, AWS – can translate into joint capabilities that countless other partners can tap into to help clients accelerate their digital journeys. Our partnership with AWS illustrates the value of the IBM Ecosystem – bringing the scale and expertise of many partners together so we can better accelerate client transformation journeys and drive mutual success. 

Our partners are making a difference 

In my last blog, I talked about how far we’ve come with our partner program and our efforts to meet clients where they are. Now I’d like to share a few examples of partner work doing just that. 

An excellent illustration of how IBM partners are helping enterprises capitalize on the transformative power of AI is Krista Software, which used IBM Watson NLP from IBM’s embeddable AI software portfolio to help its mobile security client, Zimperium, automate its entire scheduling and deployment process. It led to considerable cost savings and freed their engineers to focus on what they do best – developing secure software for clients.  

Across the pond, UK-based partner MaxLogic helped their property management client, HFL Building Solutions, unlock the full potential of IBM Maximo by using it to manage 4,000 monthly work orders across 400-plus sites. With a more efficient process in place, HFL was able to reduce the number of open work orders by 95% and substantially improve the quality of information available to its teams and clients.  

Showcasing how IBM Ecosystem partners are meeting clients wherever they are, IBM business partner Cleanslate recently worked with a large financial services client migrating to a “cloud first” approach. Cleanslate helped their client implement IBM’s CloudPak for Security on AWS using existing spend commitments with AWS, thus meeting the client where they are while capitalizing on strategic vendor relationships. Cleanslate now provides its clients with the benefits of a reseller relationship and expertise with IBM software solutions, as well as the budget and efficiency benefits of AWS Marketplace. 

These successes validate IBM’s investment in our expanding ecosystem, which is gaining momentum each day. We will maintain our focused strategy, commitment to collaboration and support for our partners, and together I have no doubt we will continue to unlock even greater mutual success.  

See more about Think 2023 here
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