Partner Day at the Data & AI Forum Recap: How to progress your business with insights from the event

By and Steve Jones | 5 minute read | September 9, 2020

IBM continues its focus on using digital events as a powerful channel to showcase how we and our Business Partners are utilizing IBM technology. This technology can guide and enhance the future of our work, during—and eventually—after the pandemic. Together with our partners, we are emerging stronger together and building an enduring hybrid cloud platform that can serve as a powerful catalyst for innovation for our clients and the world.

Business Partners have been asking for the latest strategy, product direction, technical assets and demos, as well as non-technical tools to progress the pipeline. This created a need for a robust digital platform to stay in touch, without meeting face-to-face. Partner Days are virtual events for partners that focus on deploying IBM technology with their clients and also partners that are building on top of, or embedding, IBM technology.

The first IBM Partner Day digital enablement event took place for our Data and AI and Systems partners in June 2020. We’re excited to say that over 800 partners all across the world actively engaged in this Partner Day! Partners told us that they were energized by the diversity of content, from use cases and best practices to technical sessions, and they were excited to reconnect at a time when most partners were working remotely.

We’ve received some great feedback:

I like the on-demand feature, so having not just the deck but the recorded presentation is really helpful. I liked the  mix of example use cases, best practices, sales messaging, plays and technical sessions. It was the right level of information.
Liz Herrera, Director of Advanced Analytics, LPA Software Solutions

On a call with the Persistent team I was delighted to hear that numerous sales executives within the firm had attended the BP Summit and were impressed with the content and quality of the production.
Brian Fallon, Vice President, Worldwide Digital and Partner Ecosystem, IBM Cloud and Cognitive

We also had other local markets excited by the format and rapidly picking up the format to run their own partner sessions, such as the example of Asia Pacific:

This is great content. Is this something we can do in the AP time zone or a global event where our BPs can login? I would prefer to run an APAC session if possible.
Tapan V Mehta, Asia Pacific – Data & AI  Ecosystems

Backed by this enthusiasm, the IBM Data and AI partner ecosystem community decided to host the Partner Day at our Data and AI Virtual Forum on July 28. This virtual experience was presented in 20-minute video sessions, ranging from strategic and thought leadership materials to partner interviews with tips on successful sales strategies. Some of the highlights from the event:

Trust is key
The theme throughout the virtual experience was “Trust”. As Brian Fallon, Vice President, Worldwide Digital & Partner Ecosystem, IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software, referenced in the opening keynote: “Trust is all about providing the ability for an organization to have a great degree of confidence in their AI technology.” Our partner panelists have continually emphasized the importance of trust in data.

In the panel, “Pivot to meet a new market reality with integrated planning,” Matt Fredrick, Partner at eCapital Advisors and John Martin, Managing Director at Carpe Datum, talk about the need for flexibility and agility when it comes to financial planning, as well as new opportunities that come with the pandemic. Planning and forecasting has become challenging for organizations as 2020 results have been hugely impacted by the pandemic, so the problem of trust in data drives the need for more advanced analytics tools.

A simple approach to progressing and closing deals is the best approach
Progressing and closing business is on everyone’s mind when it comes to second half of the year, and our partners shared their own recent wins and useful selling tactics. Phil Black, Vice President  of Client Services at Tech D, shares his experience on how to progress with Cloud Pak for Data in growth space and making it possible to “sell a dream”.

 “It is all about the approach with Cloud Pak for Data”, he says, “sometimes less is more”. The key is to understand the needs of the client, which may be in one single use case tight to a specific microservice, and focus on those needs. Client needs will then expand into a microservice B and an opportunity to bring it together for the platform will emerge. Phil’s example of a client win has grown into an opportunity to change the whole culture of client’s organization with this step by step approach. Watch the whole interview in IBM Cloud Pak for Data: selling strategies and as-a-service release session.

Leverage IBM throughout your sales cycles
In the panel discussion “AI: Only as good as the ecosystem that supports it: IBM DataOps & Hybrid Data Management”, Brad Miller, Practice Director, Integration and Analytics at Mainline, and Rob Sinclair, Vice President of Analytics at Converge, also shared their insights into how to bring in IBM experts during the sales cycle to build more holistic and comprehensive solutions together. You can learn how to partner with IBM Expert Labs. Watch now.

Among typical use cases like predicting failure in power plant and fraud detection, Rob mentions completely new ones, such as the IBM Back to Work use case, where visual AI becomes extremely helpful. This is the integration of AI into normal processes within an organization, and corporate culture tying that back to business value, security, governance and reusability.

Watch the full replay, or catch up on some of the highlights of Partner Day to get inspired and find more engagement opportunities:

  • Watch Ruchir Puri, IBM Chief Scientist, as he shares the most recent break throughs from IBM Research and how those are solving real client problems with Watson.
  • Hear from Marius Ciortea, IBM Chief Community Officer, as he discusses how to benefit from IBM Communities, connect with IBM user groups and forums, become a blogger and get all the benefits of being an IBM Business Partner.

Interesting times are ahead of us as we rely more heavily on technology and digital platforms to keep us up to date. Now is the time to emerge stronger with IBM and the Data & AI partner ecosystem. Virtual events are designed to help us to stay connected, network and share what’s on our minds to help drive success and change within the digital era.

Join us for the next Data and AI Forum on September 16 to learn how partners like Box work together with IBM to form the future of remote work. You’ll also learn how with Cloudera, IBM is shaping the journey to AI through hybrid cloud and how our partner’s clients are leveraging Watson technologies.

Stay tuned for more partner-only enablement in October to help close the year strong.