Transforming for growth — our partnership with IBM
Our journey of almost 20 years with IBM is defined by transformation.
I founded IT Smart Systems in 2002, initially as an IT sub-contractor to IBM in the telecom space. The Romanian market was dominated by a few key players at the time, and as we grew our capabilities with IBM products and solutions, we were able to expand in 2009 into software reselling.
More recently, we’ve moved into creating and selling our own offerings, based on IBM® Cloud® technology. Now IT Smart Systems delivers cutting-edge digital business transformation solutions that enable our customers to access their backend data and services and to orchestrate, secure and expose them using an omnichannel approach.
As our customer base has grown, we’ve developed a close affinity with our clients in the banking sector, where rapid innovation and the demands of open banking resonated with the way we develop and grow our solutions. We found, at this stage of our partnership, another type of support IBM offers to its partners, namely, the IBM Co-Marketing Program we started a year ago that works perfectly.
With IBM’s Co-Marketing program, we get the resources, assets and funding that we need to help grow demand for IBM offerings. The extensive range of training, guidance and support — from off-the-shelf campaigns to hundreds of curated assets from subject matter experts — have helped us fuel our targeted campaigns, increase awareness for our products and bring new leads and business opportunities for both IT Smart Systems and IBM.
Further, our products are mainly developed on IBM platforms and technology, and we’ve found the IBM Co-Marketing program to be flexible enough for accessing both direct and digital marketing funds to help us grow.
Today, we have the proud distinction of being the only fully-native IBM Platinum Business Partner in Romania, specializing in the open banking space. Our customers are predominantly local, too. But with IBM’s help we are beginning to expand our operations across Europe and North America. A good example is our recent engagement with Banca Transilvania, where we were able to accelerate the company’s compliance with recent PSD2 regulations and help it make the transition to open banking.
Open banking redefines the financial services landscape, breaking down the barriers between institutions and allowing third parties the access needed to secure financial information, thereby enabling them to create new products and services that give customers greater flexibility to manage their finances. And it also gives fintechs the opportunity to create new, more sophisticated banking applications using best of breed technology.
IBM technology is the platform that makes this such an attractive opportunity.
We do around 75% of our business with IBM, and the reason why is simple: from offering development to delivery and execution, IBM works alongside us at every step of our — and our customers’ — journey.
The next phase of that journey is already underway. We recently launched a Smart Payment Gateway based on IBM API Connect® and have just completed our first IBM Cloud Pak® implementation. The ability to offer solution-specific cloud offerings “in a box” is a game changer for the cloud market, and we are genuinely excited at the possibilities Cloud Paks have to offer.
IT Smart Systems is a relatively small player in what is becoming a vast global market. But it is clear from every interaction we have that our expertise and capabilities are valued by IBM as well as our customers. In fact, Barbora Deckerova, Director, IBM Partner Ecosystem for Central and Eastern Europe, recently shared: “IT Smart Systems has unique skills in the areas of integration, analytics and security. And I am proud of the ongoing transformation we’ve jointly worked on to help make their business and their solutions ‘future-ready.’”
Bearing all this in mind, I am firmly of the belief that we are not simply a Business Partner of IBM — we are in partnership with IBM.