Buying groceries with micro payments, 29.7 million cell phones and governments investing in smarter cities… no this isn't China or Brazil… this is Nairobi Kenya…. Africa.
On May 8, IBM will open the third IBM Innovation Center in Africa, in Nairobi Kenya. A first of it's kind, the center will be a world class Research Lab, Client Center and IBM Innovation Center for partners.
The opportunities in Africa are larger and more interesting than you might expect. In fact, you should go to the opening for the Center and see for yourself. Why?… Because Africa is quietly rising as one of the last great untapped and underserved growth markets. There are challenges to solve and a growing consumer base leap frogging traditional industry maturation cycles, providing a great opportunity for all IBM partners worldwide.
Here, I want to share insights for partners around the top 3 industry and capability opportunities.
To provide key insights for ISV partners around the world, I invited Lynn Kesterson-Townes to join me to share inside perspectives on the opening event at the Center and opportunities for partners. Who is Lynn? Lynn is the project lead for the opening event, overseeing all aspects of the planning, content, executive engagement, partner participation and the like. From where she sits, Lynn has gained unique insights into the opportunities in Nairobi, in Kenya, and across East and Southern Africa.
The priority market opportunities to highlight are:
Looking at greatest demand around industry solutions, we can see the top three areas are Banking, Government and Telco.
Looking at greatest demand around leadeship capabilities, we can see the top three areas are Smarter Cities (Traffic Management), Mobile and Big Data.
For partners with solutions focused around these three industries and these capabilities, I would encourage you to consider market expansion into Africa and to consider leveraging the IBM Innovation Center and our partner teams there as an entry point into the area.
For a deeper view into the Nairobi IBM Innovation Center, see this CNN video on the Center, highlighting some of the key challenges the Center is addressing, such as the incredible traffic congestion in Nairobi.
Recommendations - Top 3 Steps:
Engage with your IBM partners representative to sit down and discuss ‘landing’ opportunities in Africa - how you can leverage the center to expand into the broader Africa market.
Integrate this into you joint IBM business planning to outline your approach and target business outcomes - focus around the key capabilities.
Consider attending the launch event - better understand the opportunities and connect with the Center, worldwide executives, and regional partners and clients who will be attending the launch event.
As we get closer to the launch event, I will share additional information and recommendations on how to get connected in the area.
Related to an earlier post on leveraging the ecosystem peer-to-peer networks, I would also encourage ISV partners to think about connecting with IBM Distributors, Resellers and System Integrators in the region as additional channels to market.