IBM has revealed a raft of new competencies, skills training and benefits designed to help its partners succeed in an increasingly competitive market.
Announced as part of this year’s IBM Think conference, the company has created a new competency framework to enable partners to demonstrate expertise, technical validation and sales success in specialised areas such as hybrid cloud infrastructure, automation and security.
This is all part of a US$1 billion investment by IBM to support its partner ecosystem, with the stated aim of helping partners and their customers capture the estimated US$1 trillion hybrid cloud market opportunity, the company said.
“We’re simplifying engagements, streamlining go-to-market strategies, and have designed specialised Build, Service and Sell tracks with tailored offers to help speed time to value,” IBM partner ecosystem manager David La Rose and the company’s general manager of cloud, Cloud Pak and edge ecosystem, Evaristus Mainsah, said in a joint blog post.
“We’re also unveiling new competencies, training to learn market-leading skills, and benefits to cultivate partner success in an increasingly competitive market,” the pair said.
The new competency framework has the potential to result in a number of benefits, including co-creation client centres, proof-of-concept incentives to fuel co-innovation, and messaging acceleration workshops to help partner organisations develop custom, buyer-centric messaging plans, the company said.
Additionally, new skills aligned to the competency framework and job roles, along with technology to bring IBM training into partners’ own learning management systems, is being seen as another positive result of the new offerings, helping to build credibility for IBM partners in the market.
To further its investment in ecosystem partners, IBM is also expanding the availability of its Cloud Engagement Fund (CEF) to all partner types, whether they build on, service, or re/sell IBM technology.
The CEF provides investment through significant technical resources and cloud credits for partners to help migrate customer workloads to hybrid cloud environments, IBM said.
IBM pointed to its collaboration with Siemens Digital Industries Software as just one example of how the CEF is helping IBM partners scale.
Through the joint initiative, Siemens will apply IBM's open hybrid cloud approach, built on Red Hat OpenShift, to extend the deployment flexibility of MindSphere, the industrial internet of things (IoT)-as-a-service solution from Siemens.
The channel updates come amid a flurry of new technology announcements by IBM as part of this year’s Think conference. These include advances in artificial intelligence (AI), hybrid cloud and quantum computing.
Among the new offerings is IBM Automation Foundation, which underpins IBM Cloud Paks for Automation, with support from an ecosystem of more than 30 partners like Confluent, HCL, Infosys, Intel, LTI, Sysdig, TCS, Tech Mahindra and Wipro, who will be able to "unlock the value" of IBM automation solutions to accelerate productivity for customers.
“Automation is the latest example of how IBM relies on its ecosystem to spur innovation and scale, and why ecosystem partners count on IBM to bring the best technology to market,” La Rose and Mainsah said. “Recently, we announced the general availability of IBM Cloud for Financial Services with support for Red Hat OpenShift and other cloud-native services, backed by a growing ecosystem of more than 90 partners.
“Along with one of those partners, EY, today we are announcing a Centre of Excellence that offers new open hybrid cloud solutions centred on regulatory compliance, digital trust, and security to help financial services institutions leverage the cloud at scale,” the pair added.
More broadly, IBM has also revealed Watson Orchestrate, a new interactive AI capability designed to increase the personal productivity of business professionals across sales, human resources, operations and more.
Also announced was the launch of Maximo Mobile, an easy-to-deploy mobile platform with IBM's leading Maximo asset management solution at the core. Maximo Mobile is designed to transform the work of field technicians who maintain physical assets such as roads, bridges, production lines, power plants, refineries and more.
Additionally, IBM has added a new capability into WebSphere Hybrid Edition that enables enterprises to optimise and modernise their applications for hybrid cloud.
"We will look back on this year and last as the moment the world entered the digital century in full force," IBM chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna said in a presentation prepared for this year’s Think event. “In the same way that we electrified factories and machines in the past century, we will use hybrid cloud to infuse AI into software and systems in the 21st century.
“And one thing is certain: this is a future that must be built on a foundation of deep industry collaboration. No one understands this better than IBM, which is one of the reasons we are boosting investment in our partner ecosystem,” he added.