For IBM, its partner ecosystem is a big priority in a market like India
In a chat with VARINDIA, Kate Woolley, General Manager, IBM Ecosystem discusses the importance and plans for the India market, partner programs, expansion plans etc.
How important is the India market for IBM and what plans do you have for this market?
India is an absolutely critical market for IBM in two different ways. One, obviously, as a critical market to drive IBM's growth and the second is a critical market where we have so much of our engineering talent that supports our teams globally. That makes India such an incredibly unique market for us in terms of being important in both ways.
The ecosystem as a whole, from IBM's perspective, is one of our highest priorities. The IBM ecosystem has a renewed mandate to drive growth for IBM. The only way we can do that is driving growth for our partners with our collective clients. We have made a series of changes in terms of how we focus on the ecosystem, how we work with them. There are still more changes to come but for IBM the ecosystem is front and center and India is a critical market as part of that.
Kindly brief about IBM’s Partner program.
There are two things I am very focused on. First is how can we be easy to do business with and that comes to life in two different ways - the first is how do we create a single frictionless end to end digital experience for our partners. So this is specific to our partners globally, but will be front and center as to how we become easier to do business in India and part of that is the new partner portal that we have launched in the last few months where we have consolidated 45 tools into a single tool. We have a single deal registration process. We also have a lot of features and functionality in there where our partners can chat directly with IBM on opportunities that they are looking at. We also have automatic deal sharing, where we have an AI engine running that is automatically passing opportunities from IBM to our partners based on an AI engine as to which is the right partner for that opportunity. So that is some of the functionality that has come around the partner program. And there is more to come there. The second piece of being easy to do business with is the support and the skills we provide to our partners when they need it and where they need it. So as an ecosystem team, we have doubled the amount of resources, brand specialized resources that we have in the market supporting our ecosystem partners, as well as increasing the technical specialists by 35%.
My second priority is to be more essential to our partners. And as we look at that, we need to continue to drive the right programs to drive demand for our partners. So we are investing in our marketing program to help build more demand. We have our recently launched “Let's create” brand campaign, which will only hope to continue to create energy and momentum in the market and drive demand with our partners. We also need to continue to look at how we evolve our partner program and how we continue to make sure that it is serving and attracting our partners in the right way but at the right time.
Do you have any expansion plans for the India market?
As we look at the India market, similar to clients everywhere, they are all looking to modernize applications, move more workloads to the Cloud, automate processes, and all our clients expect the partner ecosystem to help bring that vision to life. Also we need our partners to have the right skills and capabilities to deliver and that is where IBM comes in. We are also committed to engage in the majority of the Indian market through our business partners. We have a very small number of clients where IBM wants to engage and transact directly and the rest of the market we want to do with our business partners. The amazing access we have in India to the IBM Software Labs and the IBM Cloud engineering teams. Our partners get enhanced support and access to the industry and technology expertise for how they are dealing with their complex engagements with their clients.
We have also expanded the footprint of our IBM Software Labs in India to tier two Indian cities. Recently opened with locations in Kochi and Ahmedabad where we have state-of-the-art facilities to help support our partners and to address the growing needs of all of their clients. Recently we have announced a new Automation Innovation Center, in the IBM Software Lab in Kochi, and this we have co-partnered with TCS and Wipro. We are continuing to expand our footprint in India to support both the India market and bring expertise closer and increase it as well as support our global teams.
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