Retail and BFSI to benefit most from IBM’s new partner program

With IBM restructuring its partner program, channel partners in India reveal why this change, the skills needed and how it will benefit their customers.

Emerging technologies have long been watched closely by the technology industry. Disruptions in the business are a common thing, but another component is the change in the partner program. The change is brought about for various reasons: for business growth, revamp focus and train partners in the necessary arena.

IBM, recently, restructured its partner program applicable globally. The move brought into focus ‘higher-value’ solutions—namely artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud, security and as-a-service offerings—around which the new partner program framework and initiatives revolve.

... AI is relevant to all customers be it manufacturing, retail, telecom or even simple functions such as HR which can benefit by applying AI to recruit better, retain and train better.
Anita Jain
Director, Trident Information Systems spoke to IBM partners in India to find out their reactions, necessary preparations and expectations from the revamp.

Transformation is the need of the hour

Many programs are good on paper, but in actuality, it’s difficult to get money out of it. But this revamp by IBM has actually removed many obstacles for partners, reveals Deepak Jadhav, director of VDA Infosolutions. When asked about why the move from IBM now he states, “What happened in the last two years is that IBM has two divisions—hardware and software. Hardware the margins started sinking and there wasn’t much backend and all. But now for flash storage and all there is a revamp.”

Agreeing on the similar lines, Anita Jain, director of Trident Information Systems says that IBM was earlier structured basis the products which has now been transformed to solutions-based, which is the need of the hour. “IBM is looking toward solutions to address some of the business challenges which absolutely necessitates that the business should be offering solutions and products,” says Jain.

Skills, Training, Implementation

Once the partner program framework is in place, the next stage is partners equipping themselves with necessary skills.

“The first stage is the partner should learn about the technology and go and talk to the customers and increase the sale. Over a period of time, partners start to develop the interest and they will invest into implementation as the vertical starts growing. Today, implementation skills are limited with IBM also, and with partners. But it will develop over a period of time. But without the implementation skills too you can make money,” says Jadhav.

Jain’s Trident Information Systems has been a long standing IBM Partner since 2004, hence have deep skills on IBM Products. “However some of the solutions on Internet of Things, analytics and security would require training and we would look forward to IBM for the same,” she says.

But what do the customers want?

Jadhav believes that the customers in the retail, banking and insurance sectors need AI implementation the most. “Everybody is planning to reduce the manpower and need more intelligence based on the data available, or behavior of the end customer. Every customer has invested into BI. This is the next stage. BI is based on structured data. Here we are putting a lot more inputs, so we are getting realistic intelligence,” he says.

Anita Jain also is of the opinion that AI is relevant to all customers be it manufacturing, retail, telecom or even simple functions such as HR which can benefit by applying AI to recruit better, retain, and train better.

But armed with the new framework, Jain also plans to venture out into newer waters. “Traditionally we were IBM Rational partner where our customer segment was Software Companies, Department of Companies developing software, DRDO Labs etc. However with AI, IoT, mobility and analytics, now we are looking at retail, manufacturing and logistics verticals,” she says.