Rekha Murthy, director– One Channel for India and South Asia at IBM has engaged with a number of startups as a mentor, board member and as an advisor.
Murthy has over 27 years of extensive experience in technology and telecom sector across India, APAC and the USA. She is an expert in cross-functional operations, P and L oversight, sales, business development, strategic marketing and distribution in well-established organizations and start-ups alike. In an exclusive interaction with ChannelWorld, Murthy talks about IBM’s channel partner strategy and what lies ahead for them.
Keeping up with the current wave of digital transformation in India, what will IBM’s focus technologies be for 2019?
For the first time since the rise of the internet we are witnessing a shift in the epicentre of market disruption. Today, the world is progressing ahead on the digital transformation journey with new age technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive, blockchain, IoT and more, delivered on the cloud. A data-driven business strategy backed by cloud and AI will continue to bring in transformational and cultural change in 2019.
At IBM, we are focused on helping businesses with their digital transformation, working very closely with our ecosystem of partners across hybrid cloud, digital business automation, digital transformation, security and fraud detection, database management, customer experience and analytics solutions.
In 2019, we see an opportunity in scaling growth in the IT infrastructure space through our core offerings of SAP HANA on power, high performance computing, PowerAI and software defined storage as well as new industry and business solutions around blockchain, AI and cloud.
What are the challenges, if any, that you anticipate?
In the digital age, the ability to continuously transform and rapidly respond to the needs of enterprises is critical for our clients. To facilitate this, they need a wide gamut of technology solutions and to address their needs. IBM and our partner ecosystem team is uniquely positioned to work with clients across various industries to listen, understand and deliver value-added solutions to transform their businesses.
“Clients are increasingly adopting multi-cloud/hybrid cloud approach for their tech infrastructure and the innovative applications of AI could open up a multitude of opportunities for infrastructure services.”
How does IBM manage partner loyalty and help partners grow? What is IBM's partner program strategy?
IBM has been focused on helping businesses in their transformation journey. Through our partner outreach, we build, nurture and grow a thriving and effective ecosystem where our partners can provide solutions, services, and value based skills to enable their client’s success.
IBM has a 3-pronged strategy– building loyalty, extending capability and accelerate time to revenue. We will continue to strengthen our partner-first model across all markets, differentiating IBM's unique portfolio and creating value for IBM and partners across all partner type.
We will work with our partner community to accelerate development and delivery of cloud and AI solutions to our clients and at the same time improve our partner end-to-end experience. We will also work on increasing adoption of these solutions, improving partner experience and enhancing their skills on IBM platforms.
For example, IBM PartnerWorld, the award-winning global program designed to help our partners increase demand, grow their business, and improve profitability has been recently refreshed and enhanced with new content and offerings for partners to leverage such as:
• Refreshed Market and Competitive Intelligence site which partners can refer and take content from to up their game in market.
• Skills gateway: A university like program for learning for BPs
• Third party marketplaces where BPs can do digital shopping of IT solution
• Partner to Partner Connect
“Our aim is to build, nurture and grow a thriving and effective ecosystem where our partners provide solutions, services and value based skills to enable client success.”
What are the technology trends that can impact channel partners as it relates to your specific business?
The increasing adoption of technology as-a-service, cloud, AI, blockchain by our clients is leading to enhanced level of collaboration between technology vendors and solution providers. We plan to leverage our leadership status in technology to help our BPs build a sustainable business model and improve revenue streams.
AI and cloud solutions have been key game-changers and will continue to play an important role in the business. Clients are increasingly adopting multi-cloud/hybrid cloud approach for their tech infrastructure, and the innovative applications of AI could open up a multitude of opportunities for infrastructure services.
If there is one key message you have for your partners in 2019, what will it be?
As mentioned before, our aim is to build, nurture and grow a thriving and effective ecosystem where our partners provide solutions, services and value based skills to enable client success. Digital transformation through technology is what clients are essentially looking for and being the industry leader we have the experience and edge.
We are committed to deepen the engagement with our partner community to drive success for themselves and our clients. Three key areas where IBM will make significant investments this year are - improving end-to-end partner experience, simplifying partner incentives programs with clear client segmentation and doubling down on commitment to partner enablement, competency and certification.