Last week felt like the industry had pressed the accelerator. With no skiing trips taking people away and businesses looking for a fast start, there has been plenty of activity within the market.
IBM held their European Ecosystem Kick Off meetings, emphasising that their new go to market strategy has their channel at the heart of it. David Stokes introduced his European Leadership team and stated that there was never a better time to partner with IBM. Sean Bergwin explained the new “marquee” partner recruitment programme, Pawel Sobczak took us through the Build, Service and Sell strategy, whilst Patrick Bauer explained how all the brands are now consolidated within one Technology organisation, investing in 80+ Technical Architects to support their partner community in EMEA.
The two-segment approach – top 500 global accounts directly managed whilst the rest of the market is Ecosystem first- offers increased opportunity for focussed partners. Patrick was keen to emphasise that although Segment 1 would have IBM Executive coverage, this didn’t mean partners were excluded and expected IBM client teams to be working with the ecosystem to support these key accounts.
David Stokes is replacing Diego Segre, who will be much missed, in the EMEA VP Ecosystems role. As part of his introduction, David talked about his obsession with technology, referencing an academic background in engineering. It is a trait of many of those who have had long term success within the industry; a passion for technology and how it changes markets, businesses and lives. The IT Industry continues to provide huge opportunity for those who keep skills and knowledge updated and remain cognisant of developing trends.
The obvious focus on education within IBM over the past 12 months is an example of a business recognising that changing strategy requires a workforce that can adapt to change. This requires them to have skills in both the technologies they take to market and the developing ecosystem within which they will work.
Implementation will be a challenge. Over the next 12 months the organisation spins off NewCo, the managed services business and says goodbye to many experienced employees, which, from a personal viewpoint, it has been a great pleasure to work with over the past years.
So a new era, and as part of the new strategy there is recognition that growth will come from supporting solution providers that may not have seen IBM as their platform of choice previously. Now with their Hybrid Cloud and AI message, IBM is hoping to attract new partners from across the industry and we look forward to working with the new channel team.
We have certainly seen a steady stream of partners joining our IBM Business Unit these past 12 months. During 2020 over 50 new businesses signed up to an IBM Partnership Agreement via Tech Data. These new partners have brought new applications, routes to market and skill sets to the wider Tech Data Ecosystem. And, as we move through 2021, we will continue to provide opportunities for these new partners to meet with those who we have worked with for many years.
The Retail Ecosystem is an excellent example of this collaboration working. It is currently playing a significant role in supporting IBM and UK Fashion and Textiles with the supply chain project I’ve mentioned in a previous blog. As well as providing a source for solutions and skills it is also providing a networking and information sharing platform for partners within the Ecosystem. To further this initiative, we are planning a Retail Ecosystem Showcase event for February 25th; more details to follow, but please get in touch if this is something you would like to participate in.
Meanwhile, a final reminder for the IBM 2021 Market Update with Chirag Gir and Andrew Gill this Thursday. If you haven’t yet registered, you can still do so here. Meeting Registration - Zoom
It won’t make up for that lost skiing trip, but it might help you slalom through some early new year moguls!