Amid the increasing blare of the pandemic and the spectre of omicron casting its long shadows over the tech landscape, we have ushered into 2022. Channel success which has always been the holy-grail for any business is all set to get a makeover in the new year.
As part of our effort to get the channel community better informed and get an earful of what the who’s who of Indian IT are thinking, expecting, and planning for the channel community in 2022, we have started this new section to record the channel predictions of the most prominent players of the IT industry.
Here, as part of this special series of Tech Forecasts, IBM India registers its predictions for 2022.
“We will focus on providing the skills, resources and expertise to help partners get to market faster and grow their businesses. Together, we will create shared value for clients and a shared vision for the future of hybrid cloud and AI.”
Director – Partner Ecosystem,
IBM India/South Asia
As a leading cognitive solutions and cloud platform company, IBM stresses on innovation as a core business strategy. Offering business and technical consulting, training and support, data storage, analysis, networks, and enterprise applications, IBM India serves a wide clientele worldwide.
In an exclusive interaction with SME Channels, Lata Singh, Director – Partner Ecosystem, IBM India/South Asia shares her company’s Channel Predictions for the year 2022. Edited excerpts
Give a brief introduction of your company
IBM is a leading hybrid cloud and AI company. As a microcosm of the IBM Corporation, IBM India has established itself as one of the leaders in the Indian Information Technology Industry with its regional headquarter in Bangalore and offices across multiple locations including Tier 2 cities. Innovation is at the core of the IBM’s strategy and is reflected in the end-to-end solutions delivered to clients, which span from software and systems hardware to a broad range of AI, cloud and consulting services. IBM helps clients solve complex business and technical issues by delivering deep business process and industry expertise. This is enhanced with advanced analytics, research capabilities and the proven ability to implement enterprise solutions to deliver bottom line value to businesses and government worldwide.
IBM has been investing in India including launching development centres that will help contribute to the innovation and growth of our software portfolio. The labs in India are aligned to IBM’s global strategy and the pioneering work done across these labs are integrated into IBM products, solutions and services. Partner ecosystem is central to our growth strategy, together we are delivering the best hybrid and public cloud capabilities to clients with Red Hat OpenShift at the core. We are working with a range of partners to provide clients with a greater level of scale, resources and capabilities to accelerate the impact of cloud-driven digital transformation.
As the pandemic is still there and a new variant has surfaced, what are the major market trends you are forecasting for 2022?
The major market trends that we would like to point out are:
- Digital transformation has become a way of life: We have witnessed accelerated investment and adoption of digital technologies over the past two years. Many executives have realized that transformation is here to stay and therefore the focus is on making their organizations more responsive, rather than achieving a perfect end state. Technologies like IoT, Cloud computing and AI will help deliver business results, build resiliency and adaptability. In addition, technologies especially cloud, will also enable faster, more effective collaboration, which will be another driving force for growth this year. According to IBM Institute of Business Value, Covid 19 and the future of business report executives plan to participate in business ecosystems 332% more in 2022 than they did in 2018. To capitalize on ecosystem partnerships, however, companies need a strong technology foundation which embraces an open platform approach with security and compliance embedded at the core.
- Tech adoption to reshape business operations: Organizations will embrace a more holistic approach towards reinventing their operations to realize the full benefits of digital transformation. We will see a shift where executives will start focusing on building more integrated systems that revolutionize their business models in 2022 rather than rolling out isolated innovations that streamline individual workflows. The IBM Institute of Business Value 2021 CIO Study found that, since 2019, there have been monumental increases in the number of CIOs whose organizations have advanced hybrid cloud operations (700%) and intelligent workflows (560%) and are seeing these investments start to pay dividends. In addition, high adopters of technology across 13 industries benefitted from a revenue premium of 7%, with the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and cloud yielding the greatest benefit along with those that invested in ecosystems and open innovation saw an average revenue premium of 40%.
- Trust and security underpin sustained innovation: As organizations expand the reach and create new opportunities for innovation by using cloud-based technologies, platforms, and ecosystems they need to embed more robust security practices across environments. A recent IBM Security X-Force Report highlights 150% increase in vulnerabilities in cloud environments in last 5 years with 2 out of 3 breached cloud environments caused due to improperly configured APIs. As companies expand their cloud footprint to enable remote work, integrate supply chains, and streamline customer experiences, they must also evolve their approach to cybersecurity. “Zero trust” is a preventative approach to security that assumes malicious actors are everywhere. It requires authentication and verification for every exchange of value, which allows companies to open their boundaries more securely. Embracing evolving security practices for cloud-era along with open, secure cloud networks will help organizations to drive innovation and collaboration while achieving better business results.
What major trends are you forecasting in the channel market?
Among the major trends in the channel market would be:
- Ecosystem Partners embrace open technologies and platforms to achieve growth and deliver value: In 2022, partners will continue to transform their business models for driving growth and delivering value to their customers. An important aspect of this transformation will include leveraging their expertise to build and offer technology solutions to their customers. With Open Hybrid Cloud becoming the dominant architecture across most enterprises, ecosystem partners like ISVs, MSPs will embrace open technology and platforms that enable them to build and deliver products and services securely, and at speed and scale.
- Partners will continue to play a critical role in accelerating enterprise modernization journey: Digital transformation requires modernization. However, the journey is often challenging as it requires identifying the right approach to deliver business outcomes. Ecosystem Partners will play a critical role by bringing in their deep expertise, along with adoption of microservices architecture and platforms like RedHat OpenShift to help enterprises accelerate their modernization journey.
- Consumer Trust and Security at the forefront for partners and customers: With increased cybersecurity threats, partners like managed security service providers and customers realize the need to establish zero tolerance for trust in their security strategy. They will invest in solutions that help secure crown jewels and protect their clients data which can be managed through a single point-of-control while providing a holistic view of threats across environments.
- Pivoting to deliver on the potential of 5G and Edge computing: With the convergence of 5G and edge computing driving innovation and transforming operations at an unprecedented scale technology providers and ecosystem partners will collaborate to help enterprises and telecommunications companies employ autonomous management, implement edge-enabled industry solutions or provide as-a-service model to provide better faster customer experiences.
- Increased adoption of AI to responds to changing business needs: We will see ecosystem partners acquiring and advancing skills to develop and employ data, analytics and AI solutions to address changing business need. We will see increased adoption of AI in helping identifying and responding to threats, provide personalized recommendations to enhance customer-care journey, reduce costs by better predicting IT issues (AIOps) and help businesses achieve sustainability benchmarks through greater measurement and carbon accounting as well as enabling enhanced predictiveness and greater resiliency in supply chain.
Which areas you want to focus in the channel?
We are seeing that the partners are transforming their business models aligned to the market and varied client needs. Aligned to this shift, IBM’s ecosystem model is designed to span across partner motions of build, service, and sell. Through the year, we will continue to focus on providing the skills, resources and expertise to help partners get to market faster and grow their businesses. Together with our partners, we will create shared value for clients and a shared vision for the future of hybrid cloud and AI.
Are you planning any new product addition for the channel market?
We have recently launched the IBM Power E1080 server. It is the first in the family of servers based on the new IBM Power10 processor and is designed specifically for hybrid cloud environments. The IBM Power E1080 server helps deliver on the customer demand for a frictionless hybrid cloud experience, with architectural consistency across the entire hybrid cloud estate to simplify management and seamlessly scale applications to meet the dynamic needs of today’s world. Given the new platform’s capabilities, we see a wide range of ISVs, IBM Business Partners, and other external stakeholders will recognize the value and benefits of IBM Power E1080 server for their customers. Through the year, we will continue to roll out new features and products across our hybrid cloud and AI portfolios.
In addition, IBM has recently unveiled the IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Center to help IBM Z clients accelerate the modernization of their applications, data and processes in an open hybrid cloud architecture. With the new IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Center, IBM and its partners are providing customers the tools, resources and training they need to successfully modernize and transform mainframe-based applications, data and processes in hybrid cloud environments, and thus maximize their IBM Z investments.