Amidst wide scale technology adoption, ecosystem partners will play a key role in helping organizations accelerate their digital transformation as hybrid cloud, open technologies and microservices, and security take precedence amidst rising cyberthreats.
“Amidst changing market dynamics, businesses will increasingly explore ways to enhance flexibility, strengthen cybersecurity, and reduce environmental impact each step of the way.”
IBM Cloud Platform Sales Leader,
IBM Technology Sales,
IBM India/South Asia
The Cloud industry has been gaining momentum over the last several years. But the Pandemic and the ensuing shift to online operations and massive adoption of work-from-home-culture and online learning gave it a much needed shot in the arm. As the India market remains in the eye of a major digital transformation buoyed by a tech-centred Union Budget, SME Channels embarks upon recording the voices of the who’s who of the Cloud scape.
As part of our effort to make the voices of major cloud players heard by the channel community, we have brought in this for you as first of a series of Cloud Predictions by major vendors.
Here, in a special interaction with SME Channels, Vijay Anand, IBM Cloud Platform Sales Leader, IBM Technology Sales, IBM India/South Asia, bares his organisation’s strategy for growing the cloud industry, his predictions for the industry in 2022 and his vision and plans for the channel community. Edited excerpts…
As a major cloud player, what market trends do you foresee in 2022?
Technology, talent, and trust will be the top priorities for organizations in 2022. Amidst changing market dynamics, businesses will increasingly explore ways to enhance flexibility, strengthen cybersecurity, and reduce environmental impact each step of the way. Some of the key market trends include:
Digital transformation is the new norm: Over the past two years, organizations in India have accelerated adoption of technology platforms and services. According to a recent IBM IBV CIO Study, CIOs in India reported maturity in hybrid cloud operations increased 850%, followed by process automation and intelligent workflows at 536%. The study also highlighted that in addition to extending enterprise cloud estates for faster and more effective collaboration, CIOs in India identified Automation, 5G, AI, IoT and Cybersecurity as their top technology investments in the next three years. Technologies like AI will help advance customer care through personalized recommendations, mitigate supply chain disruptions while infusing efficiency and help infuse automation in IT operations to help detect and automate response to IT incidents for faster resolution.
Rapid innovation accelerated by trust and security: As companies expand their cloud footprint to create new opportunities for innovation, integrate supply chains and streamline customer experiences, they must also evolve their approach to cybersecurity. Adopting a “Zero trust” approach to security helps organizations to insulate their most valuable data and resources from compromise, while isolating threats to prevent them from disrupting operations. In addition, embracing open, secure cloud networks will help organizations to drive innovation and collaboration while achieving better business results.
Climate & environmental technologies play a pivotal role in achieving sustainability mission: Globally organizations are committed towards achieving their 2025 sustainability goals. Increasingly companies will invest in environmental platforms and technologies like AI which will help monitor, manage and achieving their sustainability benchmarks by leveraging data for improved preparedness and supply chain resiliency.
Please shed some light on your cloud offerings?
IBM is a hybrid cloud and AI company, the two dominant forces driving change for clients across industries. While organizations have started to realize that Hybrid cloud offers 2.5 times more value over a single cloud. We believe a Hybrid Cloud architecture – one that is open by design – provides enterprises the ‘choice’ to build once, deploy anywhere, ultimately offering flexibility and efficiency with no vendor lock-in. Open Hybrid Cloud is the foundation for innovation, agility and business growth. Therefore, our hybrid cloud platform is built on the foundation of Red Hat OpenShift, the IBM hybrid cloud architecture enables clients and partners to build once and run with consistency across cloud, on-premise and edge environments. This framework enables us to collaborate with other cloud providers to ensure we offer ‘choice’ to our clients while serving as a powerful catalyst for businesses to innovate in this hybrid cloud era. Some of our key offerings include:
- IBM Cloud Paks are AI-powered software that help businesses build, modernize, and manage applications securely across any cloud. Built on Red Hat Open Shift, IBM Cloud Paks, help organizations to transform and manage all deployments with a governed, protected, and unified platform that delivers consistency across software tools and is continuously available, from the data center all the way to the edge. IBM offers Cloud Pak for Data, Business Automation, AIops, Integration, Security and Network Automation to solve organizations’ most pressing needs.
- IBM Cloud Satellite provides clients across industries the flexibility to bring their applications to environments where their data resides while leveraging the security of IBM Cloud. It functions as a single pane of glass connected to the IBM Cloud, effectively extending it to any environment – from on-premises data centers, colocation centers, in public clouds or at the edge. With the roll-out of 5G, businesses will accelerate innovation at the edge; IBM Cloud Satellite helps address the essential business requirements such as data sovereignty, security, compliance readiness and reliability.
- Confidential Computing is a cloud computing technology that isolates sensitive data in a protected CPU enclave during processing. The contents of the enclave i.e. the data being processed, and the techniques used to process it are accessible only to authorized programming code, and are invisible to others including the cloud provider. When used together with data encryption at rest and transit with exclusive control of keys, confidential computing eliminates barriers to moving sensitive or highly regulated data sets and application workloads from an on-premises IT infrastructure to a public cloud platform. IBM delivers confidential computing capabilities via IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Services which allows clients to access security that integrates both hardware and software and relies on the industry’s most highly certified cryptographic hardware.
- Industry specific clouds like IBM Cloud for Financial Services enables financial institutions, their partners and FinTechs to innovate and go-to-market faster with built-in regulatory and compliance controls and industry-leading security capabilities. Similarly, IBM Cloud for Telecommunications is designed to accelerate business transformation with the power of edge computing and 5G to address the unique requirements of operators, ecosystem partners and their enterprise clients.
What major channel trends for cloud would you forecast for the year 2022?
Organizations across the world are accelerating technology adoption with open innovation, ecosystem partnerships, and integrated customer experiences becoming some of the key business imperatives. Amidst wide scale technology adoption, ecosystem partners will play a key role in helping organizations accelerate their digital transformation. Some of the anticipated top cloud trends in the rapidly expanding partner ecosystem are:
Strategic migration of workloads gain momentum the hybrid cloud era
According to the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), Cloud’s next leap study 99% of organizations in India are using varied combinations of hybrid cloud. Continuing to move forward in their hybrid and multicloud journeys, enterprises will focus towards determining which workloads go where including evaluating migration of more mission-critical, complex workloads. In 2022, organizations will assess their IT landscape to select and determine which workloads and applications are best suited for the cloud and on-premises. Ecosystem partners will continue to play a critical role in helping businesses move forth in their migration journey.
Open technologies and microservices to enable enterprise modernization journey Some of the common challenges faced by businesses during their modernization journey are vendor lock-in, lack of portability and interoperability. Increasingly clients, as well as ecosystem partners like GSIs, ISVs and MSPs will overcome these challenges by embracing microservices and open platforms like Red Hat OpenShift that enable them to accelerate their modernization journey while building solutions once and delivering them securely across environments with speed and scale.
Security takes precedence amidst rising cyberthreats
With rising ransomware cyberattacks on IT infrastructure, business will realize the importance of embracing zero tolerance for trust in their security strategy. Both businesses and MSSP’s will continue to invest in strengthening their cybersecurity posture by adopting solutions that secure their crown jewels and protect their data through a single point-of-control while providing them a holistic view of threats across environments. We will also see technologies like AI will play a critical role in identifying and responding to threats more efficiently, as businesses move towards a “zero trust” approach to further reduce risks.
Would you please brief us on the kind of service/support you extend to your channel partners?
Ecosystem partners are central to our growth strategy. Last year, IBM announced $1 billion investment in its partner ecosystem to provide them with market-leading skills, expertise and support to ensure their success. We offer a wide array of flexible benefits to our partners which span across technical, go-to-market, financial and skill development. Some of the key initiatives include:
- Software Access Catalog available at no cost for new partners where they can access over 16,000 offering in the software access catalog to build products & services
- Co-creation with Client Engagement Centers
- Go-to-market Messaging Acceleration
- Service Competency incentives for Proof-of-Concept (POC)
- Access to IBM Hybrid Cloud Build team which offers hands-on assistance to leverage IBM technologies for hybrid cloud solutions, upskill teams and co-create a MVP.
- Funds for co-marketing initiatives enables partners to reimburse ‘eligible’ marketing expense for initiatives in cloud, software & cognitive systems
- Build Credit enables partners to build with USD 18,000 IBM Cloud credits.
Since cloud is a tech-intensive product, it requires proper skilling. Please detail us on the training programs offered by you to upskill your partners.
IBM is simplifying its engagements and has unified efforts across Build, Service, Sell tracks to help our partners demonstrate their expertise and increase market credibility. Some of the skilling initiatives include:
Alignment of skills to the competency framework and job roles with clear learning pathways and technology to bring IBM training into partners’ own learning management systems.
My Digital Marketing is a no-cost digital collaboration platform which offers ‘ready-to-execute’ digital campaigns with personalization and measurement mechanisms to better respond to new ways of communicating. In addition, we are enabling our partners to acquire new age digital skills by organizing Digital Marketing learning modules which are conducted on a regular basis.
Digital workshop provides partners access to key virtual selling, training and learning tools
IBM Virtual Client Center offers 24/7 access to solutions, demos, webinars and more
IBM Training provides access to digital badges and professional certifications and Seismic is a central repository which offers enablement materials on demand where updated IBM sales enablement content and industry use cases are available.