Page 2 of 2
Throughout her keynote Rometty spoke with an easy confidence, reeling off statistics about IBM's business while occasionally bantering with the audience. Once, when the early-morning attendees were slow in responding, Rometty said in a mock-threatening tone from the stage: "Don't make me walk out there."
Rometty devoted much of her keynote to what she sees as the new business opportunities for IBM and its channel partners -- which she referred to as "growth plays."
Some of the areas are already among IBM's target initiatives as Palmisano outlined in his keynote speech at the same conference one year ago. Rometty, for example, cited the growth potential of IBM's business analytics technologies and noted that 95 percent of those sales to SMBs go through partners.
Rometty also described "a new era of computing that is upon us" that is "defined by computing moving to the front office." That includes selling business analytics, "Big Data" management capabilities and other technologies not just to IT departments, but to chief financial officers, chief marketing officers and other non-traditional customers.
That resonated with Geert Hallemeesch, a partner with Numius, a Belgium-based company that develops business analytics solutions around IBM products, including its Cognos and SPSS software. Numius' customers increasingly include chief marketing officers and other non-IT executives. Hallemeesch, in an interview at the conference, cited a recent business analytics project Numius did for Tele Ticket Service as an example of the kind of new opportunities Rometty was describing.
"It's reassuring to hear that we're in the sweet spot of that strategy," he said.
Mainline's Kearney got a similar message. "She challenged us to sell IBM Cloud and [Global Technology Services] solutions inside our legacy [Systems & Technology Group] accounts, call on new customers in our respective territories and to find ways for us to be relevant to midmarket "front office" executives like physicians, chief marketing officers and business planners," he said.
"My take away of Ginni's keynote and the conference was, it's all about data. Capturing data, assimilating it, relating it and making its results available instantly to any device within the secure network is the new difference maker in today's business environment."
Rometty also promised continued investment in technical support, training and certification, and co-marketing resources for channel partners.