Palmisano closed his keynote with a plea for channel partners to continuously innovate, and improve their skills and service capabilities. "If you don't innovate and look to the future, you won't exist because business is tough," he said. "Competition is ruthless and tough. If you don't invest and you don't look to the future, you won't exist."
"The lesson to me is differentiate yourself," he said, urging the attending partners to develop their skills and intellectual property to "move up the value chain. Being cheaper isn't enough. Being the low-cost provider is temporal."