IBM To Add More Than 700 Customer Success Managers This Year

‘We view it as a good thing for customers,’ Boston-based IBM partner Ironside Group’s CEO Tim Kreytak tells CRN in an interview. ‘IBM is a big place. It’s a way to have a concierge and a way to get to the right people and resources.’


IBM will hire more than 700 customer success management (CSM) employees worldwide this year, according to IBM’s global vice president of customer success, which has the potential to benefit the tech giant’s partners.

IBM has already grown its CSM organization from 300 people to more than 1,000 in 2021, according to an article IBM’s Janine Sneed published on the website of Raleigh, N.C.-area TV station WRAL. The Armonk, N.Y.-based has more than 345,000 employees, according to a regulatory filing.

“We knew we needed (to) invest in technical expertise to help customers deploy, adopt, and get value from their Hybrid Cloud and AI solutions,” Sneed said in the post, “so we expanded the Customer Success Management organization growing from 300 to over 1,000 in 2021.”

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CRN has reached out to IBM for additional comment.

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IBM CEO Arvind Krishna told listeners to the company’s most recent earnings call, in July, that IBM’s hybrid cloud and AI strategy “is resonating among our clients.”

“Hybrid cloud is more than a strategy,” Krishna said. “It’s the reality for our clients today. They have multiple public clouds, private clouds, on-premises workloads and are dealing with stringent regulatory and security requirements. Our hybrid cloud platform gives clients the ability to flexibly deploy and manage data and applications across any environment.”

IBM’s AI-powered Cloud Pak offerings, which are built on Red Hat OpenShift, gained momentum with enterprise clients during the quarter, IBM executives said on the call. Cloud Pak and hybrid cloud platform growth drove the $6.1 billion in second quarter sales for IBM’s cloud and cognitive software segment, an increase of 6.1 percent year over year.

Sneed said that the company has also launched the CSM onboarding and learning programs to provide technical training on IBM and Red Hat products as well as professional training to recruits. CSMs “help customers adopt and get value out of software and solutions,” she said.

“IBM CSMs take this adoption to the next level as CSM ‘Architects’ who help customers identify use cases to move to the Cloud, lay out enterprise Cloud architectures, build Minimum Viable Products, and ultimately ensure modernized applications scale into production,” she said.

For Boston-based IBM partner Ironside Group, CSMs can help with implementing IBM solutions in situations where Ironside is hired to consult primarily on a customer’s technology strategy or on a particular problem and doesn’t build a solution in house, CEO Tim Kreytak told CRN in an interview. Ironside also has its own in-house CSMs to help with certain customers.

IBM CSMs can also help Ironside with sharing information on when a particular customer needs more help and services, he said.

“We view it as a good thing for customers,” Kreytak said. “IBM is a big place. It’s a way to have a concierge and a way to get to the right people and resources.”

As IBM boosts its employee count, Kreytak said he hopes to see more people in the demand generation, product awareness and marketing side of IBM. “These are areas where it never hurts to have more people,” he said.