IBM's Rometty Slams Competitors With 'Yesterday's Business Model,' Spotlights Cognitive Era As Future Disruptor


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IBM Chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty Tuesday derided competitors who are failing to transform themselves for the coming cognitive era while spotlighting IBM's readiness for a future "rewritten in software."

"You see two of them coming together on yesterday's business model, and you see another one breaking up on yesterday's business model," Rometty said in a thinly veiled reference to the pending merger of Dell and EMC, and last year's split of Hewlett-Packard into two companies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc.

IBM's been talking a lot about cognitive computing of late, but the concept still causes confusion, even among sectors of the company's channel.

 [Related: 10 Key IBM Acquisitions That Could Boost Partners]

Rometty told thousands of partners in a keynote at IBM's PartnerWorld Leadership Conference in Orlando, Fla.,that the cognitive solutions IBM has developed over the last decade will usher in "a world that will be rewritten in software," and will present them with opportunities to build intelligence "into any process or product".

"Like digital today, the world will embrace cognitive tomorrow," Rometty said  "Without it, we'll be overwhelmed by data, and won't stand a chance to solve some of the big problems out there."

But for IBM, the technology that mimics human thought processes will usher in a new era that is the culmination of Big Blue's epic transformation.

First discussed two years earlier at the same event, that transformation has remade IBM as "a cognitive solutions and cloud platform company"— dramatically reshaping IBM's relationship with its channel by imposing far greater reliance on partners, said the CEO.

"What we're offering is a platform for you, and you are the ecosystem to drive that innovation," Rometty told conference attendees, three-quarters of whom were solution providers.

Cognitive represents the fourth pillar of IBM's multi-year transformation, following big data, cloud and mobility.

"The cognitive era stands to be the most disruptive, but it will be the most differentiating," Rometty said. And IBM will help partners "differentiate by being cognitive."

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