IBM CEO Arvind Krishna Aims To Grow Revenue Coming From Partners To 50 Percent, Touts ‘Huge Amount’ Of Money To Be Made In AI
Wade Tyler Millward
“We want to work with the channel. I’ve stood here the previous few years and said, ‘Look, we are about 30 percent of our total revenue from clients coming from the channel.’ … I’d like to make that 50 percent of the revenue, not 30 percent of the revenue. And that is a hard commitment,” IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said on stage at the XChange Best of Breed Conference.
IBM Chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna repeated his pledge to create more opportunities for partners, laying out multiple opportunities for them to make money in artificial intelligence alongside the tech giant.
“We want to work with the channel,” Krishna told an audience of solution providers at CRN parent The Channel Company’s 2023 XChange Best of Breed Conference being held through Tuesday in Atlanta.
“I’ve stood here the previous few years and said, ‘Look, we are about 30 percent of our total revenue from clients coming from the channel.’ … I’d like to make that 50 percent of the revenue, not 30 percent of the revenue. And we will go down that path. And we’re going to continue going down this path. And that is a hard commitment.”
IBM CEO Arvind Krishna
The Armonk, N.Y.-based tech giant has invested in its channel partner program, adding more than 4,000 new partners in the last 12 months, Krishna said on stage Monday.
IBM has about 55,000 worldwide channel partners, 12,000 of them in North America, according to CRN’s 2023 Channel Chiefs.
Phil Godwin, president and COO of Clear Technologies, an Addison, Texas-based IBM partner and No. 389 on CRN’s 2023 Solution Provider 500, told CRN that he welcomes IBM’s efforts to grow revenue from partners to 50 percent.
The nw IBM Partner Plus program has been a positive for his partnership, Godwin said.
And while IBM has shown impressive AI technology, the partner role in bringing it to market is still in early days.
“I think the AI thing is interesting,” Godwin said. “I think we have to figure out where we fit in that.”
Krishna also used his time on stage to express condolences for the people affected by the Israel-Gaza conflict, to dismiss concerns around a Google AI monopoly and to illustrate partner opportunities with IBM subsidiary Red Hat.
Here’s what else Krishna had to say.