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Kyndryl CEO Martin Schroeter: We Are Exiting The Influence Of IBM

Joseph F. Kovar

‘This is not a business that IBM really invested in. It chose not to. So we now have an opportunity to not only move into the ecosystem that matters, but also to invest in the business and create the kinds of offerings that our customers will invest in, but just as important, how they think about us,’ says Kyndryl CEO Martin Schroeter.

So Kyndryl is really a big startup.

I still consider us the world’s largest startup, just over 90,000 of us. We were born recently, so we are a startup. But at the same time, we were born as the largest in this space, probably 2X the next infrastructure services provider in our space. So we’re born with really wonderful, trusted customer relationships, with deep knowledge of their systems of record, deep knowledge of their ways of working, and how all these things link together. And obviously, with a lot of trust, because of the nature of the work they let us take care of. So we’re born well with our customers. We’ve got work to do to become fully independent. We’ve taken advantage of our freedom of action by moving into the ecosystem that matters.

Yet the IBM relationship is key, right?

We have a very substantial commercial relationship with IBM. I expect we are and will be for quite a while their largest customer. We also provide them some services. They’re not anywhere near our largest customer, but they are an important customer because we do work for them. But we are their largest customer. We manage more than half the mainframes, which means we also play a very important role in how customers experience the IBM mainframe platform, and other things. So the IBM relationship is important for us, and it’s important for them as well. And I think we’ll see it evolve as we go through time. It’s still very fresh. They still have to get used to us being independent. We have to get used to us using our independence. But the relationship is much more than the TSAs. It’s a very important commercial relationship, all designed by IBM, right? This was, as I was reminded, not a negotiation. As we say here, we didn’t get to pack our own suitcase for this journey. IBM packed the suitcase. We’re gonna play the hand we were dealt.

 
Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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