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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.

What are some areas that you want to do more partnering in? And who are some of the key new partners you’ve brough on since the spin off from IBM?

In some ways, our partners can also be described, sort of, how our customers would describe what we do. That infrastructure layer is so important, and our biggest partners there, which we were prevented from having a relationship with, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and AWS, they sit at the core of the partnerships. And each of those partnerships has, as I said before, a joint co-investment in skills. They have a joint go-to-market, so we and Microsoft, we and Google, we and AWS, show up in the customer’s environment together. And they have co-innovation with us. So our developers, our fingers-on-keyboards people, are sitting down with them and trying to figure out where’s the best place we can build something together. So they sit at the base of our partnership network. And then others would sit on top of that. So we now have a partnership, for instance, with VMware, which we rekindled because we were previously asked [by IBM] to help Red Hat, and Red Hat and VMware are competitors. VMware sits on top of all those clouds and on top of our skills. Our partnerships with Juniper [Networks] and Lenovo and Dell [Technologies] and the others all sit on top of that infrastructure layer. But they also sit on top of our hyperscaler cloud alliance strategy. That is for our customers, the journey that each of them is on: How do they get more of their stuff attached to or running on a cloud so they can get the benefit of whatever it is they’re looking for on the cloud.

Kyndryl has yet to make any acquisitions. Are acquisitions part of your plan? Do you see inorganic growth opportunities?

The timing’s just not right for us yet. Broadly speaking, we’re 90,000 people. We have to move all of our systems, as I said. We have customers we have to bring in. I don’t think we as a team need to figure out if we were to buy some skills, for instance, how do we integrate, say, 1,000 people into 90,000. That’s just not a challenge we’re ready to take on. We’ve got plenty to do on the spin. And if it were some intellectual property that would really help our platform, look, we were born so well with IP and data. We’re just trying to get our arms around what we have before we go figure out what else would we put in there.

So yes, is the short answer. At some point, we will become acquisitive. At some point, we will see things that can really help us accelerate or extend our lead in infrastructure services. But for now, we’ll just keep completely focused on executing the plays we’re running: get these alliances really successful, focus on our advanced delivery efforts, and get these accounts that need some attention fixed as quickly as we can.

 
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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