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CEO Arvind Krishna: 10 Keys To IBM’s $1B Partner Ecosystem Bet

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna says the company’s $1 billion partner ecosystem bet is driving ’clarity’ in partner incentives, segmentation and tools. Here is a look at 10 keys to Krishna’s partner ecosystem bet.

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A Win-Win-Win

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna’s philosophy on the partner ecosystem value proposition is simple: “Anything that succeeds in this world has to be a win-win-win.”

“It has to be good for us, it has to be good for the partner, and it has to be good for the client,” said Krishna in an exclusive interview with CRN.

Under a new simplified go-to-market model, put into place this year, IBM will go direct to the 500 largest customers seeking an “integrated” set of solutions from IBM, said Krishna.

Even in that direct sales large account segment there is still a “massive market” for the channel given that there is $5 for build and service on every $1 of products sold, said Krishna.

“There is a certain set of clients where we will largely go direct for the product sale,” he said. “There is a big role for partners around providing—whether you use the word ’build’ or ’service’—because not every customer has got the capacity or even the desire to do it all themselves.”

In the next segment of several thousand accounts, Krishna said, IBM will “go somewhat directly, but there is more opportunity for partners including in the resale of products.”

Beyond those next several thousand accounts, the go-to-market is completely through partners, said Krishna. “I really want to depend only on partners [there],” he said.

Krishna is determined to build a robust ecosystem of partners working hand in hand with IBM to educate customers on why the “best architecture for clients” is an IBM Linux container Kubernetes platform on-premises and in the public cloud. “If we can get that through [to the partners and the market]—which is a massive advantage, we believe, for our clients and our partners—then there is a lot of money to be made because we are going through this tectonic shift,” he said.

 
 
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