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IBM CEO Arvind Krishna: 10 Boldest Statements From CRN’s Exclusive Interview

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna, who will celebrate his first year at the helm of the 110-year old company on April 6, sounded off on everything from the blockbuster SolarWinds breach, IBM’s Red Hat share gains and why IBM’s AI is more ‘trusted’ than any other company.

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Capturing The Trillion-Dollar Hybrid Cloud Opportunity

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna has his sights set on making IBM and its partners the No. 1 provider of hybrid cloud and AI in what he calls a trillion-dollar market opportunity.

“I want our partners to be the best at establishing a hybrid cloud architecture and an AI footprint at our clients,” said Krishna in an exclusive interview with CRN. “Look at the market opportunity. If I look at that intersection, let‘s just call it a trillion-dollar addressable market.”

IBM is investing $1 billion in “rapidly expanding” its partner ecosystem as it sharpens its focus on hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence AI, said Krishna. “To accelerate consumption of our hybrid cloud platform, we are also rapidly expanding our ecosystem by adding hundreds of new partnerships with global systems integrators, independent software vendors and major third-party software partners, and also elevating the role of partners,” said Krishna. “We are investing $1 billon in our ecosystem so that our partners can play a much bigger role in fulfilling the many needs of our clients.”

Krishna said his “maniacal focus” on hybrid cloud is focused squarely on the Red Hat OpenShift platform. “You have to have an architecture with which you‘re going to go do this,” he said. “If you don’t have an architecture you’re just doing ad hoc services. So we begin by saying the hybrid cloud platform, aka Red Hat OpenShift, is at the heart of what we want to do.”

That commitment to OpenShift has resulted in IBM putting its onetime proprietary software on top of OpenShift with IBM Cloud Pak for Data, IBM Cloud Pak For Business Automation, IBM Cloud Pak For Watson AIOps, IBM Cloud Pak For Integration, IBM Cloud Pak For Network Automation, IBM Cloud Pak For Security and IBM Cloud Pak System.

Krishna said Red Hat OpenShift is flat out the best architecture for a Kubernetes-based container platform on-premises or in a public cloud. That architecture, he said, provides a “massive advantage” for partners and their customers.

The goal, Krishna said, is for IBM to double its revenue with partners over the next three to five years. “I want our partners to be the best at establishing a hybrid architecture at our clients and establishing an AI footprint at our clients,” he said.

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