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IBM’s Dinesh Nirmal On Turbonomic Deal, AI’s Obstacles, And How Partners Are ‘Huge’ In Big Blue’s Business Automation Strategy

‘I would say our channel partners have been an amazing help from a skills perspective, from an education perspective, from being able to tell our story,’ Dinesh Nirmal, general manager of IBM’s automation business, tells CRN in an interview.

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IBM’s latest announced acquisition, of Boston-based application resource management (ARM) and network performance management (NPM) software provider Turbonomic, is another in a line of purchases to build a full-stack offering to help customers find and automate business processes to save money and achieve efficiency.

But along with this acquisition strategy, IBM has received and will need the help of channel partners, who have been a “huge help” in educating customers on the benefits of automation and tuning customers’ models, Dinesh Nirmal, general manager of IBM’s automation business, told CRN in an interview.

“I would say our channel partners have been an amazing help from a skills perspective, from an education perspective, from being able to tell our story,” Nirmal said. “They are the ones who can really go sit there and talk about RPA (robotic process automation), create a touchpoint, tell the differentiation that IBM brings.”

IBM channel partners have been helpful in two areas ripe for automation: using artificial intelligence (AI) to automate business processes within one segment or line-of-business in an enterprise and doing the same for larger-scale IT operations -- the more difficult of the two because of the needs around creating a model and training it with the customer’s data.

“That’s where the partners come in,” Nirmal said. “They can help us with tuning their models and a constant feedback loop into it. I would say across both pillars partners have been amazingly collaborative, cooperative and a help to our customers.”

John Longmire, chief revenue officer at Boston-based IBM partner Ironside, previously told CRN that bundled and integrated automation technologies like IBM Cloud Pak for Data plus the overall decrease in automation entry costs have made business automation tools “very accessible to medium and even smaller businesses.”

“Today, we see companies of all sizes being very successful with AI, even if they’re only building a handful of models,” Longmire said.

Here are five more questions Nirmal answered on what the Turbonomic acquisition means for channel partners.

 
 
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