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IBM Worldwide Ecosystems Chief Bob Lord’s 7 Boldest Statements On IBM’s Red Hat OpenShift Sales Charge

Steven Burke

New IBM Senior Vice President of Worldwide Ecosystems and Blockchain Bob Lord says the company is upping its partner game as it sharpens its focus on Red Hat OpenShift as the standard for hybrid cloud and AI.

A Call To Partner Action From IBM CEO Arvind Krishna

IBM Senior Vice President Bob Lord says when IBM CEO Arvind Krishna asked him to kick the Red Hat OpenShift hybrid cloud and AI partner ecosystem into high, gear the message was, “Step up” and “really go hard” to make it happen.

“Arvind and I started to work together in the software group,” said Lord. “And he’s like, ‘There’s something here. You have got to go after this.’ As the journey has progressed, he has now asked me to step up and say, ‘OK, it’s yours. We are expecting you to really go hard on this.’”

Krishna’s strong belief in the Red Hat OpenShift ecosystem is critical, said Lord. “When it comes down from the top, everyone gets aligned,” he said.

Lord, the onetime former global CEO of dot-com solution provider darling Razorfish, said it was IBM’s audacious $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat under the direction of Krishna that has set the stage for the partner ecosystem renaissance.

“The watershed moment for me was the acquisition of Red Hat because it fundamentally pivoted the company,” said Lord. “The second watershed moment, though, is having Arvind be very clear about what the software strategy is, having us develop this platform, the mandate around OpenShift so that we can activate the ecosystem at scale.”

Lord—a self-described “technologist at heart”—said the new go-to-market model means IBM is no longer competing with its partner ecosystem in the Red Hat OpenShift architectural cloud battle. “We’re supporting the ecosystem with OpenShift,” said Lord. “We’re not competing against the ecosystem. That is the subtlety in 2021. ... It’s a big change.”

Here is a look at Lord’s seven boldest statements on the big ecosystem changes and what it means for IBM partners.