Vikas Arora, Country Manager, Cloud Business, IBM India and South Asia, spoke to Amit Singh on the company’s strengths in cloud computing and how business partners can leverage the opportunities emanating in this space
What are the latest adoption trends you observe in the cloud services market space?
Cloud has moved on from just being an inexpensive storage and compute technology to one that is delivering higher value to the business. This higher value is made possible through technologies that are being delivered as-a-service, such as IoT, blockchain, cognitive solutions.
Enterprises and startups are tapping into these newer capabilities to bring forth cloud enabled solutions that are tailored to the specific requirements in the market. The public and private cloud is seeing great traction in the market, given that enterprises and governments alike have realized the power of the technology to bring in efficiency and growth prospects.
Hybrid cloud is bringing out the best of both the clouds. In the hybrid model, the private on-premise cloud can be tailored for security, stability and operational efficiency as per the requirements of the organization, while the public cloud can be leveraged for scale, speed and agility critical for success.
Keeping in mind the latest trend around cloud, IBM Cloud has been building its way for future to help the next era of businesses. It focuses around the core segments: from being enterprise strong, to help build organizations get value from their data and provide cloud system that encompasses a full range of cognitive abilities ranging from AI to machine learning and coupled with strong security and compliance capability.
Most of the enterprises are adopting multi-cloud strategy, which gives rise to challenges in cloud management and security. How is IBM geared to address this?
A study conducted by IDC last year found that 86 percent of enterprises predict they will need a multi-cloud approach to support their solutions within the next two years. The multi-cloud model provides numerous advantages. The primary among them is the ability to leverage the most apt and exclusive kind of cloud-services from a multiple and diverse set of providers at any given time. It enables the enterprises to streamline cloud to one that best fits the business. For example, different lines of businesses (LoBs) may have need for certain kind of agile capabilities and they procure their own capabilities over time. This may make business sense to the LoBs based on their requirements of quickly getting on-board or catching up to competitive threat fast and they may not have the luxury of going through the traditional IT procurement or governance channel.
Over time, with the different LoBs doing things independently there is a proliferation of many kinds of piecemeal cloud capabilities. While the mutli-cloud approach helps improve disaster recovery and facilitates the use of unique cloud-specific services from different providers thereby reducing costs, it also poses a threat from a security point of view.
We have identified this security challenge and today IBM is one of the first companies to provide an integrated cloud brokerage solution. IBM helps organizations to unify planning, consumption, delivery, and management in order to support a multi-sourced environment. Through various cloud offerings, we help our customers choose best-fit cloud providers based on application requirements, cost, performance and features.
What are your strengths in cloud computing in comparison to competition? How do you differentiate from others?
IBM Cloud has been built for the future to help usher in the next era of businesses and focuses around three pillars: it is enterprise strong, built to help companies get value from their data and a cloud possessing a full range of cognitive abilities, from machine learning to AI coupled with strong security and compliance capability. As companies build their cloud strategy, IBM cloud can also offer various forms of cloud-based services such as blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT). We provide end-to-end cloud suite of solutions, right from bare metal servers to the full cloud stack, on an open platform.
IBM Cloud is one of the most secure cloud platforms available today, and it is proven by the fact that we have a large roster of clients in some of the most highly regulated and data-sensitive industries, including global banks, healthcare organizations, e-commerce companies and government agencies. IBM’s partnerships with SAP, VMware, Apple and Red Hat among others have only strengthened its position as a leader in the market.
Over the last few years, we have invested billions of dollars to grow our cloud platform and deliver higher value capabilities to clients around the globe. We continue to add newer capabilities to our cloud portfolio and currently have 60 datacentres across 19 countries, including a cloud datacenter in Chennai.
What are the opportunities you see for channel partners in cloud space?
India is a key market for IBM and we are offering much richer incentives for partners, with a focus on the cloud business.
We now have a very selective approach for partners on our SaaS, IaaS offerings.
We are already working with partners to engage them on IBM Cloud platform, helping them achieve technical certifications, accelerate development, and offer support.
In the coming months, we will do significantly more go-to-market engagement with our partners, increase our co-marketing activities, joint customer calls and engagements and share more partner successes with customers. While large enterprise will continue to be our strength, IBM offerings, through partners, would mean a big focus on the commercial and the SME markets with the cloud consumption based model.
Please elaborate on your new Partner World program? What are the benefits it offers to cloud partners?
With IBM Cloud, Business Partners have access to a complete portfolio of cloud solutions to fuel clients’ cognitive business. We have 300 partners who work with us on SaaS solutions, one-third of them came with us in the last six months.
We have an extensive IBM PartnerWorld program which is a global marketing and enablement program designed to help IBM Business Partners take advantage of market opportunities and generate new revenue. The program benefits include a view to all marketing, sales, technical, training and collaboration resources.
The new Partner World program is designed to support and motivate all Business Partner types. All Business Partners will have opportunities to demonstrate capability through competencies and move up through the program levels. The competency skills requirement will recognize certified sales and technical skills but is not limited to that. As part of making the new program relevant to all types and models of Business Partner, the skills requirement can also be met by a having a verified solution based on IBM technology. For example, an ISV could achieve the skills requirement solely through their verified solutions. In addition, the revenue requirements for attaining the new competencies and program levels will now recognize the recurring revenue streams associated with “as a service” business models as well as influence and resale.
Business Partners who consult on and influence the deployment of client solutions based on IBM technology are eligible to attain competencies and advance through the program levels. The accreditation program that recognizes deployment skills is now integrated into the competencies with specific requirements. The sales success requirement can be met through the achievement of influence revenue.