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Co-creation and a partner ecosystem core to IBM

Vendor and partner Logicalis talk about working relationship as an illustration of how Big Blue is working with the channel

IBM has referenced its relationship with Logicalis as evidence of the approach and commitment it is taking with partners.

Big Blue has evolved its business over the years, but it has been keen to stress that its commitment to the channel has remained unwavering, as well as its drive to deliver results, as seen with relationships like the one with Logicalis.

Andrew Wilcock, vice-president of ecosystems for UK and Ireland at IBM, said that the company has a defined offering and wants to support partners that would take its technology out to market.

“[IBM] has a strategy that’s very much focused around hybrid cloud and AI [artificial intelligence]. What we are doing is working with our partners, like Logicalis, in terms of how we enable them and how we help them to grow their respective businesses, using the underpinning of our technology to help them to differentiate themselves in the marketplace,” he said.

“We’ve got build, sell and service. Within build, we’re working with ISVs [independent software vendors] to embed our technology to enable them to be successful in terms of the marketplace.

“[As well as] Logicalis and other partners and distributors, you’ve also got [the service angle] within the ecosystem, working with the global systems integrators about how we embed our technology to enable them as they’re going through digital transformation journeys with their clients,” he said.

Working with the channel is as important as ever because of the need to ensure customers are given the results they were looking for from a solution, said Wilcock.

“One of the phrases coming down the line for a lot of this is ‘co-creation’,” he said, adding that the days of IBM dictating to partners is over. “It’s about, ‘How do you co-create?’”

Alex Louth, CEO of Logicalis UK and Ireland, said that the company’s relationship with IBM is about making sure customers are well served and supported.

“It’s important that we have a partnership with IBM. Together we can answer a lot more of the questions for the customer than on our own or IBM on its own and even beyond, even wider than that, as the ecosystem should go wider than that,” he said.

“It’s very important for us to consult with our customers to co-write, ‘What does good look like for you?’, and having this partnership in place allows us to spread much wider than we would have on our own,” he added.

Wilcock said that the Logicalis relationship is not unique and that IBM wants to work with more partners in a similar way as it continues to build its channel business.

“We want to work and invest in our partners and we want to recruit new partners. We’re seeing a number of new partners at an individual technology point come and talk to IBM in the past 12 months, given where IBM is in terms of its market-leading technology,” he said.

“The landscape from a partner perspective is definitely changing. Ecosystem is core to IBM strategy. For the past 12 to 24 months, the ecosystem has been very firmly a core part. How does IBM get to a partner-first approach in a lot of its partners? Working with the likes of Logicalis enables us to do that,” he added.

Louth described the channel as a “team sport”, and said customers are looking for solutions that are delivered from an ecosystem that could solve their problems.

“Many of our solutions have a number of different moving parts. That’s a huge opportunity for the partners to be that glue and be that important team member, that captain of that team, to make sure that the customer really gets a successful deployment and a successful answer to the business case,” he added.

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