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Drawing on its partner network and Red Hat’s open posture, IBM enables full-stack transformation

TBR attended IBM Think in a virtual format for the third consecutive year, and this time around we sensed a new IBM. No longer beholden to its low-margin managed infrastructure services business, IBM is emerging a more agile, streamlined and focused organization, especially as it looks to lead the digital revolution through two overarching areas: getting customers to embrace a hybrid architecture and helping them unlock data-driven insights through AI.

This strategic pivot was driven home not only by high-level executives, including CEO Arvind Krishna himself in an exclusive Q&A session with the analyst community, but also through the various partnership announcements, service launches and upskilling programs unveiled over the course of the interactive, two-day event.

Through Red Hat, Software and Consulting, IBM has created an end-to-end approach to unlocking hybrid cloud’s value

Closing in on the three-year anniversary of its acquisition of Red Hat, IBM (NYSE: IBM) continues to execute on its hybrid cloud vision, offering the services and software needed to integrate and orchestrate enterprise workloads across multiple environments. With the exception of some mono cloud and data center-only customers, enterprises are largely heterogenous in how they consume IT, drawing on multiple architectures, vendors and environments.

Considering IBM’s large legacy software install base and ties to the mainframe, this trend bodes well for the company as it can leverage Red Hat OpenShift — which now has roughly four times the number of customers it had prior to the acquisition — to unlock siloed data and extend it to any public cloud. The challenge, however, as articulated by Roger Premo, general manager, corporate development and strategy, is that getting greenfield applications to the cloud is only Step 1 in achieving a scalable hybrid cloud framework, yet the amount of time, level of skills needed and executive-level pushback are some of the factors that keep enterprises from expanding on their lift-and-shift investments.

 

Hoping to advance customers through the containerization, operational change and replatforming phases of hybrid cloud adoption, IBM is revamping its go-to-market model, closely aligning the Software and Consulting business units to address customer needs end to end. For instance, IBM Consulting is invested in the technology behind IBM’s hybrid cloud and AI vision, providing clients the tools needed to provision their own hybrid environments, which, as phases of adoption become more complicated, will naturally pull in more automation, observability and AI assets, as well as additional advisory assistance to help determine which clouds are best suited to which workloads.

Specifically, Premo highlighted the data fabric, which has grown synonymous with IBM Cloud Pak for Data, as one of the technology pieces underpinning IBM Consulting’s value proposition for building and modernizing applications in a hybrid cloud environment. While IBM is still committed to supporting legacy data warehouses and on-premises databases, the company is likely encouraging customers to adopt the data fabric for integrated capabilities that help simplify data management, such as cataloging and automated governance. Essentially an ecosystem of data powered by active metadata, IBM’s data fabric allows various AI offerings, from decision intelligence to machine learning, to run in any environment, while maintaining a common, governed framework.

IBM’s partner strategy continues to evolve post-Red Hat

IBM has always prided itself on having a broad partner ecosystem but appears to be taking a page out of Red Hat’s playbook by creating a more open position in how it goes to market. For instance, as a full-stack vendor specializing in infrastructure, platform software and professional services, IBM naturally runs up against competition in many areas but appears more willing to risk coopetition to do what is in the best interests of the customer.

TBR notes this is a stark contrast from the SoftLayer days, when IBM seemed more concerned with protecting its direct business interests. Today, Big Blue is absorbing more of Red Hat’s operational best practices and is investing in dedicated teams across the ecosystem, including niche ISVs, hyperscalers, global systems integrators (GSIs), advisory firms and monolithic SaaS companies. At the same time, preserving Red Hat’s independence remains equally important, and as Premo indicates, the relationship between IBM and Red Hat is asymmetrical in that IBM is biased toward Red Hat but Red Hat is not biased toward IBM.

 

IBM inks strategic partner agreement with AWS to scale ‘as a Service’ software

In one of the more newsworthy announcements at IBM Think Digital 2022, IBM unveiled it is working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) (Nasdaq: AMZN) as part of a multiyear agreement that brings the IBM Software portfolio, delivered “as a Service,” to AWS’ cloud infrastructure. Customers can now take advantage of the popular click-to-buy experience on the AWS Marketplace to run IBM data and automation assets, including Db2, API Connect and Watson Orchestrate, among others, in an AWS environment. This partnership announcement is a testament to the major strategy shift IBM made three years ago when it acquired Red Hat and standardized on the OpenShift platform, which, being based on Linux and containers, makes the platform and subsequent IBM software applicable on any infrastructure, including AWS.

This platform approach is also providing IBM the flexibility to adapt alongside changing customer buying habits, including a shift toward cloud managed services, which is the fastest-growing usage of OpenShift and prompted the launch of Red Hat OpenShift on AWS (ROSA) at last year’s Red Hat Summit. Customers looking to offload operations to site reliability engineers (SREs) will be able to deploy IBM SaaS offerings integrated with ROSA as a managed service, although IBM is continuing to support customers looking to protect their capex investments as there are over 30 IBM licensed software offerings available on the AWS Marketplace. Expanding service availability is only one part of the partner agreement as IBM indicates it will work with AWS in other areas, including co-selling and co-marketing initiatives that could engage AWS sales teams and help IBM further tap into AWS’ expansive customer base.

 

Strategically, IBM is staying the course with its strategy, leveraging Red Hat’s neutral status and integrations with hyperscalers to sell more software and attached services. Offering IBM SaaS on AWS is a strategic move as it will allow IBM to address customers that have years of experience running IBM software but want the scale of AWS’ cloud infrastructure, which TBR interprets as IBM prioritizing partner clouds at the expense of its own so it can focus solely on OpenShift and Software. Further, as IBM looks to grow its software business, particularly through the monetization of “as a Service” models built on OpenShift, leveraging partner marketplaces will be key, especially considering IBM lacks marketplace capabilities at scale and IT procurement continues to rally around the digital catalogs of AWS, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Google Cloud (Nasdaq: GOOGL).

 

Use of RISE with SAP internally aligns with IBM’s vision to bring legacy ERP to the hybrid cloud

IBM joined the roster of 1,000-plus RISE with SAP customers, announcing it is migrating to SAP Business Suite 4 HANA (S/4HANA) to streamline business operations across its Software, Infrastructure and Consulting units. This announcement comes just months after IBM unveiled a new supplier option via the BREAKTHROUGH with IBM for RISE with SAP program, which enables customers to bundle professional services with IBM IaaS offerings as part of a unified contract and set of service-level agreements (SLAs).

IBM’s new migration project will leverage the premium supplier option and bring over 375 terabytes of on-premises data to IBM Power on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) on IBM Cloud. While IBM is partnering with GSIs in many areas, SAP (NYSE: SAP) implementations is likely one of the areas where competition is fiercer between IBM and its peers, especially as the end-of-life deadline for legacy SAP R3 approaches. However, the premium supplier option paired with IBM’s over 38,000 trained SAP consultants could help the company better tap into SAP’s base of over 30,000 on-premises ERP customers and challenge the likes of Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and Deloitte.



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The pandemic’s lasting impact on IT services: Who’s leading through 2022 and beyond

Join Practice Manager Patrick Heffernan, Principal Analyst Boz Hristov, Senior Analyst Elitsa Bakalova, Senior Analyst Kelly Lesiczka and Analyst John Croll for a discussion on which vendors have fared best in IT services, consulting and digital transformation amid the global pandemic. The team will evaluate the strategies and investments made by different vendors, including in alliances, M&A, talent and portfolio transformations, that improved or hindered their position in the market.

 

In this FREE webinar you’ll learn:

  • Key investments driving revenue growth acceleration for some benchmarked vendors
  • Automation as the clear, successful path forward as vendors’ HR strategies have reached an inflection point
  • How consultancies are enabling hybrid cloud while bolstering on-premises enhancements to flourish

 

Mark your calendars for Thursday, June 9, 2022, at 1 p.m. EDT,
and REGISTER to reserve your space.

 

 

Related content:

  1. Digital transformation, cybersecurity and cryptocurrency: How the war in Ukraine will change technology forever

 

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2022 Predictions: Data Center

Join Principal Analyst & Practice Manager Angela Lambert Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, at 1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST for an in-depth, exclusive review of the Top 3 Predictions for Data Center in 2022, part of TBR’s Predictions special series examining market trends and business changes in key markets, such as cloud, IT services, digital transformation and telecom. 

Data center infrastructure vendors are racing to further entrench themselves into customers’ ecosystems, from managed services to hybrid cloud enablement, to diversify their revenue beyond hardware and create more reliable revenue streams. During this webinar, we will discuss three key areas where vendors are innovating and reinventing to carve out space in evolving markets.

Don’t miss:

  • How hardware subscription offerings will be refined to boost traction
  • How infrastructure vendors will embrace ecosystems
  • How vendors will attempt to gain share in edge compute

Mark your calendars for Thursday, Feb. 17, at 1 p.m. EST,
and REGISTER to reserve your space.

Related content:

  1. Top 3 Predictions for Data Center in 2022

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Top 3 Predictions for Cloud Infrastructure & Platforms in 2022

As vendors embrace open, hybrid architectures, PaaS emerges as the source of differentation

Vendors adjust strategies as clients ask for open and flexible IT

Customer demand for more open, cross-cloud services will shape vendor investments through 2022. Vendors traditionally known for locking customers in to their technology, including IaaS incumbent Amazon Web Services (AWS), will likely re-evaluate their portfolios and go-to-market messaging in the coming year. This could have lasting impacts on peers such as IBM and Google Cloud, which use openness as a competitive differentiator. For example, this past year AWS took a big leap forward with the general availability of EKS (Elastic Kubernetes Service) Anywhere, which allows customers to create and manage Kubernetes clusters inside their data centers.

Along with Outposts, AWS markets EKS Anywhere as part of its hybrid portfolio, which is typically just an extension of AWS cloud services to on-premises environments. However, for many competing vendors like IBM and Google Cloud, hybrid cloud has come to mean supporting customers’ workloads not only on premises but also across competitors’ clouds. AWS could similarly go down this route to better compete and may surprise the market in 2022 by offering EKS on other public clouds. Oracle is another example of a vendor known for confining customers to its cloud stack; yet, as Oracle looks to position itself as the No. 4 cloud leader in 2022, it could slowly embrace deployment methods outside Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). This trend is reflected in Oracle’s newer open-source application development and management platform, which is somewhat comparable to Red Hat OpenShift, and is expected to be deployable to third-party clouds.

2022 cloud infrastructure & platforms predictions

  • Hybrid remains the new norm
  • Bringing cloud to the customer: Distrubuted cloud moves from experiment to niche delivery method
  • IaaS is about scale; PaaS is about differentiation

Learn more in our webinar 2022 Predictions: Cloud

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Telecom Business Research’s 2022 Predictions is a special series examining market trends and business changes in key markets. Covered segments include cloud, telecom, devices, data center, and services & digital.

Think Digital 2021: IBM brings AI to hybrid cloud

Integration of AI into open architecture positions IBM hybrid cloud as ideal platform for mission-critical workloads

Since acquiring Red Hat, IBM has undergone a major strategic shift to accommodate for hybrid cloud, abiding by the philosophy that the hybrid model — whether it consists of core or edge infrastructure and/or multiple public clouds — captures more value than a traditional cloud. Drawing on more than a decade of experience in traditional and cloud-ready infrastructure, IBM provides a foundation on which to run Red Hat OpenShift and deliver a common software layer designed to abstract the underlying complexities.

However, Red Hat’s prowess in containers and Linux only completed half the story as IBM built on top of the platform with a suite of software, including IBM Cloud Paks and partner SaaS, and services supported by the “advise, build, move, manage” methodology that trickles down the technology stack. Based on Red Hat OpenShift, which has grown to nearly 3,000 clients, this architecture gives credence to this statement from IBM Cloud & Data Platforms SVP Rob Thomas: “There is no AI without IA (information architecture).” A key theme at Think Digital 2021, AI is becoming more relevant in IBM’s overall strategy as CEO Arvind Krishna looks to define IBM as a “hybrid cloud and AI company.”

Unifying AI with hybrid cloud speaks to IBM’s attempts to gain share in “Chapter 2 of the Cloud,” or take large amounts of data, which can largely be accessed through AI, and extend it to the cloud. Given that operational AI is most successful running on containers and Kubernetes by allowing users to apply AI algorithms across architectures with consistency, IBM again benefits from Red Hat’s underlying platform and gains positioning to deliver AI to the enterprise with a degree of flexibility and vendor-agnosticism. For example, IBM Watson Studio is available as an add-on to the new Red Hat OpenShift Data Science service, to create and manage AI. With the support for Red Hat, applying AI to areas such as security and compliance, application modernization, IT support, and business process transformation could be the differentiating factor IBM needs to capture new cloud customers outside the IBM ecosystem.  

IBM tackles automation as it looks to democratize AI and bring all software back to the platform

IBM asserted itself in the AIOps market at Think Digital 2020 with the announcement of Watson AIOps, which is designed to automate how clients run their IT systems. However, in the last year, IBM has accelerated investments outside AIOps, making big bets on automation underscored by acquisitions in robotic process automation, process mining and business process automation. These investments were likely prompted by market changes stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, which Salesforce President Bret Taylor noted at the event brought a “decade’s worth of digital transformation into 13 months.”

Building on last year’s theme of solidifying a hybrid cloud architectural approach through Red Hat, at Think Digital 2021, IBM (Nasdaq: IBM) emphasized the importance of infusing AI into the platform to help enterprises make sense of data and achieve true insights in a digital economy. IBM again used the event to emphasize the power of adopting hybrid cloud architecture integrated with AI-driven cognitive services to help businesses adapt to change. Naturally, AI and automation were key themes of the one-day virtual event, and discussions with CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) and Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL), among other companies, highlighted how AI has supported IT and business transformation across industries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

mimik pioneers a unique hybrid edge cloud solution that empowers the localized autonomy of devices

The journey to capitalize on the edge is rooted in deep telco experience, coupled with a passion for breaking boundaries

A brief history lesson is important to understand how mimik came to be. It was during her tenure as CEO of Vodafone xone that mimik CEO and founder Fay Arjomandi realized the growing importance of decentralizing data analytics and processing to the edge. Through the testing of capacity improvement and utilization of network traffic, Arjomandi noted the inherent delay that occurs when traffic hits a data center, causing extensive issues such as bottlenecks as data struggles to reach the back end of the application. This was all occurring in the context of the rapid evolution of devices themselves, increasing not only in sheer volume but also in sophistication.

Arjomandi came to the realization that the existing architecture of the time was not equipped to support the ongoing shift to a hyperconnected digital world where almost every object can be smart. The future is not about vertically integrated devices that communicate in a linear fashion to the cloud or on-premises data center environments, but rather will be rooted in horizontal platforms where data can be processed and exchanged across diverse networks, platforms and systems. Created in the context of IoT but viewed with new eyes as the Internet of Systems versus “things,” mimik pioneered a new architecture in the form of a hybrid cloud edge solution that enables any computing device to act as a cloud server with the ability to communicate autonomously and locally and to make decisions across and within networks. 

Empowering local systems to make autonomous decisions is mimik’s core value 

By virtue of placing enterprise applications closer to where data is created and where insights are actionable, edge devices have always maintained some degree of autonomy. That said, there has also been an underlying perception that the cloud has an umbilical-cord-like function in that it ultimately serves as the main governing force and point at which most of the data is processed, analyzed and housed. mimik has cut the cord, recognizing that as IT becomes increasingly decentralized, localized servers and sensors are evolving beyond mere endpoints and becoming part of powerful systems that can function independently of the cloud. mimik’s Hybrid edgeCloud application development platform was born out of the realization that applications can interact locally with the power to function as clusters of communities that communicate, inform and analyze data at the source.

The edge has traditionally been viewed as a localized extension of the cloud, providing a 1+1=3 opportunity to capitalize on the inherent benefits of the cloud with localized data processing and reduced latency. In the context of an increasingly hyperconnected world, the devices and sensors that interact at the edge are taking a central role, driving more and more use cases, rather than acting just as add-ons to amplify the value of the cloud. By focusing on what devices can accomplish as part of interconnected systems at the edge, mimik, a Canada-based technology firm, has emerged with an advanced out-of-the-box solution, Hybrid edgeCloud, which enables any computing device to act as a cloud server. The multiple positive implications include lowered latency, reduced constraints on network bandwidth, heightened security and decreased cost of cloud hosting — all due to the reduction of traffic traveling to and from the cloud and the enhanced connectivity within and between systems of devices.

Partnership with Palantir further unlocks IBM’s AI value

Since Arvind Krishna took the helm as CEO in April, IBM has engaged in a series of acquisitions and partnerships to support its transformative shift to fully embrace an open hybrid cloud strategy. The company is further solidifying the strategy with the announcement that IBM and Palantir are coming together in a partnership that combines AI, hybrid cloud, operational intelligence and data processing into an enterprise offering. The partnership will leverage Palantir Foundry, a data integration and analysis platform that enables users to easily manage and visualize complex data sets, to create a new solution called Palantir for IBM Cloud Pak for Data. The new offering, which will be available in March, will leverage AI capabilities to help enterprises further automate data analysis across a wide variety of industries and reduce inherent silos in the process.

Combining IBM Cloud Pak for Data with Palantir Foundry supports IBM’s vision of connecting hybrid cloud and AI

A core benefit that customers will derive from the collaboration between IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Palantir (NYSE: PLTR) is the easement of the pain points associated with adopting a hybrid cloud model, including integration across multiple data sources and the lack of visibility into the complexities of cloud-native development. By partnering with Palantir, IBM will be able to make its AI software more user-friendly, especially for those customers who are not technical by nature or trade. Palantir’s software requires minimal, if any, coding and enhances the accessibility of IBM’s cloud and AI business.

According to Rob Thomas, IBM’s senior vice president of software, cloud and data, the new offering will help to boost the percentage of IBM’s customers using AI from 20% to 80% and will be sold to “180 countries and thousands of customers,” which is “a pretty fundamental change for us.” Palantir for IBM Cloud Pak for Data will extend the capabilities of IBM Cloud Pak for Data and IBM Cloud Pak for Automation, and according to a recent IBM press release, the new solution is expected to “simplify how businesses build and deploy AI-infused applications with IBM Watson and help users access, analyze and take action on the vast amounts of data that is scattered across hybrid cloud environments, without the need for deep technical skills.”

By drawing on the no-code and low-code capabilities of Palantir’s software as well as the automated data governance capabilities embedded into the latest update of IBM Cloud Pak for Data, IBM is looking to drive AI adoption across its businesses, which, if successful, can serve as a ramp to access more hybrid cloud workloads. IBM perhaps summed it up best during its 2020 Think conference, with the comment: “AI is only as good as the ecosystem that supports it.” While many software companies are looking to democratize AI, Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud approach, underpinned by Linux and Kubernetes, positions IBM to bring AI to chapter 2 of the cloud.

For historical context, it is important to remember that the acquisition of Red Hat marked the beginning of IBM’s dramatic transformation into a company that places the values of flexibility, openness, automation and choice at the core of its strategic agenda. IBM Cloud Paks, which are modular AI-powered solutions that enable customers to efficiently and securely move workloads to the cloud, have been a central component of IBM’s evolving identity.

After more than a year of messaging to the market the critical role Red Hat OpenShift plays in IBM’s hybrid cloud strategy, Big Blue is now tasked with delivering on top of the foundational layer with the AI capabilities it has been tied to since the inception of Watson. By leveraging the openness and flexibility of OpenShift, IBM continues to emphasize its Cloud Pak portfolio, which serves as the middleware layer, allowing clients to run IBM software as close or as far away from the data as they desire. This architectural approach supports IBM’s cognitive applications, such as Watson AIOps and Watson Analytics, while new integrations, such as those with Palantir Foundry will support the data integration process for customers’ SaaS offerings.

The partnership will provide IBM and Palantir with symbiotic benefits in scale, customer reach and capability

The partnership with IBM is a landmark relationship for Palantir that provides access to a broad network of internal sales and research teams as well as IBM’s expansive global customer base. To start, Palantir will now have access to the reach and influence of IBM’s Cloud Paks sales force, which is a notable expansion from its current team of 30. The company already primarily sells to companies that have over $500 million in revenue, and many of them already have relationships with IBM. By partnering with IBM, Palantir will not only be able to deepen its reach into its existing customer base but also have access to a much broader customer base across multiple industries. The partnership additionally provides Palantir with access to the IBM Data Science and AI Elite Team, which helps organizations across industries address data science use cases as well as the challenges inherent in AI adoption.

Partners such as Palantir support IBM, including by helping the company scale Red Hat software and double down on industry cloud efforts

As a rebrand of its partner program, IBM unveiled the Public Cloud Ecosystem program nearly one year ago, onboarding key global systems integrators, such as inaugural partner Infosys, to push out IBM Cloud Paks solutions to customers on a global scale. As IBM increasingly looks up the technology stack, where enterprise value is ultimately generated, the company is emphasizing the IBM Cloud Pak for Data, evidenced by the November launch of version 3.5 of the solution, which offers support for new services.

In addition, IBM refreshed the IBM Cloud Pak for Automation while integrating robotic process automation technology from the acquisition of WDG Automation. Alongside the product update, IBM announced there are over 50 ISV partners that offer services integrated with IBM Cloud Pak for Data, which is also now available on the Red Hat Marketplace. IBM’s ability to leverage technology and services partners to draw awareness to its Red Hat portfolio has become critical and has helped accelerate the vendor’s efforts in industry cloud following the launch of the financial services-ready public cloud and the more recent telecommunications cloud. New Cloud Pak updates such as these highlight IBM’s commitment to OpenShift as well as its growing ecosystem of partners focused on AI-driven solutions.

Palantir’s software, which serves over 100 clients in 150 countries, is diversified across various industries, and the new partner solution will support IBM’s industry cloud strategy by targeting AI use cases. Palantir for IBM Cloud Pak for Data was created to mitigate the challenges faced by multiple industries, including retail, financial services, healthcare and telecommunications — in other words, “some of the most complex, fast-changing industries in the world,” according to Thomas. For instance, many financial services organizations have been involved in extensive M&A activity, which results in a fragmented and dispersed environment involving multiple pools of data.

Palantir for IBM Cloud Pak for Data will remediate associated challenges with rapid data integration, cleansing and organization. According to IBM’s press release, Guy Chiarello, chief administrative officer and head of technology at Fiserv (Nasdaq: FISV), an enterprise focused on supporting financial services institutions, reacted positively to the announcement, stating, “This partnership between two of the world’s technology leaders will help companies in the financial services industry provide business-ready data and scale AI with confidence.” 

Rising cloud adoption and associated complexities present opportunities across service lines

Changes in general purchasing habits brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have proved disruptive for many professional services vendors; however, the market is expected to rebound quickly as customers replace legacy IT systems with cloud solutions. As a result, managed cloud services is expected to be the fastest-growing subsegment of the cloud professional services market, especially as hybrid IT sprawl intensifies. However, some other submarkets, primarily application development and maintenance, will feel some pressure from automation, especially as adoption of cloud-native technologies rises and plays a role in suppressing labor-driven resources.

IBM Think Digital 2020: Making the case for better together

IBM places hybrid cloud at the center of its digital transformation strategy from both a product and a services perspective

At both the IBM and Red Hat sessions, there was no shortage of content that placed hybrid cloud at the center of digital transformation. Through various keynotes and sessions, IBM’s architectural approach, which places Red Hat as the foundational layer for future innovations, came to the forefront. A key example is the IBM Cloud Paks, which are to IBM Services what Red Hat products are to open-source projects. Cloud Paks provide functionality as a service, making it easy for customers to deploy the middleware functionalities that support solutions and applications. The combination of the advantages of cloud computing with IBM’s trusted ability to manage, update and certify solutions for regulatory compliance enable significant improvements in ability and flexibility. It is an emulation of the Red Hat playbook, albeit with far-reaching implications to the Global Technology Services business.

At the event IBM unveiled the IBM Cloud Pak for Data 3.0, which leverages OpenShift 4.3 to deliver new analytics and data management services. Further, IBM’s Partner Packages is a new incentive program for partners that successfully sell the solutions, underscoring IBM’s desire to facilitate customers’ cloud migrations by combining the expertise of services partners with the flexibility of the Cloud Paks.

However, the hybrid cloud model is anything but confined, and Whitehurst noted that edge devices must essentially operate as little clouds and require the same orchestration and interoperability standards. Edge implications address both the telco and enterprise spaces. Network virtualizations seemingly merge IT and cellular technology (CT) through virtualizing those functions to run on the same common platforms supported by OpenShift. Vodafone Business made the case that it leap-frogged competition in India by building a modern architecture that enabled the company to run IT and CT from the same cloud, delivering better consumer service for voice and extending IBM into the adjacent market of hosting enterprise workloads from the same instance.

IBM Think Digital 2020 made the case that IBM and Red Hat are better together — better together in mixed infrastructure, better together in cloud and AI, and better together in IBM’s and Red Hat’s ways of working. Lastly, IBM and Red Hat are better together with Arvind Krishna as IBM’s CEO and Jim Whitehurst as IBM’s president, as the former can assure customers of the IBM offering road map built on Red Hat’s engine while the latter can instill the operational best practices for managing people, processes and financial metrics for a technology world built increasingly on open platforms and recurring revenue subscription models.

IBM expands hybrid cloud activities by partnering with India-based IT services peers

Partnering with IT services peers and integrating Global Business Services and Global Technology Services capabilities will help IBM improve client engagement and increase cloud signings

Hybrid cloud remains an area of investment for IBM as the company pursues transformational opportunities with clients. IBM’s recent investments in improving its hybrid cloud capabilities, most notably with IBM Cloud Paks and bringing Red Hat solutions and professional services on board, help strengthen its position in cloud. IBM’s ambition is to deepen its understanding of clients’ journeys to hybrid cloud and AI; in 1Q20 the company announced that it is making hybrid cloud its fourth platform — the others being services, mainframe and middleware.

Partnering with India-centric IT service providers such as HCL Technologies (HCLT), Infosys and Tech Mahindra expands IBM Services’ client reach for hybrid cloud solutions. IBM partnered with HCLT in November to migrate and modernize VMware workloads on the IBM public cloud. IBM is combining its secured, enterprise-grade public cloud with HCLT’s delivery and managed services capabilities to move, manage and modernize complex VMware workloads in the cloud.

In March IBM partnered with Infosys to enable clients’ digital transformations through the IBM public cloud offering. IBM Services’ reach in the financial services, insurance and healthcare sectors will expand as the partners integrate their professional services capabilities to enable clients to transition, modernize and transform enterprise workloads and applications, leveraging security, open innovation and enterprise solutions on the IBM public cloud. The partnership will also increase adoption of IBM’s Red Hat OpenShift platform and generate opportunities for IBM Services around consulting and technology services offerings for Red Hat and multicloud management. In April IBM partnered with Tech Mahindra to migrate core business applications to the IBM public cloud utilizing IBM Cloud Paks. The partners will open innovation centers, with the first one in Bangalore, India, to address business problems using transformational solutions developed with IBM Cloud Paks.

According to TBR’s 4Q19 Cloud Professional Services Benchmark, COVID‐19 has jolted the cloud adoption timeline from a comfortable curve to a forced spike, which opens up myriad cloud professional services opportunities. IBM Services’ well-established security and hybrid cloud capabilities will provide growth opportunities for the rest of 2020 as business disruptions caused by COVID-19 highlight the benefits of cybersecurity and cloud-based solutions. The pandemic will accelerate IBM’s partnership activities as the company pursues opportunities to ramp up adoption of hybrid cloud and AI solutions to enable clients to restore and relaunch post-pandemic and establish new business models in a new normal.