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IBM builds a partner ecosystem that delivers winning solutions

Its cloud platform with its cognitive, data-rich workloads is helping its partners to stay ahead of the competition.

The first-ever Watson Build, held earlier this year, is a challenge designed to help partners conceptualise, propose, develop and launch new cognitive business solutions. More than 1,300 Business Partners attended 36 workshops around the world.

COGNITIVE is ushering in a new era in technology and in business. Artificial intelligence is a new generation of technology and the cognitive systems it helps power will soon touch every facet of work and life, with the potential to radically transform them for the better. These systems can ingest and understand all forms of data that are being produced at an unprecedented rate.

At IBM, we are re-imagining our partnership model to support both core and new age partners to be successful in the cloud and cognitive era.

This includes providing cognitive solutions on the IBM Cloud platform across industries that are rapidly transforming and helping our partners develop deep expertise to speed up their time to market with new innovations.

As our CEO Ginni Rometty has said, data is the next natural resource, and deriving value from that data is where we will differentiate from competitors. IBM continues to build a cloud tuned for AI and data - a cloud that learns, adapts and delivers competitive advantage.

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Cognitive Systems is a great example of the transformation. New workloads are emerging in the cloud infrastructure: machine learning, natural language processing, visual recognition, and the ability to find patterns in specific domains of knowledge, like healthcare, insurance, banking, education and retail.

In these solutions, Power systems and our OpenPower ecosystem, IBM Flash Storage and Storage Software, where we lead the industry, are critical.

Our vision is to help our partners succeed by running these cognitive, data-rich workloads even faster, and more efficiently in order to stay ahead of the competition and increase their revenues while doing so.

IBM Asia Pacific channel strategy is centred around three key pillars - Expand, Extend and Enhance.

IBM is expanding its presence across channels by scaling its existing strength in enterprise while also tapping into the hypergrowth that we are seeing across Commercial including small and medium businesses where the Channel is the de-facto route to market.


IBM is also extending the relationships across the vast diversity of channel partners. From helping transform our Core Partners like VAD (Value Added Distributor) and SI's (System Integrators) to working with new age partners like independent software vendors (isvs), developers or startups including non-traditional partner types like industrial manufactures building new IOT solutions to do predictive maintenance or digital agencies to build omni-channel platforms for their retailers, IBM has it all covered. The business partners are differentiating themselves with highly specialised IBM solutions, services and ecosystem plays.

Finally, IBM has simplified the business model by enhancing the nature of relationship with partners, our operational efficiencies and our go-to market.

Today, the Asia-Pacific One Channel Team brings together all brands and offerings of IBM and our business partners have one point of contact and ownership from IBM, to remove any underlying complexity.


We help our Business Partners expand their businesses by building new skills, and recruit new industry specialised business partners who have the expertise to provide the specific solutions clients want.

Towards this end, IBM continues to invest in programmes that accelerate our channel's growth with our IBM Cloud and Watson Platform.

Earlier this year, IBM invited Business Partners worldwide to participate in the first-ever Watson Build, a challenge designed to help partners conceptualise, propose, develop and launch new cognitive business solutions. More than 1,300 Business Partners attended 36 workshops around the globe, and in Phase 1, IBM received 399 business plan submissions from 314 firms.

We hosted workshops across six cities in Asia Pacific to introduce our Business Partners to our design thinking and garage methods which were designed to stimulate creativity, learning, and transforming while using agile techniques.

The Business Partners were provided access to one on one guidance from IBM mentors, extensive technical training and technical support to help them build a working Prototype on IBM Cloud using Watson APIs.

BondEvalue, a Singapore-based fintech, is IBM Asia Pacific Watson Build challenge finalist that has built a prototype of relevant metrics and sentiment analysis of bond news using IBM Watson. Using IBM Watson API, IBM Natural Language Classifier, they have built a powerful app that screens through news text and classify news into nine categories that impact bond prices. We will announce our global winner on Nov 2.

IBM's cognitive technology and solutions are the catalysts to help businesses bring their ideas to life, to build a solution and to find a breakthrough.

Every partner in our ecosystem has access to IBM technology that is today revolutionising the industry. With access to this technology, IBM helps partners build a business model, define revenue streams and then create a plan that can potentially begin their journey of taking the solution to market. Our channel mission is a critical growth engine for IBM.

  • The writer is the vice president of IBM Global Business Partners for the Asia-Pacific