‘I want to increase the number of clients, also, not just wallet share,’ IBM CEO Arvind Krishna says at The Channel Company’s Best of Breed conference in Atlanta. ‘That means that we need your help. We are not going to go there directly at all.’
Under Arvind Krishna’s watch, IBM has decreased the number of direct customers from about 5,000 in 2020 to about 400, the CEO told a crowd Monday. And the tech giant plans to leave potential new clients to partners.
“I want to increase the number of clients, also, not just wallet share,” Krishna said. “That means that we need your help. We are not going to go there directly at all.”
The CEO of Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM discussed his company’s investment in partners, the integration of subsidiary Red Hat, encouraged partners to raise their prices given the inflationary economic environment and even weighed in on chipmaker Broadcom‘s pending acquisition of cloud vendor VMware at CRN parent The Channel Company’s 2022 XChange Best of Breed (BoB) conference in Atlanta.
Krishna was on stage responding to questions from The Channel Company Founding Partner Robert Faletra and CRN Executive Editor of News Steven Burke.
[RELATED: IBM Assimilates Red Hat Storage Technology Into Own Storage Business]
Mark Wyllie, CEO of Boca Raton, Fla.-based IBM partner Flagship Solutions Group, told CRN in an interview that he’s glad to hear IBM plans to continue integrating different parts of the Red Hat business.
Earlier this month, IBM announced that it had absorbed storage technology and teams from its Red Hat business to combine them with IBM’s own storage business unit as a way to help clients take advantage of the two without requiring extra integration or having to deal with multiple sales teams.
Wyllie wants to see IBM further integrate Red Hat services into its portfolio to help partners push the services out to existing IBM customers.
“I think that’d be a benefit to us and IBM,” Wyllie said.
Red Hat’s autonomy within IBM has been essential to its position as an open source software vendor. Krishna clarified Monday that the Red Hat brand will stay in areas where it has a stronger brand than IBM. For storage, “maybe we already have a storage channel, which Red Hat kind of didn’t,” Krishna said.
He said IBM gave Red Hat more security and management capabilities after its acquisition in 2019. Partners can expect more integration between Red Hat and IBM in areas involving Linux.
“So if you can take maybe 50,000 Linux servers and consolidate them using OpenShift on LinuxOne, maybe that‘s a play to be made,” Krishna said. “There’s a few clients who have woken up to that and are doing it right now. So I think that’s going to be a really big play you’re going to see.”
During his talk, Krishna encouraged partners to explore more opportunities in IBM’s artificial intelligence operations (AIOps) offerings, including Turbonomic, Watson AIOps and Instana.
Customers will continue to spend on automation tools, he said.
“The ability to go into an enterprise and tell them, ‘Look, we can do things a lot more automated. We can take some cost out. We can do monitoring, and eventually go closed loop on AI’ – which I don‘t think is happening yet,” Krishna said. “I think is a massive opportunity given the current labor market.”
IBM’s security offerings, as well as Red Hat and containerization offerings, are also areas for partners to invest in, Krishna said.
As for Broadcom and VMware, Krishna said that VMware remains an important partner for his company. And as long as VMware keeps investing in its products, it should remain “a strong franchise.”
“I think it’ll come down to what is going to happen in 2023 and 2024,” Krishna said. “As long as they keep innovating on the products, they keep giving more function back to their clients – it’s a strong franchise. That falls away, then that‘s a different question. But I think the virtualization world likes those products. Now it’s up to them to keep innovating.”
Krishna also told partners they should raise prices to cover the growing cost of labor with such high inflation in the U.S.
“From our conversations with clients, I would tell you that nobody loves it, but they all understand,” he said. “Because most of our clients are doing the same out to their clients. … Pricing power comes down to something simple. Is the product highly valuable and is it sticky? … In a world of fewer skills, if you have the skills, you can price those skills.”
Editor’s note: Technology Business Research analysts focuses on technology markets and companies that move and shape those markets.
HAMPTON, N.H. – Revenue expansion in the IT services sector continues, driven by vendors’ investments in talent and portfolio expansion and emphasis on strengthening relationships with customers and alliance partners.
While political and macroeconomic challenges such as rising inflation and the natural gas crisis are factors that might create pockets of slower growth, TBR expects the overall IT services market to continue to grow in the coming quarters. IT systems have become corporate utilities that enable clients to transform business models, contain costs and accelerate growth, and TBR expects demand for IT services around digital transformation to remain elevated. For the rest of 2022, attracting and managing talent will remain vendors’ core challenge to successfully growing revenue and managing costs.
Senior Analyst Elitsa Bakalova: Talent management remained a core priority and challenge for IT services providers, and none of the standard HR approaches changed during the first nine months of 2022 as vendors strived to capture rising demand for digital transformation.
As TBR predicted at the end of 2021, attracting, retaining, upskilling, promoting and rewarding talent are all necessary HR motions and further accelerated during the past three quarters. There is an ever-increasing need for people as vendors build their benches to capture opportunities and support revenue growth. New job creation and the gradual alleviation of pandemic pressures have encouraged employees to pursue career-building opportunities, leading to elevated employee attrition of 20.8% in 2Q22 compared to 16% in 2Q21, 14.1% in 2Q20 and 17.6% in 2Q19, on average, for the 31 vendors in TBR’s IT Services Vendor Benchmark. While vendors continue to recruit via traditional methods, more are investing in reskilling and upskilling as well as launching educational initiatives.
Finding and keeping employees in the IT services market is increasingly difficult as talent poaching intensifies for a finite number of resources and companies’ bookings remain high. Vendors continue to place a premium on skilled resources, offering sizable signing bonuses and higher wages. Increasing labor costs due to wage hikes and robust retention bonuses along with rising facility, travel and communication expenses are pressuring IT services vendors’ profitability.
Elitsa: This prediction remained true during the first nine months of 2022 as vendors TBR identified as decarbonization leaders continued to invest in developing their services and solutions portfolios to support clients’ sustainability initiatives and address their internal decarbonization-related pledges. As we anticipated, IT services vendors are increasingly bringing clarity to decarbonization by harnessing emerging technologies such as blockchain as well as established analytics and AI solutions.
According to TBR’s first Decarbonization Market Landscape, “Although some firms have been active over the last few decades around developing and acting on decarbonization strategies, many were induced — be it from competition, stakeholders or regulatory evolution — to improve, update, revisit or outright announce new net-zero targets, which in recent years have become somewhat of a comprehensive measure of a firm’s overall decarbonization efforts. … With a wider set of buyers relying heavily on technology to measure and manage emissions as well as advisory services to assess, plan and verify new initiatives, professional services vendors will continue to be key players in the enterprise decarbonization space. … Vendors must take care to continue to learn and stay up to date on reporting standards and regulatory change, supporting both internal and commercial efforts.”
Elitsa: While IT services vendors have increasingly announced investments in professional and managed services to enable adoption of blockchain, 5G and edge solutions, the trend is not mainstream across all 31 vendors in TBR’s IT Services Vendor Benchmark. However, select vendors have invested in expansion in the segments to benefit from diversified revenue streams.
As TBR expected, partnerships between IT services vendors and technology providers have been a key lever for increasing the value of vendors’ solutions and expanding their portfolio and client reach. For example, IBM partnered with Telus to deploy an edge computing platform across Canada, which expanded the reach of IBM Cloud Satellite by running the distributed cloud solution on Telus’ 5G network. Telus will leverage IBM Consulting services to implement AI and automation solutions, including products such as Cloud Pak for Network Automation. Atos partnered with Verizon to integrate Atos Computer Vision into Verizon’s multi-access edge computing network. This integration will bring video analytics services that utilize AI to customers and will provide Verizon with access to Atos’ BullSequana Edge servers to further advance 5G solutions.
During 2022 vendors have also leveraged acquisitions to expand their capabilities. For example, Atos acquired U.K.-based Ipsotek in 2021, adding software and IP to its solutions offerings to expand its edge AI/machine learning offerings and introduce video analytics solutions through Ipsotek’s VISuite. In 2022 IBM acquired U.S.-based Sentaca, a telecom consultancy and systems integrator, which strengthened IBM Consulting’s capabilities around helping communication service providers integrate with cloud-native services and architectures to better enable 5G for their customers.
A four-year bachelor’s degree has long been the first rung to climbing America’s corporate ladder.
But the move to prioritize skills over a college education is sweeping through some of America’s largest companies, including Google, EY, Microsoft, and Apple. Strong proponents say the shift helps circumvent a needless barrier to workplace diversity.
“I really do believe an inclusive diverse workforce is better for your company, it’s good for the business,” Ginni Rometty, former IBM CEO, told Fortune Media CEO Alan Murray during a panel last month for Connect, Fortune’s executive education community. “That’s not just altruistic.”
Under Rometty’s leadership in 2016, tech giant IBM coined the term “new collar jobs” in reference to roles that require a specific set of skills rather than a four-year degree. It’s a personal commitment for Rometty, one that hits close to home for the 40-year IBM veteran.
When Rometty was 16, her father left the family, leaving her mother, who’d never worked outside the home, suddenly in the position to provide.
“She had four children and nothing past high school, and she had to get a job to…get us out of this downward spiral,” Rometty recalled to Murray. “What I saw in that was that my mother had aptitude; she wasn’t dumb, she just didn’t have access, and that forever stayed in my mind.”
When Rometty became CEO in 2012 following the Great Recession, the U.S. unemployment rate hovered around 8%. Despite the influx of applicants, she struggled to find employees who were trained in the particular cybersecurity area she was looking for.
“I realized I couldn’t hire them, so I had to start building them,” she said.
In 2011, IBM launched a corporate social responsibility effort called the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in Brooklyn. It’s since expanded to 11 states in the U.S. and 28 countries.
Through P-TECH, Rometty visited “a very poor high school in a bad neighborhood” that received the company’s support, as well as a community college where IBM was offering help with a technology-based curriculum and internships.
“Voilà! These kids could do the work. I didn’t have [applicants with] college degrees, so I learned that propensity to learn is way more important than just having a degree,” Rometty said.
Realizing the students were fully capable of the tasks that IBM needed moved Rometty to return to the drawing board when it came to IBM’s own application process and whom it was reaching. She said that at the time, 95% of job openings at IBM required a four-year degree. As of January 2021, less than half do, and the company is continuously reevaluating its roles.
For the jobs that now no longer require degrees and instead rely on skills and willingness to learn, IBM had always hired Ph.D. holders from the very best Ivy League schools, Rometty told Murray. But data shows that the degree-less hires for the same jobs performed just as well. “They were more loyal, higher retention, and many went on to get college degrees,” she said.
Rometty has since become cochair of OneTen, a civic organization committed to hiring, promoting, and advancing 1 million Black individuals without four-year degrees within the next 10 years.
If college degrees no longer become compulsory for white-collar jobs, many other qualifications—skills that couldn’t be easily taught in a boot camp, apprenticeship program, or in the first month on the job—could die off, too, University of Virginia Darden School of Business professor Sean Martin told Fortune last year.
“The companies themselves miss out on people that research suggests…might be less entitled, more culturally savvy, more desirous of being there,” Martin said. Rather than pedigree, he added, hiring managers should look for motivation.
That’s certainly the case at IBM. Once the company widened its scope, Rometty said, the propensity to learn quickly became more of an important hiring factor than just a degree.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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Amanda “Mandy” Long, most recently vice president of information technology automation at IBM (NYSE: IBM), has joined BigBear.ai (NYSE: BBAI) as CEO and a board member.
Long succeeds Reggie Brothers, who will stay as a company adviser and transition to the role of operating partner at BigBear’s private equity owner AE Industrial Partners, the Columbia, Maryland-based company said Tuesday.
Brothers, a two-time Wash100 Award winner, has led the analytics and cyber engineering services company since its founding in December 2020.
Peter Cannito, chairman of the board at BigBear.ai, said Long brings to the company her experience in mergers and acquisitions and software products and expertise in advancing the adoption of artificial intelligence platforms, building technology portfolios and driving revenue growth.
“With Mandy at the helm, we expect to accelerate BigBear.ai’s ability to bring AI-based products to both Commercial and Federal markets as the Company transitions from a premier services and solutions provider to a technology-led, multi-market leader in AI,” Cannito added.
Long spent five years at IBM and held roles of increasing responsibility, including VP of IBM integration and application platform, general manager for IBM Watson health provider analytics and chief product and strategy officer, AI for IBM Watson. She previously served as VP of product management at Modernizing Medicine and Experian Health.
RemSense Technologies Ltd (ASX:REM) has reached a new development milestone after integrating its virtualplant asset visualisation system with partner IBM’s Maximo Application Suite (MAS).
The technology company says the two-way integration allows users to access RemSense’s industry-leading digital twin solution alongside IBM’s asset management system.
Ultimately, this makes simultaneous asset management more efficient — users can rapidly comprehend assets from the MAS portal within RemSense’s visually accurate virtual environment.
Additionally, users can monitor MAS plant asset data directly within virtualplant’s photorealistic environment.
This provides valuable background and insight as companies supervise their assets remotely, helping them engage in predictive maintenance when it counts.
It won’t be long until industry gets to see the integration in action. RemSense and IBM plan to make their debut at the upcoming WA Mining Conference and Exhibition in Perth.
The maiden demonstration will take place at IBM’s booth (#8132) this week on October 12 and 13.
The companies are also working with several prospective adopters in Australia’s mining capital.
RemSense managing director and CEO Steve Brown said the IBM integration allowed users from either side to get the best of both worlds.
“The benefits of this integration will enable virtualplant and MAS users to fully benefit from the visualisation of assets through a ‘one click’ access for companies and contractors, from anywhere at any time,” he explained.
“We are also delighted to be working with IBM to launch our joint corrosion inspection and reporting function based on virtualplant’s high-resolution curated dataset and IBM’s extensive experience in visual analytics.”
IBM ANZ’s business unit executive for sustainability software, David Small, said the company was really excited about the integration’s evolution.
“The visualisation of assets will provide immense value to our clients and creates a unique experience to navigate and analyse data in a human-centric environment,” he said.
Microsoft and Kyndryl have unveiled a new aspect of their global strategic partnership with plans to help enterprise customers make better use of data held on mainframe systems.…
According to Kyndryl, the services outfit has worked with Microsoft in order to enable data pipelines between mainframe systems (including Kyndryl's zCloud platform) and Microsoft's Azure cloud, intended to make it easier for customers to move data stored on their mainframes to a cloud environment for analysis.
Kyndryl is the former IT infrastructure services division of IBM, which Big Blue spun out last year, and so it would be ironic if it were now helping IBM customers to ditch the mainframe – though the reality is more complicated than that, of course.
The zCloud platform is Kyndryl's managed multi-tenant mainframe cloud service.
Microsoft and Kyndryl announced the formation of their trade relationship within days of the Kyndryl spinoff being finalized last year. However, the company now has agreements with all three of the big cloud providers.
The purpose of this new arrangement is for Kyndryl to help enterprise clients squeeze more value from their mainframe data by connecting it with the Microsoft Power Platform, various cloud-based tools that Redmond offers which combine low-code application development and workflow automation with existing services such as Power BI.
In a short video, Kyndryl's VP and CTO for zCloud Richard Baird discloses how the company has linked its zCloud platform and Microsoft Azure. It involves deploying an Azure Stack HCI environment alongside a mainframe in one of Kyndryl’s zCloud Centers, or a customer’s own datacenter, then using that as the integration point between the mainframe and the Microsoft Power Platform.
Integrating cloud-based functionality with the mainframe not only preserves the value of existing enterprise IT investments, but enhances them to enable faster digital transformation, Kyndryl claimed, which hints that it doesn't quite see the mainframe going away just yet.
Instead, Kyndryl talked up the creation of a hybrid environment that makes mainframe data available via Azure and opens it up to the benefits of cloud-based applications, machine learning and AI. What this means is that - in theory - mainframe customers can choose the right platform for the right workload, it said.
"Microsoft's AI-enabled Power Platform capabilities, Kyndryl's rich mainframe ecosystem, and managed services experience are a strong combination that will help customers unlock their mainframe data," said Microsoft's VP for Global System Integrator and Advisory Partners, Kelly Rogan.
Kyndryl and Microsoft said they also plan to combine mainframe data with other internal and external cloud-based data sources, in order to let customers create new applications that make use of modern analytics and visualization tools.
As part of the joint mainframe modernization initiative, Kyndryl said it will offer consulting and integration services to help customers more easily and efficiently plan, design, and connect mainframe data to Azure Cloud and Edge Computing environments. ®
Dr. Reggie Brothers Steps Down as CEO and Board Member, Remains Advisor to Company
COLUMBIA, Md., October 11, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BigBear.ai (NYSE: BBAI), a leader in AI-powered analytics and cyber engineering solutions, today announced that the Board of Directors has appointed former IBM executive Amanda "Mandy" Long as Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors, effective October 12, 2022. Dr. Reggie Brothers will step down as Chief Executive Officer and from the Board of Directors, transitioning to serve as a Company advisor and Operating Partner at AE Industrial Partners.
Long joins BigBear.ai with 15 years of experience in software and hardware across multiple industries, most recently as an executive at IBM, where she successfully led organizations to launch multiple first-of-their-kind products and made significant contributions to the rapid growth of the IBM Watson artificial intelligence (AI) franchise. During her tenure at IBM, Long had full P&L responsibility for several large and complex global businesses, developing strategies to drive customer adoption of AI and other automation solutions. Long also played a key leadership role in IBM’s organizational transformation, leading the integration and optimization of new business lines for acquired assets, and introducing scalable operational processes, diverse talent curation and retention strategies, and pipeline management strategies.
"Mandy has an impressive record of building global technology portfolios and driving revenue growth and adoption of AI products. She has extensive M&A experience, deep software product experience in regulated and unregulated industries, and has implemented innovative and collaborative workplace environments at scale. With Mandy at the helm, we expect to accelerate BigBear.ai’s ability to bring AI-based products to both Commercial and Federal markets as the Company transitions from a premier services and solutions provider to a technology-led, multi-market leader in AI," said Peter Cannito, Chairman of the BigBear.ai Board of Directors.
Cannito continued, "Reggie has been instrumental in creating the BigBear.ai vision of putting the power of AI into the hands of decision makers to Excellerate visibility, predictability, and outcomes for critical missions. We are grateful for his leadership in establishing BigBear.ai as a public company, building an experienced and resilient team, and bringing the Company to this point in its lifecycle."
"I am honored to be named CEO of BigBear.ai, a dynamic company whose technology and expertise is trusted to solve so many critical challenges for our customers – from protecting our nation to helping hospitals deliver the right care at the right time to children who need it most," said Long. "The opportunity to support the Company in productizing our unique technology assets, scaling into a market leader, and capitalizing on the rapidly growing demand for AI /ML solutions in every sector is a dream come true."
Mandy Long previously served as Vice President, IBM IT Automation and Vice President, IBM Integration & Application Platform. Prior to that, she served as General Manager, IBM Watson Health Provider Analytics, as well as Chief Product and Strategy Officer, Artificial Intelligence for IBM Watson. She also previously held Vice President of Product Management positions at Modernizing Medicine and Experian Health. Mandy has received multiple awards and recognition for her accomplishments in the fields of Healthcare IT, including as one of the Most Powerful Women in Healthcare IT from Health Data Management in 2017. She earned a B.A. in Economics from Connecticut College.
BigBear.ai delivers AI-powered analytics and cyber engineering solutions to support mission-critical operations and decision-making in complex, real-world environments. BigBear.ai’s customers, which include the US Intelligence Community and Department of Defense, as well as customers in manufacturing, healthcare, commercial space, and other sectors, rely on BigBear.ai’s solutions to see and shape their world through reliable, predictive insights and goal-oriented advice. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, BigBear.ai is a global, public company traded on the NYSE under the symbol BBAI. For more information, please visit: https://bigbear.ai/ and follow BigBear.ai on Twitter: @BigBearai.
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20221011006085/en/
Paul Caminiti/Delia Cannan/Pam Greene
IBM, which three years ago acquired Red Hat, is now moving Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation and Red Hat Ceph, along with their development teams, into IBM Storage as part of a move to make a bigger play in the software-defined and open-source storage worlds.
IBM Tuesday said it has absorbed storage technology and teams from its Red Hat business to combine them with IBM’s own storage business unit as a way to help clients take advantage of the two without requiring extra integration or having to deal with multiple sales teams.
IBM is integrating Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation with its IBM Spectrum Fusion and will offer Red Hat Ceph-based storage technologies to its clients in a move to continue Big Blue’s software-defined storage leadership, said Brent Compton, senior director of Data Foundation for Red Hat’s hybrid cloud business.
For IBM, which in mid-2019 acquired Red Hat in a $34-billion deal, the move ensures maximum support for Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation and Ceph, Compton told CRN.
[Related: 2022 Storage 100: Who’s Got Your Backup?]
“OpenShift Data Foundation and Ceph will become a big part of IBM Storage,” he said. “IBM has been looking for a way to take advantage of Ceph and ODF, and now it can.”
Ceph is an open-source software-defined object storage technology with interfaces for object, block and file storage. Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation is a software-defined container-native storage that provides cluster data management capabilities as part of the OpenShift container platform.
Scott Baker, chief marketing officer and vice president of IBM hybrid cloud portfolio and product marketing, told CRN the move to combine Red Hat and IBM storage technologies sets the stage for growth in the combined software-defined storage portfolio.
“Customers not only get a choice of where storage runs—at the edge, in the cloud, or on-prem—but will find storage software releases will no longer be tied to the timing of storage hardware releases,” Baker said. “For instance, IBM normally enhances its Spectrum Virtualize or Spectrum Scale with new versions of the IBM FlashSystem. But with software-defined storage, we can drive changes quicker if they’re not tied to hardware releases.”
By bringing Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation and Ceph into IBM, customers get the opportunity to access unified block, file, and object storage without regard to the actual underlying hardware, Baker said.
“They can use Ceph to add the right type of storage depending on the protocol they need,” he said. “Ceph and ODF also simplifies how IBM provides data storage and protection. To do all that with IBM’s storage portfolio takes time. With CEF and ODF as part of IBM Storage, this can get done immediately.”
It really is the best of both worlds, as Red Hat customers will also see strong benefits from IBM Storage, Compton said.
“It’s important to note that IBM will continue to offer OpenShift Data Foundation inside the Red Hat OpenShift Platform Plus hybrid cloud platform,” he said. “So if a customer gets pre-integrated OpenShift Data Foundation inside Red Hat OpenShift Platform Plus, it accelerates their time to market. There’s no need to integrate the storage. This will not change.”
Also, Red Hat OpenShift customers have used Ceph to accelerate their time to scale for years, and Red Hat will continue to sell Ceph, Compton said.
“But by moving Ceph to IBM Storage, IBM will accelerate development of the storage-specific features,” he said. “Red Hat is not a storage company. So this will accelerate development of unified capabilities.”
IBM’s storage move makes good on the potential many saw with the company’s acquisition of Red Hat, said John Teltsch, chief revenue officer at Converge Technology Solutions, a Gatineau, Quebec-based solution provider and channel partner to both IBM and Red Hat that ranked No. 36 on CRN’s 2022 Solution Provider 500.
“This is something the channel has been waiting for ever since IBM acquired Red Hat,” Teltsch told CRN. “IBM has been doing a lot around software-defined storage. And when you add in Red Hat, it gives us an integrated solutions play. It lets us build an integrated sales team. We don’t have to first talk about IBM storage capabilities, and then bring in our Red Hat team to talk about Red Hat.”
Converge Technology Partners’ IBM and Red Hat sales teams are currently two separate teams, said Teltsch, who joined the company in March from IBM, where he held numerous sales leadership roles, including two years as Big Blue’s channel chief.
“Once IBM and Red Hat storage are together, it gets more simple to sell,” he said. “And it simplifies our training while IBM will have one integrated set of offerings for its clients. This lets us bring the best of Red Hat open-source capabilities with IBM storage. We’re living in a data-driven world. This move simplifies our go-to-market, as well as simplifies the client experience, client engagement, and client adoption.”