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IBM CEO Rometty banks on as-a-service model

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty at Partnerworld

LAS VEGAS – IBM CEO Virginia (Ginni) Rometty told Big Blue’s top channel partners at the 2015 Partnerworld Leadership Conference that she is working to remake the entire business in the public eye.

Amidst speculation that Armonk, N.Y.-based computing power was planning to reduce its employee headcount by more than 25 per cent (still unconfirmed) Rometty alluded to it by saying IBM is transforming its business the same way it has done in previous times.

This transformation included divestitures such as its x86 business and the semiconductor business.

“In 2014 we made tremendous progress in reinventing this business and moving the hardware business to higher value. The team has created an IP value on open standards for software-defined storage and in mainframes with the Z13 targeted to the contemporary world of mobility,” she said.

The transformation of IBM also includes the alliances with Apple for mobility, Twitter for data and SAP for the enterprise. Rometty added that IBM has devoted approximately $1 billion for Watson to bring that to the channel community.

Big Blue also made billion dollar investments in data centre, BlueMix and digital studios. According to Rometty, IBM is the largest digital studio in the world.

Another interesting comment from Rometty during her keynote at Partnerworld was making IBM technology being delivered in an as-a-service model.

“2014 validated that we are on the right path. Business partners who have joined us in this journey in these new areas have grown by 14 per cent. This is undeniable. We are not a me-to company, while our agenda is influenced by technology it is really about what the client needs, she added.

IBM’s makeover will be based on three areas, Rometty said. They are: Big Data Analytics, Cloud and Engagement.

With big data analytics, IBM’s strategy with partners is to aim at transforming the industry or the profession. Through Watson and other products in the IBM portfolio the company wants to provide the channel with the ability to integrate many sources of data specifically unstructured data such as descriptive data, prescriptive data and action analytics. This area is modeled after Watson and includes software, analytics domain skills, cloud and open platforms.

The second area of cloud will see IBM attempt to deliver insight-as-a-service along with most other cloud products in an as-a-service model.

The final area is engagement and what Rometty and team is trying to do here is help channel partners understand customer workflows better. She said that the Apple alliance is a perfect marriage in this area as Apple understands simplicity and IBM understands workflow in many industries. Security will play a huge role in the engagement area for IBM and Rometty said customers are not doing enough with security on big data and its creating problems.

“We are going to keep aligning to where the growth is going. We are in the midst of this journey. The point that I am making is clear; the pace of change is not going to stop nor is experimentation. We are going to play a big role in this.”