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IBM’s Partner Ecosystem Predictions for 2021

By Cameron Clayton | General Manager, IBM Hybrid Cloud Ecosystem and Weather
January 04, 2021

What a difference a year makes. Last December, few could have imagined where we would be today. This year’

What a difference a year makes. Last December, few could have imagined where we would be today. This year’s COVID-19 pandemic accelerated plans for cloud migration for many companies and prompted those without firm plans to quickly come up with them. IBM and its ecosystem partners are prepared for this unprecedented wave of digitization to continue in 2021, driven by ongoing client demand for open hybrid cloud solutions that help create resilience in the face of continued uncertainty.

Beyond adapting to the new normal of remote work and digital innovation ushered in by the pandemic, we’ve seen IBM’s ecosystem continue to grow, with partners leveraging IBM Cloud and other technologies like AI, 5G, blockchain and edge. For IBM, I believe that 2021 will be the year of the partner, when we accelerate our efforts to bring value to our partners like never before and help them achieve their business goals. 

But ecosystems are not made up of just one company, which is why we have also asked some of the partners with which we’ve recently made big announcements to share their predictions of what to expect in 2021:

Rich Preece, EY Global IBM Alliance Leader: “Public cloud has impressively stood the test of dramatically increased and accelerated demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. 2021 and beyond will see enterprises continue expanding their cloud adoption, with one major difference: the complexity and diversity of workloads will be increasing significantly, along with numerous considerations, including security and compliance. Proprietary public cloud is then not enough. The new era is open, hybrid and multi-cloud, providing enterprises the flexibility of the right cloud for the right workload, with future-proof choice mitigating vendor lock-in.”

Jane Rygaard, Head of Edge Cloud, Nokia: “While 2020 is a year that many will want to put behind us, it has taught about the importance of connectivity and 2021 holds immense promise and potential. Acknowledging the power of like-minded partners, newly created ecosystems are poised to unleash the power of 5G, edge and cloud to help drive business transformation for telcos and enterprises. Working alongside leaders in the enterprise technology business, Nokia sees 2021 delivering strong impetus for service providers who are deploying and delivering private 5G solutions to their enterprise customers.”

Edward Choi, Vice President, Strategic Alliances, Samsung: "During the pandemic, the requirements for workforce technology completely changed. 68% of employees now use multiple devices while working remotely, and 48% use more collaborative technology than they did before the pandemic. While we know that the ability to work remotely is here to stay, we also know that companies are exploring how they can safely get employees back to the workplace. Samsung is co-creating with IBM new enterprise mobility solutions to help clients with their immediate workforce technology needs, as well as their needs as they look beyond the health crisis.”

Gopinathan Krishnaswami, Senior General Manager and Global Head, Software Segment & Infrastructure Alliances, HiTech Business Unit, TCS: "2021 will be unlike any other. We are now in a new normal where remote work is mainstream and digital innovation is vital to enterprise success. With that, we will see our customers build stronger digital resilience through the adoption of new business models (SaaSification), investment in cybersecurity and growing omnichannel customer engagement. Having industry/domain specific clouds will accelerate the adoption. Cloud migration will be absolutely crucial in each aspect. Especially as enterprises continue to operate in a borderless environment, cloud investments will enable enterprises to adapt to any future shifts in market demand with ease."

Harmeet Chauhan, Senior Vice President, Engineering and R&D Services, Wipro Limited“Hybrid Multi-cloud is the way forward to address the accelerated need for digitalization as it provides the best of breed for scalability, flexibility and end user-experience. It is estimated that over 70% enterprises will move to Hybrid Multi-cloud platforms by 2022. In order to achieve the desired ROI, engineering challenges of Security, Portability and Performance need to be addressed while keeping in mind strong governance and the associated costs of management. Wipro in partnership with IBM are helping enterprises achieve greater business value with multiple hybrid cloud solutions like Boundaryless Enterprise (BLE) a holistic extensible platform, ModernizR an AI-based application portability tool and 5G-Edge Services Solution Suite for managing complete lifecycle for Telco.”

As the cloud landscape becomes more complex, and businesses increasingly seek to move data and functions securely to the cloud, ecosystem partners will increasingly play a vital role in helping companies manage cloud workloads, while adding new services and IP that fit their changing needs. If 2020 taught us anything, it was to prepare for the unexpected. I look forward to continuing this journey with our ecosystem partners in 2021. 

To learn more about how IBM’s ecosystem works and its partners benefit, visit IBM Cloud Ecosystem.

Cameron Clayton
General Manager, IBM Hybrid Cloud Ecosystem and Weather

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