IBM’s Raj Datta, global vice president for software and technology partnerships, and Savio Rodridgues, vice president of ecosystem engineering and developer advocacy, connected with Acceleration Economy’s Toni Witt to discuss IBM’s artificial intelligence (AI) ecosystem strategy for the Acceleration Economy AI Ecosystem Course. Acceleration Economy analyst and CIO Kenny Mullican weighs in following the discussion with his analysis.
02:12 — IBM’s new partner program, IBM Partner Plus, focuses on competitive incentives, insider access, education, and enhanced support and benefits for partners. The program aims to help partners leverage IBM’s artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and embed them into their offerings, Datta explains.
04:40 — Datta says Rodrigues’ team is helping ensure IBM’s technology is embedded “rock solid” into their solutions, then ensuring they get the scale they need to grow and build. It’s continuing to focus on co-selling and co-marketing with partners and is focused on helping partners with embeddable technologies by opening up the watsonx portfolio and specific libraries for partners.
08:06 — Partner Krista Software was able to integrate watsonx technology to build Ask Krista, leading to automation that enabled processes that once took four hours to now take minutes, which added up to significant cost savings for Zimperium engineers. Other partners include SAP, which has embedded watsonx capabilities into its digital assistant SAP Start; as well as Samsung.
10:46 — Education for partners: Partners are encouraged to take advantage of IBM’s education materials and badges, with a focus on upskilling in AI. There have been over 70,000 enrollments for these badges. IBM wants to incentivize partners to be as well educated as possible so they can drive growth.
11:44 — Using conversational AI as an example, when a person in customer support gets a case handed off, they may have to read through 10 to 15 pages of chat interactions to determine the problem. Using watsonx, the case can be summarized, classified in the right problem area, and the sentiment can be analyzed, all before it’s passed to a person.
14:38 — Customers have their own AI strategy and are looking for ways to accelerate their work in this area, Datta explains. IBM differentiates based on the level of governance in its AI technology and the fact it’s not taking any customer data.
18:32 — IBM is working with Adobe, bringing over 21,000 consulting experts to help Adobe enterprise customers take better advantage of generative AI to enhance the content supply chain and the marketing supply chain.
25:04 — Kenny Mullican notes IBM’s influential role in the involvement of AI technology dating back a number of years. While some companies rushed “half baked” software to market after the launch of ChatGPT, that raised some questions about how IBM was moving ahead. He learned in April that IBM hadn’t slowed its AI innovation but had been quietly working to build out an ecosystem around watsonx with collaboration, education, governance, and responsible AI.
26:28 — Mullican notes that as CIO of a mid-size company, he won’t ever be able to fund a staff of in-house AI experts. That means he needs tech partners to fill the gaps.