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IBM, Computacenter ‘Reinvent’ Relationship

Computacenter says the timing is right to recommit with IBM following its investment in the channel.

Christine Horton

March 1, 2022

3 Min Read
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IBM is rekindling its relationship with Computacenter to pursue more joint customers.

The two have been partners since the 1980s. Despite this, Computacenter acknowledges there have been instances where IBM “was conspicuous by its absence” in its portfolio.

Now both, however, have signed a new agreement to “reinvigorate” the partnership.

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Computacenter’s John Beard

“We felt the timing was right to put some more concerted directional effort behind the partnership,” said John Beard, director of solutions, Computacenter. “We work together in customers today. Equally, we work successfully separately in some of those customers. It felt like that was something we can really harness to our mutual benefit. If we can create a plan together, we could accelerate the growth rate,” said Beard.

“We’ve got a longstanding history, and part of the opportunity for us is reinventing ourselves together with those clients,” he added. The opportunity now is to try and get our sales teams working together, understanding what the value proposition is for us jointly.”

Becoming Partner-Focused

A factor in IBM’s decision to reinvest in its partner relationships is a switch-up in its channel engagement. In 2020 it announced it was to invest $1 billion in its channel. At the time it said its partner ecosystem was core to its growth strategy.

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IBM’s Andrew Wilcock

“The question is, how do we make sure we put the right skills in front of the right partners to enable us to drive growth?” said Andrew Wilcock, IBM VP for ecosystems, UK&I.

Around the same time, IBM decided to spin off the managed infrastructure services unit from its Global Technology Services division.

“With the split and IBM being more partner-focused now, it probably creates a greater services opportunity for us,” said Beard.

He added the two would also be looking at winning net-new customers.

“We think the timing is right because of that partner lens that IBM is putting on things. That fits really well with us, to reinvest, get re-educated on the IBM portfolio, look at how we build that into our overall solutions go-to-market.”

Not an Exclusive Pairing

Wilcock agreed that there are “a lot of new prospects that we want to go after together. How do we work together with the right skills and the right technical capability to deliver that value to the client? What is in it for both sides?”

He stressed, however, the pairing isn’t exclusive. But any partnerships are tied to IBM’s hybrid cloud and AI strategy.

“How do we work with partners to help them realise the value of an open hybrid architecture? To enable clients do one of four things: predict, secure, automate, modernise? Those are the four areas that we’re focused on.”

“We’re seeing CIOs more focused on being cloud-appropriate, trying to find the right platforms that match their application needs,” said Beard. “We’re very much focused on that hybrid marketplace, helping customers move to a modern cloud solution. We have a set of services around application migration [and] assessments that really help clients decide on the most appropriate platform for them. We see hybrid being central to our solutions portfolio.”

Ultimately, IBM wants to do more business with partners, said Wilcock.

“We want to become a partner-first organisation. And is it going to be possible in every account? No. But that’s what we are looking to try and do.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Christine Horton or connect with her on LinkedIn.

 

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About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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