IBM’s leaders share why IBM Partner Plus is such a major change for Big Blue.

Jeffrey Schwartz

May 12, 2023

6 Slides

IBM alliance partners AWS and SAP were in the spotlight during this week’s IBM Think conference. Big Blue executives emphasized that partners and customers can now procure IBM software through the AWS Marketplace, while SAP announced that it is embedding IBM’s Watson AI technology into its applications.

AWS and SAP are among the seven most strategic IBM alliance partners. The others are Adobe, Microsoft, Salesforce, Samsung and Cisco, said IBM chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna. However, IBM showcased its alliances with AWS and SAP during the main sessions at IBM Partner Plus Day and Think in Orlando.

In advance of this week’s conference, SAP announced that it will embed IBM’s Watson technology into its various applications. Among them are SAP Start, a digital assistant designed to work with SAP’s cloud solutions, including those integrated with SAP S/4 HANA Cloud.


IBM’s Arvind Krishna

“This was the first time that SAP embedded AI from somebody else, but we were really happy they picked the Watson platform,” Krishna said.

IBM chief commercial officer Rob Thomas called it “one of the biggest announcements we’ve done in maybe five years.”

The move raised the question if SAP is replacing its Leonardo “digital innovation system” launched in 2017. An SAP spokesperson said Watson is not replacing Leonardo, though SAP hasn’t emphasized the machine learning offering in recent years.

See the slideshow above for more insights from Think 2023 and IBM Partner Plus Day.

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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