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Setting the tone for IBM’s landmark partnership with AWS Marketplace

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Long-time IBM clients have been loyal to Big Blue’s efforts in software-based solutions. Yet the new reality is a multicloud world, and major cloud platform providers are finding collaborative solutions to meet growing customer demands.

“[The AWS and IBM partnership] represents a strategic change on both sides, with the customer in the middle.” said Alan Bivens (pictured left), vice president of Cloud Pak and SaaS platform at IBM “[Now] AWS is working with us to make sure we’re building products the way that an AWS client likes to consume them,—so that we have the right integration, so they get that right look and feel, but they still get the enterprise-level capabilities they’re used to from IBM.”

Bivens and Becky Carroll (pictured right), global AWS alliance leader, spoke with theCUBE industry analyst Savannah Peterson and John Furrier at AWS re:Invent, during an exclusive broadcast on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. They discussed IBM and AWS partnership, customers, trends, and key takeaways. (* Disclosure below.)

See an excerpt of the segment below, edited for clarity.

Peterson: Alan, why don’t you tell us what that [IBM and AWS] partnership is about? 

Bivens: The partnership started with the relationship in our consulting services… And this year, it grew into the IBM software realm, where we signed an agreement with AWS around May. It represents a huge move for IBM to meet our clients where they are with IBM technology—the enterprise technology they’re used to— but with the look and feel and usage model they’re accustomed to with AWS. 

Carroll: And so, to build on that, we’re really excited to be an AWS Premier Consulting Partner. We’ve had this relationship for a little over five years with AWS. I’d say it’s really gone up a notch over the last year or two as we’ve been working more and more closely, doubling down on our investments, doubling down on our certifications. 

We’ve got over 15,000 people certified now, almost 16,000 actually. And 14 competencies, 16 service deliveries, and counting. We cover a mass of information and services from data analytics, IoT, AI, all the way to modernization, SAP, Security Services, right. So it’s pretty comprehensive relationship, but in addition to the fantastic clients that we both share, we’re doing some really great things around joint industry solutions.

Furrier: Customers can choose, build a foundation or have it out of the box. What’s your reaction to that? Do you think it’s going to go well for AWS and IBM? 

Bivens: The thing that’s been most amazing about the partnership is that both of these companies are maniacally focused on the customer. And so we’ve seen that come about as we work on ways for the customer to access our technology. We’ve sold software on-prem to customers before, but now we’re going to be selling SaaS on AWS because we had customers that were on AWS; we’re making it so that they can more easily purchase it by being in the marketplace, making it so they can draw down their committed spin with AWS, their customers like that a lot.

Furrier: So digital transformation is the process, the outcome is the business transformation, and that’s where it all connects. What are your thoughts on the Amazon consulting relationships? Obviously the awards are great, but where does it go from here?

Carroll: One of the most recent examples is IBM CEO Arvind Krishna, in his three key results actually mentioned one of our big clients with AWS, which is the Department of Veterans Affairs in the U.S., and is an artificial intelligence solution that’s helped automate claims processing. 

So the veterans are trying to get their benefits, they submit the claims, snail mail, phone calls, you know, some in person, some over email– it’s a process that used to take 25 to 30 days, depending on the complexity of the claims. We’ve gotten it down with AWS down to within 24 hours we can get the veterans what they need really quickly. That’s just huge. 

And it’s an exciting story that includes data analytics, AI and automation, so that’s just one example. We’ve got examples around SAP where we’ve developed a next generation SAP for HANA Platform for Phillips Carbon Black hosted on AWS, right? For them, it created an integrated, scalable, digital business, that cut out 100% of the capital cost from on-prem solutions. 

We’ve got security solutions around architectures for telecommunications advisors, and of course we have lots of examples of migration and modernization and moving workloads using [IBM-owned] Red Hat to do that. To me, this is the heart of what we do.

Peterson: What is the biggest takeaway? What is the most important thing happening at the show this year? 

Bivens: What I would like for the audience to take away, out of this conversation especially, but even broadly, is the IBM AWS relationship is really like a landmark type of relationship. It’s one of the biggest that we’ve established on both sides… 

Carroll: For me, the biggest takeaway is just the way this relationship has grown so much. It’s the new IBM; it’s the new AWS… This is huge; this is a really big opportunity and a really big deal that these two companies have come together and identified joint customer needs.

Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of AWS re:Invent:

Disclosure for sponsored segment:

(* Disclosure: IBM sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither IBM nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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