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Smarter Partnering for Smarter Business

IBM conducts an annual event for its business partners. Generally this is a three days event spread over one full and two half days. This event has many objectives -Connect with IBM senior leadership, understand IBM's plans and commitment towards business partners and new offerings / solutions from IBM -  to name a few. The event was in its seventh year and event participation is only invitation based. From ECS ADT, IBM invited me to attend. As I am an avid networker, hence didn't want to miss this.

This year's theme was "Smarter Partnering theme for Smarter Business" with emphasis on key technologies like Mobile, Social, Business Analytics, Big Data, Cloud and Expert Integrated Systems. The event was in Kochi, Kerala - God's own country. Alas, I saw the city only during airport transfer.

Event started in evening on 1st day with welcome session and two plenary sessions - (i) Driving Growth with CSIs and (ii) IBM software capabilities to grow high value business. Speakers from both the sessions presented their views on why and how business partners are critical to IBM' success and how working together results into a win-win situation.

After the session, had a one-on-one session with Lauren States (Vice President, Strategy & Transformation, IBM Software Group). She is also the executive sponsor of Infosys relationship. Lauren promised all of IBM support in order to grow Infosys' IBM business. No doubt, we get excellent support from IBM. During the closing session, our host - Himanshu Shah - reminded us to be on time next day and promised a surprise. Had a networking dinner along with some mesmerizing performance by a Kathakali dancer (

So, next morning surprise was a DrumJam session by Roberto Narain (, which was entertaining and refreshing. Anyways, this was not a surprise for me, as our IBM alliance lead informed me about this previous night.

Had multiple sessions and the most interesting for me was Deepak Advani - General Manager - Cloud and Smarter Infrastructure. Deepak spoke about integrated infrastructure and how lots of information is coming to mobile devices now.  With this change, infrastructure does just not mean data centers but it is extended to mobile and cloud as well now. IBM calls it "smart" now, due to embedded analytics capabilities in IBM offerings. He also spoke about IBM's desperate need to partner with SIs for Asset Management as opportunities are huge in this area. He also emphasized on analytics and mentioned that IBM has done more than 16 BUSD acquisitions since 2005 in this area. Some of those are Cognos, iLog, SPSS, Core Metrics, Emptoris, Vivisimo and many others, as world is moving from reactive to proactive.

Next session I attended was on IBM's new offering IOC - Intelligent Operations Center ( IBM has lots of focus on this offering and leaving no stone unturned in marketing this. IBM had already conducted some session on this before to our Infosys team in last few months. IOC is mainly an integrated offering of many IBM products helping cities in responding faster to incidents, thus making cities smarter. IBM already has  multiple use cases configured for this offering - Water, Transportation, Public Safety and City Planning & Operations. The entire offering has typically four layers - (i) SCADA, (ii) EAM, ERP, CRM and GIS, (iii) Integrated view of Operations and Infrastructure and (iv) Advanced Analytics.

Next on our list was Infosys meeting with Deepak Advani. As we had multiple Infosys teams, hence discussion was in all the directions - IMS, Cloud, Mobility, Asset Management and Analytics. As per him, the key focus areas in market are - Mobile, Analytics, Integration of event management on Asset Management and Cloud. I spoke about Infosys getting all the support from IBM on enablement but lacking joint go-to-market activities. Deepak promised to look into this and had some action items on his team.

Attended one more session with our RCL team about various hosting offerings IBM and Infosys can jointly propose to market.

Was a long day but had some entertainment waiting for us in form of
(i) Devdutt Pattanaik - A motivational speaker who explained various ancient Hindu mythologies and their relevance in today's business management. A very inspiring and entertaining session. Difficult to pen, but if you want to read more than follow
(ii) Vasundhara Das - A famous singer performed for us during dinner

Next day, was a short day as the event got over by 11 AM. Nothing important to write about this day, other than that one of our Infosys Colleague got first prize in a lucky draw.

For me it was a quite useful event as it helped me in opening newer discussion channels with few more IBM executives. I have few action items on me to follow up with them.

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