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EUROPE Partner Experience Transformation Worldwide

CeBIT 2018: A new kind of event for the era of the ecosystem

From June 11th – June 15th, one of the largest IT fairs worldwide opened its doors in Hannover, Germany. CeBIT 2018 was born with a new concept; if you look at it high-level, you might think they just moved the fair to summertime to be able to connect it to an outdoor festival type of event and make it a little hipper—so just “pimping it up” a little. But there is far more to it than that.

I will try to explore why the fair is trying to transform itself and which conclusions we can draw looking at our Ecosystem and Business Partners.

IBM was of course present at CeBIT this year but more importantly, we were present together with some of our key strategic partners. The IBM Pavilion showcased demos and client stories from companies like SVA, PROFI, CANCOM, BLUE Consult, Materna, KPMG, VMware, Cisco and Capgemini.

It’s true that the IBM demo points at CeBIT in prior years were already moving more and more to a showcase and client reference–focused exhibit. But this year, the references were the dominant focus and in many cases they were even presented and explained by the clients.

This included solutions from Mercedes-Benz, Deutsche Bahn and KONE, just to name a few. The same was true for the reference points from IBM’s Ecosystem. All of them had moved on from presenting their general expertise and skills, towards presenting real client solutions, mainly in the strategic areas of cloud, AI, security or IoT.

Almost all of these solutions required them to work together with a broader ecosystem as—besides the IBM core assets—there were other data or assets needed to develop a complete and integrated solution. It was more evident than ever before, that the future champions will be those companies/partners that best manage to complement their skill portfolio and IBM’s solutions with third-party skills/data/assets.

It also became clear that new and different skills are required to build some of these solutions, which very often do not exist in more traditional IT-focused Business Partners. What is required are data scientists, data analysts, mathematicians or young game developers. Another aim of CeBIT 2018 was to expose the more traditional IT businesses to these new skills.

Just imagine if we could exploit the whole strength of new powerful IT, like IBM® POWER9™-based servers ready for AI, with the right developer skills driving new and innovative industry solutions by IBM’s Value-Add Partner Ecosystem. This could be done by hiring some of these talents or by partnering with some of the new hidden champions out there in the new growth areas.

As the event drew to a close, one thing was absolutely clear: IBM’s solution and client showcase portfolio at CeBIT 2018 has become far more impressive by integrating the solutions of our Ecosystem Partners and I am sure next year we will see even more partners with more integrated solutions for happy clients at CeBIT 2019.

Patrick Bauer
Vice President Systems Channel, Europe

Patrick Bauer is responsible for IBM’s Systems Channel in Europe. He is the former leader of IBM Software Group in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In an IBM career spanning almost 30 years, Patrick has helped shape the strategic direction of the business in Europe, working with clients and partners across the region to realise the true potential of software and systems.

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