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Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.
Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.
Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.
Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.
Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.
Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others.
A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications.
Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others.
Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.
Priyokumar Singh Naorem
He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.
A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.
She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.
A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.
Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.
Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.
Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.
Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.
Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.
Concept and Direction
Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.
Mike Fino is the Chief Operating Officer, IBM Partner Ecosystem, where he has overall responsibility for transformation and operations across IBM’s dynamic global ecosystem of Business Partners. Mike leads agile teams that deliver measurable results, which are validated using client engagement tools, such as Net Promoter Score (NPS).
Mike has 25 years of experience leading key functional areas of integrated operations at IBM. Prior to his current role, Mike was Vice President, Business Partner Enterprise Transformation, Sales Operations, & Strategy, IBM, where he drove channel transformation efforts, increasing revenue for both IBM and partners.
Jacqueline D. Woods is the Chief Marketing Officer, IBM Partner Ecosystem. She is responsible for driving marketing and communications efforts for IBM’s channel business, with a focus on growing business partner momentum in IBM Cloud and AI technologies.
In this role, Jacqueline leads the digital marketing experience through execution and enablement of IBM’s dynamic global partner ecosystem. She uses client-centric data and analytics that help IBM and their partners drive insights to improve ROI and increase value to end-user clients.
Interviewed by Swastika Singh
Jacqueline: What’s evolved is our ability to listen and respond to our Business Partners with the speed and precision needed in today’s highly competitive marketplace. PRM is helping us do just that. Every major initiative in the IBM Business Partner Ecosystem, from skills and capabilities to enablement and benefits, is a direct result of feedback. Ultimately, it’s about enabling partners of all types and business models to be successful by delivering frictionless, best-in-class experiences for the client. That’s what really matters.
Jacqueline: It’s a very exciting time to be part of the IBM Ecosystem and we're always looking for partners who, together with IBM, can mutually solve a client’s problem and make them smarter. We constantly recruit new partners as well as expand existing Business Partner relationships to help them move into new areas. In addition to traditional approaches, we attract partners through hack-a-thons, meet-ups and initiatives such as "Watson Build," a global competition for partners to build AI solutions on the IBM Cloud and gain valuable experience with our APIs. We look for industry experience, tech capabilities, client experience, portfolio, market reach and, of course, their people, which is really the most important thing. We believe that great thinkers and good tech can come together to build the future.
Jacqueline: For the most part, Business Partners want environments that they can manage themselves — ones that are simple and easy to navigate. For more complex opportunities and situations, we have an active network of subject matter experts ready to step in and help.
Mike: We ensure that we create this kind of environment by tuning into the “voice” of the partner by using Net Promoter Score methodology. This provides us with real-time continuous feedback from our partners, and ensures us that our efforts resonate with our diverse partner base.
Jacqueline: Speaking of diversity, we also understand that partners no longer identify themselves with just one type of business model (such as Reseller, Systems Integrator, ISV, CSP, MSP), so the challenge — and the great opportunity — is to offer these partners the technologies, enablement, and support to help them adopt new models and ways to serve their clients.
Mike: Business Partner onboarding and skills development are critical to growing and developing a sustainable Business Partner Ecosystem. Companies should make it simple for Business Partners to join their ecosystem and quickly get assimilated into their programs and the many advantages that they offer. This places a premium on having a PRM system that does not require a massive amount of training and provides an intuitive approach to engaging. It also requires an enablement framework with innovative learning journeys integrated with an industry-leading credential system. This is our approach at IBM, and I believe it differentiates us and helps our Business Partners compete in the marketplace by enabling them to develop competencies and industry thought leadership.
Mike: Performance metrics are always a source of great debate. With an ecosystem as large as ours, it is easy to have many metrics across a variety of systems. Over the years, we have reduced the quantity of our key metrics, but this is still something that requires an ongoing effort to maintain. Aside from the traditional metrics of revenue, expense, and pipeline, we are looking for more predictive indicators of future success. Capacity and recruitment, skills, usage, and net promoter score are all areas of emerging KPIs that are critical to long-term success.
Mike: I don’t think you could ever invest enough in PRM. As collaborative selling and partner-to-partner ecosystems grow, so do the tooling demands required to efficiently bring these groups together. Only with enhanced PRM functionality is this growth possible. We have been evolving our partner-to-partner capabilities, making it much easier for partners to collaborate on go-to-market solutions that leverage their unique value propositions. It’s incumbent on IBM to make it easier for our partners to work together, especially those smaller firms that have less reach and more niche offerings that are dependent on adjacent technologies.
Jacqueline: No matter how big your company is — you can’t be everywhere. It’s too costly. Collaborating with other partners is a highly effective way to reach new markets and new clients. It’s smart to invest in understanding how to take full advantage of these organic networking opportunities to grow the ecosystem.
Mike: IBM is the industry leader in AI tools like Watson, and we have invested heavily in Watson for our Business Partner ecosystem. For example, our Watson AI helps us get the right leads into the right partners' hands. Watson enables us to choose the best partner for a lead based on their skills achievement, capacity, responsiveness and win rates.
I believe that advanced PRM technology will only be able to keep pace with changing business dynamics by using cognitive tools that learn as they go. Tools that are based on predetermined parameters are doomed to fall behind amid an ever-changing business landscape.
Jacqueline: Our goal and job is to help partners grow their businesses. In doing so, we will also grow. It’s simple and fundamental to our approach to working with Business Partners. We offer seller enablement, which is essential to all learning platforms, to enable Business Partner firms for success. And instrumenting our lead management system improves our relationships with our Business Partner firms and accelerates their ability to improve their capabilities in selling IBM products and services. Our approach, coupled with strong learning management systems and lead distribution technologies, helps us strengthen relationships and accelerate growth across our ecosystem.
Taking your partner along: PRM in organizations
Partner Relationship Management (PRM) has been considered a natural extension to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions.
Partners need rich, marketable content to sell better
Aimee Catalano, Head of Global Partner Marketing, Google Cloud
Managing and growing a diverse set of partners and alliances is critical to brand success
Jay McBain, Principal Analyst for Global Channels, Forrester
Automation helps serve more partners with fewer resources
Allison Gapter, Vice President of Global Partner Marketing, Demand Generation, SAP
Enable your partners to be modern marketers
Michelle Chiantera, Vice President of Americas Marketing and Communications, Cisco