Kyndryl Charts a Clear Path with Strategic Partnerships

In the tech industry, strategic partnerships are often nuanced. Some aim to enter or seize market opportunities that partners have recognized or targeted. Others subtly alter the position or terms of long-established relationships. A formalized agreement between longtime competitors likely reflects negotiations and haggling that went on for months before the announcement.

In most cases, partnerships help the respective companies to be seen or perceived in a new light. And in certain circumstances, this question can be vital. One example is Kyndryl, who since splitting from IBM last November has taken aggressive steps to forge new or expanded partnerships with IT industry stalwarts including Microsoft, VMware, Google Cloud, Pure Storage, Nokia and AWS. . These last two in particular provide insight into what customers and investors can expect from Kyndryl as an independent entity.

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Benefits and Challenges of Independence

An interesting point in many Kyndryl spinoff reports was how few commentators knew about the company’s business. Some have described it as purely focused on offering consulting assistance to IBM customers in hopes of modernizing legacy systems and applications. Others saw Kyndryl’s deep expertise in on-premises hardware and software as disconnected from cloud-bound businesses.

While these notions may be partly correct, they also oversimplify what the business is and does today, and what it was and has been as an infrastructure managed services unit. from IBM.

Obviously, the organization has expertise in IBM hardware, middleware and related software. But like virtually every global business, IBM customers also use solutions from other vendors. To be successful, its infrastructure managed services professionals also needed to have an in-depth knowledge of these offerings. That’s how the group (and now Kyndryl) generated $18.7 billion in revenue for fiscal 2021, more than double that of its closest competitor.

Likewise, while many service engagements deal with on-premises systems, other areas like cloud computing, hybrid cloud, cloud migrations, and cloud-based digital transformation have been at the heart of the company’s efforts. IBM for much of the decade. This includes its infrastructure managed services unit.

In other words, far from being inflexibly fixated on what many believe to be heavy, traditional IT skills and business technologies, Kyndryl’s more than 90,000 executives, managers and consultants are intimately familiar with the latest and greatest IT solutions that enterprise vendors – including IBM – have to offer.

Good enough, but what can an organization do when outsiders don’t understand or know much about your business? Often you change the way you talk about your organization. Just as effective, you let the company you keep speak for you.

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Kyndryl’s strategic partners: Nokia and AWS

How does Kyndryl achieve this through its strategic partners and partnership announcements? Consider its relationships with Nokia and AWS.

Nokia: from edge to AI

Announced February 17and, the new global networking and edge computing alliance of Kyndryl and Nokia aims to help customers transform their businesses with industrial-grade LTE and 5G private wireless networks. The duo has already co-developed a solution combining the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) application platform with Kyndryl’s consulting, design, implementation and managed services offering. This resulted in successful deployments and proof of concept for Dow.

Dow enlists the Kyndryl/Nokia team to support the asset tracking and worker safety and collaboration processes it plans to deploy across its global facilities. Customers can gain immediate benefits with the solutions by leveraging existing LTE infrastructures and then utilize future updates from the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) with Nokia DAC 5G for 5G enhancements.

With their new solution already bearing fruit, Kyndryl and Nokia plan to explore and develop integrated solutions and services for Edge Cloud, IP Networks, Optics, Fixed Access, Core and Network Operations 4G and 5G. Companies have also noted the benefits that private wireless connectivity can provide by facilitating automation, robotics, AI, augmented and virtual reality.

AWS: cloud infrastructure

In a February 23rd press release, Kyndryl and AWS announced a strategic expansion of their existing relationship. Kyndryl is already an AWS Premiere and MSP Certified Partner and has developed AWS Competencies and a team of AWS Certified Services Professionals.

With this new effort, the pair will invest in creating common practices globally, and Kyndryl will establish an AWS Cloud Center of Excellence (CCOE) focused on industry-leading solutions and services to develop common solutions, including services for mission-critical infrastructure, mainframe, network and edge computing services, ERP and modernized applications and workflows across all industries.

Kyndryl and AWS will also leverage their respective deep partnerships with VMware to develop an accelerator for VMware Cloud on AWS. Many Kyndryl customers are already running VMware on-premises. The accelerator should therefore accelerate these organizations’ plans and efforts to run mission-critical workloads in the cloud.

In addition to deepening its collaboration with AWS, Kyndryl also plans to develop its own internal cloud infrastructure, leveraging AWS as the preferred cloud provider. As part of this announcement, AWS will become a Kyndryl Premier Global Alliance Partner.

Final analysis: difficult assumptions for the industry

What are these two individual partners and partnerships saying about Kyndryl, and how might they change public perceptions?

Let’s start with AWS, the one most likely to have a short-term impact on the company’s fortunes. Essentially, this expansion of the partnership brings the two companies closer together through the co-development of common practices, Kyndryl’s CCOE and the VMware Accelerator.

Equally important is the pair’s focus on developing services for critical infrastructure, network and edge computing, ERP and mainframe, application and workflow modernization. These are potentially lucrative opportunities that also underscore the goals and plans that AWS listed at its re:Invent conference in November. Essentially, Kyndryl and AWS are committed to expanding our joint efforts and will continue to expand their services to meet vital emerging solutions.

This same mix of current and future plans is clear in Kyndryl’s partnership with Nokia. Although the companies’ efforts are still in their infancy, the solution co-developed for Nokia DAC and its adoption by global customer Dow bodes well. The same can be said to focus on immediately useful LTE private wireless networks for industries that can be upgraded when customers are ready to take advantage of 5G technologies.

Dow’s initial use of the new solution for asset tracking and worker safety and collaboration – and its plans to roll out the solution to all global facilities – is a good example of how this could unroll. It’s also easy to see how customers could be intrigued and benefit from Kyndryl and Nokia’s plans to develop private wireless networking solutions that support automation, robotics, AI use cases. , augmented reality and next-generation virtual reality.

Taken together, these announcements from Kyndryl highlight how a market-leading vendor can continue to perform and improve in its areas of expertise while working with strategic partners to support use cases, processes , new and future solutions and services. Anyone who thinks Kyndryl is nothing more than an IBM replacement or a vapid data center service provider might want to reconsider those assumptions.

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