The Role Of Partner Ecosystem In The Era Of AI: Dinis Guarda Interviews Nick Otto, Head Of Global Strategic Partnerships At IBM

The Role Of Partner Ecosystem In The Era Of AI: Dinis Guarda Interviews Nick Otto, Head Of Global Strategic Partnerships At IBM

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By Pallavi Singal

Dinis Guarda interviews Nick Otto, Head of Global Strategic Partnerships at IBM, in the latest episode of his YouTube Podcast. During the in-person interview, the two discussed the shifting paradigms of technology in the era of AI, and how a collaborative and partnered ecosystem can help businesses find the best and sustainable solutions without causing any major disruptions.

The Role Of Partner Ecosystem In The Era Of AI: Dinis Guarda Interviews Nick Otto, Head Of Global Strategic Partnerships At IBM

Nick Otto is the General Manager at IBM with over 15 years of cross industry experience helping clients on their transformation journeys. As the Head of Global Strategic Partnerships, he is responsible for leading the largest and most strategic relationships in the IBM Ecosystem. In the latest episode of Dinis Guarda YouTube podcast, he highlighted that as organisations increasingly embrace the power of hybrid cloud solutions and AI-driven insights, robust partner ecosystems like IBM’s Partner Plus are preparing businesses and enterprises for the future trends in technology.

He told Dinis that, as we enter in an era dominated by AI innovations, hybrid cloud environments, integrating both on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure, have become the go-to strategy for organisations seeking flexibility and scalability. In this intricate landscape, partner ecosystems play a pivotal role in facilitating seamless integration.

He emphasised that partners bring specialised expertise, ensuring that disparate systems work harmoniously to optimise performance and efficiency. Whether it's connecting legacy systems with cloud platforms or implementing AI solutions into existing workflows, a well-established partner network can provide the technical know-how to navigate the complexities of integration.

Speaking about how collaborative ecosystems foster innovation, he told Dinis:

IBM has been consistent for a very long time around hybrid cloud and AI. What has been exciting is the convergence of the two. The openness of how you approach AI is critical, but at the core of this is the thought that no one is going to succeed on their own.

You have to have an open ecosystem, where you look at what your customers are trying to achieve and figure out how your technology, services, and partners can all come together to help your clients achieve things better, faster, quicker, more efficiently, and more effectively.”

IBM drives business agility through AI innovations partner ecosystems

The dynamic nature of hybrid cloud and AI demands agility from businesses. Partner ecosystems provide the agility required to adapt swiftly to changing market conditions. Whether it's scaling infrastructure in response to increased demand or incorporating AI-driven insights for real-time decision-making, the collaborative efforts within partner ecosystems empower organisations to stay ahead of the curve. The flexibility offered by these partnerships allows businesses to explore new possibilities and pivot their strategies as needed.

The ultimate approach here is not to make bigger and bigger models, but to have a very intentional multimodal approach. How do you have a model that’s really good at industrial use cases.”

Speaking about the use cases of IBM’s flexible AI business solution, Watsonx, he highlighted that the company is enabling businesses and enterprises with multiple tools. Some of the use cases that Nick highlighted were to streamline HR processes and harnessing the market trends and customer behaviour in financial services.

Some of our recent models have shown that a fraction of the size, they can drive the same, if not better, results in the financial services space”, he highlighted.

It is to note here that the podcast has also highlighted some of the other use cases of Watsonx, in an interview with the Business Development Leader for Data and AI at IBM UKI, Brendan Buckingham.

How does IBM enhance security, trust, and compliance in its partner ecosystem?

Nick told Dinis that as technological advancements continue to reshape industries, collaborative efforts involving various stakeholders—such as government bodies, businesses, tech innovators, and regulatory authorities—are essential to establish cohesive governance frameworks.

These ecosystems, he explained, facilitate the sharing of expertise, best practices, and regulatory insights, enabling the development of agile governance models that can swiftly adapt to emerging challenges.

Speaking about Watsonx.governance, an AI tool that brings transparency, responsibility, and ethical decision-making to organisations and businesses, he told Dinis that IBM follows a sustainable model approach that caters to the challenges of a dynamic technological environment.

The capabilities, policies, and governance that exist today will change tomorrow. As we design for working in this ecosystem and this dynamic environment, we are designing for that change providing various options and approaches that can provide the best cost efficiencies that can align with regulations that might come out in the future. 

This is how we are going to lead on the ability and flexibility and openness in approach, instead of a single model approach”, he told Dinis.

He also highlighted that by bringing together diverse perspectives and fostering ongoing dialogue, these ecosystems can help contribute to the creation of regulatory standards that strike a balance between fostering innovation and safeguarding ethical, legal, and societal considerations.

We work with clients to figure out how you balance the speed with keeping your business on the trajectory”, he said.

IBM Partner ecosystems & AI: Creating value for businesses

During the interview, Nick also emphasised that businesses, today, recognise the strategic significance of forming partnerships to harness complementary strengths and drive innovation. Through carefully curated ecosystems, companies can access a broader range of expertise, resources, and market opportunities that might be challenging to attain independently. These collaborative networks enable the exchange of knowledge, technologies, and market insights, facilitating faster adaptation to industry shifts.

Highlighting the recently launched family of IBM-built foundation models, the Granite series available in watsonx.ai, he said that these multi-size foundation models apply generative AI to both language and code.

IBM believes these Granite models deliver enduring value to businesses”, he said, “given that these models are built on a fine balance of innovation and governance.

The balance between speed (of innovation), trust, and governance is something we work on everyday”, he said, explaining IBM’s core principles of trust: freedom to run things (in user specific way), interoperability, and collaboration of technology and solutions.

In this respect, he also commented on IBM’s focus on generative AI skills and education. “For partners, we aim our education around creating business value. a. We curate courses and certifications, but we also balance it with hackathons and Watsonx challenges, working with our service partners, technology partners, and customers to really bring all the technology together and solve business challenges.”

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