South African technology firms stand to take their innovations to market faster and more cost-effectively through partner agreements giving them access to the IBM portfolio of solutions to build into their own new technologies.

This is according to Avanti Naidu, IBM ESA Program Manager at Axiz Advanced Technology.

Naidu says with time to market and cost-control increasingly important for businesses, IBM’s Embedded Solution Agreement (ESA) for Systems fast-tracks innovation by combining innovator IP with IBM technology to allow partners to go to market with new own-branded commercially available solutions.

Naidu says: “An IBM ESA gives technology partners a simple and flexible path for building IBM Systems IT infrastructure into client solutions. An embedded solution combines IBM products and the significant added value clients get from technology partners who create commercially available solutions that are distinct from IBM products,” she says. “With an IBM ESA, you can leverage IBM’s technologies and proficiency at a competitive price, to expedite a quicker sales cycle and expand your profit potential.

“The IBM ESA encompasses the benefits of being an IBM partner, which benefit you in combining IBM’s innovative technologies with your own intellectual property and your added value, to deliver a complete unique solution to your clients under your brand with you determining your own Ts & Cs.

“ESAs give you back control of your customers/end-users and your products, but they also give you the chance to benefit from unique expertise and specialist knowledge, among other things. ESA is designed to help technology partners reduce development costs and increase profits with flexible pricing,” she says.

Naidu says the emphasis is on building high end client value with build solutions and capabilities with IBM as the cornerstone for delivering unique value. Among the successes of ESA partners internationally are Ideatolife, which migrated its offerings to IBM Cloud to improve service, accelerate innovation and scale into new markets; OLAPLINE, which leveraged an ESA to launch a new planning and analytics solution; and CBA Strategic IT, which worked under an ESA to expand its CAITO platform AI capabilities.

Local technology firms can achieve the same levels of success, says Naidu. “IBM ESAs allow local innovators to leverage IBM resources and gain access to one of the world’s major IT ecosystems, to connect with companies that may complement your global go-to-market strategy.”

Naidu notes the aim of Axiz as the technology broker is to be aligned with the overall strategy and growth initiative of the end-to-end ESA solution by collaborating, identifying and defining best practice solutions for Axiz’s ESA technology partners.

“We facilitate enablement and brainstorm sessions with IBM for the technology partners by assisting them with deepening their knowledge with deep dive sessions in identifying the customer’s need, in essence to embed the voice of the customer in the solution. The primary focus is to delve into the next-generation ecosystem by enabling and engaging with our technology partners with finding unique solutions that exceed the norm. It is the intention of the ESA Program Manager to develop business partners by being a catalyst in encouraging innovative go-to-market strategies and solutions,” she says. Naidu adds that Axiz emphasises education and training as these are pivotal to the success of well-crafted ESA solutions that will maximise profits.

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