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Techaisle Blog

Insightful research, flexible data, and deep analysis by a global SMB IT Market Research and Industry Analyst organization dedicated to tracking the Future of SMBs and Channels.
Anurag Agrawal

Unveiling the Future of AI: IBM's Unwavering Commitment to Innovation and Collaboration

Enterprises are grappling with AI's transformative power, a technology poised to automate and elevate both creative and analytical tasks. Despite its early stages, AI adoption holds immense growth potential. Recognizing this, IBM took center stage at Think 2024, showcasing its unwavering commitment to AI innovation.

IBM's leadership in driving enterprise AI is evident through its three key pillars: open-source initiatives, which democratize AI and make it more accessible; leveraging the combined expertise of its consulting arm and ecosystem partners, which ensures the highest quality of AI solutions; and significant updates to the watsonx platform, which enhance the performance and capabilities of AI. These updates are about technological advancements and making AI more accessible and impactful for businesses worldwide. By prioritizing openness, affordability, and flexibility, IBM is breaking down barriers and paving the way for widespread AI adoption.

Open-Source Innovations and InstructLab

AI, a field deeply rooted in open collaboration, has been shaped by a tradition that dates back to its inception. Consider Alan Turing's groundbreaking 1950s paper, 'Computing Machinery and Intelligence,' which introduced the world to AI. This vision turned into reality thanks to the open sharing of work by countless researchers worldwide, laying the foundation for the AI we know today. IBM, a torchbearer of this tradition, continues to place open-source innovation at the core of its latest AI initiatives, inviting users and businesses to be part of this rich and impactful tradition.

IBM has unveiled a family of Granite models, a significant addition to the open-source AI ecosystem. These models, with parameter counts ranging from 3 billion to 34 billion, have been trained in 116 programming languages. They are available in base and instruction-following variants, offering a wide range of applications from complex modernization to bug fixing. These models represent some of IBM's most advanced language and code capabilities and are available under Apache 2.0 licenses on collaborative platforms such as HuggingFace and GitHub. This exciting development opens up a world of possibilities.

IBM's approach to AI development sets it apart from other major companies. While many have chosen to release pre-trained models, withholding the datasets used for training, IBM has taken a different path. It has offered open-source models, democratizing AI development and inviting clients, developers, and experts worldwide to explore new AI advancements in enterprise settings. This unique strategy, coupled with IBM's commitment to quality and efficiency, ensures that these models consistently generate high-quality code superior to many alternative large language models (LLMs) and excel at various code-related tasks, surpassing larger open-source counterparts.

“We firmly believe in bringing open innovation to AI. We want to use the power of open source to do with AI what was successfully done with Linux and OpenShift,” IBM CEO Arvind Krishna at IBM’s Annual Think Conference.

ibm think2024

To further its commitment to open-source AI, IBM has announced InstructLab, an open-source project designed to address challenges in fine-tuning LLMs for specialized tasks. This project focuses on scalability by efficiently handling large volumes of data for model training and specialization by tailoring models to specific industry needs.

Anurag Agrawal

Global Reach, Streamlined Sales: IBM Expands Software Sales on AWS Marketplace

Over the past four years, the IBM-AWS partnership has evolved into a unique success story. Unlike many other collaborations, this partnership is a complete 360-degree relationship, encompassing a wide range of collaborations. These two tech giants have achieved remarkable milestones in a relatively short timeframe. IBM Consulting, for instance, boasts an impressive number of AWS certifications (over 23,000) and competencies (19). They are also working together on the cutting-edge field of Generative AI (Gen AI). The partnership has fueled significant growth in adopting Red Hat Open Shift on AWS (ROSA), a native service within the AWS console, proving instrumental in IBM's hybrid cloud strategy. This strategy prioritizes co-existence between cloud and mainframe environments. The focus on collaboration extends to mainframe application modernization, where IBM and AWS have developed valuable patterns that showcase the combined power of these technologies. Additionally, a clear roadmap has been established for watsonx on AWS, with integrations underway with SageMaker, Bedrock, and other AWS products to accelerate Gen AI development and generate a wealth of practical use cases.

The partnership extends beyond just collaboration on specific technologies. IBM software is experiencing a surge in popularity on the AWS platform, with 29 products now available as-a-service offerings. This is part of a larger picture that includes 29 IBM software products and 44 transactable marketplace listings on AWS. The resell model for these offerings has also seen expansion, now encompassing five countries: the US, France, Germany, Denmark, and the UK. Furthermore, a two-tiered distribution model has been established in these countries with industry leaders like Ingram Micro, TD Synnex, and Arrow, further strengthening the reach of these combined solutions. Notably, a significant portion of IBM's partners are already established AWS partners. These partners recognize the value proposition of adding IBM solutions to their offerings, creating a win-win situation for all parties involved – IBM, AWS, and their partners, who can now deliver even more comprehensive solutions to their customers.

In the latest move, IBM and AWS have announced a strategic partnership that promises to reshape the landscape of AI and data technology. This alliance will provide partners and clients unprecedented access to advanced technologies, opening up new avenues for growth and innovation. The collaboration between these two tech giants means clients will now have enhanced access to IBM's robust AI and data platforms through AWS's expansive marketplace. This integration allows for the seamless adoption of sophisticated tools to drive business transformation. With IBM's technology becoming available on AWS, the marketplace is poised to expand significantly. Partners can leverage this opportunity to offer a broader range of services and solutions, catering to the diverse needs of businesses across various industries. The synergy between IBM's AI and data expertise and AWS's cloud infrastructure is expected to deliver enhanced business value. Clients can expect more efficient operations, improved customer experiences, and the ability to tap into new markets, thanks to the comprehensive solutions provided by this partnership.

The IBM-AWS partnership is more than just a collaboration; it's a fusion of strengths that will empower partners and clients. As the partnership evolves, we can anticipate a wave of innovation that will lead the way in AI and data technology, ultimately benefiting businesses around the globe.

Anurag Agrawal

Google Workspace Ups the Game: AI Focus Targets SMBs and Mid-Market Growth

While Google Cloud Next offered a flurry of AI announcements, Google Workspace emerged as the surprise star, particularly for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) and midmarket firms. Google Workspace stole the show for SMBs. Here's what grabbed my attention:

  • Video Made Easy with Google Vids: Powered by Google’s AI technology Gemini, Google Vids is a game-changer for SMBs in creating professional videos. Imagine a Recording Studio experience with a massive library of stock footage, music, and GIFs at your fingertips. AI-powered editing removes unwanted noise, ensuring pristine audio quality. Seamless video sharing and collaboration within Workspace eliminate email ping-pong, empowering teams to work together securely.
  • Vertex AI Meets Workspace: This integration unlocks a treasure trove of possibilities for SMBs. With over 130 pre-built AI foundation models, SMBs can build custom solutions to automate complex workflows, which translates to significant time savings, improved access to relevant data, and a productive workforce. This means more time for strategic planning and less time spent on repetitive tasks, enhancing accessibility to pertinent data and improving the employee experience. The integration equips SMBs to take control of their workflows and focus on what matters.
  • Supercharge Meetings with the Gemini Meet Add-on: For $10 per user per month, the meeting experience can be elevated with features like "Take Notes for Me," "Translate for Me" (supporting 69 languages!), and studio-quality audio and video. Plus, adaptive audio ensures clear communication even in impromptu laptop-based meetings. This add-on is perfect for space-constrained SMBs and is a significant productivity booster.
  • AI Boosts Chat Productivity: Gemini in Chat is an intelligent sidekick. Gemini is there whether one needs answers from across the web, summaries of lengthy documents, or a helping hand sorting through emails and chats. It even helps craft the perfect tone for messages and prioritizes conversations based on the most frequent contacts and urgent tasks. And for those quick collaborations, Huddles in Chat offers a one-click meeting experience. Did I mention interoperability with Slack and Teams, allowing for effortless collaboration across different messaging services?
  • Enhanced Security with the New Gemini Security Add-on: For an additional $10 per user per month, businesses can bolster their Workspace security with advanced AI features. These include data classification and integrate seamlessly with existing Data Loss Prevention (DLP) controls. Additionally, privacy-preserving customer-specific AI models provide an extra layer of protection for sensitive data.

According to Techaisle's survey data of more than 2100 SMBs, one of the top five priorities for 2024 is to enhance and invest in collaboration solutions, and 87% plan to increase usage in 2024. Implementing a uniform collaboration solution that can function smoothly on all employee devices is also a challenge for 24% of SMBs.

google workspace

Anurag Agrawal

AWS SMB Competency: Equipping Partners to Capture the Next-Gen Cloud Opportunity

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been a leader in cloud computing since 2006. Its success depends on a strong network of channel partners. These partners are brought together through the AWS Partner Network (APN), which fosters collaboration and enables the creation of solutions and services for customers. The APN has expanded over time to include various programs. It's worth noting that the APN has over 130,000 partners from 150 countries, with nearly 70% headquartered outside the US. Although large enterprises have greatly benefited from these programs, AWS has recognized small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) play a significant role in the global economy. As a result, AWS has recently introduced the SMB Competency Program, a strategic initiative designed to empower partners serving SMB customers. After extensive discussions with partners and an in-depth understanding of SMB requirements, AWS unveiled its robust program in January 2024.

AWS SMB Competency Partners provide solutions and services tailored to SMBs' requirements. This covers platform solutions such as migration and modernization, security, data storage, disaster recovery, artificial intelligence/machine learning, and SaaS solutions, including accounting, resource management, customer service, and relationship management. AWS SMB Competency Partners serve as a single source for SMBs who want to use the AWS cloud to solve their specific business problems.

The inaugural iteration of the program comprises 30 partners, spanning services and software with expertise in managed services, security, AI, modernization, migration, disaster recovery, and cloud business applications. These categories have been thoughtfully chosen to align with SMB priorities.

I have personally spoken with each of these 30 partners, and they unanimously endorse and express enthusiasm for the AWS SMB Competency program.

smb title card

According to Techaisle’s 2024 research data on SMB and Midmarket priorities and challenges, 55% of customers view partner competencies as “absolutely essential” when assessing partner capabilities. In contrast, 36% of customers prioritize certifications in their evaluation. This emphasizes competencies' critical role in demonstrating a partner’s expertise and ability to meet customer needs.

Focused on growth and committed to new solutions that expand business horizons – the SMB market is on the brink of a multi-year growth trajectory.

Research You Can Rely On | Analysis You Can Act Upon

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