Building on two decades of collaboration, IBM and Vodafone have entered into a new strategic commercial agreement. It will provide clients with the open, flexible technologies they need to integrate multiple clouds. It will also help them prepare for the next wave of digital transformation enabled by AI, edge and 5G.
More than 70 percent of organisations today are using up to 15 cloud environments. They do this to access powerful new digital solutions and services. Consequently, the interconnectivity of clouds and the vulnerability of data have become global issues. Together, IBM and Vodafone Business will help companies remove the complexity and barriers from their technology choices and ensure that data and applications flow freely and securely across their organizations.
Under the new venture, Vodafone Business customers will immediately have access to the full portfolio of IBM’s cloud offerings.
As part of the agreement, IBM will provide managed services to Vodafone Business’ cloud and hosting unit. This is part of an eight-year engagement valued at approximately $550 million (€480 million). Customers will benefit from IBM’s optimisation, automation and cognitive capabilities which help them to run their business effectively in a cloud environment.
The new venture will co-develop new digital solutions. It combines the strengths of Vodafone’s leadership in IoT, 5G and edge computing with IBM’s multi-cloud, industry expertise and professional services capabilities.
IBM and Vodafone harnessing the power of the hybrid cloud
“IBM has built hybrid cloud, AI, and security capabilities underpinned by deep industry expertise,” said IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. “Together, IBM and Vodafone will use the power of the hybrid cloud to securely integrate critical business applications, driving business innovation – from agriculture to next-generation retail.”
“Vodafone has successfully established its cloud business. We want to help our customers succeed in a digital world,” said Vodafone CEO Nick Read. “This strategic venture with IBM allows us to focus on our strengths in fixed and mobile technologies. Furthermore, we can leverage IBM’s expertise in multicloud, AI, and services. Through this new venture we’ll accelerate our growth and deepen engagement with our customers. We will also drive radical simplification and efficiency in our business.”
The convergence of multicloud and connectivity promises to speed decision-making, enhance automation and personalize experiences for end users. For example, in the past, innovating on an oil rig would have been a challenge due to lack of connectivity and disparate IT systems.
Now, thanks to edge computing and IoT technologies from Vodafone working with the latest AI and virtual reality applications from IBM, engineers will be able to pinpoint and resolve faults on equipment in minutes rather than hours, potentially saving millions in lost productivity.
Combining the capabilities of two industry leaders under one roof with dedicated executive leaders from both companies, the new venture is designed to act like a start-up and be responsive to rapidly changing market and customer demands. Using the latest agile methodologies, IBM and Vodafone will also build new digital solutions and services.
The new venture will be operational in the first half of 2019.