More startups turning software vendors for large enterprises: IBM's Seema Kumar

More startups turning software vendors for large enterprises: IBM's Seema Kumar
Seema Kumar, Country Leader, Developer Ecosystem and Startups at IBM
15 Jun, 2018

Tech giant International Business Machines Corp (IBM) is increasingly seeing startups as independent software vendors (ISVs) for large enterprises as it looks to harness emerging technologies, a top executive said.

ISVs are organisations which specialise in making and selling software.

“It is important for us to partner with the right ISVs in the ecosystem who can leverage our large customer base,” said Seema Kumar, who heads the developer and startup ecosystem group for IBM India and South Asia.

“We work with developers within large enterprises to understand their demands and helping them build better software applications on top of our platforms,” she added.

Making startups ISVs would essentially mean making them a sales and system integrator partner in their joint go-to-market strategy. “We have been fairly successful in giving them (startups) quality leads,” she said.

US-headquartered IBM  isn’t the only big tech company introducing startups to large enterprises and making them partners. Other large tech companies such as Google and Microsoft are following a similar strategy.

Microsoft’s accelerator programme helps its turn matchmaker for startups and enterprises.

Kumar further said that startups, entrepreneurs and developers together are driving the adoption of newer technologies. 

"Developers are wielding more influence on core technology choices for decisions on operating platforms, computer languages and software tools," Kumar said.

Her views echo those of Google Cloud’s Asia-Pacific managing director Richard Harshman, who recently said that as large companies go digital and migrate to the cloud, the role of developers in choosing the platform is increasing.

Kumar also spoke about IBM’s Global Entrepreneurship Programme, which she said had touched more than 1,200 startups in the country through various initiatives.

Under the programme, IBM has worked with and helped startups in India with credits (in the form of cloud access apart from the free use of IBM's tools and products).

 "We don't invest directly, but it is a self-sustaining programme. A few hundred startups from India qualify every year," said Kumar.  "We offer them technology support, mentoring apart from introducing to our large customer base for business-to- business startups."