IBM India helping Covid-hit clients with financial stimulus package (IANS Exclusive)

The Covid-19 lockdown has made it very challenging for businesses in India. Now, IBM India is on the path to help its partners and customers in the country with a well chalked-out financial stimulus package, a top country executive said on Saturday.

The tech giant is offering an extended financial stimulus package to its customers via IBM Global Financing.

According to Lata Singh, Executive Director of IBM Partner Ecosystem, the funding for eligible digital co-marketing activities in the second quarter has been increased from 50 per cent to 100 per cent.

Clients are given the option to pay in quarterly installments at zero percent interest for any hardware purchases in the second quarter (subject to terms and conditions).

“IBM Systems globally has added millions of dollars into the incentive portfolio which will be available for distributors and all partners in India. The Q2 performance incentive for Power and Storage has been increased,” Singh told IANS.

The company has also announced a “Systems Stimulus Package” for its clients, partners and distributors to help them manage overheads.

“The package involves a zero percent interest four quarterly instalment package for IBM Power and IBM Storage hardware purchases made between April 1 and June 30, 2020,” informed Singh.

The lockdown has pushed organisations to invest in remote working solutions and new IT infrastructure and, in future, they will try to further improve their digital adoption and utilize it to change business models and improve revenues.

According to Deepak Jadhav, Director, VDA Infosolutions Pvt. Ltd, the disruption caused by the virus has made businesses to think in unique and different ways.

“Customers are now increasingly exercising caution on what, where, and how to make investments. This has resulted in postponing their purchase decision for close to 6-9 months until the situation stabilizes,” said Jadhav.

IBM Systems Stimulus package, he added, is a very thoughtful proposition laid out by the company to help partners as well as customers to overcome the problematic situation.

“This will help partners to go with the right proposal to the customers to ensure sales processes are complete, which otherwise would have got stuck due to budget restrictions. This package will also help partners to maintain margins which were under stress due to tough negotiations by customers,” Jadhav told IANS.

The IBM executive said that the revalidation grace period for IBM Partnerworld programme has also been extended from May 5 to January 1, 2021 so that partners will not decrease in programme level or lose a competency during this time.

The company has launched aMy Digital Marketing,’ a new digital marketing platform for its partners to quickly access an array of ‘ready-to-execute’ digital campaigns.

“It enables partners to plan, personalize, execute and measure their next digital marketing campaign, identify what works and what doesn’t as our lines of communications shift to more virtual channels,” informed Singh.

“Our aBusiness Partner Connect’ programme offers both IBM and Red Hat partners the ability to discover new collaboration opportunities, by leveraging IBM Watson’s matching technology to help find the right tools for shifting business needs,” said Singh.

Not just businesses, IBM is also helping India fight Covid-19 pandemic in an efficient way.

The Andhra Pradesh National Health Mission portal this week integrated the IBM Watson virtual agent to help the residents quickly get answers to their queries about Covid-19.

The chatbot is designed to understand and respond to common questions about Covid-19 in English, Telugu and Hindi. The virtual agent is deployed in a web browser and it is built in a way that it safeguards the privacy of the users.

“The Covid-19 crisis has brought to light what actual partnership is all about – mutual trust and a common goal to make the most of a downturn. Several of our clients and partners have had to re-evaluate their IT strategy in the short and medium term,” said Singh.

According to her, as the current restrictions ease and employees start to return to offices, organisations will need to take a three-wave approach to ensure employee health and workplace safety.

To enable a smooth transition and ensure workplace safety, there are many solution approaches starting from touch-less retail, supply chain agility, data security, etc that can help IBM clients address some of the emerging concerns/business requirements.

“IBM has created specific solutions meant to address detection of temperature elevations, contact-less screening of large numbers of workers, monitoring workplace crowding, etc,” Singh noted.