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Service with Distinction: Stephen Leonard Talks About Kyndryl’s Industry Partnerships

November 12, 2021

Kyndryl is about customers, and partnerships help us serve them more effectively. But there’s more to it than that. What does it mean to throw around a term like “digital transformation” – language that everybody uses, but which few explain in ways that reveal a concrete understanding of how a managed infrastructure services provider can distinguish itself through the quality of its actions instead of trying to “differentiate” itself through more verbiage?

In the following conversation, Kyndryl’s Global Alliances and Partnerships Leader Stephen Leonard offers insights that illuminate the inner workings of Kyndryl’s partnerships, and details how a new landmark deal with Microsoft will supercharge how Kyndryl serves its customers.

Q: What do partnerships mean to Kyndryl?

Stephen Leonard: Partners are essential to Kyndryl’s core purpose – serving our customers. Partnerships are also central to opening new markets for Kyndryl and driving growth. For our partners, Kyndryl provides an entrée to a $500 billion market space that’s experiencing double-digit growth. Our customers love what we do and love working with us. But they also have been asking for new types of solutions and technologies, combined with Kyndryl’s distinguished service. To our customers, Kyndryl’s service delivery plus our partners’ solutions is the magic combination when it comes to managing the complexities of various aspects of their digital transformation. By that, I mean that Kyndryl’s deep technical expertise, global industry knowledge, and trust and security combined with the freedom to choose best-in-class technologies from our partners enables a triple win. Our customers can migrate their business-critical workloads to a hybrid cloud environment which, in turn, enables them to infuse AI into their core operations; our partners gain access to untapped markets via our global scale; and Kyndryl charts a clear pathway to sustainable growth.

Q: What advantages does Kyndryl offer to partners?

Leonard: For partners, working with Kyndryl is like making the jump to hyperspace. Through Kyndryl, partners tap into a ready-made, globally integrated network with a services provider that’s already at scale. Our more than 4,000 customers are extending relationships with us because they trust us to get it right. The only thing that’s been missing is an ability to operate in a truly heterogeneous solutions environment – which is why it’s so exciting for customers, for partners and for Kyndryl that we have the freedom to combine the best people with the best skills and the best products.

In addition, the majority of Kyndryls are technical practitioners, our IP – more than 3,000 patents – focuses exclusively on processes critical to managed services (which means that customers of all sizes benefit from our enterprise-class expertise), and we operate in 65 countries. That last point – our global reach – is a game changer for customers who operate across multiple markets. Our people are already deeply experienced in the nuances of regulatory and security issues (to cite two examples) that are unique to each market. For our partners, this expertise enables us to lower their barriers of entry to these markets.

Q: What can you tell us about Kyndryl’s new landmark partnership with Microsoft?

Leonard: We share a belief with Microsoft that partnering with others provides significant benefits to customers. We have worked together previously and we’re also customers of each other’s services and solutions. So, it was a natural choice that Microsoft would become our first major landmark partnership. They have brought the full weight of their portfolio to Kyndryl and will make a sizable investment in joint development and in helping us strengthen our technical expertise. We will establish a co-innovation lab to rapidly develop and bring to market new customer capabilities built on Microsoft Cloud. This partnership will enable us to deliver tremendous advantages to our customers as they move critical workloads to hybrid cloud and otherwise modernize their IT, it puts Microsoft front and center in Kyndryl’s global customer relationships, and it positions Kyndryl for growth. Everybody wins!