Vodafone and IBM team up for digital transformation push

Vodafone Business and IBM are creating a new joint-venture to help drive digital transformation among their customers and to create new services that combine their respective strengths.

As part of the agreement, Vodafone Business customers will have access to IBM’s portfolio of cloud services, giving them access to multi-cloud technology and IBM’s cognitive capabilities, while IBM will provide managed services to Vodafone Business’s cloud and hosting unit.

The two companies have worked together for more than 20 years but say the expansion of this partnership is a response to the growing complexity of IT.

IBM Vodafone

They claim that more than two third of organisations use more than 15 cloud environments – something that can prevent the free flow of data and applications.

“IBM has built industry-leading hybrid cloud, AI and security capabilities underpinned by deep industry expertise,” said IBM Chairman 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 to help our customers succeed in a digital world,” added Vodafone CEO Nick Read. “This strategic venture with IBM allows us to focus on our strengths in fixed and mobile technologies, whilst leveraging IBM’s expertise in multicloud, AI and services. Through this new venture we’ll accelerate our growth and deepen engagement with our customers while driving radical simplification and efficiency in our business.”

The firms will also co-develop new services based on Vodafone’s 5G, Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing expertise, and IBM’s knowledge of industry and cloud. It is claimed the venture will act as agile as a startup so it can respond to rapidly changing customer demand.

The deal strengthens Vodafone’s business proposition as it seeks to arrest falling revenues, while IBM gains another partner in its mobile efforts.  Since 2014, IBM has co-developed industry-specific applications with Apple and sold iPads to joint-customers as part of the MobileFirst for iOS programme.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.