Kyndryl, the managed infrastructure service provider that spun off from IBM in 2021, has inked a strategic partnership with Amazon Web Services. The deal surfaces a few weeks after Kyndryl announced similar alliances with Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Nokia.
The big question: Can those partnerships help Kyndryl to reverse the MSP’s recent revenue declines? Some initial answers may emerge on March 1, when Kyndryl is expected to announce Q4 2021 earnings results.
In the meantime, the new Kyndryl-AWS relationship includes a focus on VMware Cloud on AWS. Moreover, Kyndryl and AWS plan to train more than 10,000 Kyndryl professionals on AWS by the end of 2022.
The partnership includes a healthy dose of irony: Indeed, it's unlikely Kyndryl could have built a similar AWS-VMware relationship while under IBM's ownership, since IBM's Red Hat business competes head-on against VMware in the multi-cloud software and platform as a service (PaaS) software markets.
Kyndryl-AWS Partnership: Executive Perspectives
In a prepared statement about the relationship, Kyndryl CEO Martin Schroeter said:
"Our ability to freely explore and unleash the combined benefits of AWS cloud services with Kyndryl's deep industry-specific managed services and expertise will provide an unprecedented level of knowledge and innovation. Together, we will invest in enhancing Kyndryl's expertise in AWS to help companies modernize, innovate, and compete."
Added AWS CEO Adam Selipsky:
"Organizations everywhere are choosing AWS to transform their businesses and tackle some of the world's most difficult challenges – from putting automated vehicles on our streets, to improving healthcare outcomes, to addressing climate change. By combining forces with Kyndryl, we are helping customers of all sizes to modernize faster than ever before, grow their businesses, and transform what's possible. Together, we are committed to educating, empowering, and enabling thousands of AWS certified practitioners and developing joint solutions that will accelerate customers' journeys and help them innovate on the world's leading cloud."
Concluded VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram:
"VMware, AWS, and Kyndryl bring together a unique combination of customer focus, technology innovation, and industry leadership that, together, will accelerate customers' application modernization and cloud initiatives. AWS is VMware's preferred public cloud partner for vSphere workloads, and Kyndryl and VMware have a partnership built on more than two decades of collaboration. Together, our companies will help customers successfully navigate complex cloud journeys that lead to greater digital innovation while retaining enterprise control."
Can Kyndryl Grow Top-Line Revenues, Evolve Into Cloud MSP?
Although the MSP and managed cloud industries are growing, Kyndryl’s annual revenues were shrinking while under IBM’s ownership. Among the reasons: Under IBM’s ownership, it was difficult for Kyndryl to ink third-party cloud partnerships that compete in some ways with IBM’s own cloud efforts.
As an independent company, Kyndryl is now seeking to drive growth across six managed services markets. They include:
- Applications, Data & AI
- Security & Resiliency
- Core Enterprise & zCloud
- Network & Edge
- Digital Workplace
Still, Kyndryl will likely wind up competing against IBM’s own consulting business in the managed cloud services provider market. Indeed, IBM has been busy acquiring cloud cloud consulting companies worldwide. Moreover, Kyndryl could potentially compete against the IBM Security business, which ranks among the world’s Top 250 MSSPs, according to MSSP Alert research.
And of course, Kyndryl will face intense competition from global systems integrators such as Accenture, Atos, Capgemini, Deloittte, and other firms that already have growing cloud MSP business practices.