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Kyndryl-Microsoft Cloud Partnership: ‘Legacy’ MSP Seeks Modern Growth

Credit: Kyndryl

Before spinning off Kyndryl last week as a standalone company, IBM spent considerable time referring to the managed infrastructure provider as a "legacy" business.

Frankly, it was flawed messaging from IBM that inadvertently emphasized Kyndryl's business challenges rather than growth opportunities, ChannelE2E believes.

Fast forward to present day, and Kyndryl has inked a global enterprise cloud partnership with Microsoft. Among the partnership details to note: Microsoft becomes "Kyndryl’s only Premier Global Alliance Partner, increasing Microsoft’s access to the $500 billion managed services market where Kyndryl leads," the IBM spin-off asserted.

Kyndryl Cloud and Cybersecurity Consulting: Key MSP Rivals

Through the Microsoft partnership, Kyndryl has proven that it plans to shed the nagging "legacy" term from its business -- while competing head-on against IBM's own consulting business in the managed cloud services provider market. Moreover, Kyndryl could potentially compete against the IBM Security business, which ranks among the world's Top 250 MSSPs, according to MSSP Alert research.

Still, Kyndryl will need to work hard to gain cloud MSP credibility. After all, the company's annual revenues have been shrinking despite the overall growth of the managed IT services sector.

Meanwhile, giants like Accenture have deep Microsoft Azure expertise. And Microsoft has been building out a network of Azure Expert MSP partners -- many of which rank among the world's Top 250 Public Cloud MSPs, according to ChannelE2E research. Moreover, IBM has been acquiring cloud consulting expertise -- which essentially pits IBM against the Kyndryl business on some fronts.

Kyndyrl-Microsoft: Cloud MSP Partnership Details

Now, Kyndryl is striving to prove that it's ready for prime time as a standalone managed IT infrastructure company that boasts cloud and cybersecurity company. Under terms of the Kyndryl-Microsoft partnership, the two companies vowed to jointly bring customer solutions to market in such areas as:

  • Data modernization and governance;
  • AI-driven innovations for industries;
  • cybersecurity and resiliency; and
  • transformation of mission critical workloads to the cloud.

Kyndryl will lead with advisory, implementation and managed services for complex hybrid IT environments, the company said. Still, the MSP did not disclose how many engineers it has focused on Microsoft 365, Azure and related cloud services.

Kyndryl-Microsoft Partnership: Executive Perspectives

Martin Schroeter, CEO, Kyndryl
Martin Schroeter, CEO, Kyndryl

In a prepared statement about the Microsoft partnership, Kyndryl CEO Martin Schroeter said:

“As an independent company, we’re investing in our partner ecosystem to support the success of our customers, and we’re focused on expanding our market opportunity across cloud, data, security, and intelligent automation. In this landmark relationship with Microsoft, Kyndryl is matching our deep expertise in mission-critical IT systems with the benefits of Microsoft Cloud to be at the heart of progress for our global customers.”

Added Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella:

“The case for digital transformation has never been more urgent, and more clear. As Kyndryl’s only premiere global alliance partner, with the power of the Microsoft Cloud we will help customers across every industry manage and modernize their business for the era ahead. We are looking forward to partnering with Kyndryl to serve our shared customers, building on its expertise and understanding of mission-critical IT systems, as well as the company’s deep relationships with enterprises around the world.”

The partnership certainly sounds promising. And we wonder if it's the first Kyndryl move in a longer-term cloud consulting strategy that could extend to include Amazon Web Services (AWS) and/or Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Stay tuned.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.