IBM may be in the cloud business, but its approach to the segment is dramatically different from the mainstream cloud providers. You might argue that they are acting a bit as Switzerland does with international banking—as a trusted resource that assures the validity of transactions and the security of the related information while remaining relatively agnostic concerning governments or individual banks. Both don’t pick sides. They focus on enabling secure and reliable financial transactions.
This comparison is apt because this week, METACO, a Swiss company specializing in helping large banks manage their digital assets, blessed IBM’s new Cloud Hyper Protect Service for their digital asset orchestration system.
This week, let’s talk about what this means for IBM’s highly differentiated, secure Hyper Protect Service.
Differentiating in a Multi-Cloud Market
The big cloud players like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have reached critical mass and define the modern cloud technology market. Rather than enter into direct competition with these massive players in the general cloud market, IBM’s strategy wasn’t to compete but leverage these companies to create a unique multi-cloud offering called IBM Cloud Satellite.
This solution better allows IBM customers to create redundancy between the cloud providers they use, assure they are getting competitive pricing from them (by not being locked in), and avoid most of the individual cloud service outages that have been common over the last several years. Then IBM positioned their cloud offering as a premium security-focused service targeting highly regulated areas like banking with unique AI (artificial intelligence), security, and performance needs.
This strategy allows IBM to stand outside of the battles between the mega-cloud providers and provide the kind of value that once resulted in them leading the technology market.
The Importance of METACO
Whenever you have a differentiated offering, it is critical to gain advocacy from firms who have created a corporate image in line with the offering. This importance is because qualified advocates’ voices carry far more power in areas where they are seen as expert and successful. Since Switzerland is believed to be the world leader in banking and METACO stands out in Switzerland as one of the focused leaders on securing and assuring banking transactions, they make an ideal advocate for IBM.
As a side note, it is also fascinating that IBM can get companies like this to advocate for them. So many technology companies claim that firms like METACO, and banks in general, won’t become advocates. Yet, IBM seems to repeatedly get customers like this to bless their solutions and even get on stage to sing their praises. It has fascinated me over the years how IBM repeatedly seems to accomplish what their peers claim is impossible.
METACO is about as close to a “perfect storm” advocate as you could get for a security-focused set of cloud-focused offerings, given their competencies lie precisely where this service is targeted. Their decision to invest in IBM’s solution rather than building their peer offering likely showcases a build or buy decision sometime in their past that validates the IBM offering.
The cloud market is saturated by just a handful of vendors, which would typically create issues for any company, not in that top tier. But IBM looked at the market and figured they could craft a multi-cloud solution that would allow them to provide value while not taking on these cloud giants. They also figured out that there was a set of customers with very high security and compliance needs that the current solutions wouldn’t or couldn’t meet. Once these two offerings were created and brought to market, they found the ideal advocate in METACO to validate the offering and showcase its significant market power.
Altogether this is an excellent example of complete execution where every “T” is crossed, and every “I” is dotted. The combined offering is a showcase of what IBM can do concerning product and their capabilities in innovating, creating, and executing uniquely targeted and selectively powerful offerings—nicely done!