Jay Badiani
Jay Badiani, IBM

Jay Badiani is comfortable chatting about everything from quantum computing to corporate citizenship. As the guest of ITWC President Fawn Annan for an April 2021 installment of CMO Talks, a podcast series on marketing challenges, he focused on his mission, as Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Canada, to set a new normal for customers and partners in a hybrid cloud world.

After providing a brief outline of how the office of the CMO operates, Badiani highlighted his commitment to drive client preference for IBM as the digital reinvention partner for enterprises in Canada. “It’s also important to me that we be a great brand in the world,” he said. “Above and beyond helping clients with their technology needs and showcasing how IBM does that, we want to be a great company, which means telling the world how IBM is an essential company for them.”

What Red Hat Brings to the Table

In response to a comment by Annan about IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat, an American multinational software company, Badiani explained the great capability Red Hat has brought to the IBM hybrid cloud portfolio. “IBM’s hybrid cloud platform is designed to run on Red Hat OpenShift, which gives our clients a technology architecture that works everywhere on premises and in the cloud,” he said. “The goal is to give our clients the ability to innovate as quickly and easily as possible.”

According to Badiani, there is a new channel strategy based on segmentation. “Previously sales reps who were focused on top accounts could move into other accounts and make their quotas that way as well,” he explained. “Now, if you’re in sales and you’re focused on a top account, you’re only paid on that. “It’s a big plus for our partners.”

Another change, he said, is that the acquisition of Red Hat has changed IBM’s culture by expanding the ecosystem. Added to that, COVID-19 has accelerated cloud and digital technology, which is motivating IBM partners to alter their models. “So, there is a quite a bit change going on in terms of segmentation,” he observed.

The IBM Value Proposition

Commenting on IBM’s core value proposition for customers and prospects, Badiani stressed IBM’s unique ability to deliver what clients need and want most. “There are very few companies in the world that have the trust, the talent, and the ingenuity to help clients solve their greatest challenges in the way that we can,” he said. “And industry leading security makes our cloud safe and compliant for regulated industries, enterprises in banking and telecommunications and energy companies.”

Taking Aeroplan to New Heights

Badiani replied enthusiastically when asked by Annan to discuss his specific role in the Aeroplan relaunch. “A team of IBM designers, developers, and consultants, collaborated with Air Canada’s digital team and completely rebuilt and transformed the Aeroplan web interface and the Aeroplan mobile interface,” he said. “The result is a better design, better functionality, and a more personalized airplane experience.”

Using Watson Assistant to Provide Fast, Accurate Information

As a way of highlighting the adoption of AI, Badiani shared a story about the City of Markham, Ontario choosing IBM as its technology platform to deliver real-time, around the clock, information about the pandemic. “In the space of just 19 days, we were able to launch Markham’s Watson assistant for citizens in a virtual announcement,” he said, “and 10 days later, we also launched a telephone agent.”

A CIBC success story also detailed the launch of a virtual assistant. Powered as well by IBM Watson, it makes it simple for clients to send E-transfers, pay bills, schedule bill payments, and lock, or unlock their credit cards. When required, the virtual assistant is also able to transfer clients to one of CIBC’s financial experts.

The Human Dimension

Badiani was also enthusiastic about IBM’s record when it comes to human rights, equity and social responsibility, and shared a variety of cases in which IBM has advocated for policies that positively impact the world. When asked to leave podcast listeners with a few key takeaways, he first described the importance of prioritizing clients. The second takeaway emerged as he likened marketing to a team sport, with his IBM teammates constantly improving their game. “The third takeaway is the importance of passion for your business,” he said. “Passion is a tremendous motivator.”

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