'We want to be the leading hybrid cloud, AI player in world': IBM India MD

Topics IBM | cloud servces

SANDIP PATEL, IBM managing director for India and South Asia
For 2020 IBM India’s research and development centre emerged as the second highest in terms of filing patents. Indian engineers and researchers filed 930 patents. More importantly, the recently launched IBM Cloud Satellite, a significant play in its shift of being a company focused on hybrid cloud, data and AI, saw important contribution from India. Shivani Shinde spoke about IBM’s changing business focus, impact on India and rising importance of IBM India’s research centre. Edited excerpts…

How will the restructuring that IBM is going through globally impact India?

IBM India is a microcosm of IBM global, we have all of our investment that we have around the world—brands, global mission, software labs, hardware labs, research labs-- in India too. We have been a proponent of the thought that we are in India with the agenda of make in India for India and for the world. This has been our agenda and continues. We have India business but we also have a lot of global missions in India.

So the global restructuring that the company is undergoing will have a replica image in India as well. Globally, once the spinoff is complete, IBM will be a $59 billion firm and NewCo will be a completely focused managed infrastructure services company with revenue of $19 billion. As a matter of fact, there is a great deal of excitement among employees in India. NewCo will be a standalone entity with well capatalised balance sheet, and business.

For a company that is more than 100 years old, how significant is this shift?

Our strategy, with this spinoff in focus, is to be the leading hybrid cloud and AI player in the world. We have been talking about that the hybrid cloud opportunity is big. We see the Hybrid Cloud opportunity at $1 trillion, with less than 25 per cent of workloads that have moved to the cloud so far. To move the rest, our approach is platform-centric. This is where our acquisition of Red Hat also comes to play. We are leveraging Red Hat as a unique platform to address what our global, complex and highly regulated clients need:  a hybrid cloud platform that is open, flexible, and secure.

We’re also making good headway in our focus on industry clouds, which are designed to tackle the specific needs of mission-critical and highly regulated industries with our IBM Cloud for Financial Services and IBM Cloud for Telecommunications offering- we are witnessing many clients and partners working on proof of concepts (PoCs) in India. The key foundation of our industry clouds is Red Hat OpenShift.

How important is India in IBM’s cloud focused strategy?

According to a recent study from IBM’s Institute of Business Value, customers in India currently have 17 percent of their IT spend allocated to the cloud at present and as part of the Cloud budget they plan to increase the share of spend on hybrid from 42 percent to 49 percent by 2023.

India is a huge IT services market for IBM, with nearly double the market share of our nearest competitor, we are shaping the digital transformation journey of close to 1,000 clients in India. Other than our work in the enterprise segment, IBM has also been engaged with both Central and State government for years, in key digitization projects leveraging technologies like Hybrid Cloud, IoT, Data & AI, and Security. We are partnering with the Ministry of Education and NITI Aayog on sâmShiksha, a first-of-its-kind virtual university. As the technology partner, IBM is applying its Enterprise Design Thinking framework and leveraging IBM tech to design and build a secure, unified platform to bring together quality content from multiple governments and private content providers. sâmShiksha, has the potential to scale up to become a “single-point” source for higher education in India. This is also a great example of ‘Glocal’ – bringing the best of global education, to India, for India.

Today, 11 out of 13 public sector banks are running their mission-critical workloads on IBM Power Systems. In addition, with the amalgamation of 10 public sector banks into 4 megabanks- 3 of the resultant entities are running their core banking systems and all 4 banks run their mission-critical workloads on IBM Power Systems.

How is IBM India team contributing to the company’s cloud foray?

Globally, IBM is the leader with 9,130 US patents in 2020 and India continues to be the second-highest contributor to IBM’s patent leadership with 930 patents granted to inventors from India. India labs are closely aligned to our strategy and pioneering work from these labs is integrated into IBM products, solutions and services. For instance, recently we announced the launch of IBM Cloud Satellite. The India Software Labs had some key contributions. The Labs team was responsible for delivering IBM Cloud Satellite features that enable automated deployment of solutions on IBM and other Cloud service providers. Using well-known automation technologies like terraform, developers can now quickly deploy satellite services faster.

The Labs team was also responsible for delivering IBM Cloud Satellite storage extension features. By providing customers the choice of storage solutions, the IBM Cloud satellite now supports easy integration of IBM Storage partners and Third-Party Storage solutions in the IBM Cloud Satellite.

A lot of the core innovation and technology work for the IBM Power10 processor, which plays a critical role in our hybrid cloud strategy, was designed in India by our Systems Lab. Similarly, IBM Research Lab in India is advancing Watson’s ability to understand language (NLP), building trust and transparency and confidence in business predictions as well as helping businesses automate and scale AI.

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