Since more investments are expected to go into digital, will this result in smaller sized opportunities rather than large transformation projects that IBM is known to execute?
We are probably seeing more shorter-term opportunities (in newer technologies) because clients are trying to sustain in the new world.
On the other hand, we have done two announcements with Airtel and Vodafone, which is a significant shift. They are creating cloud stacks that enable them to become more open and agile with the promise of 5G. So, I wouldn't say it is one or the other. It’s a healthy blend of both.
A lot of clients want to cut discretionary spends or ramp down projects. Have you faced any of these issues?
Every organisation is cautious about how they are spending. Some are trying to re-prioritise spends. Then, there are others who are willing to spend to equip themselves to take advantage of new opportunities in areas that have not been impacted. There is certainly a bit of caution in the air as they want to make sure that the next wave of investments takes cognizance of the shift that will come in the future.
Does that mean a change in approach by IBM with regard to India as a market, at least in the short- to medium-term?
We had always had a focus on financial services, telcom, and manufacturing. While financial services and telecom sectors have not seen much of an impact during the pandemic, the manufacturing sector has. Within financial services, one of the areas that we are focusing on is insurance because that is expected to see huge growth. A lot of our insurance clients validated that they are seeing an increase in their protection product premiums. The other area we are starting to get into is working with essential platforms in the government space. We have worked with ICMR and Agriculture Ministry during the pandemic. We are exploring where we can add real value to some of the government’s digitisation projects that are starting to happen.
Many firms are still figuring out where to spend to make themselves more resilient, which would require a lot of consultative support. Is IBM seeing this as an area of opportunity?
Yes. This is core to our business. We consult clients on the business environment and the implications. Clients are seeking help on how to become 99 per cent work-from-home-enabled and agile. They are also asking for solutions to drive more resilience and sustainability, and to de-risk data and applications, which is where our 'cloud value transformation' offering helps. Another form of consulting service that is gaining traction is in the area of ‘security risk’ once cloud migration is done. Overall, consulting cycles have shortened now due to faster design thinking and collaboration tools.
IBM announced global workforce reduction. Given that a third of your workforce is located in India, how does it impact them?
The global realignment was not (done) due to Covid-19. We do that normally, to align us to what the market needs. India's relevance becomes more real as people are beginning to realise you can bring quality people together across various geographies. The skills around virtual coding, design, and selling have also become relevant.