In addition to the recently announced initiative to split its managed infrastructure services into a separate entity, IBM is increasingly focusing on business in India. In an interview with Activity areaIBM India Managing Director Sandip Patil shares plans for the company. Excerpts:
How do you see the IT landscape evolving in India with Covid-19 pushing the boundaries of digital adoption in industry?
The pandemic has dramatically accelerated the digital transformation journey of businesses of all sizes and industries; what we would see happen in five or six years will now happen in a year or less. The question for businesses is not “if” or “when” – it is “how fast”.
The IT landscape in India has also surged over the past year, with emerging technologies helping customers leverage the data paradigm and reshape standard business models. In fact, the growing push for digitization has had a direct impact on the adoption of hybrid cloud. Over the next two years, IBM believes that every business will become an AI business, not because it can, but because it has to.
What is IBM India’s strategy for its various activities this year?
Our $ 25.1 billion cloud business is primarily focused on offerings as a service, with artificial intelligence capabilities to activate the power of data, and high-value cloud software and solutions driving more a third of our income. Hybrid cloud is a $ 1 trillion opportunity. As a partner of choice, we will be bringing forward a new model of engagement that will allow us to create highly experiential journeys through value-added selling for our customers – both digitally and through IBM Technology Garage sessions. A key part of our strategy is to win the architectural battle in the cloud. We have 2,800 customers (worldwide) using our platform, a direct positive impact of our focus on our hybrid cloud business. We also plan to elevate our ecosystem of partners with the “One Ecosystem” mission. We believe customers benefit most from an ecosystem of partners working together to co-create and co-innovate to deliver the best platforms, products and services.
With NewCo, how do you see IBM’s business growth in India?
The market for IBM and NewCo is huge in India. We are confident that the joint IBM and NewCo business will continue to grow as the customer benefits from the added degree of focus that each company brings. Co-creation and co-innovation will be key, and ecosystems will be important to NewCo and IBM as we focus on customer value. To that extent, in 2021, we will accelerate our investments to ensure we have the capabilities necessary to develop the next generation of infrastructure services. As an independent company, NewCo will focus on what we do best – next generation infrastructure services powered by lean AI and automation – we will drive growth and create new opportunities for customers, partners and employees and we are already seeing it. For example, our work with Vodafone Idea and Airtel. The spin-off allows us to take a very solid foundation and drive growth through the two fundamentally distinct business models.
What are IBM’s commitments with the government and how do you plan to expand them in 2021?
IBM has worked with central government and state government for years. We are working with the government in the areas of digitization projects leveraging technologies such as hybrid cloud, IoT, data and AI and security. We have helped the Indian Council for Medical Research and the government of Andhra Pradesh create AI-enabled chatbots to empower frontline workers during the pandemic. Today, 11 out of 13 public sector banks run their critical workloads on IBM Power Systems. In addition, with the Indian government announcing the merger of 10 public sector banks into four mega-banks, banks have had to refresh their calculations and storage to cope with the increased transaction load and improve the customer experience. Of these four resulting entities, three banks run their core banking systems and the four banks run their critical workloads on IBM Power Systems.
Banking is another area of major interest for IBM. How do you see banks evolving in technology adoption, especially with Covid further shifting customer behavior to digital?
Today, the banking sector is facing a renaissance out of necessity. In India, we are seeing changes happening on several fronts. First, there is a marked acceleration in cloud adoption. The increase in digital consumption of banking services has forced financial institutions to develop capacities around rapid scalability and resilience. Second, leverage information to generate more personalized services and deliver them through digital channels more efficiently and at scale. IBM is instrumental in the design and implementation of SBI’s data warehouse capabilities. In the case of the private sector, ICICI Bank’s LiGo – a virtual assistant, is powered by IBM Watson AI to converse with policyholders by answering their questions and providing personalized account-specific information.