‘India has adopted latest and best technologies ahead of others’: Kyndryl India President
It has been just over three months since IT infrastructure provider Kyndryl was spun-off into a separate entity from International Business Machines Corp. (IBM). The company, which used to be a managed services arm for IBM, says it is targeting an annual revenue of $19 billion following rapid digital transformation across industries. In an interview, Lingraju Sawkar, President of Kyndryl India, said India plays a unique role in bringing technology solutions to the rest of the world. Edited excerpts:
You are now three months old. What’s India’s role in your future strategy?
India is a country that leapfrogged technology, what this means is that clients didn’t go to the mainframe, but went straight to the client server, and chose custom applications over packaged applications. Cloud migration is also very strong. There are industries that need to operate from a regulatory framework and an on-premise, and that is where hybrid players like Kyndryl play.
What opportunities and challenges does Kyndryl see in India?
The Indian market has adopted the latest and best technologies earlier than others. The costs for data consumption in India are a big driver for mobile technology and mobile adoption as well, while the innovation that happens because of the startup world also spawns a great deal of technology adoption. The constraint is that the market is fairly cost competitive. You are by definition building technology, which is built on frugalness but should work for a larger scale. For example, we are able to build a technology for the local market here, harden it, and because it works well in India, we can test its validity and then it works effortlessly in other markets.
What are some of the India-based case studies that could be adopted globally?
One example is the telecom network cloud, we started the journey here with the telecom players as part of IBM Global Technology Services in bringing a cloud platform for mobile networks. This was previously in the domain of the network equipment providers and was a fixed technology and module. Now we are able to democratise it and provide a solution to all. The State Bank of India's (SBI) online banking platform Yono, which we support and manage, is another example. The black swan event of the pandemic saw a huge increase in transactions and digital banking. Managing those volumes and stable infrastructures for SBI’s large number of customers was a challenge, and having learnt to do that, we are now able to design for the same volume anywhere else.
How will the upcoming Data Protection Bill (DPB) impact the industry?
We see India becoming a global data hub in terms of data privacy and data rights. At the same time, safeguarding user data through robust security systems, and resilient IT infrastructure is key. The benefit would be huge volumes of data that will be available at various points in time and I think an overarching framework from the government is a welcome move. At this time, we are closely watching how it pans out, but we are also aligned to the data framework the government has already come out with.
How are the needs from infrastructure companies changing with increase tech adoption?
The opportunity is that customer industries are transforming, as core industry players are transforming into tech platform companies. For example, a telecom company is now becoming more of a fintech platform and an ad-tech company. Similarly automotive companies had previously been managing their enterprise workloads and data centres with us, now we are helping them with their connected cars. Banking is also moving from core banking to new channels of digital banking.
What role will edge computing play in the future of networking?
The first wave of migrating from the core to the cloud is almost done. In terms of data on the edge, two to three industries are big on this for us. One is the manufacturing industry with the data it generates in its plants. The other is operational data, which is an area that requires a lot of technology interfacing. So, integrating multiple technologies at the edge and moving it to an application programming interface (API) world, the value it would create is very high. At the same time the complexity is also high, since these systems have been written in languages that are a thing of the past, so there is a lot of work that needs to be done in re-architecting, re-framing and making applications stage ready. Because of the IT sprawl that has been happening, the edge will add in and bring a whole set of new solutions to encash upon from the data.