India leads global Cloud adoption: Insights from Kyndryl's Dave Simpson

India leads global Cloud adoption: Insights from Kyndryl's Dave Simpson

Cloud technology is revolutionising business operations, offering flexibility, speed, and alignment with organisational goals. As companies expand, cloud platforms become essential in managing fluctuating workloads seamlessly. 

Kyndryl, a leading IT infrastructure services provider, is at the forefront of aiding organisations in transitioning their operations to the cloud. During an interaction with TechCircle, Dave Simpson, Global Cloud Practice Leader at Kyndryl, shared insights about the Cloud trends, how artificial intelligence (AI) is evolving in this space, and how these changes are shaping the way enterprises operate in the cloud. Edited Excerpts:

How your cloud services and solutions portfolio meet the varied needs of different industries? 


Kyndryl’s cloud practice comprises about a third of its business, focusing on four main areas. First, there is the Public Cloud, which involves solutions running on hyperscalers and managing those environments. Second, the Private Cloud includes cloud solutions in private environments. Third, Traditional Services cover standard hosting of Intel, Unix, and Linux workloads in both Kyndryl’s and customers' data centres. Lastly, the Modern Operations Portfolio integrates services across these environments, offering capabilities such as FinOps for financial management, developer services, and sustainability operations. 

This cloud practice represents a high-growth market, particularly with hyperscalers. An increasing trend is the involvement in hybrid IT. Most clients will continue operating in a hybrid environment, combining private clouds or traditional IT with public clouds for the foreseeable future. 
What are the key cloud technology trends shaping the industry, and how will they influence the future of enterprise IT strategy? 

Our customers increasingly rely on the cloud for new projects, primarily due to its agility. The public cloud enables quick development and testing of new applications, whether internal or customer-facing. This approach allows businesses to swiftly create, test, and scale new models, addressing issues promptly if something doesn’t work, or shutting it down if necessary. Most new applications are designed this way, although they might not always run in the cloud environment initially chosen. 


Generative AI is driving many current projects, often in an experimental phase. The cloud offers an ideal platform for these trials due to its scalability and flexibility, accommodating both minor production tasks and large-scale operations. Applications can eventually run in either private or public cloud environments based on their needs. 

As the industry evolves, we continue to see more workloads moving to the cloud. However, it's essential to evaluate each workload to determine the best platform and migration pace. While many applications are suited to the public cloud, others may require mainframe, private cloud, or bespoke technologies. It’s clear that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't apply, but the public cloud remains a key enabler for new customer-driven innovations. 
What's the current state of cloud adoption among your customers, and what common challenges do they face? 

Our customer base primarily consists of larger companies, including Fortune 500 firms and similar entities with complex systems. We specialize in managing these intricate, mission-critical systems that are essential for our clients' businesses and their customers. Many of our clients operate in regulated industries such as banking, insurance, financial services, telecommunications, and government sectors. These industries have typically been slower to adopt cloud technology. 


For instance, the retail sector was among the first to embrace the cloud. In tech hubs like Indy, there is a lot of innovation, startups, and new developments where cloud adoption is prevalent. Our role involves determining the right platform for each workload while considering regulatory requirements. We ensure that appropriate controls and safeguards are in place to comply with these regulations. 

In summary, our focus is on supporting the complex needs of large, regulated industries and helping them navigate the challenges and regulatory constraints of cloud adoption. 
Where are cloud investments headed in the near future, and how should organizations prepare for these changes? 

Investing in the cloud is crucial. Overall, IT investment is growing globally, with single-digit increases in most countries, even higher than GDP. The cloud segment is the fastest-growing, especially noticeable in regions like Pennsylvania, with hyperscalers experiencing growth in the high 20% range. This surge is driven by customer demands and new technologies. 


Our advice is to carefully consider where workloads should be placed based on their performance needs and data characteristics. Evaluate the type of data and whether it is suitable for a public environment, particularly with private or regulated information. Making thoughtful decisions about where to run workloads is essential, even if development occurs in the cloud. 

Historically, IT controlled processes by enforcing standards. Instead, we recommend enabling flexibility by providing the right platforms and workflows. Create secure and automated development environments that simplify application development and allow for seamless movement between private and public clouds. By making early, well-informed architectural decisions and building automation capabilities, you can minimize unique work and maintain flexibility across different platforms. 
With your global presence, how does cloud adoption in India compare to other parts of the world? 

India is one of the most advanced countries in cloud adoption worldwide, driven by several factors. Firstly, many global companies use India as a hub for IT services, resulting in a high concentration of IT skills and applications per capita. This has fostered a rapidly growing local market embracing cloud technology at an impressive pace, allowing India to leapfrog traditional development stages. 


One standout example is the UPI payment system, which showcases India's world-class capabilities. Built on cloud technology, it operates at a massive scale in an open environment accessible to everyone. This system has garnered international attention, with other countries looking to replicate its success. 

India's unique characteristics and achievements in cloud technology are turning it into a tech hub, inspiring other nations to follow suit. 
What are the limitations enterprises face with AI capabilities in cloud technologies? 

One key area to enhance productivity is by leveraging simple AI tools like Copilot or others. Even if you're already using a set of tools, you can boost their efficiency with generative AI capabilities. These enhancements can significantly streamline daily tasks. 


For example, in our organization, we regularly engage in account planning to align our skills and capabilities with our customers' objectives. By integrating AI tools, we can incorporate third-party information to deepen our understanding of the industry and client characteristics, enhancing our existing knowledge. This allows us to perform tasks faster and with a broader set of information. 

Moreover, exploring new use cases, such as automating customer interactions or gaining data insights for better decision-making, is crucial. Over the past year, we've seen a lot of experimentation and change, and while we expect to see limited production this year, it's still early days for these advancements 
What are the main challenges that organizations face when adopting cloud technologies, and how can they overcome them effectively? 

Let's dive into a bit of history for context. As I visit customers globally, it's clear that cloud adoption will continue to grow at its current pace. During Covid-19, especially in regulated industries, many had to quickly move operations to the cloud to support a distributed workforce and address supply chain challenges. They likely moved more to the cloud in those two years than they had in the years prior. However, post-Covid, some companies are reconsidering their cloud strategies. While the cloud was a quick solution, it may not always be the most efficient in the long term. 

We're now focusing on "fit ops," which involves using the cloud's agility to control spending effectively. Some customers have realized that not everything needs the flexibility of the cloud and are moving certain applications back to on-premises environments to save costs. It's essential to evaluate workload characteristics and determine the best fit for each one. 

Finally, we're assisting clients in optimizing their cloud architectures. This includes setting up a robust governance model and centralized skills, often referred to as Cloud Centers of Excellence (CCoEs), to provide the necessary skills, services, and environments across their organizations in a controlled yet flexible manner. 
What tech investments is your company prioritizing? Are there specific areas of focus for your technology or offerings, or any upcoming collaborations or new offerings we can anticipate? 

Our focus is on Hybrid IT, leveraging advanced bridge capabilities and AI to enhance our customers' environments. This approach helps us prevent problems before they occur, resolve issues quickly when they arise, and maintain smooth operations. By building on this foundation, we deliver robust Hybrid IT services. 

Additionally, we recently acquired Skytap, a company that has an exclusive partnership with Microsoft, one of the leading hyperscalers. Skytap addresses a critical need for customers with specialized technologies in their infrastructure that aren't sustainable long-term strategic platforms. Specifically, Skytap can virtualize IBM Power systems, both P series and I series, allowing customers to migrate applications to the Microsoft Cloud seamlessly. 

Customers benefit from this migration in several ways. Firstly, it enables modernization of applications linked to power technologies, leveraging cloud-based capabilities for improved performance. Secondly, it offers a pathway to modernize the entire power estate, allowing for flexible scaling and cost management by paying based on usage. This solution presents a compelling opportunity for customers to modernize their existing infrastructure and transition applications to the cloud effectively.

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