Chetan Naik,VP Sales, IBM India-South Asia

‘Cognitive’ will be one of the biggest drivers of digital transformation, says Chetan Naik of IBM India

This interview abstract is from a qualitative questionnaire administered as part of market survey for GoldBook 2017. GoldBook is a resource guide for communications infra buyers. It is published as March 2017 issue of the Voice&Data monthly magazine.

 Chetan Naik, VP Sales, IBM India/South Asia

  On redefining to align with demand for the digital

If you look back, IBM redefined its offerings at the onset of data revolution in the country to ensure that we meet the changing needs of our clients like data analysis, seamless and faster app deployment platform, app monetization etc. In line with this, we expanded the footprint of our Cloud, Analytics, Mobility, Social and Security offerings and now Cognitive – to help our clients become digital.

Keeping in mind that digital transformation is not a destination itself, it is a continuous journey, last year we launched Cognitive business and have emerged as a Cognitive and Cloud platform company. Today, we deliver industry specific offerings like Watson Health, Watson IoT, Blockchain powered by IBM Cloud. With our open Cloud platform, Bluemix – we are constantly rolling out new services like Data as a Service, Watson APIs, Watson FSS, Blockchain, Quantum.

On digital technologies that are of immediate relevance for Indian enterprises

Cloud, Social, Mobility, Analytics, Security are the technologies that go hand in hand for a successful digital transformation. With the explosive growth of mobile devices, applications and increasing internet penetration, we produce unprecedented amounts of data every day. This is constantly changing the way enterprise interaction with their customers, employees and business partners. The entire premise of digital transformation is based on how best a brand integrates these technologies to drive maximum customer satisfaction and business success.

‘Cognitive’ will be one of the biggest drivers of digital transformation over the next few years. Only 20% of the world’s data produced is accessible by the internet, the other 80% is unstructured data. Cognitive is the only way to shine the light on this data and extract value from the new natural resource of data in all its forms in time. Another new technology on the block is Blockchain that will be an integral part of Digital Transformation strategy. It has the potential to revolutionize a host of industries spanning every corner of the business world by promising trust, transparency and security in any business transaction.

On how enterprises should transition to the digital paradigm:

Existing ICT deployments and the new digital ones are not here to replace each other. There are certain ICT deployments that will continue to remain relevant for the customer. We hear from clients all the time that they don’t want to move everything to the public cloud or keep everything in the private cloud. So, we see that Hybrid is the fastest growing segment in the enterprise space. Our traditional outsourcing models blends seamlessly with our newer digital delivery model. This allows clients to deploy cloud workloads that are consistent, avoiding development costs and time rewriting code. It makes it easy to connect clouds to existing IT and outside services and APIs.

We feel that the opportunity to initiate digital transformation is now. In financial services, we are using our IBM Bluemix Garage to bring developers together to work on Blockchain-related technologies including new mobile banking and wealth management apps. We further strengthened our ties with Start-ups through our GEP programand Smart Camps.

On relevance of emerging technologies such as AI and IoT vis-à-vis cloud, big data, et al:

All the technologies like Cloud, Big Data, AI and IOT/M2M are complementary to each other. For any enterprise it is imperative to incorporate all these tools while drawing their ICT strategies.

Some of these technologies have already matured in many ways. For example, the role of the cloud is changing – it is maturing. It is now the platform for innovation and business value. On the other hand, we are seeing a deluge of data – not just the amount, but types of data in the form of pictures, videos, sensors, heartbeats – giving rise to IoT. Cognitive systems can ingest it all, and they can understand its meaning, through sensing and interaction. They can reason about it, generating hypotheses, arguments and recommendations. So, we believe that it is imperative for organizations, across industries and sizes to deploy a right mix of these technologies to gain an edge over competition.

On impact of digital on data center strategies:

Enterprise clients are increasingly looking to implement their most critical applications and processes through a private/hybrid model. IBM’s network of more than 50 cloud data centers (globally) enable customers to provision cloud resources where and when they need them. IBM Cloud delivers value by providing clients with the analytics services they need to harness all of their data and build IoT, blockchain and cognitive apps. That’s why enterprises in industries ranging from health care and financial services to retail and manufacturing are leveraging it to build next-generation solutions.

IBM opened a dedicated cloud data center in Mumbai in 2014, which was followed by the first public could data center in Chennai offering local customers and end users increased performance and speed for data traveling to and from the region. With the help of the domestic data center, Indian customers, especially in regulated industries that have strict guidelines around data residency are able to gain more flexibility to store and compute data within the country.

On leveraging big data for strategic business benefits and competitive advantages

India is home to voluminous amount of data coming from different sources. Most of the time the data is left unmanaged, hence meaningful insights being drawn from it. At IBM, we have developed an enterprise class big data platform that allows to address, the full spectrum of big data business challenges. We have IBM big data solutions, featuring enterprise Hadoop solutions, enable users to store, manage and analyze data across numerous sources while making data accessible to business analysts, data scientists and IT users. We have some of the biggest implementations across sectors. In telecom, we work with three of the biggest operators in the country. When it comes to the banking and micro-finance sector, we work with some of the biggest names.

On awareness-related issues that are holding enterprise from harnessing digital benefits:

Digital transformation is a continuous evolution. It is a journey to create and capture value in new and innovative ways. Therefore, it should not be considered only as a technology discussion, rather a business discussion. With always-online customer, businesses will have to lay a groundwork/strategy and build proper infrastructure to incorporate and deploy newer technologies from time to time and take full advantage for a business success.

When changing business operations and processes, a business must ensure that the design is built to bridge the gap between various channels and devices to offer seamless customer experience. For example, we have seen a shift towards design-led thinking to put together strategy and drive innovation.

On tackling enterprise mobility complexities in a digital era:

Mobile solutions give businesses a unique opportunity to re-think the way they interact with customers, employees and partners. As an always-connected communications tool, it is a unique platform to build intimacy with the desired audience. But the challenges of managing and delivering mobile apps have never been greater. Innovation is a discovery process and the opportunity with mobile is to try out ideas quickly and see what best serves the business. Mobile Application Development from the Cloud provides you fast cycle mobile development and delivery of prototypes, new applications and upgrades. This approach includes development of multiple creative treatments and prototypes for a single price, facilitating rapid, iterative innovation that can be initiated in a cost effective way.

IBM and Apple partnership teams the market-leading strengths of each company to transform enterprise mobility through a new class of business apps. The combination will create apps that can transform specific aspects of how businesses and employees work using iPhone and iPad, allowing companies to achieve new levels of efficiency, effectiveness and customer satisfaction—faster and easier than ever before.

On digitization for sustainable development:

The IBM Corporate Service Corps, a hybrid of professional development and service, deploys up to 500 top talent employees a year on team assignments in the developing world. Employees engage in three months of virtual training while working full time, spend one month on the ground on a 10-15 member teams tackling a social issue. The Corporate Service Corps launched in 2008 is a global leadership development program for IBM employees who perform community-driven economic development projects working at the intersection of business, technology, and society.

Here are some testimonials:

Indian state of Tamil Nadu has elected IBM to establish an innovative, cloud-based intelligent operations command center to better prepare for and respond to disruptive, extreme weather events.

IBM Corporate Corps Program recently completed three successful community projects in partnership with three NGOs (BAIF Development Research Foundation, Abhivyakti Media for Development and Pragati Abhiyan) in Nashik. The prime focus of this program is to support NGOs and their respective communities by investing skills and expertise of IBM Consultants to solve real-world issues. IBM consultants from 8 countries around the world, participated and completed this program in Nashik, India and came up with business solutions that will address key organization challenges faced by the NGOs.

The program recently completed four successful community projects in partnership with Rajivika, a Rajasthan Government initiative and three NGOs (Center for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society – CECOEDECON, Morarka Foundation, Jal Bagirathi Foundation – JBF) in Jaipur. The prime focus of this program is to support the client’s and their respective communities by investing skills and expertise of IBM Consultants to solve real-world issues. Ten IBM consultants from 9 countries around the world, participated and completed this program in Jaipur, India and came up with business solutions that will address key organizational challenges faced by the clients.

(This interview abstract is from a qualitative questionnaire administered as part of market survey for GoldBook 2017. GoldBook is a resource guide for communications infra buyers. It is published as March 2017 issue of the Voice&Data monthly magazine)

You can pick up a copy of GoldBook 2017 here

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