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IBM Corp.’s global business services (GBS), comprising consulting, application management and global process services, has been growing on the back of increasing adoption of hybrid cloud by clients. Global revenue for GBS for the June quarter grew 11.6% to $4.3 billion, with cloud revenue for the segment growing 35%. The India GBS unit is seeing traction from global capability centres (GCCs) as they look to speed up projects due to the pandemic-induced digital acceleration.In an interview, Kamal Singhani, country managing partner, GBS, IBM India-South Asia, shares the company’s business strategy for India and key growth drivers and hybrid cloud. Edited excerpts:

What is company’s strategy for IBM GBS in India?

IBM is all-in on hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI). We are investing in these engines for growth. GBS includes IBM’s consulting, application management and global process services, and our strategy is driven by requirements of industry leaders and India’s largest enterprises. They see the need to accelerate their digital transformation journeys, reinvent their mission-critical processes and modernize the application infrastructure that supports them. We advise and collaborate with clients to advance their cloud initiatives and help modernize enterprise business and tech platforms, regardless of the size of the companies or where they are on their hybrid cloud journey. We have an open and flexible approach to hybrid cloud that gives our clients freedom to choose from multiple providers to best meet their needs.

What about your future roadmap and expansion plans?

Over the past several months, we made a series of global acquisitions to expand our tech and skills in hybrid cloud and AI. The most recent ones, which include Bluetab, BoxBoat, 7Summits, Nordcloud and Expertus, are adding value in the cloud, data and AI space. IBM plans to continue to invest over this year to expand business and tech consulting skillsets in three key areas: a) Open innovation with the leading hyperscalers to help our clients transform and grow in hybrid cloud, b) Embedding AI with intelligent workflows to reimagine our clients core business processes and c) The application of hybrid cloud and AI in critical industries.

What are the key factors driving the growth of GBS in India?

GCCs are driving a lot of our growth in India as they are focused on large-scale digital transformation in-house. The disruption caused by covid-19 has resulted in these projects being put on fast-track so that the businesses can overcome the challenges of the pandemic. This triggered a shift with clients looking at a location-independent, virtually equidistant model where the delivery happens remotely instead of on-site. ‘Hybrid GCC’ is the vehicle through which this transformation gets delivered and sustained. These are part physical, part virtual, and highly digital.

Why are the GCCs partnering with companies like IBM?

For execution of such high-impact undertakings, which includes adoption of exponential technologies, GCCs require a collaborator who can support with the best mix of talent and industry, and technology expertise, as well as advanced tools, technologies and platforms. IBM’s growth in this space is on the back of its ability to provide end-to-end solutions in terms of talent supported by an ecosystem of capabilities driven by proprietary models, such as IBM Services Dynamic Delivery and IBM Garage, that are built on the principles of co-creation and co-innovation with our clients.

Which industry verticals are the GCCs from?

We work with leading global brands across sectors, including retail, banking, financial services and insurance, automotive, oil and gas, and consumer packaged goods which have established GCCs in India.

Given the competition, what has been your approach to gain market share?

IBM’s deep industry expertise, vast assets of intellectual property, research in specific industries, extensive technology solutions and capabilities in hybrid cloud and AI, are key differentiating factors. Combined with our industry-leading processes, methods, tools and, most importantly, platforms, along with GCC-ready talent as well as a robust partner ecosystem, GCCs are able to scale at a pace which is needed to accelerate their transformation.

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