Will Kyndryl be the top managed services provider in ASEAN?
IBM announced the completion of Kyndryl, a new company to handle its managed services in November 2021. Regarded as a billion-dollar startup by some, the world’s largest managed services provider already has a global base of customers that includes 75 of the Fortune 100 companies.
“The separation of Kyndryl is one of many actions we are taking to sharpen our focus on hybrid cloud and AI, leverage a portfolio focused on technology and consulting, and achieve our growth objectives,” said Arvind Krishna, IBM chairman, and chief executive officer after the separation was completed.
The managed services industry has seen an increased demand in recent years, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. With most companies accelerating their digital transformation, the need for managed IT services and such increased dramatically as well.
In fact, statistics show that the global managed services market is valued at US$ 152 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach around US$274 billion by 2026. While North America is the largest market, the fastest-growing market is the Asia Pacific region.
For Kyndryl, no market and opportunities are bigger than what is available in the Asia Pacific region. Despite establishing its managed services portfolio through IBM in the past, the company is now fully independent in how it manages and runs its business across the globe.
According to Susan Follis, Managing Director of Kyndryl in ASEAN, businesses have changed their timing and focus on their digital agenda in order to achieve their business targets. To achieve their digital agenda, businesses will want to expand their digital reach, which in this case would be their IT infrastructure and services.
“With Kyndryl, we’ve doubled our potential reach in ASEAN. We are independent and can go where our clients go and we are doubling down and investing in our personal growth. I think ASEAN is a fantastic opportunity and we will make it a reality. We will do this by focusing on our people, clients, and hiring, with our partner ecosystem in mind,” said Follis.
Despite being a former part of IBM, Follis pointed out that they are two separate businesses with different focuses and will only work together where it makes sense for their clients. IBM will be Kyndryl’s biggest client and there will be other clients as well who may have other ways of doing things.
“We have had a year to figure out how the relationship works. Some other clients may want to go in another direction not associated with IBM products. Therefore we are ramping up our certification on hyperscalers and investment in partner ecosystems. As that unfolds, we will have global partners, ASEAN-specific partners, and local partners within a given country.
And I think this scenario about growth is huge for us. We haven’t really expanded that local partner ecosystem. Each country is different and has its own unique advantages that need to be factored in. By having a local system as well as deeper ASEAN growth and focus on partners, it will make a difference to us,” explained Follis.
Interestingly, Follis also mentioned that the local partners are seeing Kyndryl as a real opportunity. Creating the true partner ecosystem within the region will be a focus for Kyndryl. This includes certifications within the hyperscalers and getting broader establishments on which partners play where especially on having the right partner model for each country.
Partnerships for managed services
One of Kyndryl’s first partnerships since its formation is with Microsoft. Combining their market-leading capabilities in service to enterprise customers, both companies will bring to market state-of-the-art solutions built on the Microsoft Cloud that will accelerate hybrid cloud adoption, modernize applications and processes, support mission-critical workloads, and further enable modern work experiences for customers.
Kyndryl also announced a strategic partnership expansion with VMware. The partnership will focus on app modernization and multi-cloud services and is expected to enable customers to enhance their digital innovation and business transformation with enterprise control.
This includes accelerating IT and business reinvention for customers through the combination of VMware solutions and Kyndryl’s design, build, and managed services. The companies also aim to help customers speed their digital transformations by rapidly building and deploying new, more secure applications designed and built for a world of distributed work.
Another partnership announced by Kyndryl is with Google Cloud. Both companies will unleash the power of data and analytics, apply AI and infrastructure modernization to help customers gain new insights and drive business outcomes. By running their most critical business systems on the global and sustainable Google Cloud infrastructure, customers will be able to seamlessly deliver applications and data across their entire footprint, from headquarters to the network edge.
Apart from partnerships, Kyndryl has also achieved SAP certification for operations capabilities in global cloud and infrastructure operations to further strengthen its capabilities and portfolio to offer managed services to SAP customers globally.
The digital agenda for ASEAN business
As a managed services provider, Kyndryl will be offering several types of services to help businesses achieve their digital agenda and also build on their success. In ASEAN, the main growth area in ASEAN for Kyndryl will be for managed cloud services.
Follis believes that because of their experience in handling cloud services, they will be able to help businesses leverage the technology better. Businesses are now looking to have to multi-cloud and Kyndryl can help in setting up digital dashboards, leveraging data for better decisions, and such.
Apart from that, data and AI are another big area. They have been playing and leveraging with data to try and understand it, including mining it for a long period of time. This will be another huge growth area with their framework in ASEAN.
Network and edge will also be on the agenda. 5G will provide an opportunity to connect businesses to places they haven’t been able to connect in the past. Kyndryl will work will clients to identify new growth areas in the Edge to achieve their digital agenda.
Managing the competition
“We are coming from a position of strength. We are the number one managed services provider and we continue to be that. But this doesn’t mean we are sitting back. We are very focused on doing more for clients and going to new places where we have not gone before,” said Follis.
She adds that Kyndryll has a totally different strategy to get to different clients that they haven’t been able to get to up. And this is done by taking the skills and knowledge they have for their big clients and package them for a more customized environment. This enables Kyndryl to not only double potential growth but also provide offerings to a broader region to differentiate themselves.
“We are the biggest startup ever. We have been able to go on this journey and not impact our clients. We are seeing the difference already. We are faster, flatter, and more focused. We can go where our clients want us to go. We operate a leaner operation model, and we know exactly what we do well and we know where we need to go,” concluded Follis.
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