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MD Sandip Patel Explains Why India is ‘IBM’s Growth Market’

Stressing on why “glocal” is the mantra when it comes to innovating, Sandip Patel, Managing Director for IBM India / South Asia region, in an interview with BW Businessworld (held recently), outlines IBM’s vision for India, and much more.

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Sandip Patel, Managing Director at IBM India/South Asia

Sandip Patel, Managing Director for IBM India / South Asia region, is committed to making “IBM the number one hybrid cloud, AI and consulting expertise company” in India / South Asia. Known among his peers and workforce as a visionary leader, Patel is deeply committed to the Digital India programme, as he is to the skilling initiative, being undertaken by his enterprise. 

Stressing on why “glocal” is the mantra when it comes to innovating, Patel, in an interview with BW Businessworld (held recently), outlines IBM’s vision for India, and much more.


India, the focus area:

India has always been an important market for the IBM corporation. IBM India operates as a microcosm of the IBM corporation. If you just look at the footprint that we have here in India as IBM, we have a very thriving domestic business.

We also have our global systems labs, software labs, research labs. In addition to our delivery operations that serve clients around the world, our systems, labs, software labs, research labs, they all operate out of India, and those have continued to grow.

India is one of the high performing markets for IBM, both in Asia Pacific region, as well as globally. The year 2022, for example, was a record year for IBM and all of our business units, including IBM Technology, IBM Consulting, the ecosystem partner organizations, they all witnessed very significant double digit growth in India.

We are continuing to drive this notion of co-creation, co-innovation, cooperation with clients, ecosystem partners, we are continuing to grow, not just in the metros -- where we already have a strong presence -- but we are starting to expand our footprint in key emerging cities beyond the metro.

IBM strategy:
In many respects, our strategy of Hybrid Cloud, AI, with a strong underpinning of Security, continues, and I believe that IBM is paving the way for the technology revolution and accelerating Digital India with Hybrid Cloud, AI, Security, and, now, actually moving more and more into Quantum Computing.

So we are IBM's growth market. India is clearly IBM's growth market. We have witnessed historic growth for the past five years in a row, and we are continuing to drive this.

India’s digital revolution and IBM:

If you look at just the digital revolution that is currently happening in India, along with this push from the government to build this Digital Bharat… I think India becomes extremely important to what IBM is doing. So if we think about the three pillars of Technology, Consulting and Innovation, we actually try to have them work in perfect synergy to deliver this “One IBM” experience.

Al of us would agree that coming out of the pandemic, Technology has become a sutradar that is ushering in “Suvarna Bharat.” 

The road map ahead:

Ten years, down the line, is too far, given the pace at which technology is changing and moving.

But if you look at the next five years, I think we – IBM, overall, are very confident of the strategy that we've embarked on, which is, “Hybrid Cloud, AI, strong underpinning of Security”, and really continuing to move the momentum on emerging technologies like Quantum, and staying at the leadership edge of those.

Why skilling is a focus area:

In India, one of the things that we have done very deliberately is to move out of metros, because we do believe that it enables us to build these ecosystems in the emerging clusters. It also aligns with the work that we are doing with skilling.

Today, I think, over 95 to 97 per cent of our CSR investment goes into skilling.

We are very bullish on this notion of the demographic dividend that we see emerging in India.

According to a CII report, if India's demographic dividend that is coming, is productively employed, the growth prospects will really brighten because it enables us to leapfrog our current GDP from the current $3 trillion to almost $9 trillion by 2030. And almost 40 trillion by 2047.

We've been pioneers in the STEM for Girls programme, where almost 350,000 students have benefited from this already. Most of them girls, but also boys. Over the last two or three years that we've been running it, they've been benefited.

It's skill development in the technology space, especially in underprivileged areas, where a lot of with girl students can be trained to take on technology roles. That is our focus. So we are doing that now in these tier two and three emerging clusters and driving that.

‘Glocal’ the mantra:

Any kind of innovation that you do anywhere is always “glocal”. The best way to illustrate is through examples. Take, for example, our partnership with telcos.

Again, every single interbank transaction in India is, in fact, happening on some IBM system because nine out of the top 10 banks, two-thirds of the milk-and-dairy product industry, and the country's largest airport (by traffic) are all run and managed by IBM on IBM systems using some form of IBM software and solutions.

That is taking global expertise and global solutions, and making them relevant locally.

Degrees and jobs:

We've always been a big believer that you train people early, you pick them up early, they can be ready for employment without a formal college degree.

I remember right, 40 to 50 per cent of jobs, globally, within the IBM company, don't require a formal degree.

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