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Kyndryl is a name that might not be well-known in the Australian IT industry. That will change. It will soon emerge as a leading technology services company with 4,000 global customers in more than 100 countries, including 75 percent of the Fortune 100.
Kyndryl was formerly IBM’s Global Technology Services division. By the end of 2021 it will be a separate entity owned by IBM shareholders following IBM’s decision, announced in October 2020 to spin off the business.
IBM revealed the name for the new company in April 2021, explaining it was adapted from a combination of two words: Kyn, derived from kinship, referencing relationships with people (employees, customers and partners) and Dryl from tendril, signifying new growth.
Kyndryl comprise six global managed services practices; Cloud; Applications, Data & AI; Security & Resiliency; Core Enterprise & zCloud; Network & Edge; Digital Workplace, and an advisory and implementation services practice comprising managed services, advisory services and implementation.
Kyndryl’s CTO for Australia and New Zealand is Jim Freeman and he gave an introduction to the new company in a joint online event with CIO: Building an Innovative and Secure Social Enterprise, chaired by CIO Editor in Chief, Byron Connolly, along with Associate Editor, David Binning, and Sarah Putt, Editor of CIO and Computerworld in New Zealand.
In addition to Freeman’s introduction to Kyndryl, there were sessions titled “Cyber security in a new world of virtual care,” “Don’t let legacy systems hold back your digital transformation,” and “Securing your cloud: Who is responsible for what?”
Freeman said Kyndryl would be a unique entrant in the marketplace. He listed five key attributes of the new company: new ways of working: incumbency; automation for zero touch delivery; an open source, crowdsourcing model: an ecosystem that it will be able to expand significantly as an entity separate from IBM.
Freeman then introduced Michael Briers, Founder of The Salmon Project, which supports founders of scaleup tech enterprises and investors in sustainable futures to ‘swim upstream’. Briers talked about building sustainable + high impact social enterprise through data in circulation and shared his personal experiences, firstly with a company he cofounded in the 90s, Sirca, to extract value from financial data, and more recently about his work to improve oyster farming in Australian waters by using salinity as a proxy for water quality.
The lessons from these he said were: “understand your higher purpose”; “keep it simple”; “you have to execute to learn fast.”
Meeting the challenges of virtual healthcare
Host of the “Cyber security in a new world of virtual care” session, David Binning, said organisations in the Australian health sector were experiencing unprecedented pressure on their IT infrastructure and cyber security capabilities, and with telehealth and virtual care models becoming crucial to the delivery of services, technology systems and applications would need to be modernised.
Kyndryl’s Dav Mathur was joined in the session by Patricia Isabelle from GE Healthcare ANZ and David Deakin from Dell. They foreshadowed many changes and challenges in coming years. Isabelle predicted precision health and personalised medicine would become significant components of healthcare, along with AI. “I think it’s really exciting to see what the future holds. We just need to figure out how to get everybody on board to do that at the pace we need,” she said.
Mathur said Kyndryl would work with Dell and GE Healthcare to serve the healthcare sector, and such partnerships would be essential to enable the sector to meet its many challenges.
“Our intention is to meet our customers where they are and take them to where they need to go. We need to bring the right technology and the right partners to take them on that journey. No one organisation can meet the demand and the velocity that’s in this market today.”
How to accelerate digital transformation
The second breakout session looked at how legacy systems can hold back digital transformation. Host Byron Connolly said financial services organisations were seen as digital transformation leaders.
Kyndryl’s Prakhar Srivastava then detailed the key challenges financial services organisations face when modernising their legacy systems and applications. He said they needed to create a shared vision for digital transformation, develop a simplification agenda around the technology and around the entire cloud transformation, and grapple with the duality of ‘traditional speed’ and ‘modern speed’.
David Cummins, KPMG Partner, Management Consulting, provided a set of principles he said should underpin any digital transformation.
“Be business driven. You need to avoid planning projects purely for technology’s sake. They need to lead back to business imperatives. And there needs to be a focus on the business capabilities you’re looking to enhance or enable for technology. Thirdly, you need to be efficient in the focus of your technology strategy. Our clients do not have unlimited resources and unlimited budgets. So your need to really focus on the technologies that will give you bang for buck.
“And you need to start with a robust fact base to back up the strategy. A lot of the work we do with organisations is providing the critical evidence points to back up the rationale of transformation. Time and time again, I get called in to have a look at a technology strategy written as part of an earlier exercise, where the roadmap is clearly not practical, or not executable.”
How to use the cloud securely
Sarah Putt opened session three, Securing your cloud: Who is responsible for what?, with a question central to any organisation looking to move to the cloud: “When partnering with a new cloud partner, or extending a contract with an existing partner. What should IT leaders be thinking about in terms of ensuring both parties are clear about their responsibilities: in cyber resilience, multi cloud scenarios and complexity of integration?”
Kyndryl distinguished engineer, Michael Shallcross, said all major cloud providers published a shared responsibility model that detailed their responsibilities and those of their customers, but because cloud usage changes frequently, “You need to be constantly re-evaluating what your managed service provider does for you, and what you expect of the platform itself.”
He said it was particularly important to constantly review attack responses. “You need to have rehearsed your incident recovery procedures. You need to have been through your response to ransomware or a malware incident. And you need to make sure you and your partners have exercised their respective responsibilities, and that you understand where there might be incorrect assumptions and you are constantly re-evaluating and updating those.”
To round off the session Dr Kudzai Kanhutu, CIO of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, offered some lessons from the hospital’s experience with telehealth in the COVID-19 pandemic, lessons relevant to any organisation impacted by a sudden, significant change.
“In any crisis you very quickly discover your weak points: the people who maybe aren’t as digitally literate or technologically literate as they could be. You discover the units that have their own ways of working. And you also discover patients who really struggle and fall off the cart in terms of care delivery very, very quickly.
“Those really shouldn’t be things you discover in a crisis. They should be things that you are already proactively monitoring for during the good times.”