How Kyndryl is Charting Its Course in IT and AI

"Apart from our skills, experience and resources, we have been investing in our partner ecosystem"

Design by Nikhil Kumar

Two years ago, Kyndryl started as a separate company after breaking away from IBM. The reason for the split from the Big Blue was that as a piece the division didn’t fit with CEO Arvind Krishna’s hybrid and AI-focused vision. The company set on its own path to ‘become the technology services employer of choice’.

Today, Kyndryl helps companies modernise by designing and managing IT infrastructure systems involving massive amounts of data. To understand how this American IT infrastructure provider is doing its own thing with automation and tech, especially in India, AIM had a chat with Naveen Kamat the Vice President & CTO of Data and AI Services at their Bangalore office. 

“Most organisations have multiple data stores and data pipelines which causes redundancy over time for various reasons. The same data is replicated leading to multiple copies which is not needed,” he elaborated. A part of their approach is to reduce all this duplication and redundancy. Another aspect is, ‘technical debt’ caused by legacy code that leads to more data incidents and downtime that leads to data breaches. 

“In that context, data becomes more of a liability,” Kamat stated. “Having the right data foundation cuts down the cycle time that goes into data engineering that can be then used across the lines of business,” mentioned the IT leader who has been in the industry for over two decades working across several roles. 

Without disclosing one of Kyndryl’s clients which is a large healthcare enterprise Kamat explained the need for data foundation in terms of pharmacy application. He recalled that major incidents were causing the application to be down. “These are very critical situations, particularly if the patient is in the ICU. So, we worked on the right data foundation to make sure that the various log metrics from various parts of the stack are all ingested into this data lake,” he said. Kamat also mentioned a ballpark figure of nearly 80% reduction in major outages across verticals including healthcare.

A Diverse Clientele

Today, the company boasts of a fairly large client base across industries. “Apart from our skills, experience and resources, we also have been investing into our partner ecosystem, which includes Microsoft, and AWS, apart from data platforms like CloudEra and Databricks. We bring in additional differentiation when we work with clients with our IP, assets and accelerators,” mentioned Kamat. The company also announced banking and financial industry services for Google Cloud customers strengthening its existing partnership with the cloud provider. 

Talking about how Kyndryl works with clients of different tiers, Kamat stated, “From a data foundation standpoint, we engage depending on the client’s maturity. We offer tailor made options to our customers that fit their purpose, be it a solution or architecture. Based on their budgets and business goals, we align the data strategy and data foundation that is the most relevant for them. A lot of times large enterprises make investments in technologies and tools, and we protect that investment, modernise and help them go to the next generation.”

Generative AI 

No conversation around tech has happened without generative AI being mentioned. Commenting on the phenomenon, Kamat mentioned that data is the key element. “With this [generative AI] wave we are seeing innovation on steroids. A lot of agility has come into the ecosystem. A task that would earlier take months to be done is now crunched to a few weeks. The turnaround time is rapid,” he added.

The company is currently focused on a few aspects of generative AI. It is working with its customers by helping them prioritise what use cases can be looked at from a quick win standpoint. “The good thing is that a lot of the hype has settled down now and there is a lot more awareness around the options that are available in terms of large language models,” said Kamat.

“You can use different language models to get the same outcome with more or less the same accuracy, but much less carbon footprint and resource consumption. It is not only sustainable and optimal as a prototype, but also from a longer-term deployment standpoint,” he added.

With great power comes great responsibility. As Kyndryl is helping various clients from pharmaceutical companies to international airports deploy generative AI, it is making sure the digitization is done in the right manner. “Across the organisation, we are ensuring that not only the right policies are established, but those are followed as the standard data stewardship comes into play. Data security and privacy need to be organisation-wide programmes.”

That’s where Kamat recommends data literacy programmes across enterprise for a broader awareness of how data can be used or misused. “You can’t just have a strategy, it has to be an ongoing operation, whether it’s data security, privacy or observability,” he stated.

Tasmia Ansari
Tasmia is a tech journalist at AIM, looking to bring a fresh perspective to emerging technologies and trends in data science, analytics, and artificial intelligence.

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