IBM CEO: Hybrid cloud, AI key to rapid digital transformation during COVID-19

"With this crisis, the importance of hybrid cloud and AI has not changed," Arvind Krishna said at IBM's Think Gov digital event. "What has changed is the pace at which they are being adopted."
Arvind Krishna IBM
IBM CEO Arvind Krishna. (IBM photo)

Hybrid cloud computing and artificial intelligence are two forces driving successful digital transformations, particularly as the need for technology delivery is sped up during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said Wednesday.

“With this crisis, the importance of hybrid cloud and AI has not changed,” Krishna said at IBM’s Think Gov digital event, produced by FedScoop. “What has changed is the pace at which they are being adopted. I’ve said this before, and it remains true: Transformation journeys that will go on to last few years are now being compacted into the space of a few weeks or months. Organizations are questioning and transforming that operating model — that thinking about how to use technology to reassess and reimagine modes of consumption, supply, interaction and production. They’re looking for long-lasting answers on what they can do with technology to address the key issues that COVID-19 has brought to light.”

Hybrid cloud, Krishna said, allows agencies and organizations the flexibility to balance the need to keep some workloads on-premise or in a private cloud while taking advantage of the speed and flexibility of the public cloud.

“As an organization, you rarely start from scratch,” he said. “You have complex workloads and applications. Your messaging data and transactional systems are often well integrated into your operational and security systems. Hybrid cloud is about meeting you where you’re at in terms of the IT infrastructure choices you’ve made, and the various places you do computing, whether it’s in a public cloud, a private cloud, or on-premise.”


On artificial intelligence, Krishna offered a prediction he’s made before: That, like 20 years ago, when experts said all organizations would become internet organizations, he believes “every organization will become an AI organization, not because they can, but because they must.”

“AI is the only way to extract value from the data, and to then scale the innovation, insight and expertise,” Krishna said. And importantly, it allows agencies to take away many mundane tasks “and instead have people focus on higher-value work.

Krishna said sure, the pandemic is a disruption to normalcy. But it’s also a “critical turning point.”

“It’s an opportunity to develop new solutions, new ways of working, new partnerships that benefit you, your organization and the people you serve,” he said. “Not just for today, but for years and decades to come.”

Billy Mitchell

Written by Billy Mitchell

Billy Mitchell is Senior Vice President and Executive Editor of Scoop News Group's editorial brands. He oversees operations, strategy and growth of SNG's award-winning tech publications, FedScoop, StateScoop, CyberScoop, EdScoop and DefenseScoop. After earning his journalism degree at Virginia Tech and winning the school's Excellence in Print Journalism award, Billy received his master's degree from New York University in magazine writing while interning at publications like Rolling Stone.

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