Integrated approach to tech is critical for IBM to maintain mkt leadership

Written by Preeti Parashar | Updated: Jun 30 2009, 08:49am hrs
Guruduth Banavar
South Asia region today hosts the entire gamut of IBMs business services, software, hardware and R&D labs, driving innovation at all levels. Guruduth Banavar, chief technologist, IBM India/South Asia and director, IBM India Research Laboratory has played a key role in formulating an integrated approach to technology innovation.. .In an interview with FEs Preeti Parashar, Banavar shares his vision and plan for the company. Excerpts:-

How do you plan to drive the integrated approach to technology innovation

We have a significant innovation capability in India/South Asia region, given the research lab, the development lab, and the global business solution centre in India. As a company with end-to-end capabilities an integrated approach to technology is critical for IBM to maintain its leadership in the market. To develop this technical strategy, I have created a team of technical leaders from each of the business lines in IBM India/South Asia. Each of these accomplished technical leaders brings his/her business insights and technical ideas for creating a cross-business technical strategy that leverages the capabilities across the entire IBM India/South Asia organisation. The strategy will help create a broad technical vision that will effectively support the companys long-term goals for the region, and provide a concrete two-year roadmap for the organisation. It will also encompass the needs of developing the technical community in India/South Asia.

What would be the key focus of your business plan

The overarching goal is to bring value to our customers through end-to-end offerings, software, systems, and services. If you consider our Smarter Planet vision, we aim to help our customers perform better in a more complex and demanding marketplace. In todays interconnected and instrumented world, technologies need to be far more intelligent to meet business requirements. We have a bullish business strategy, and we need an aggressive and clearly articulated technical strategy to support that.

What is the key research areas for IRL What percentage does IBM invest into R&D

IBMs India Research Laboratory (IRL) has a balanced research agenda with both long term exploratory projects and more industry focused short term projects. Specific focus areas of IRL include software technologies, high performance computing, analytics and optimisation, and information management. Services is also another key research area for IRL as we engage with our services business as well as end customers for industry specific projects. Globally we spent $6.3 billion on research in 2008.

How can integrated approach and technology innovation drive the growth map for the company

First of all, IBM is a technology company at its core. In order to remain competitive, businesses must continue to innovate at all levels and IBM can provide the technology to support and drive innovations. There are a number of new opportunities for innovation emanating from this region as some of the issues and challenges faced by our clients here are unique. For example, the technology needs of the population at the base of the pyramid represent a huge opportunity for IBM as does the massive scale of the largest enterprises in this region. As we have already begun to invent technologies like the Spoken Web, we fully expect that there will be a stream of technology innovations that will address the needs of this region. But as a globally integrated enterprise, we aspire to take these technologies to other parts of the world, in both growth markets and major markets, and implement them successfully there. As we bring the global innovation engine of IBM to bear on the needs of the India/South Asia region, these technology innovations will continue the growth and strengthen IBMs position as the undisputed leader in the region.

How does the approach help your clients in enhancing their business scale

Scale and costs are two important considerations for our clients, especially in the current economic environment and in a region like India/South Asia. The success of IBMs clients in India in the telecom space is a testimony to our ability to help businesses enhance their scale. Over the years these telecom companies have added millions of customers. As a trusted service partner we ensured that the technology is equipped to support this tremendous growth. It has been possible for our end-to-end capabilities in technology innovation. We will look into all aspects of customers systems from front-end to back-end, from design to optimisation and ensure continuous improvement in both efficiency and effectiveness. This integrated approach to technology innovation will therefore help our customers act on speed, reduce risk, and bolster core competenciesqualities that are critical for organisations to scale up faster and reduce costs.

Is special care being taken where SMBs are concerned

Small and medium businesses (SMBs) are an important area of business for IBM globally. In India, SMB segment is critical as it is huge and offers opportunities that are hitherto untapped. The requirements, as well as challenges, of SMBs are different from large enterprises. To address their business and technology challenges and to optimise their resource and budget capabilities IBM has an offering called Express Advantage. Built on IBMs comprehensive set of solutions, it brings together our technology, applications, and services, designed for our clients needs. The products and services are specially designed for our customers size at a highly competitive price. The solutions are scaled to accommodate growing demand and a clear path exists to advance capabilities.