[MUSIC PLAYING] A person and an idea are connected.
What is it that companies can do for these markets to create value, and create wealth for themselves?
This is all about relationships.
And what Reliance did in the partnership with Steven Spielberg is to establish a virtual studio in Hollywood.
Modernising. They are not Westernising.
Guru, thanks a lot for coming to Cambridge to speak at our conference. And thank you also for agreeing to do this interview. What makes India special for IBM? In general, but particularly from an innovation perspective?
India is, indeed, the second largest organisation of IBM overall. Not just the research part of it, but the overall organisation. There is a very vibrant domestic market that IBM wants to get into.
There are a lot of great opportunities for delivering services to our global clients from India, given the amount of talent we have there, and given the amount of capabilities and infrastructure we have there for services. So IBM has decided to strategically invest several billion dollars, in fact, over the next several years to build up that capability and to make it a strategically important cog in the overall IBM wheel.
Understanding the needs of people who have a very different perspective on life, designing technologies and business models around those technologies to address that kind of market is opening some new doors for IBM. The main focus areas that we have for our Indian group, I would say it’s two major areas, emerging mobile solutions, and service delivery technologies. One is how to use the mobile phone as a platform for delivering a whole range of services.
The other major area is, how do we make this idea of global delivery, of services to our vast customer base around the world more effective and more efficient?
During your talk you had told us about Spoken Web. Could you say a little bit about that again?
The Spoken Web is a very special project for us, because it has opened a potentially new opportunity for IBM to enter into these kinds of emerging markets. We have experimented with the Spoken Web now with several small pilots around the country. We think that if we were able to scale this platform to the emerging market scenarios that we’re interested in, we would be able to dramatically transform the kind of IT services that were available to these markets, just like how the regular worldwide web transformed the way the developed world approached IT based services.
Who gets to pay for it? Do consumers pay for it? Do you get other corporates to partner with you in paying for it? Or do governments get involved?
There’s going to be aspects of it that will be provided potentially freely by public service organisations, governments, or NGOs, and so forth. There’ll be aspects of it that will be privately delivered.
People talk about some of the challenges in terms of access to talent. You mentioned not many PhD students coming out potentially from top institutions. Are these challenges for India? And would they have an impact on IBM going forward in terms of innovation?
They are definitely challenges for IBM. And not only for IBM. For the rest of the IT industry. There is a lot of investment in terms of developing the talent. And one example I’ll pick over there is this whole idea of service science that is a key new discipline, we believe, to develop talent for addressing the needs of IBM definitely, but not only IBM for the entire IT industry in India, where we think we need to build the right programmes in academia around the country to generate people who have a deeper understanding of what it means to deliver services and design services so that when they get into the industry, they can be productive from day one.
We’d like to invest more in these kinds of partnerships with institutions to have a long term pipeline that has developed.