COVID-19: IBM sees acceleration in governments going digital

By Georgia Wilson
In a recent keynote speech, IBM’s CEO Arvind Krishna states that governments are accelerating their digital transformation due to COVID-19...

IBM's recent keynote speech titled ‘Think Gov Digital’, saw Arvind Krishna, CEO of IBM discussing the impact of COVID-19 and how the pandemic has helped to accelerate government adoption of digital technologies around the world.

In his opening statement, Krishna highlights recent events that have affected governments including: COVID-19, lockdown, rise of unemployment and social unrest.

“Your swift response has been absolutely essential in keeping the economy running and guaranteeing peoples safety. But moments of crisis always carry lessons and if there is anything that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is the critical importance of technology solutions that enable: speed, flexibility, insight and innovation,” commented Krishna. 

“Choosing rich technology platforms to power your organisation is one of the most consequential decisions you can make. Technology platforms determine how quickly you can pivot to new opportunities, how well you serve your citizens, how much you can scale, and today, how fast you can respond to a crisis.” 

Krishna goes on to explain that looking at the technology landscape today, hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) are two of the most dominant forces that are driving digital transformation. 

Talking to clients Krishna highlights four key reasons for adopting hybrid cloud solutions, which he calls ‘the four imperatives of hybrid cloud’: history, choice, physics and law.

Moving on to the second core technology AI, Krishna describes the technology as one of the biggest forces driving change in the industry. “The vast majority of you preserve AI as a strategic opportunity, almost all of you see AI as an opportunity to drive cost savings, but also how to give better service and to scale innovation and insight [...] More than 20 years ago, experts predicted that every organisation would become an Internet organisation. I'm predicting that every organisation will become an AI organisation – not because they can, but because they must,” stated Krishna. “AI is the only way to scale innovation, insight, and expertise."

IBM’s pandemic support

Towards the end of the keynote, Krishna explains that, “with this crisis, the importance of hybrid cloud and AI has not changed. What has changed is the pace at which they are being adopted. I’ve said this before and it remains true, transformation journeys that were going to last a few years are now being compacted into the space of a few weeks or months, organisations are questioning and transforming their operating model. They are thinking about how to use technology to reassess and reimagine mode of consumption, supply, interaction and productivity, they are looking for long lasting answers on what they can do with technology to address the key issues that COVID-19 has brought to light.”

To support this transformation, Krishna reaffirms the company’s commitments to: 

  • Continue to deepen the company’s understanding of its clients needs
  • Help clients identify opportunities to transform how they deliver value 
  • Continue to be a leader in good tech and deploy trusted technology
  • Foster an entrepreneurial culture to move with greater speed and focus
  • Continue to be an important player - not a spectator

With this in mind Krishna details its recent effects to support organisations amidst the current pandemic crisis, which includes:

  • Over US$200mn in global donations made in money and technology 
  • The establishment of the ‘COVID-18 High Performance Computing Consortium’ which the White House, U.S. Department of Energy and many other companies, labs and research institutes are a part of to accelerate scientific efforts for the pandemic 
  • Making over 80,000 IBM patents free for COVID-19 researchers 

“There is no question that this pandemic is a powerful force of disruption and an unprecedented tragedy. But it is also a critical turning point. It’s an opportunity to develop new solutions, new ways of working, and new partnerships that will benefit your organisation and the people you serve—not just today, but for years to come,” commented Krishna. “We will emerge from these challenging times stronger.”

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