Whether you’re the Roy family or a 109-year-old tech company, succession planning matters. CEO Arvind Krishna formally took the reins of IBM on April 6. At the company’s digital conference this week, Krishna made his first public appearance as head honcho and offered a roadmap for Big Blue.
The historical backdrop
IBM survived the 1918 flu pandemic, countless recessions, and two world wars. But the company also let paradigm shifts in computing pass it by. Due to those strategic blunders, the top echelon of tech is known as FAMGA, not FAMGAI.
To navigate the coronavirus pandemic, Krishna said the company can tap its spirit of resiliency. He also projected that IBM could capture more market share as businesses accelerate digital transformation.
Krishna’s B2B priorities
Cloud: The company has hitched its wagon to the hybrid cloud, a setup where companies combine their own data servers with rented computing power from cloud vendors. In an aggressive move into the sector, IBM acquired open-source software company Red Hat last year for roughly $34 billion. Krishna helped lead the acquisition, which was the biggest deal in IBM’s history.
AI: “I’m predicting today that every company will become an AI company—not because they can, but because they must,” Krishna said. Yesterday, IBM announced Watson AIOps, a tool to automatically detect, diagnose, and respond to “IT anomalies.” Watson AIOps works across hybrid cloud environments.
Before Ginna Rometty passed the torch, Krishna was SVP for IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software and the head of IBM Research, a storied skunkworks R&D lab. His background spans the A-list of Emerging Tech Brew: AI, cloud, quantum computing, and blockchain.
- Krishna’s transition from cloud leader to CEO closely mirrors the trajectory of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Big picture: Big Blue faces stiff competition in enterprise cloud and AI from the likes of Microsoft and Amazon.
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