We sat down with Phạm Thị Thu Diệp, the newly appointed Country General Manager of IBM Vietnam, to discuss the growth of Việt Nam's IT sector in 2021 and how IBM will play a part in this overall picture.
First of all, congratulations on your new position as Country General Manager for IBM in Việt Nam. Let’s start our conversation by focusing on the area that you have been leading at IBM for the last decade - software, cloud and cognitive. How would you comment on the growth of cloud and AI in recent years?
As we all know, in the last couple of years, businesses are now very much focused on leveraging AI to enhance productivity and competitiveness as well as moving to the open hybrid cloud to drive innovation at scale in a secure way. Though the key objectives may vary, the final outcome is obvious, they all want to emerge either as AI and cloud innovation drivers or leaders.
Application scenarios across various verticals continue to move from divided to a unified and customised methodology. The need for digital governance and collaborative approach with the technology companies will further facilitate in the scaling up of enterprises priorities in the AI industry chain.
A recent study of IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) found business executives in Việt Nam are increasingly planning to invest in hybrid multi-cloud platform strategies and capabilities to drive business transformation and to unlock value. Sixteen per cent of their IT spend is allocated to cloud at present and they plan to increase the share of spend on hybrid from 41 per cent today to 43 per cent by 2023. Also in the next two years, organisations in Việt Nam expect to be using at least eight clouds, from a growing number of vendors.
So what do you think will be the opportunity to accelerate and drive digital transformation?
Today’s operations must be dynamic, responsive, and interconnected to an organisation’s ecosystem and workflows. So, it starts with automation. For a growing number of businesses, manual processes just cannot deliver the adaptability, speed, and efficiency needed to thrive. All business decisions need to be based on data which makes demands of the CIO to make recommendations. Essential to this is to have insights from the data at their fingertips.
Until recently, research has shown that while most companies viewed AI automation as strategic, adoption has been slow, primarily due to a lack of skills. But we can’t wait for a new generation of skills to come through the door, we need tools to leap us forward - tools like IBM’s Auto AI, AI that builds AI. Forward-thinking innovations like these are designed to accelerate AI adoption and usage to ensure the longevity and growth of the business.
In the area of skills building, IBM Vietnam is partnering with Hà Nội University of Science and Technology to equip universities’ lecturers with the infrastructure and resources to deliver AI, cloud and data science learning to students. We are also collaborating with educational institutions in the country to organise workshops in basic AI skills for teachers from all 63 provinces. The workshops equip teachers with the basic approach, workflow and application of AI, in which to help them build training programmes for at least 1,200 students nationwide.
Moving away from cloud and AI, last October, IBM announced its split and the NewCo is planned to be announced within this year. How has the transition work been at IBM?
As announced, we expect the spinoff of our Managed Infrastructure Services company to be completed by the end of 2021, so for now, it is business as usual. At the point we do transition, however, IBM and the new company will remain critical partners. The new organisation will be able to partner fully across all cloud vendors while maintaining a strong strategic partnership with IBM and continuing to serve existing and new clients. In addition, the new company will be IBM’s preferred partner for managed infrastructure services, enabling seamless operations across the two companies for clients.
Through the transition and once the spinoff is complete, clients’ key points of contact will remain essentially the same, and the quality of services and delivery they receive will be unchanged. In fact, we are committed to redoubling our efforts toward client responsiveness and attentiveness and expect those changes to be carried forward by both new companies.
What is the advantage of having a company focused on IT infrastructure?
As the leading Managed Infrastructure Services company, the new entity will be uniquely positioned to help clients advance their digitisation journeys, driven by lean AI and automation. At the same time, COVID-19 has accelerated the need for agility and assurance that businesses will continue to run regardless of the circumstances. As an independent company, the new business will have the advantage of scale, from day one, benefitting customers immediately. The new organisation will have $19 billion in revenue, some 90,000 employees and more than 4,600 clients in 115 countries. The business will help its clients modernise their infrastructure and accelerate digitisation and will have the ability to invest in the technology and skills to drive the next-generation digital transformation.
In Việt Nam, we plan to grow both IBM and the new organisation by offering clients the IT services, hybrid cloud and AI tools that they need to power digital transformation. IBM is spinning off its infrastructure services business to allow both businesses to grow independently, with a focus on their respective strengths, hence to support our clients better and more efficiently.