Kyndryl’s CTO discusses the biggest changes the IT sector has to deal with, from the ongoing skills gap to technical debt.
Nick Drouet is vice-president and CTO for IT infrastructure services provider, Kyndryl UK and Ireland.
He was also selected to be part of the inaugural class of Kyndryl Distinguished Engineers in 2022, leading innovators who are shaping the future of Kyndryl and driving change in the industry.
Prior to his current role, Drouet spent more than two decades in roles at IBM, which Kyndryl spun out of in 2021. As CTO at Kyndryl, he drives the company’s tech strategy.
“I am looking to leave things in a better state than how I found them,” he told SiliconRepublic.com. “In an industry that is always changing, embracing genuine innovation is key, as is supporting my organisation to invest in new areas that enable our evolution and progress.”
What are some of the biggest challenges you’re facing in the current IT landscape?
While it’s not new, the skills gap remains one of the biggest challenges facing the industry at present. Organisations of all sizes are struggling to find employees with the right skills to keep pace with ever-evolving technology and this will end up costing businesses trillions of dollars by the end of the decade.
The way to tackle this? Focus in on culture and create an environment where different skills and perspectives are celebrated.
Another significant change we’ve seen, is the arrival of hyperscaler cloud providers and the massive amounts of technical debt that many customers are burdened with.
Building a brand-new native cloud application is one thing, but working out the right way to take advantage of cloud services at enterprise scale is something that is a real challenge – there are a lot of problems to consider when you are right in the heart of a business.
What are your thoughts on digital transformation?
Fostering a culture that prioritises people, can help organisations unlock the value of transformation, unlock hidden opportunities, and generate new value.
Companies that are truly dedicated to change and unlocking creativity need to play the long game, ensuring they put all the support networks in place to drive progress. Organisations should seek to provide oxygen to innovation, energy to change and to further human progress every day.
Making that real, we are tackling this from a few angles – we need to drive transformation both for our own organisation and for the customers who depend on our services to support their own customers.
That means massive investments in automation, data insights, simplifying the way our customers interact with us and using our people to unlock innovative approaches as we focus on our role as a leading services business.
Our customers often have their own challenges with transformation and we are finding that our missions are aligning as we jointly embrace a new future rather than protecting the past.
How can sustainability be addressed from an IT perspective?
Even though public awareness of climate realities continues to climb, sustainability is getting harder and harder. The pressure and need for genuine, incisive, meaningful action grows.
At Kyndryl, we are committed to ensuring a sustainable and inclusive future as part of our purposeful approach to powering human progress.
With 260 data centres in 54 countries, we’re acutely aware of our carbon footprint and are committed to operating a sustainable and responsible business. For instance, in 2021 we reduced our data centre carbon footprint by 33,400MW. And we’ve also enabled the annual generation of 18,000MW of solar power.
From an IT perspective, the key will be to collaborate and leverage new technological infrastructures to measure, analyse and minimise carbon production. Ultimately, businesses should favour suppliers and partners with evidenced progress on emissions reduction.
This in turn will align sustainability needs with business goals, putting businesses on a clear footing to say that their environmental initiatives have been chosen not because they are easy but because they are necessary to deliver the desired impact.
What big tech trends do you believe are changing the engineering sector?
One of the key trends we are currently seeing is that the worlds of infrastructure and applications are rapidly converging. This has been driven by the rise and now dominance of open-source software, pervasive automation and the hyperscaler providers.
New architectural styles are being born and different ways of building and running platforms are emerging. If they are to avoid being left behind in the industry (and the world), technology professionals need to consider learning some kind of programming language.
An investment in this area truly excites me. And we can’t forget the rise of AI and machine learning – we are starting to see some real benefits as AI starts to be applied to the many challenges of running complex IT landscapes – anything we can do to augment a finite pool of technical talent can only help with our joint transformation challenges.
How can we address the security challenges currently facing the engineering sector?
Security concerns, especially cybersecurity concerns, are always top of mind for any business. It is essential for corporations to invest proactively to better insulate their businesses from attacks.
In a nutshell, businesses need to rewire for progress. An exciting trend – especially for us as a managed service provider – is how traditional IT services are being automated at Kyndryl and with our customers.
For our partners, automation helps accelerate the modernisation of their ‘IT estate’, and brings new business applications and innovations to their own customers faster. Our partners also use automation for incident management, from application deployment to security and compliance. It allows fewer incidents and faster resolution.
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