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Kyndryl's Bent Larsen: "We are immensely proud of our role as supporters of Cyprus’ digital agenda"

In an exclusive interview with CBN, Bent Larsen, Vice President and Managing Director of Kyndryl Central Eastern Europe & Eastern Mediterranean talks about the company's highly successful path since it became independent of IBM two years ago.

He also discusses the company's activities in Cyprus and future plans on the local and international technology stage.

A lot has been accomplished in the almost two years since Kyndryl became an independent company. What do you consider to be some of the company’s main achievements and milestones during this time?

Kyndryl recently celebrated its second anniversary as an independent, publicly traded company. In a brief period, we have built a solid foundation, blending our deep-rooted heritage with leadership in IT infrastructure services and a new customer-centric, startup culture. We have created a “unique mix” that helps customers, industries, communities innovate, modernise and transform to advance their operations.

As a partner of choice and trusted advisor of some of the leading enterprises in the world, Kyndryl has quickly become indispensable in addressing customers’ current and future business needs, strategically aligning with major IT trends. Our progress stems from our leading industry position, our technology agnostic-approach that came with our independence, and our ability to help customers align and navigate through the ever-evolving landscape of digitalisation and modernisation.

In today’s global economy, business leaders ask themselves the same question: How can technology best support the enterprise’s value-creation mission, and what is the strategic technology plan that will drive it forward? Kyndryl provides the answers. It’s the work Kyndryl does best — operating at the heart of making the world work.​

What particular actions and policies do you believe helped Kyndryl achieve these milestones?

Kyndryl’s growth strategy is propelled by our technology-agnostic approach, skilled experts, and an operation model that is designed to foster a faster, flatter and focused working culture and a pathway towards a modern, profitable and thriving business.

Additionally, Kyndryl’s strategic alliances – particularly with the three major cloud hyperscalers – serve as the cornerstone of our business. Drawing on the technologies of best-in-class partners, Kyndryl designs, deploys and operates customised IT “estates” tailored to the customer’s mission. This gives business leaders confidence that their critical operations are resilient and secure and that their organisations are staying abreast of the swift digital transformation and modernization required in today's fast-paced world.

Our experts work alongside customers to identify their most urgent and strategically significant challenges and opportunities. We have global talent, specialised and certified in cloud, cyber resilience, data and artificial intelligence, digital workplace, networking and edge computing. This automatically translates into higher value for Kyndryl’s customers.

Has this journey also been successful for Kyndryl in Cyprus?

Digital transformation in Cyprus has been gaining increasing momentum in recent years, bringing about significant changes across various sectors. It is evident that the country has recognised the potential of technology in driving economic growth, enhancing efficiency, and improving services, and we are continuously seeing initiatives being undertaken to modernise infrastructure, promote digital literacy, and foster innovation.

Kyndryl established its operations in Cyprus from day one of our global launch to support the local digital agenda. However, it is worth noting that our team has been actively contributing to the country's digital transformation long before our independence, supporting numerous organisations in their early stages their journeys. I take great pride in highlighting that we are highly trusted by our customers, receiving recognition and awards for outstanding innovation.

Today, we work with leading organisations, such as Bank of Cyprus to help shape its long-term IT strategy by leveraging digitalisation and supporting the development of digital platforms. We are also working with CNP Cyprus, the leading insurance group in Cyprus, to help transform its existing IT infrastructure into a hybrid cloud environment and support its IT modernization efforts to enhance customer and employee experience, security and operational resiliency.

Kyndryl is also engaged in several government projects, providing skills, expertise and know-how both in implementation and operation of delivery, with plans to continue expanding this footprint. Our aim remains to work closely with the government, including the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, towards the successful implementation of its strategy.

Additionally, we play an active role to help bolster the Cypriot economy's ecosystems. This involves providing internship opportunities for university students to provide hands-on learning experiences, demonstrating commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace through the signing of a Diversity Charter, and participating in local technology and business associations, holding board memberships and committee representations.

We are immensely proud of our role as supporters of Cyprus’ digital agenda, collaborating closely with both various sectors, and we are committed to supporting the nation's progress towards achieving its goals.

Can you tell us more about Kyndryl’s areas of specialty in connection to the digital transformation of companies and how Kyndryl stays on the cutting-edge of this ever-evolving sector?

IT modernisation is instrumental for any organisation aiming to remain competitive and drive innovation at an accelerated pace. Therefore, companies are gearing up to invest significantly in their IT infrastructure. In fact, spending on IT transformation will reach $653 billion by 2025, according to IDC.

So, the need for IT modernisation is evident, and Kyndryl is strategically positioned to not only meet customer demands but also to engage with them at every stage of their digital transformation journeys and co-create and innovate with them in alignment with their business objectives.

As a company, we continually evolve and invest in ourselves based on the dynamic needs of our customers. Allow me share with you two examples illustrating how we undergo transformation and evolution to set ourselves apart in the market, all with the aim of better serving our customers:

Kyndryl Bridge: Kyndryl Bridge, combined with AI, operational data, and Kyndryl's expertise, offers customers clear visibility into their technology, including cloud environments. This integration provides actionable insights for better business outcomes. With the world's largest collection of tech stack operational data and AI utilisation, Kyndryl Bridge enhances system management and development. Its automation ensures secure, stable, and reliable operations. Leveraging AI and machine learning, Kyndryl Bridge detects patterns in systems and infrastructure, executing one billion automations annually for secure tech stacks. A notable advantage of Kyndryl Bridge is its self-healing architecture, which has reduced significant incidents by over 30 percent this year in accounts using these capabilities.

We are proud of the ongoing deployment of Kyndryl Bridge to key customers in Cyprus, leverage its capabilities and benefits for effective management of their IT infrastructures.

Kyndryl Consult: Kyndryl Consult provides mission critical technology advisory, implementation and integration services that help customers globally and in Cyprus accelerate their digital business outcomes. We deliver flexible and scaled business capability, operational and financial effectiveness and critical operational resilience through technology specialisation in hybrid cloud acceleration, modern IT operations, application and mainframe modernisation, cyber resilience, and improved digital experiences.

Further to above, are cyber security and resilience of particular concern to your clients and how does Kyndryl work to safeguard them from these challenges?

Recent years have seen a notable shift in security challenges due to more distributed IT structures and the increase in hybrid work models, leading to a higher risk of data breaches. A global Kyndryl survey of 300 IT decision-makers and risk/compliance professionals found that 88% believe their organisations are well-prepared to handle IT disruptions, despite 92% experiencing adverse events in the last two years. This gap highlights the need for effective cyber risk management and that being cyber prepared calls for a shift in mindset within organizations.

Today, digital resilience transcends technology — its success also depends heavily on an organisation’s people and processes coming together to act in a nimble and agile manner. It is imperative that organisations to start viewing the pursuit of resilience in a more holistic way.

Kyndryl has actively expanded its global strategic partnerships to cater to the distinct security and resiliency needs of customers. For example, we have forged a partnership with Veritas aimed at delivering the company’s industry-leading data management portfolio to enterprise customers as a fully managed service.

We have also introduced the Recovery Retainer Service, a dedicated initiative providing our most at-risk and critical infrastructure customers with qualified experts on-site and cutting-edge technologies for emergency support and recovery operations. In the event of a cyber-attack, Kyndryl is equipped to perform a meticulously orchestrated recovery in a secure clean room, ensuring a safe restoration to the production environment.

Our team of data protection experts manages the recovery process and offers 24x7 support, leveraging decades of experience and deep technical expertise to meet the stringent data protection requirements of enterprise clients.

Can you reveal any upcoming plans, new products and services, upcoming data services etc.?

We will continue to advance our strategy of three A's (Advanced Delivery – Accounts – Alliances) to drive the growth of our business We will also continue working on strengthening our alliances and signing hyperscale contracts with local companies that are advancing in their digital transformation.

We want to continue positioning ourselves even stronger in Cyprus, in Central Eastern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean and across our Strategic Markets, being the partner of choice to support IT modernisation of the most important companies for the local economy.

We are also very focused on leveraging Kyndryl Bridge, to support companies to have greater visibility and control over their complex IT operations, resulting in better returns on investment and fewer incidents, therefore a better service for the Cypriot society of the various companies in their country.

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