IBM Southeast Europe covers 11 countries. IBM has been investing in SEE countries since 1936. Through its network of business partners, IBM’s advanced technologies and know-how support the most important economic processes and industries in SEE, such as banking, privatisation, government, manufactoring, telecommunication and distribution, to name just a few. In an industry characterized by a constant change, IBM’s business model is based on innovation, reinvention and shift to higher value.
Do you see any changes in decision making related to technologies at organisations in SEE?
Today IT decisions in Southeast Europe included, are moving from the exclusive competence of the CIO office, through the entire C-suite to the front office, where the range of technology decision makers is becoming increasingly diverse. Executives across the CSuite acknowledge that they must reorient their businesses and deliver more personalised customer experiences to become more competitive in a digital economy. This personalisation is driven by digital, mobile cloud and social technologies, which are reshaping the way people consume and share information.
How would you describe the importance of the widely discussed phenomenon called Big Data?
Big Data could be a big challenge or a big opportunity. Over the last two years, we’ve created 90% of world’s total data. It floods from all over the place and in all forms: from sensors, cars, RFID networks, mobile devices and social media. That is the complexity we are facing. It becomes an opportunity once we are able to extract value from this large pool by collecting, processing and analyzing huge volumes of structured and unstructured data in real time to reveal unexpected linkages to get unique insights. This is how Big Data elevates to a new level of a corporate asset.
How should managers outside IT departments look at opportunities brought up by cloud computing?
Cloud computing technologies open up new opportunities for personalised engagement and service delivery. Cloud computing is also well prioritised within IBM as one of our growth plays. What differentiates IBM’s offerings is that our solutions are based on the broadest portfolio of systems, software, services and research, combined with a deep industry insight. In SEE, for example, Slovenian Railways has adopted an IBM cloud solution to get a more holistic view across all of its freight, passenger and logistics operations in order to more effectively maintain and manage the railway traffic across its network. The company is now able to provide better services to customers, shorten waiting times for commuters, reduce train delays and respond faster to customer queries.
What are the main growth drivers for IBM in Southeast Europe?
A clear growth engine for the region and for its EU member states in particular is the EU funding, which will provide a stable investment flow until 2020. I firmly believe that SEE countries will be able to leverage it and use innovation and advanced information technologies to help organisations and businesses transform, grow and become more competitive. IBM can help here. What differentiates IBM in this journey, along with our history in the region that spans for more than seven decades, is the fact that IBM combines the broadest portfolio of solutions tailored to the region’s key industries and needs. From providing core banking to running data centres or applying analytics, IBM together with its business partners is engaged with companies from the region across its broad portfolio of services and solutions. With this support, SEE governments and businesses are well positioned to adopt smarter computing approaches to IT that have the potential to spread the benefits far beyond the IT industry to the entire population.