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Kyndryl’s Gretchen Tinnerman on Industry Trends, Solving for Customer Challenges, and Sustainability

In this CUBE Conversation, I’m joined by Gretchen Tinnerman, VP and GM of US Telco, Media & Entertainment, and Technology at Kyndryl for a post-Mobile World Congress catch-up, a look at the key industry trends and customer challenges the Kyndryl team is seeing in the market, some real-world sustainability talk, and a glimpse into what’s ahead for Kyndryl in 2024.

Kyndryl’s Gretchen Tinnerman on Industry Trends 

One of the key points of my conversation with Kyndryl’s Gretchen Tinnerman revolved around the fact that we are at an exciting time: platform transitions, the emergence of new platforms, the outsized role that data plays from a business competitive advantage standpoint, a need to continue business transformation initiatives, tackle sustainability initiatives, cut costs, improve efficiencies — the list is long, and resources are slim. With so much happening across industries across the board, we know one thing for sure: customers need help.

I last spoke with Gretchen in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress, where we discussed Kyndryl’s role in supporting telecommunications customers, as well as the company’s progress on the sustainability front.

Gretchen oversees the Telco, Media, and Technology sectors for Kyndryl, three quickly growing, rapidly evolving industries, all for different reasons. She shared that Kyndryl established these three distinct markets as a systems integrator to help solve clients’ business challenges. As businesses look to diversify revenue streams, reduce dependency on a single market segment, and better serve their end customers, they must move beyond traditional platform-based products and connectivity. Kyndryl’s consulting arm and managed services teams provide strategic consulting services, guidance, and management services designed to serve the unique needs of customers.

Watch the full interview here and stream it wherever you stream your podcasts:

Key Trends and Customer Challenges in the US Telco, Media & Entertainment, and Technology Markets 

Gretchen and I discussed the key trends and customer challenges she and the team at Kyndryl are seeing in the US Telco, Media & Entertainment, and Technology markets. It’s not at all surprising that the key trends Kyndryl customers are focused on center on data, security, and sustainability, especially given the AI boom we’re currently navigating.

Data. Data is at the core of everything today. Customers need to know how they are consuming data, how to manage and use the data they have, and they must understand what will help them in the current state as well as what’s needed looking ahead to the future. 

Security. Massive amounts of data mean the potential for massive security risk. A key customer challenge revolves around protecting data and keeping it secure, as well as gaining observability into data operations — you can’t protect what you can’t see. 

 Sustainabilty. On top of the challenges posed by data management and data security, and with the rapid rise of generative AI, sustainability initiatives are center stage. When you take these industry trends and customer challenges and add AI into the mix, the resources needed to power AI initiatives can have an impact on sustainability initiatives, and customers also need help working through that.

Kyndryl’s Approach to Sustainability

We spoke a bit about this at Mobile World Congress, but Gretchen and I revisited a bit of Kyndryl’s sustainability focus. I find it impressive that Kyndryl is not just talking the talk on the sustainability front, they are walking the walk. The company calls itself “customer zero” shared that it has gone through a major transformation of all systems, processes, and operations in the last two years, including sustainability. Kyndryl have been very focused on setting environmental goals for the organization and being open and transparent about those goals. They are showing clients in the market how and why they’ve committed to achieve net zero by 2040, and what they’re doing to get there. This includes internal education programs (people), development of sustainability practices (processes), and the adoption of technology solutions (technology), aided by a broad ecosystem of expert advisors and partners. People, processes, and technology — it’s always the magic equation.

What’s Ahead for Kyndryl

As we wrapped our conversation, Gretchen shared that it’s already been a big year for the company, and we’re barely through the first quarter. At MWC Kyndryl announced the launch of a unified multi-SIM service designed to expand connectivity beyond the private connectivity. This service has already been deployed in certain environments, providing more flexibility on connectivity at the IoT level.

Kyndryl also launched a new global alliance and a private network service collaboration with HPE that they are excited about.

I’ll share the video of our conversation from MWC below in case you missed it and would like a deeper dive on not only Kyndryl’s focus on and commitments in the realm of sustainability, but also a glimpse at some of the announcements made at the event:

The key theme that was clear throughout both of our conversations is that Tinnerman and her team are passionate about solving customer problems by listening. I’ll add that here at theCUBE Research, we’re equally passionate about this, so that approach from Kyndryl resonated with me. Client conversations don’t start with technology (or selling), they start with understanding what business challenges customers are wrestling with and working together to come up with innovative solutions that include that magic equation of people, processes, and technology. 

I’ve been covering Kyndryl since the early days of the spinoff from IBM and love seeing the inroads the company has made in the short space of just a couple of years. It is abundantly clear that Kyndryl is not IBM: it is its own company, with a culture that is vastly different from its Big Blue sibling. Whether it’s Tinnerman or someone else on the Kyndryl team that I’m speaking with, their passion for people, their embrace of being “the heart of progress” with their people sitting in the center of who the company is and making great things happen for and with their clients is always shining through. I look forward to watching what’s ahead for Kyndryl in the months to come.

And ICYMI, you can check out theCUBE’s full MWC 2024 coverage here.



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