Driving Global IT Excellence: An In-Depth Conversation with Kyndryl's President of Strategic Markets, Xerxes Cooper

Kyndryl I 8:50 am, 2nd July

As the world’s leading provider of managed infrastructure services, Kyndryl plays a crucial role in the IT landscape, supporting a vast array of industries across over 60 countries. Xerxes Cooper shares insights on how Kyndryl manages its expansive operations, addresses market-specific challenges and leverages technology to enhance business resilience and competitiveness.

Mr. Cooper, Kyndryl is a spin-off from IBM, launched as an independent company on the stock market in 2021. You specialize in managed infrastructure services, including networks, mainframes, minicomputers, data storage, and data centers. Could you briefly outline who your customers are and what specific services you offer or do not offer?

"Yes, that's correct. Kyndryl is the world's leading provider of IT infrastructure services, operating in more than  60 countries and serving thousands of enterprise customers. We design, build, manage, and modernize complex, mission-critical information systems essential to digital economies. This involves creating, overseeing, and advancing vital information systems.  Like the transportation industry which moves goods around the world, the IT infrastructure services we provide ensure efficient, reliable, and secure data movement to facilitate seamless global commerce."

You are President of Kyndryl Strategic Markets, responsible for more than 40 countries across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. How do you manage to deliver equally good services and results across such diverse markets?

"Kyndryl is a global company with strong local teams and expertise. We maintain a culture of excellence and customer focus that scales across all our markets. Our strategic alliances with Microsoft, Google Cloud, and AWS allow our experts, who hold over 41,000 hyperscaler certifications, to craft, implement, and manage tailored IT services and solutions. This ensures robust and secure operations for critical business functions, enabling the management and modernization of complex IT landscapes. Our flagship platform, Kyndryl Bridge, exemplifies how our global solutions meet specific customer needs through years of diverse tech management experience."

What role does the Belux market play for Kyndryl? Are there any special features or differences in technological development between large companies and SMEs in the Belux market?

"Kyndryl has a considerable presence for technology services in Belgium and Luxembourg, with a wide base of customers across all industries. In retail for example, we migrated Carrefour to Google Cloud. In automotive, we are managing Honda Motor Europe Ltd’s  centralized IT infrastructure and modernizing the company’s mainframe estate with Kyndryl Bridge, Kyndryl’s open integration platform, and AIOps.  Historically in Belgium and in Luxembourg, Kyndryl has a strong footprint in the financial industry, where we see upcoming regulatory requirements driving a strong focus on cyber resilience."

As digitalization and data flows increase, so does the complexity of IT technology and infrastructure. What are the main challenges companies face, and how can they recognize when there's an acute need for action?

"Digitalization, modernization, security and resiliency and transformation are critical topics today. Despite widespread recognition of their importance, a significant portion (25 percent) of medium and large companies have not yet begun their modernization efforts. Kyndryl helps by managing and modernizing customer-owned IT infrastructures, offering hosting, network services, security and resiliency, and innovation. We enable clients to manage hybrid and multi-cloud environments, focusing on modernizing legacy infrastructures and ensuring business continuity. Digitalization is an ongoing process, requiring robust, secure, and scalable IT infrastructure that supports flexible and agile operations, ultimately driving growth and competitiveness at optimal costs."

How can a company determine its digital maturity and what steps should it take to stay competitive?

"Digital maturity is defined by an organization's ability to leverage digital technologies for competitive advantage, innovation, and market adaptation. It involves a complex and comprehensive assessment of digital capabilities, culture, and strategic alignment. Measuring digital maturity helps organizations understand their current state, identify improvement areas, and strategically invest in digital technologies. Kyndryl Consult offers expertise to address pressing technology challenges, helping companies enhance their competitiveness by leveraging digital technologies effectively."

What are the most important cornerstones of a "modern" IT infrastructure?


"A modern IT infrastructure must be secure, resilient, agile, and intelligent, supporting faster, more efficient, and scalable operations. 


On security, many industry leaders and governments are relying on outdated hardware and software to provide essential services around the world. Think of critical infrastructure such as banking, government, healthcare, power grids and water supply. While legacy technologies can be inefficient and costly to maintain, aging assets also leave organizations prone to cyberattacks. In fact, the longer legacy technologies linger, the more cybersecurity risks increase. That’s why it is important for technology leaders to adopt a strong cyber resilience posture.


In terms of agility, the cloud native operating model is changing the way businesses operate and compete globally. It provides flexibility and speed, aligning with business strategies to create a unified and agile infrastructure. As businesses grow and evolve, cloud native platforms offer the scalability needed to manage fluctuating workloads, allowing them to adjust resources in response to changing demands. Kyndryl’s hybrid cloud solutions portfolio provides customers with the flexibility they need to scale their workloads up and down, modernizing surrounding applications.

On intelligence, the AI landscape is rapidly evolving, with a heightened emphasis on the adoption of generative AI within enterprises. Businesses need a data strategy that supports data observability and data quality. This will lead to greater trust in the machine’s insights, make it easier to meet regulatory requirements and ensure the data is secure.?A lot of customers don’t have all those capabilities. It is sort of like building a house: It is better to build from the foundation up, rather than try to put the foundation in later. Using a responsible AI approach and its end-to-end services, Kyndryl is focused on building strong and enduring technology alliances that benefit customers and partners. 

And to close, I’ll just add that as organizations manage the rapid pace of technological change, more and more, we will see businesses move toward monitoring and making more informed decisions to advance sustainability efforts."

Given the rise in cybercrime, what is needed for the greatest possible protection?

"According to the International Telecommunication Union on Cybersecurity, Belgium is in 28th place in the global cyber security rankings, and Luxembourg in 13th. The number of incidents reported to the National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC) every week is rising significantly, showing that companies and organizations in the Belux region are also exposed to cyberattacks. Cybercrime is a global phenomenon, and addressing it requires a holistic cyber resilience strategy. This includes a thorough inventory of critical IT resources, a zero-trust framework, and a crisis management and recovery plan for cyber incidents. Continuous modernization of the strategy is essential due to the rapidly changing and increasingly complex IT landscape."

How do you address security concerns for SMEs considering a move to the cloud?

"Flexibility is crucial before, during, and after a cyberattack. And that is exactly what the cloud offers. The pandemic highlighted the cloud's advantages, enabling companies to transform business models and explore new opportunities. Cloud adoption offers the fastest route to innovation and greater flexibility, essential for running businesses during challenging times."

How do you view the importance of AI in business operations?

"According to an IDC forecast, enterprise spending on generative AI solutions could reach $143 billion in 2027, up from $16 billion in 2023, with the world’s largest companies expected to allocate over 40% of their core IT spend to AI-related initiatives. 

AI is a significant opportunity for Kyndryl as both an AI beneficiary and enabler. We use AI in our Kyndryl Bridge platform to analyze IT system performance, generate actionable insights, and prevent incidents. Our customers rely on our advisory and implementation services and data expertise to help them identify AI use cases, develop solutions and establish solid foundations for AI that enabling them to leverage AI responsible, cost-effectively and to drive business results."

How can digitalization contribute to sustainability efforts?

"Businesses increasingly recognize the urgency behind their net zero goals. Record-breaking temperatures and weather extremes are testing the resilience of communities around the world as global emissions have hit a plateau. It’s clear that sustainability efforts need to accelerate — and there’s no better tool to help organizations achieve their goals than technology. But that doesn’t mean taking action is easy. 

Kyndryl, for example, in collaboration with Microsoft, recently released the findings of the Global Sustainability Barometer, a study reflecting the perspectives of more than 1,500 global sustainability leaders. While 85% reported that sustainability is strategically important to their organization, only 16% have integrated sustainability into their business strategies. Further, 80% of organizations acknowledge technology’s power in achieving their sustainability goals, yet only 37% believe they are currently using technology to its full potential.

Kyndryl’s new sustainability partnership with Microsoft aims to narrow the gap between sustainability intention and action by enabling customers to fully harness the power of technology."

What major trends do you see in digitalization and digital transformation over the next five to ten years?

"There is so much happening in our space, and to help our customers navigate the changing landscape, Kyndryl recently published its IT trends for 2024.  Here’s a quick summary, but I encourage you to read the report

    - New ways of working driving culture, technology, and workplace transformation.

    - Data governance as a critical factor in AI adoption.

    - Smarter cloud strategies to manage rising costs.

    - Continued relevance of mainframes within hybrid environments.

    - Importance of data protection and reduced latency with AI-driven devices.

    - Increasing sophistication and number of cyberattacks, requiring comprehensive systems modernization.

    - Prioritization of sustainable technology, driven by consumer, professional, and investor expectations.

These trends highlight the need for adaptable, secure, and efficient IT infrastructure to support ongoing digital transformation and competitiveness."

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