Clearly, with such an expansion and the introduction of new certifications, come new skills and new talent. On this front, Kyndryl is looking to build its talent and skills base both internally, through certifications and training, and externally, through new recruits.
“We are investing in skills, not just training our teams on the ground, but also growing our skills,” Follis said. “We’ve grown our skills on the leadership front and we’re hiring across all the business, on the sales side as well as the depth of skills needed in delivery – we're hiring at all levels.”
As always, local partners play a role in augmenting the company’s skills base as well.
"We have invested in talent to grow out our ecosystem in ASEAN so that we’re ready to scale,” Follis said. "And local partners do play a role. Right now, it’s about trying to figure out which are the right ones to partner with. More to come on that.”
Although the company’s partner strategy in ASEAN is still in its early days, Follis is aware that Kyndryl’s downstream partner ecosystem is likely to change over time.
“We’ve just started on this journey. We’ll get going with the partners we’ve started with and that will continue to evolve,” she said.
On the customer front, despite commentary from some quarters suggesting longtime IBM clients would struggle to transition into being Kyndryl customers, the company currently boasts a 96 per cent client retention rate, post-spin, according to Follis – a pretty good score at the best of times.
“It’s been very well embraced here in ASEAN," Follis said.
Internally, the change has also been largely welcomed.
Follis, who has worked for IBM in no fewer than three global regions over the course of her career, rejoined the company, after a multi-year stint with Accenture, in August last year.
Just a couple of months later, the company publicly announced it would spin off its Managed Infrastructure Services unit, meaning much of Follis’ time with Big Blue since rejoining the company has been spent on the spin-out transition. She seems happy with the results.
“The energy level around here and the interest of our clients has just been amazing,” Follis said. “The investment plan in skills, the certifications; we are faster and leaner to be more agile and focus on local growth.”
It is hoped that the agility and freedom from the organisational behemoth that is IBM will allow the company to not only act a little faster than it could in the past, but also make good on its delivery promises.
“We’re focused more on the client facing side of the business, we’re flatter. From a management perspective,” Follis said. “And that allows us to act faster. That means we have a culture that is much manically focused on trust and delivering what you say you’re going to do.
“That trust is a cultural focus that started to be instilled in us six months ago. It’s a different approach,” she added.