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Arvind Krishna has been the go-to tech advisor for IBM India and the Indian government

Arvind Krishna has been the go-to tech advisor for IBM India and the Indian government

NEW DELHI: Newly-named IBM CEO Arvind Krishna has not only been involved with the company’s India business but also with the government and key policymakers. Krishna serves as a member of IBM’s India advisory board and has visited the country at least once every year.

He also interacts regularly with the government on key policies, advising them on technologies of the future and advocating the opening up of more public data sets for the industry. Krishna has asked the government to provide public data from as many sources as possible, to ensure deeper and more accurate predictions through Artifical Intelligence.

Over the last few years, Krishna has had regular interactions with Principal Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister, Prof K Vijay-Raghavan and Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. In fact, Niti Aayog’s pilot on using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for precision agriculture was Krishna’s brainchild. The pilot was carried out in 10 districts last year. The idea was to find out how data and AI help in better recommendations on weather, crop, harvesting, and fertilisers and sowing.

After the news of Krishna’s appointment, Kant tweeted, “Delighted to see a brilliant Indian taking over as CEO of IBM. @Arvind-Krishna is a visionary, a leader who has led IBM’s newer technologies like artificial intelligence, cloud and quantum computing.”

Krishna was also involved in the discussions around the personal data protection Bill. His stand was that the legislation should foster innovation and allow cross border flow of data. The 57-yearold, who regularly visits his extended family in Gurugram, is also involved with IBM India research, given his background in research. Krishna, who holds several patents himself, started out at IBM in 1990 at the Watson Research pision.

Karan Bajwa, former CEO of IBM India, says Krishna was his mentor for three years and is extremely humble and good with clients. “What stands out is that he is a deep technical person, at the same time being very business savvy, which is a rare combination,” Bajwa, who left IBM earlier this month, said.

Krishna also has a very good connect with business, he said. “At IBM events, we used to look forward to his presentation slides on the five big technologies to look forward to.”

Bajwa also recounted while visiting India year ago, he was discussing how to make up for a slump in the telecom business in the country, to which Krishna’s advice was to build big data platforms for enterprises.

Over the last few years, IBM has been focusing on integrating data within large enterprises such as State Bank of India, across all their platforms. CP Gurnani, CEO, Tech Mahindra congratulated Krishna on his appointment, saying “…Arvind taught me two mantras and gave a new acronym to M&M – Migration & Modernisation. Thank you, Arvind. Today, you made every Indian’s heart swell with pride.”

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