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Elephants Can Dance (on Cloud)

IBM is rapidly expanding its cloud footprint in India as evident from its SMB as well as large enterprise deployments

Like every other major tech vendor, IBM too has been an active protagonist in the cloud ecosystem. And Big Blue’s India cloud sojourn underpins its efforts on that front on a global scale. The acquisition of Softlayer in 2013 with 2400 cloud clients set the ball rolling. The logical follow up was IBM investing $1.2bn in expanding its global cloud footprint and opening 15 new centers worldwide in 2014 adding to the existing global footprint of 13 global data centers from SoftLayer and 12 from IBM. One of these was in Chennai where in 2015, IBM opened its first public cloud data center in India.

The new IBM Cloud data center offered local customers and end users increased performance and speed for data traveling to and from the region. Part of IBM’s $1.2 billion investment to expand its global cloud footprint into every major financial market, the Chennai data center underscored IBM’s commitment to India, a key growth market for the company.

With a local onramp to IBM Cloud, Indian customers, especially those in regulated industries, gained more flexibility to store and compute data within the country. The Chennai data center joined IBM’s Mumbai cloud center and was part of an expansive network of data centers that blanket the globe, providing users with the performance and disaster recovery solutions needed to ensure business continuity.

Embracing Startups & Developers

In an effort to accelerate digital transformation both at the enterprise and startup level, IBM also established a partnership with NASSCOM to launch Techstartup.in, a digital hub wherein the entire Indian startup ecosystem, including angels, mentors, investors, academia and venture capitalists, interact with each other to grow the cloud market. Techstartup.in provided 10,000 startups with a level playing field in India to develop new ideas and technologies.

In addition, IBM launched two initiatives for developers—developerWorks Premium and a cloud certification program—to enable developers with the right tools and skills to compete and innovate in the global marketplace. Also in support of developers, IBM aligned with strategic enterprise IT leaders like Accenture, Tech Mahindra and CSC to extend the use of IBM Cloud technologies, including IBM Bluemix, to developer communities in India and around the world.

developerWorks Premium has given developers in India and around the world the access they needed to successfully prototype and deliver new cloud projects. It is serving as IBM’s premier developer program, providing access to tools, cloud credits, training, education, certifications, community support, exclusive content and special discounts to leading developer events.

The developer cloud certification program, on the other hand, allowed developers to showcase their understanding of the industry’s best practices in cloud application design on IBM Bluemix, IBM’s platform as a service. This program established an ecosystem of developers on IBM Cloud with documented skill levels and combined existing IBM solution advisor and infrastructure architecture certifications to create a strong professional certification program across IBM Cloud technologies.

In a move to support the developer community, IBM is working with strategic enterprise IT leaders to extend the use of Bluemix to developers in India and around the world. Accenture expanded the Accenture Innovation Center for IBM Technologies in Bangalore to help clients take advantage of rapid application development with Bluemix.

IBM Bluemix was also being used by thousands of developers at CSC, Sogeti and Tech Mahindra. These engagements are indicative of a broader trend in the industry in which enterprises are increasingly moving to hybrid deployment models to capture the flexibility, scalability and cost benefits of the cloud while they extract value from on-premises data.

With a vision to be the preferred digital transformation partner for its clients, partners and the ecosystem in India, IBM is at the forefront, helping businesses bring their technology aspirations to life. Today, all the conversations with businesses are ‘Cloud First’ – from solution to Delivery. But as they say the proof of the pudding is in the eating. There are recent examples of clients, both SMBs and large enterprises, who have adopted IBM Cloud to fuel their digital transformation journey in India.

The SMB Cloud Warriors

Kalyan Jewellers

Kalyan Jewellers collaborated with IBM to Digitally Transform its Retail Experience: Kalyan Jewellers – one of the leading jewellery groups in India and IBM teamed up to design and deploy ‘Store-2-Door’, a custom-built mobile app on ‘Bluemix – IBM’s Cloud platform’, for iOS that digitally transforms how the jewellery retailer and its staff engages with customers.

With this app, Kalyan boosted the productivity of sales associates with digital tools to enhance the customer experience, driving greater brand awareness and loyalty. IBM Cloud’s platform provided Kalyan the benefit of easy application development and scalability.

Using the Store-2-Door app on iPad, Kalyan sales associates are equipped with immediate access to customer data on Kaylan’s core databases so they can deliver a unique, personalized and interactive experience to customers purchasing Kaylan jewellery. By implementing this integrated, – mobility-driven solution across all its MyKalyan Stores across 17 states, the brand provides its customers – an innovative, seamless shopping experience across virtual and physical retail outlets via mobile devices.

Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Kerala

Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management – Kerala (IIITM-K) has partnered with IBM to develop a real-time water quality management system – ‘Swatchpaani’. The system, powered by IBM’s Watson IoT technologies and IBM Cloud, continuously monitors water quality and measures temperature, pH and the presence of various metal/non-metal substances in the water to ensure standard levels are not exceeded as prescribed by agencies.

Aditya Birla Online Fashion (abof)

Aditya Birla Online Fashion ( Abof ), a leading online fashion retailer selected  IBM  to deliver a personalized and convenient shopping experience powered by IBM Cloud and Watson. With this new feature, shoppers can now interact and ask natural language questions about abof’s unique product assortment, receiving custom responses to their inquiries.The customer engagement is conducted through a simple question and answer interface leveraging Watson’s Natural Language Classifier, as well as Retrieve and Rank delivered on the IBM Cloud. IBM Global Business Services and IBM Research worked with abof to introduce the service and help create a more engaging and intuitive shopping experience for customers.

Pace Automation

Pace Automation, a leading ‘Solution as a Service Company’ entered into a strategic partnership with IBM to offer ‘RetailSmart’, an end-to-end fully integrated solution that enables local ‘Kirana’ stores to become ecommerce ready. Powered by IBM Cloud, the solution allows Kirana stores to deliver a convenient online shopping experience to consumers and pay safely using a convenient payment mode (irrespective of the size of the purchase). To bridge the gap, Pace Automation has developed a unique solution, ‘RetailSmart’ on IBM cloud to digitally enable Kirana stores across the country. By implementing the solution, a Kirana store automatically becomes a part of the SmartKirana Network, hosted on IBM Cloud from the Chennai datacenter. The network digitally interconnects all Kirana stores in the country.

Prana Studios

Leading visual effects and animation studio Prana chose IBM Cloud to run and develop critical applications for the creation of next-generation visual effects. Prana Studios, a leading 3-D animation and visual effects studio, selected IBM Cloud to run new high resolution rendering jobs that are required to create high-quality visual effects. As an award-winning visual effects company, Prana collaborates with major movie studios and independent production companies around the world to create state-of-the-art visual imagery for full-length feature animated, live action and hybrid films. It also creates visual effects for special-venue attractions and live shows.

MIT Tech Fest, Pune

IBM Watson powered Robot ‘Chintu’ was introduced at MIT Tech Fest in Pune. The students at MIT Pune have been using Watson APIs powered by IBM’s Cloud platform and have hit the ground running with speed within weeks.  Drawing from Watson’s domain knowledge, Chintu assists senior citizens in conducting everyday tasks such as reading the newspaper / book, provides mood based entertainment services for song and dance and generates reminders on their daily medication.

Godrej Interio

Godrej Interio, the furniture division of Godrej & Boyce is collaborating with IBM to capture the attention of the growing number of home furniture and accessories consumers. Godrej Interio, India’s largest furniture brand, has selected IBM Commerce and IBM Design Thinking-led engagement to further augment customer engagement and experience across all of its 3 brands (Godrej Interio, U&Us and a new lifestyle home furniture brand) and increase brand loyalty by delivering a seamless personalized shopping experience across store, mobile and social channels.

Large Enterprises too on Cloud Nine


Titan, India’s leading manufacturer of watches and other fine personal accessories, is using IBM Watson Customer Engagement and cloud-based solutions to help increase annual sales from its 11 million loyalty customer base, while attracting new consumers to Titan’s unique line of products. Titan is currently leveraging IBM Watson Customer Engagement solutions to serve as the backbone of its online platform, enabling the company to tailor online campaigns that are unique to their customers – not just taking into account preferences and past purchases (what they spent previously, what deals sparked action), but also leveraging analytics to examine their real-time behavior (i.e. what items are being looked at most, what channels are customers buying through, why cart was abandoned, etc…), so campaigns can be tailored on the fly to help drive a purchase

Yes Bank

YES BANK, India’s 5th largest private sector bank implemented a multi-nodal Blockchain transaction to fully digitize vendor financing for Bajaj Electricals. The implementation has been done on a blockchain-based smart contract written by fintech start-up Cateina Technologies. YES BANK will leverage IBM Watson Conversation, a cloud-based cognitive service, to enhance the digital experience of partners, corporate clients and developers collaborating with them on the integrated Blockchain – API Banking platform.

Aegon Life

IBM is providing Aegon Life Insurance Company with a hybrid cloud solution, hosted from its datacenters in Navi Mumbai and Bangalore. This is enabling Aegon to launch new products to the market with speed, while improving the efficiency of its IT operations. As a part of the agreement, IBM is also helping them maintain continuous business operations and improve overall business resiliency via the IBM Cloud through the IBM datacenter in Mumbai, while creating a scalable IT service platform for Aegon Life India’s infrastructure and applications environment.


Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL), one of India’s premier housing finance companies, is leveraging IBM technologies including IBM Cloud and Analytics, to create a digital enterprise and accelerate its growth strategy. DHFL is using IBM’s technology that will enable business transformation for better customer engagements, reduce turnaround time, improve efficiency, and increase productivity. Specifically, IBM is working with DHFL to deploy comprehensive business solutions that leverages the power of IBM Design Thinking, Watson Analytics, IBM Connections, IBM Managed Security Service and IBM Digital Experience platform

Mahindra Group

The Mahindra Group, one of the largest diversified multinational group of companies based in India, is working with IBM for the development of a blockchain solution that has the potential to reinvent supply chain finance across India by enhancing security, transparency and operational processes. This cloud-based application, one of the first projects of its kind in India outside of traditional banking, is designed to transform supplier-to-manufacturer trade finance transactions through a permissioned distributed ledger. The blockchain-based supply chain finance solution will enable all parties involved in the transaction to act on the same shared ledger, with each party updating only their part of the process, ensuring efficiency, consistency, trust and transparency, while safeguarding sensitive information.

Honda Cars

Honda Cars India (HCIL), a leading manufacturer of passenger cars in India, plans to leverage Watson IoT on IBM Cloudplatform for ‘Honda Connect’, the company’s connected car service to digitally transform their customers’ mobility experience. Honda Cars with advanced capabilities will be able to offer new age services.  Watson IoT on IBM Cloud platform is a scalable & open standards based platform for future expansion of services to Honda customers, especially advanced Analytics based services. Overall the engagement with IBM will help accelerate market launch of new services bundled with state of the art data security.

Tamil Nadu Government

Tamil Nadu state and IBM built new emergency command center using IBM Cloud, Analytics and The Weather Company data services to help government agencies rapidly prepare for – and respond to – extreme weather events. The cloud-based Center, made possible by an IBM grant, will enable Tamil Nadu State to pool time-sensitive data from various sources, including weather forecasts, current conditions, and historical data from The Weather Company, an IBM Business, to help track and gauge weather patterns as early as possible. The Center will collect power, traffic, health service, and shelter information from municipal sources, and display the current data on a map shared by multiple government agencies. All processing and analysis will be conducted in IBM’s cloud data center in Chennai.


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