IBM Bolsters Investments in CEE, Extends Client Engineering in Prague, Warsaw and Moscow

IBM Client Engineering fosters innovation in the region, providing an enhanced customer experience focused on co-creation, technical eminence, and speed

Prague, Warsaw, Moscow – January 31, 2022: IBM today announced the expansion of its Client Engineering team in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) for customers and business partners. Located in Prague, Warsaw and Moscow, IBM Client Engineering fosters innovation in the region by providing an enhanced customer experience, focused on co-creation, technical eminence, and speed.

IBM Client Engineering brings together teams of designers, technical developers, solution architects, data scientists, security experts, dev ops experts and more. They work side-by-side with clients to bring IBM Technologies and Services to life solving critical business challenges at speed – all before a contract is even signed. In CEE, a Serbian tech start-up Flamel.AI collaborated with the IBM team to create an AI-powered web app for tabletop role-playing games in only seven weeks. Built on IBM Cloud with IBM Watson, it gives gamers a richer experience with more play and up to 75% less prep.

The DSK Bank in Bulgaria, a member of OTP Group, recently collaborated with the Client Engineering team in CEE to co-create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for extending DSK’s integration layer. Over 20 experts from both the bank and IBM worked together hands-on, using Agile and DevOps practices to co-create assets and architecture that the DSK Bank could implement instantly after the MVP completion. “Through the MVP that we successfully co-created with the IBM Client Engineering team, we increased business efficiency of the technology evaluation process. It allowed us to quickly assess the initiative’s outcomes from a business and technical perspective,” said Georgi Yotov, Head of Development at DSK Bank. The core of the solution was powered by Confluent Platform for IBM Cloud Pak for Integration installed on Red Hat OpenShift together with IBM InfoSphere Change Data Capture (CDC).

Examples of Client Engineering led client engagements:

  • In 4 weeks, transform the life insurance eligibility process for a provider using AI;
  • In 3 weeks, lead a client from no cloud, no managed services and no automation to using Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Cloud to transform their infrastructure and application management;
  • For a public sector client with heavy data governance requirements, show how IBM technology can run analytics 8X faster for ½ cost, in a secure environment without copying or moving data.

“IBM Client Engineering is IBM’s unique framework for putting innovation at the heart of an enterprise and enabling innovation at speed and scale. They create an entrepreneurial “fishbowl” to deliver outcomes faster than would otherwise be possible. It’s fundamentally about delivering business value for our clients, while helping them infuse intelligence into their workflows,” says Wolfgang Wendt, IBM General Manager, Central and Eastern Europe.

COVID-19 has changed the entire landscape in which organizations worldwide operate. Customers and employees became homebound, supply chains and entire industries were disrupted. Organizations needed to reinvent their existing business models, speed digitization and technologies like AI, hybrid cloud and prioritize security to survive and emerge stronger.

“Our clients are in a world of massive uncertainty and it’s no longer clear how they should invest their money and what kind of return they can expect. They’re trying to figure out how to thrive and reemerge from COVID-19 as a different organization. This is exactly the type of holistic end-to-end transformation that IBM specializes in,” explains Martin Svik, IBM CEE CTO and IBM Client Engineering Leader.

IBM Client Engineering saw notable growth during the pandemic from almost 300 engagements in 2020 to over 2,500 in 2021 as businesses needed to connect virtually, make decisions faster with their time-sensitive journeys to respond quickly to disruptions and focus on outcomes.

Retail Industry Reshapes with Hybrid Cloud and AI to Help Meet Shifting Consumer Shopping and Sustainability Preferences

2022 IBM/NRF global consumer study finds:
– ‘Hybrid shopping’ is the method of choice for over one in four consumers surveyed
– 62% of consumers surveyed are willing to change their purchasing habits to reduce environmental impact, but intention/action gap remains

ARMONK, N.Y., Jan. 13, 2022 — At NRF 2022: Retail’s ‘Big Show’, the IBM Institute for Business Value, in association with the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, released their second global study*, “Consumers want it all,” which reveals rising consumer preferences for sustainability and shopping journeys splintered across multiple digital, physical, and mobile touchpoints.

The new global study of over 19,000 surveyed consumers shows hybrid shopping – mixing physical and digital channels in shopping journeys – is on the rise as shopping habits consumers adopted out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic are becoming routine. Retailers must become more agile to meet customers where they are, integrating digital and in-store experiences.

  • 72% of respondents say they use the store as all or part of their primary purchase method.
  • Top reasons respondents choose to visit a store include touching and feeling products before buying them (50%), picking and choosing their own products (47%) and getting products right away (43%), though what in-store shoppers are looking for varies by product category.
  • 27% of respondents report hybrid shopping is their method of choice, and Gen Z consumers surveyed are most likely to be a ‘hybrid shopper’ compared to other age groups.

The study also shows that sustainability has become increasingly important to surveyed consumers’ purchase decisions and brand preferences since 2020.

  • Purpose-driven consumers, who choose products/brands based on their values like sustainability, are now the largest segment of consumers surveyed (44%).
  • 62% of respondents are willing to change their purchasing habits to reduce environmental impact, up from 57% two years ago.
  • Half of respondents say they’re willing to pay a premium for sustainability – an average premium of 70%. This is roughly double the premium from 2020.
  • However, there’s a gap between intention and action – only 31% of respondents say that sustainable products made up most or all of their last purchase.

“While many surveyed consumers still place high value on the traditional in-store shopping experience, they also now expect the flexibility to build their own shopping journey – according to the behaviors prevalent to their age range, available tools and the product category they are looking to purchase,” said Mark Mathews, Vice President of Research Development and Industry Analysis at the National Retail Federation. “This ‘hybrid’ approach is a fundamental shift in consumer behavior.”

“The survey shows over the last year, sustainability became increasingly important to consumers, though there’s still a gap between their intentions and actions due to lack of information in the buying process. Increasingly, it’s becoming essential that retail brands demonstrate sustainable choices and options in each step of the customer experience.  At the same time, hybrid shopping has taken hold in most categories, particularly in home goods and apparel; and while stores continue to play the predominant role in grocery, hybrid shopping is growing in these categories too,” said Luq Niazi, Global Managing Director IBM Consumer Industries.

He added, “Despite the impact of COVID-19, our experience with clients shows many leading retail brands are continuing to rapidly transform operations, customer experience and supply chains with technologies like AI, hybrid cloud and blockchain to help serve these multiple customer preferences.”

On Sunday, January 16, the opening day of NRF’s 112th annual convention, IBM Chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna plans to deliver a keynote session on ‘Reshaping retail with technology  at 4:00pm ET on the main stage.  Visitors can connect with IBM Industry professionals at Booth # 3620 and follow social updates on #NRF2022.

IBM Welcomes LG Electronics to the IBM Quantum Network to Advance Industry Applications of Quantum Computing

LG Electronics joins IBM Quantum Network and aims to explore applications of quantum computing to support big data, artificial intelligence, connected cars, digital transformation, IoT, and robotics applications

SEOUL, South Korea, Jan. 10, 2022 — IBM today announced that LG Electronics has joined the IBM Quantum Network to advance the industry applications of quantum computing.

By joining the IBM Quantum Network, IBM will provide LG Electronics access to IBM’s quantum computing systems, as well as to IBM’s quantum expertise and Qiskit, IBM’s open-source quantum information software development kit.

LG Electronics aims to explore applications of quantum computing in industry to support big data, artificial intelligence, connected cars, digital transformation, IoT, and robotics applications – all of which require processing a large amount of data.

With IBM Quantum, LG can leverage quantum computing hardware and software advances and applications as they emerge, in accordance with IBM’s quantum roadmap. By leveraging IBM Quantum technology, LG will provide workforce training to its employees, permitting LG to investigate how potential breakthroughs can be applied to its industry.

“Based on our open innovation strategy, we plan to use IBM Quantum to develop our competency in quantum computing,” said Byoung-Hoon Kim, CTO and Executive Vice President of LG Electronics. “We aim to provide customers with value that they have not experienced so far by leveraging quantum computing technology in future businesses.”

“We’re happy to welcome LG Electronics to a growing quantum computing ecosystem in Korea at an exciting time for the region,” said Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow and VP, Quantum Computing at IBM. “The relationship between IBM and LG Electronics will permit LG to explore new types of problems associated with emerging technologies and will help strengthen the quantum capabilities in Korea.”

Quantum computing is an exciting evolution in computation. While classical computers calculate in bits that represent 0 and 1, quantum computers use qubits that harness quantum mechanical phenomena such as interference and entanglement in computation to solve problems that are fundamentally intractable for classical computers. As a result, quantum computing is well suited to help explore new approaches of solving problems like those in LG Electronics’ open innovation strategy including big data, artificial intelligence, connected cars, digital transformation, IoT, and robotics applications.

At the IBM Quantum Summit in November 2021, IBM recently unveiled its new ‘Eagle’ quantum computing processor with 127 qubits, a major step forward in IBM’s roadmap to reach Quantum Advantage.

There are more than 170 clients, including ‎ LG Electronics, Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, academic institutions and research labs working with IBM Quantum technology to advance ‎quantum computing and explore practical applications. The IBM Quantum team and clients are researching and exploring how quantum computing will help a ‎variety of industries and disciplines, including finance, energy, chemistry, materials science, ‎optimization and machine learning, among many others.