What is Kyndryl? IBM’s managed infrastructure services spin-off explained


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Kyndryl is the new name for IBM’s managed infrastructure services business, which will spin off as a separate company by the end of 2021. Initially, little will change for customers — except perhaps the logo on their invoice — but in time Kyndryl’s split from IBM will allow both businesses to innovate and to work with new partners.

What does Kyndryl do?

Essentially, Kyndryl does exactly what the managed infrastructure services unit of IBM’s Global Technology Services segment did: outsource the management of enterprises’ IT infrastructure, whether it came from IBM or another vendor. 

Kyndryl is organizing itself into six global managed services practices, and a customer advisory practice that will combine managed services, advisory services, and implantation. The six global practices will each manage a different aspect of technology:

  • Applications, data and AI
  • Cloud
  • Core enterprise and zCloud, IBM’s mainframe-as-a-service offering
  • Digital workplace
  • Network and edge
  • Security and resiliency

What does Kyndryl mean?

Kyndryl claims its name is derived from the words “kinship” and “tendril.” It is meant to evoke new growth and working together, and definitely not to hint at some kind of medication or a character in an online fantasy role-playing game.

What does Kyndryl’s split mean for IBM?

IBM will still be one of the biggest technology businesses in the world. Post-split, its largest operating segment will be Cloud and Cognitive Software, which brought in $23 billion in revenue in 2020, followed by Global Business Services, its consulting unit, at $16 billion. Global Technology Services, the segment from which Kyndryl is being spun out, will shrink to around $7 billion in revenue derived from the remaining Technology Support Services business unit.

How big is Kyndryl?

Kyndryl may be a little short in the vowel department, but it starts life with 4,600 customers (including 75 of the Fortune 100), over a quarter of IBM’s 350,000 staff, activities generating $19 billion in annual revenue and an order backlog (aka long-term maintenance contracts from all those customers) of around $62 billion. Where that puts it in the rankings depends on what you’re measuring. IBM says Kyndryl will be the largest managed infrastructure services provider, twice the size of any other, but IT channel publication CRN says Kyndryl will be only the fifth-largest solutions provider, behind Accenture, what’s left of IBM, DXC Technology, and Tata Consulting Services.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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