Sunday, August 9, 2020

Businesses are accelerating their tech investment timelines, IBM Canada head says

FILE- In this April 26, 2017, file photo, pedestrians walk past the IBM logo displayed on the IBM building in New York. Shares of Red Hat skyrocketed at the opening bell Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, after IBM, in the biggest acquisition in its 100-year history, acquired the software company. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

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Governments, too, are being compelled to invest, he said. From the national level to the municipal, they have been required to handle an increasing flow of rapidly changing information, in addition to some financial assistance programs.

In late April, for example, the city of Markham, Ont., began using IBM AI-assisted technology to provide 24-hour online information about COVID-19, including through text chat.

Guay said technology companies are gearing up as they see demand from businesses and governments increasing.

“It’s going to be very critical (as) Canadian organizations and others accelerate this transformation and emerge from the pandemic — it’s important to have all these capabilities,” he said.

“There will be a lot of automation and AI, and there’s going to be a lot of cloud activity. We’re seeing that now.”

There will be a lot of automation and AI, and there’s going to be a lot of cloud activity

Claude Guay, president, IBM Canada

Guay, 58, took the top job at IBM Canada in the midst of the pandemic but his roots there run deep. He started at IBM in the 1980s, following his father to the tech company affectionately known as Big Blue at a time when personal computers were setting the market on fire.

“I’m second-generation IBM,” he said proudly.

Guay stepped away from the established buttoned-down computer company for more than a decade to work with entrepreneurs during the dot-com boom, but returned to IBM in 2012 after a couple of fizzled startups left him feeling lucky to have lost no money.

But the company he came back to was far different from the dominant one he left — and no longer even made the personal computers that had defined it when he joined.

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