Interview with Shanker V Selvadurai, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer of Cloud and Cognitive Software for IBM Asia Pacific
Could you briefly introduce yourself?
I am Shanker Selvadurai and currently the Vice President & Chief Technology Officer of Cloud and Cognitive Software for IBM Asia Pacific. I am based in Singapore and lead the technical organization that helps clients across Asia Pacific to explore and co-create cloud-based solutions that leverage data, analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to deliver better decisions and outcomes.
I joined IBM in 2006. Prior to IBM, I held key leadership positions in areas of research, development, consulting, sales and marketing with technology companies like AT&T, NCR and Fujitsu as well as start-up BlueGill Technologies. During this period I lead teams varying in size from 6 to over 1,000 while being based in North America, Europe and Asia.
I have a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Business Administration. I am also an Open Group Certified Distinguished Architect. Besides having published international patents/papers, I have actively contributed to international technology standards committees that include the IFX Forum, OFX Consortium and the Microsoft Advisory Council. I was also an adjunct lecturer at the Singapore Management University, teaching courses related to Services Science and Advanced Business Technology.
Tell us about your session at the FOSSASIA Summit, what will you cover?
At the FOSSASIA Summit, I am participating in a panel on “Business, Government, Science – What Opportunities Does “Open” Bring to Society”. I hope to share IBM’s involvement in the open source movement, how businesses like IBM benefit from open source, as well as share thoughts about approaching open contribution and open governance in the future.
Business, Government, Science – What Opportunities Does “Open” Bring to Society from your point of view?
Open is becoming the new common foundation across business, government, science, and industry today. For example, companies that still compete head-to-head in the marketplace are coming together to collaborate in open source communities. They contribute to open source software and use it in their own IT systems and applications. They gain a competitive advantage — even though they may be helping their competitors in the short run. The data demonstrates that companies with open source programs see more benefits from open source code and community participation.
What is the role of Free Open Source Software in cloud and AI solutions in IBM?
Our offering portfolio, especially for our growth initiatives such as cloud and AI, is based on a solid foundation of open technologies. Most of our strategic initiatives are founded on open source projects or communities, and we work across a wide variety of internal stakeholders to ensure that that the contributions we make to the community also provide greater value to our clients.
What was your motivation to work for IBM and to participate in the FOSSASIA Summit?
IBM has a long history as a leader in, and supporter of open source communities, most notably in the Apache, Linux, and Eclipse Foundations. I joined IBM to help continue this tradition and I am looking forward to discussing new ideas to help build the future of open source at FOSSASIA Summit.
Which FOSS projects in the area of cloud and AI can interested developers contribute in IBM? In which domains could you use some help?
IBM believes that communities with open governance and an inclusive philosophy will attract the largest ecosystems and markets. For a listing of some of the top open source projects that IBM believes represent significant opportunity areas, I would like to share with information how IBM supports high-impact open source projects here.
Which new features can we expect in IBM cloud and AI this year? Do you plan to release any new projects as FOSS?
Most of our strategic initiatives today are founded on open source projects or communities (Cloud Native Computing, Hyperledger, CD Foundation, etc.), and we work across a wide variety of internal stakeholders to ensure that that the contributions we make to the community also provide greater value to our clients. For a specific example of open source innovation from IBM, please check out the Egeria Project, which was founded in part by IBM.
As well, at the FOSSASIA Summit in Singapore, IBM shares the “Call for Code Global Challenge”, which IBM is the Founding Partner.
This multi-year global initiative rallies developers to create practical, effective, and high-quality applications based on cloud, data, and artificial intelligence that can have an immediate and lasting impact on humanitarian issues. Call for Code brings startup, academic, and enterprise developers together and inspires them to solve the most pressing societal issues of our time. Building on the success of the 2018 competition, the 2019 Call for Code Global Challenge again asks developers to create solutions that significantly improve preparedness for natural disasters and accelerate relief when they hit. This year’s challenge introduces an emphasis on individual health and community wellbeing. This includes solutions that can reduce the risk of disease, improve access to data and the availability of resources, and address the mental health needs of those impacted before, during, and after disasters.