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April 13, 2021updated 19 Apr 2021 3:47pm

IBM names spin-off after relationships and clingy plant appendage

By Robert Scammell

IBM has finally given a name to its spun-off managed infrastructure services business: Kyndryl.

Big Blue first announced plans to let the lacklustre managed services unit fly free in October last year. At the time of the announcement IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said Big Blue would leave the operation behind to be “laser-focused on the $1tn hybrid cloud opportunity”.

Since then the unit has been referred to as “NewCo” but now it has been christened with a name all its own.

“Kyndryl evokes the spirit of true partnership and growth,” said Kyndryl CEO Martin Schroeter, who was previously IBM’s senior VP of global markets. “Customers around the world will come to know Kyndryl as a brand that runs the vital systems at the heart of progress, and an independent company with the best global talent in the industry.”

The announcement included an explanation for the name choice.

According to the press release, Kyndryl is a “modern adaptation of two words that are central to the new company’s identity and mission”.

It has taken “kyn” from kinship, as a result of its “belief that relationships with people – employees, customers and partners – are at the centre of the strategy”.

It goes on to say that “dryl” comes from tendril, which according to Oxford Languages is defined as a “threadlike appendage of a climbing plant”.

In the marketing, erm, mindspace, the combo name Kyndryl thus brings to mind “new growth and the idea that – together with customers and partners – the business is always working toward advancing human progress”.

Explaining her awful creation, chief marketing officer Maria Bartolome said: “Creating a name is just the start of our journey as a brand. It will help identify us and support recognition, but the meaning of the name will be built and enhanced over time from our behaviours, aspirations and actions, and what we enable our customers to do.

“Our vision is to be the leading company that designs, runs and modernises the critical technology infrastructure of the world’s most important businesses and institutions, ultimately powering human progress.”

Kyndryl will be headquartered in New York City and starts life outside the Big Blue fold with a global base of 4,600 customers. It will face a tall order to turn around its fortunes, with the business unit under IBM consistently reporting revenue declines.


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