Think Gov Digital: IBM CEO Arvind Krishna Says Governments Are Going Digital Much Faster Because of COVID-19

Watch Arvind Krishna's Think Gov Digital keynote.

In his keynote address to Think Gov Digital on Wednesday, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said that the COVID-19 pandemic has massively accelerated the adoption of AI, automation and hybrid cloud among federal, state and local governments.

“Transformation journeys that were going to last a few years are now being compacted into the space of a few weeks or months,” Krishna said.

Think Gov 2020, an IBM-sponsored digital conference for federal and state government, featured dozens of sessions and demoes from IBM leaders and members of several governments and agencies.

"Moments of crisis almost always carry lessons,’’ Krishna said. “And if there is anything the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it’s the critical importance of technology solutions that enable speed, flexibility, insight, and innovation."

Krishna also announced that the company has made more than $200 million in global donations of money and technology during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

IBM is also a founding member of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, which includes the White House, the U.S. Department of Energy and a number of companies, labs and research institutions, to leverage supercomputing power to accelerate scientific efforts in response to the pandemic.

In its effort to help combat the pandemic, IBM has also made more than 80,000 IBM patents free for researchers at work on remedies for, or responses to, COVID-19.

“There is no question that this pandemic is a powerful force of disruption and an unprecedented tragedy,” he said. “But it is also a critical turning point.  It’s an opportunity to develop new solutions, new ways of working, and new partnerships that will benefit your organization and the people you serve—not just today, but for years to come."

Krishna also called hybrid cloud and AI "the two dominant forces driving digital transformation today." He said the IBM public cloud had been reengineered to be the best destination for regulated workloads like the data demands of government clients. 

"More than 20 years ago, experts predicted that every organization would become an Internet organization. I'm predicting that every organization will become an AI organization – not because they can, but because they must," Krishna said.  "AI is the only way to scale innovation, insight, and expertise."