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HCL's DRYiCE Beefs Up AI, Cloud Offerings For Enterprise Channel Partners

While DRYiCE will be the eventual home for the IBM software business parent company HCL Technologies is acquiring, it is focused more on developing artificial intelligence and native cloud capabilities partners can take to the enterprise market.

DRYiCE, the software arm of IT systems integrator HCL Technologies and the eventual home of the IBM software business HCL is acquiring, is preparing major upgrades to some of its artificial intelligence-based operations and management software.

"We're looking at our products, and re-inventing some to include the latest in AI and cloud," said Amit Gupta, DRYiCE's senior vice president and global head.  

Lisle, Ill.-based DRYiCE is the fastest-growing part of Noida, India-based HCL, and was formed only in 2018, said George Commons, global head of DRYiCE channels.

[Related: 7 Things To Know About The $1.8B IBM-HCL Technologies Deal]  

"We're a new software startup with an $8 billion company behind it," Commons told CRN.

DRYiCE is divided into two main groups, Commons said.  

The first is the product and platform business, which will eventually be the home of a large part of the IBM software portfolio that HCL in December agreed to purchase in a deal worth about $1.8 billion.

Included in the acquisition are such IBM products as IBM Appscan, a security-focused application for identifying and managing vulnerabilities in mission-critical applications; IBM BigFix endpoint management and security software; IBM Unica, a cloud-based enterprise marketing automation software; and IBM WebSphere Commerce, an omni-channel commerce platform for B2C and B2B organizations.

IBM is also selling to HCL its IBM WebSphere Portal, a platform for developing enterprise web portals to help businesses deliver highly personalized social experience to clients; the IBM Notes and IBM Domino collaborative client/server software platform; and IBM Connections, a platform for integrating email, activity and task management, instant messaging, and file and document sharing.

The second primary business of DRYiCE is the development of its own intellectual property focused around cloud and artificial intelligence, Commons said.  

This development is centered around AI operations, services orchestration, and business performance and business flow monitoring, he said. "We're the innovation agent of HCL," he said.

DRYiCE's development is centered around three buckets of offerings, all of which are cloud-native and leverage artificial intelligence, Gupta told CRN.

The first is artificial intelligence operations featuring a set of products that infuse AI into IT projects, Gupta said.  

For example, he cited the company's iAutomate, which enables intelligent runbook automation through the use of proprietary natural language processing algorithms and machine learning. "It's self-learning," he said. "We provide a lot of automated scripts, and it learns to automate more and more over time."

This year will see DRYiCE expand the scope of iAutomate to include bringing in AI to manage network runbooks, he said.  

The second bucket is AI-based orchestration with a focus on service automation, Gupta said.

DRYiCE has a number of products in this area.  

One is Gold BluePrint, a service management offering for ServiceNow or Cherwell environments that lets users build a "golden blueprint" to automate an ITIL ((formerly known as information technology infrastructure library) framework for standardizing IT services.

"It's based on the work we do with hundreds of customers," he said. "When a customer wants to implement ServiceNow or Cherwell, they can put Gold BluePrint on top of it."  

Another is ServiceXchange, or DRYiCE SX, which lets enterprises plug and play diversified service providers and aggregate services into a single catalog for easy cloud automation and orchestration, Gupta said.

"Enterprises are looking at consuming everything as a service," he said. "SX lets customers throw in any document and create a service on it on the fly. It creates a service supply chain so employees can use them as a service."  

For DRYiCE SX, the company is planning to introduce a new console in the near future that allows customers to use it without writing a single line of code, Gupta said. "So anybody without coding skills can create new services," he said.

The third bucket is business flow monitoring with DRYiCE iControl as its primary offering.  

DRYiCE iControl provides intelligent business process flow monitoring in real time, Gupta said. Retailers, for instance, can use DRYiCE iControl to monitor product movements between warehouses and retail stores in real time, or large banks can use it to monitor millions of payment transactions to look for issues.

DRYiCE last month relaunched its MyCloud hybrid cloud life-cycle management product, an AI-based offering for automating the entire provisioning of hybrid clouds, Gupta said. New to MyCloud are new cloud metering and chargeback capabilities as well as the ability to automate governance, he said.

"For example, customers may want to automatically shut down a service after 90 days," he said. "Often it's easy to provision resources, but customers don't turn them off."

DRYiCE's flagship product is Lucy, a cognitive virtual assistant that serves as an AI-led chatbot, Gupta said.

"Lucy thinks through the conversations, learns from them, and gets better over time," he said. Three of the Fortune 20 companies have deployed Lucy enterprisewide."

Lucy was recently updated to be natural-language-processing-engine-agnostic so that it works with open- source technologies or with platforms like Amazon Alexa or Microsoft Cortana, he said.

Also new are 40 different integrations out of the box, including integrations with SAP, Oracle and Workday, Gupta said. "Just open the box, and the integration is built in," he said. "Lucy can be busy working within a matter of days."

DRYiCE provides a lot of opportunities for partners, especially when it comes to AI-driven enterprise management, said Manoj Khabe, senior director of enterprise management services at Vicom Computer Services, a Farmingdale, N.Y.-based solution provider and DRYiCE channel partner.  

"This goes along with what we do at Vicom," Khabe told CRN. "We do IT operations and services management, along with IT infrastructure management. And DRYiCE is aligned with the same market leaders of the world we work with like Splunk, ServiceNow and IBM."

DRYiCE is a big part of increasing customer efficiency, Khabe said. "Each customer is unique," he said. "Customers want customization. DRYiCE creates opportunities for us to provide services and integration and address pain points.  

The addition of network runbook management in DRYiCE iAutomate is a big deal, Khabe said. "This is a big market, and there are very few companies that have the skills to do that automation," he said. "We are looking forward to that."

Vicom is also now looking at how to deploy Lucy with clients, Khabe said.  

"We definitely are looking to use Lucy to look at historical data to clarify problems, assign problems to users, see the historical responses, and let Lucy to handle issues automatically," he said. "This is the next journey for us."

Artificial intelligence is a big buzzword, but it is also a very real way to help solve many customer issues, Khabe said.

"There are plenty of opportunities for AI in the enterprise midmarket," he said. “DRYiCE makes it easy, with pre-packaged solutions you can add to a portfolio and become a trusted adviser to customers. It lets you be forward-looking for customers and help them be more efficient in IT automation and management efforts."

DRYiCE's capabilities on the Splunk platform led Conducive Consulting to be an early partner with DRYiCE, said Randy Hammelman, president of the Austin, Texas-based solution provider.

Conducive Consulting's DRYiCE relationship is based primarily on DRYiCE iControl in Splunk environments, Hammelman told CRN.  

"iControl models the business process," he said. "For example, with bank payments, there may be 12 to 14 steps. iControl turns that into a dashboard."

Splunk has proven to be a really good platform for gathering data and turning it into information, Hammelman said.

"We focus on Splunk with iControl," he said. "I think iControl can take us to 1,000 percent growth without batting an eye."

Commons said DRYiCE's main route to market is via channel partners, and the company expects to see 70 percent of it revenue through indirect channels.  

"This is a great opportunity for partners," he said. "We're adding partners at a good rate. But only those we can work closely with to build the business. We want to deliver a deep relationship with the partners."

DRYiCE's biggest channel partner is parent company HCL, Gupta said. However, that does not mean partners should expect channel conflict, he said.

"For any HCL outsourcing deal, DRYiCE is a big component," he said. "HCL is typically bidding into the large contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Channel partners typically are not at that large scale. Instead, they take us into the large enterprise market outside the big outsourcing deals."

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