Integrating IBM First Is Job One

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-11-19 Print this article Print

What does Clementi mean by "integrating IBM"?

"Let's take an example-say data analytics," Clementi said. "Let's say you allow all your employees to go through 100 data marts autonomously by self-serving. They go and ask a question, and they get an answer-they get some form of data back. In the background, to implement this model, you have to virtualize the system, you have to standardize the queries, you have to automate the whole management-otherwise you don't reach the cost point that makes this possible."

By integrating, Clementi said, you need to have the usual-suspect ingredients-software, hardware capability, process understanding-and deliver this in an outcome.

"Compare that to what many of our competitors offer," Clementi said. "If they say, 'This is all about virtualization,' it's not true. It is not just about virtualization. If I have only virtualization software, I'm going to say it's all about virtualization because it draws attention to me.

"If I give you all your physical complexity, and today I virtualize that complexity, I just have a virtualized mess. You need virtualization, but then you need standardization, you need automation-and you need to engineer the whole thing."

Clementi offered a metaphor that most people can easily understand.

"Take the ATMs," Clementi said. "We just take our card and go to the ATM. Do you ever know what happens behind that ATM? You know nothing. You just know that there's money coming out.

"Compare that to how it was before. Originally, you had a bank teller. You went to the bank teller and asked for money. Now that bank teller, in reality, didn't just give you money. He was the built-in security system because he knew you. He was the record-keeper because he kept the books. He was the cash handler, so he did the whole supply chain.

"So when you took that bank teller away and put that machine in, it forced you to standardize all these process steps of security, identification, cash replenishment and record-keeping. So the whole supply chain was standardized. Then, when you took your Chase card to Wells Fargo, it forced the two banks to standardize messaging between them because otherwise they couldn't give you the money."

So now banks have a standardized transaction platform that is used millions of times each day.

"How is this different from, say, the way Henry Ford moved the production process from islands to the conveyor belt?" Clementi asked, rhetorically. "It is engineering applied to IT-supported processes. So this is very profound. This kind of standardization and automation is what gives you the new economics."

Cloud computing has the promise of better economics, "and that is the very reason why, using the cloud, you can do computing in a smarter planet, where the volumes you have to face are orders of magnitude bigger," Clementi said.

If you tried to do all the things the cloud now offers, you couldn't do it for cost reasons, Clementi said. "That's why we are pretty excited about this," he said.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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