Mobil Travel Guide
A number of companies, including Park Ridge, Ill.-based Mobil Travel Guide, are already using IBMs on-demand service to reduce costs and build more flexibility into their IT infrastructure. Mobil Travel Guide is working with IBMs on demand e-business services to run its Web operations entirely on Linux-based services that are hosted and managed by IBM. Mobil Travel Guide pays only for the processing, storage and networking capacity it needs and can scale its virtual infrastructure to meet demand spikes. Mobil estimates that it will save about 25 percent in overall maintenance and software costs from the on-demand service.By driving down the cost of its IT infrastructurein turn allowing it to develop new revenue streamsthe company is now able to customize its database of hotels, restaurants and activities to deliver targeted travel recommendations and access to the lowest rates.Utility computing, and in particular software as a service, is catching on because it allows enterprises to implement new business applications "at a much lower risk, at a much lower cost and therefore allows them to achieve a much higher ROI [return on investment]" far sooner than if they had built a custom system, said Stephen Savignano, CEO of Ketera Technologies Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif. Ketera provides on-demand applications for enterprise spend analysis, sourcing, contract management, e-procurement and payment. Ketera is one of the partners that IBM works with in its own utility computing marketing program, Savignano said. "I think having on-demand software-service offerings allows IT executives more choices" in their technology investment decisions, Savignano said. "They will be able to deploy their scarce internal resources into projects that are at the core of their business," he said. "In fact, these days, it doesnt make much sense for enterprises to build or implement custom applications for any business process that isnt at the core," he said. "In our view, spend management and e-procurement are not one of those business processes where unique innovation inside the company is going to provide competitive advantage," Savignano said. This is what gives Ketera a strong business opportunity to sell its on-demand service to enterprises, he said. Check out eWEEK.coms Utility Computing Center for the latest utility computing news, reviews and analysis.