Fueling IBM's Software
So where did IBM's software market growth
come from? Not from flash and frills, but from good old hard work, Mills said.
"My story has never changed; I just work hard," he told eWEEK during
an interview in his conference room at IBM
headquarters in Armonk, NY.
Indeed, the IBM Software Group and its
history and future are very much a part of Mills' making. He instituted the
company's move to focus on middleware more than 10 years ago, and he made the
move to realign IBM SWG into two groups. He
also handpicked the leaders of the two inter-related organizations.
However, Mills does not seek any personal credit for this. "We do not
have a culture of personality at IBM,"
Mills said. In fact, Mills says his job is to make it easy for the next person
to be able to come in and do his job. "My job is to make my role
Mills said IBM has learned that
businesses today want technology to solve their business problems and make them
leaders within their own industries. In response to these requirements, IBM
has been on a path to move its middleware portfolio into new, higher-value
opportunities, growing its core capabilities, strengthening its portfolio and
building solutions that support IBM's
Smarter Planet agenda.
The Smarter Planet
Smarter Planet is about modernizing and automating the world's physical
infrastructures-from railroads to water management to food traceability and
health care modernization, IBM said.
Intelligence is being infused into the way the world literally works-into the
systems, processes and infrastructure that enable physical goods to be
developed, manufactured, bought and sold. Software plays a crucial role in
these Smarter Planet initiatives. Much of the demand for software is being
created by new stimulus investments and the need to automate and modernize
virtually every system today such as electronic medical records, fraud
detection, energy management through smart grids, etc. IBM
has been on this path for the past few years. And IBM
officials said they believe IBM is better
positioned than any other vendor to help leverage these new opportunities and
deliver the right technologies needed for this transformation to smarter
At IBM's recent Pulse conference for
Tivoli users in Las Vegas, Stephen Stokes, an analyst at AMR
Research, shared his views on IBM's renewed
software push and Smarter Planet initiative with eWEEK, saying: "This is
the most significant organizational transformation in IBM's
history. They're setting themselves up to really win big in the new
However, in a direct counterpoint, also at Pulse, Jonathan Yarmis, an
analyst with Ovum, said, "The last time IBM
tried something this sweeping it was called SAA [IBM's
System Application Architecture, an enterprise computing strategy of the late
1980s and early 1990s], and that's when we defined the term 'marketecture.'
This stands to be the largest unrealized vision since SAA."
Yet, IBM has boasted several Smarter
Planet wins, including Smart Cities projects such as that with the city of Chesapeake,
Va. The city of Chesapeake
uses IBM Maximo software to manage and
maintain the multiple departments, equipment and operations that are
responsible for delivering critical services to more than 200,000 residents. IBM
highlighted its work with the city of Chesapeake
at its Pulse conference.
Peter Wallace, the chief information officer for the city of Chesapeake,
told eWEEK, "IBM products have helped
the city of Chesapeake modernize
the way our people coordinate efforts, maximize the use of existing resources
and share data. On the ground, this means less duplication of effort, more
cost-effective purchasing, and improved coordination between departments and
divisions, reducing the number of visits and time it takes to complete work and
satisfy citizen requests."
"Data previously stored in a variety of formats on hard drives and in
filing cabinets is now available to everyone who needs it from a single source.
We can review work history and ongoing work as part of our scheduling and
planning processes. Public Works can see if Public Utilities is already
working on a flooding incident and avoid dispatching another crew
unnecessarily. Having our asset management, work management and inventory
management under one enterprise system has allowed us to engineer a single
streamlined process that is more efficient, accountable and transparent."
Another recent Smarter Planet win for IBM
is Galveston National Laboratories (GNL), which is part of the University
of Texas Medical Branch. Also
highlighted at Pulse, GNL is one of only two National Institutes of Health-funded
biocontainment laboratories, and its goal is to serve as a national and
international resource for the safe conduct of essential infectious disease
GNL is using IBM Maximo technology to
manage, calibrate and monitor state-of-the-art biomedical assets like air-flow
handlers, decontaminating showers, and door seals and locks-making sure they
are working properly to assure safe and secure operations. This is an example
of an IBM Smarter Buildings/Facilities customer-managing
critical physical and digital assets to ensure their safe and proper function,
and applying analytics to determine inefficiencies and cost reduction
opportunities while improving operations.
David Reynolds, director of fixed assets and reliability systems at the University
of Texas Medical Branch, said,
"IBM's Maximo software is designed to
help schedule and report on the performance of the assets that run the
building: air handling units, pumps, compressors, filtering systems, etc. IBM
helped the GNL configure Maximo so it would properly support the safety and
reliability processes that the GNL must operate under."
Mills said he believes that as the digital world and the physical world
continue to intersect, the need to better capture data, to do better analysis
and to have more anticipatory management and control of the physical assets
increases exponentially. And with Smarter Planet, IBM
is prepared to deliver that.
"As the world's infrastructure has gotten bigger and bigger, you reach these
inflection points where costs get too high-operating expenses are rising and
you need to flatten those things out," Mills said. "So if I move a
little bit of OpEx [operating expenditure] and CapEx [capital expenditure] over
to IT, I can do a better job of managing those massive infrastructures."