Driving Business Velocity

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2010-07-22 Print this article Print

Q: Can you describe the hallmarks of a flexible system and how that fits into the future of systems? More specifically, can you cite how clients can realistically make this happen without breaking the bank? And how can clients do that when every vendor is promoting migration to their specific systems?  

A: Organizations and vendors must endorse flexibility to drive business velocity. We should consider flexibility in process, attitude and systems architecture. By creating flexible mechanisms we can quickly increase our clients' business velocity. At its core, flexibility is a point of view for how clients can consume and manage IT.  

Currently, the industry is characterized by forced choices and limited client perspective. Standardization and consolidation are strategies that ultimately create rigidity in client environments, leading a limited field of options for both a client and a vendor. If we focus on creating standards -- under the hallmarks of flexibility -- we can then impart smart longterm planning, by avoiding choices that slow business velocity.  

Flexibility is a core strategic competence for any organization concerned with short- and long-term business velocity. Clients who create a systems agenda that maps to evolutionary business development goals are more apt to drive greater benefits from their IT system.

This is most relevant now because our clients are consistently looking for more ways to drive stronger efficiencies at every level of the technology stack.

Q: So how is IBM's proposal any different from the rest of the industry? What role does system software play in the future of data centers?

A: Smarter systems are created by combining technology with efficient systems management that leverages virtualization and automation. Then can our clients obtain greater visibility and control of the entire infrastructure. This is the purpose of IBM Systems Software and its suite of integrated solutions: By centralizing, streamlining and automating system-level management tasks across server, storage and networks, IBM offers systems software solutions to help reduce cost and risk while improving service delivery, in a way that is not possible with conventional approaches to IT management.

IBM Systems Software is fully integrated into the IBM technology portfolio, allowing more effective use of the advanced features in IBM hardware and a rich set of operating system environments. It allows clients to gain greater business value from IT, through the creation of a more capable infrastructure-one that can meet both business challenges and critical IT needs, like platform and energy management, virtualization and availability.

It will take IBM competitors decades before they can match the innovation and development IBM has put into its products.  

Q: Can you provide an example of an IBM customer with a flexible data center?

A: The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, an integrated global health enterprise, sought to lower the cost and complexity of its IT infrastructure to enable the continued investment in next-generation clinical systems. UPMC wanted to lay the foundation for the best possible patient care. Now in the middle of an eight-year strategic partnership with IBM, UPMC is transforming its systems through consolidation, standardization and virtualization -- a key building block of a smarter, more flexible infrastructure.

The initiative has already resulted in the reduction of hundreds of servers across the UPMC network, a more than 220 percent increase in processing capacity without an increase in support staff, significant reduction in IT infrastructure floor space requirements, and faster integration of acquired health-care operations.

By transforming its IT infrastructure through consolidation and virtualization, UPMC is improving the delivery of health care, while reducing operating costs. Changing the link between processing and resource needs has enabled UPMC to combine an ambitious clinical agenda with both a lower rate of IT investment growth and improved reliability.


Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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