IBM announced a major deal with energy provider NiSource whereby Big Blue will provide a broad range of IT services, including the creation and management of a hybrid cloud computing environment for the organization.
Under a seven-year, $600 million agreement, IBM will help accelerate business innovation, while supporting NiSource's focus on customer service, system security and business application performance. IBM will help NiSource implement a hybrid IT model using IBM's SoftLayer cloud as well as a private, secure cloud powered by traditional infrastructure. The resulting integrated hybrid cloud will enable NiSource to continue delivering service to its customers, while supporting enhanced technology agility, availability and performance.
"NiSource is an example of how companies today are turning to the cloud as a competitive lever for their business," Philip Guido, general manager of IBM Global Technology Services for North America, said in a statement. "Embracing the cloud not only provides a better way to integrate hybrid IT systems, it enables companies to forge new pathways to innovation and improve services by applying technologies such as analytics across their enterprise."
IBM officials noted that embracing a hybrid cloud approach can provide a number of benefits to companies, including greater efficiency by better matching computing workloads to the best-fit infrastructure, greater agility to respond rapidly to changes in business demands, and the ability to easily add new capabilities such as analytics or mobile technology.
"Our longtime partnership with IBM has been built on a shared commitment to innovation, performance and continuous improvement," said Violet Sistovaris, senior vice president and chief information officer at NiSource, in a statement. "This new agreement builds on our existing partnership and keeps us on a trajectory to further leverage IBM's extensive capabilities, new delivery models and advanced technologies to deliver efficient, reliable service to our customers."
Among the benefits of the new agreement, NiSource will now have the ability to collaborate with the IBM Client Center for Advanced Analytics to bring new analytics capabilities that further enable the company to solve business challenges.
Since 2005, IBM has provided a range of IT services to NiSource. The companies' new seven-year service agreement is valued at a level comparable with the prior NiSource-IBM service agreement. NiSource further noted that the new agreement is consistent with the company's ongoing financial plans and outlook. NiSource is a Fortune 500 company engaged in natural gas transmission, storage and distribution, as well as electric generation, transmission and distribution.
IBM identified cloud computing as one of its key growth opportunities as the company continues to transition from lower-margin businesses such as PCs and low-end servers to cloud, Smarter Planet, big data and analytics, security and mobile.