IBM Patents Cloud-Based BPM System

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-11-22

IBM Patents Cloud-Based BPM System

IBM has patented a technique for combining big data from cloud services with data stored on in-house IT systems to gain insights that could enable greater business efficiency and performance.

The cloud computing invention, for which IBM received U.S. Patent #8,504,400: Dynamically Optimized Distributed Cloud Computing-based Business Process Management (BPM) System, provides a method for developing enterprise apps that tap into both cloud-based big data and locally-stored business data. This approach will make it easier to not only access data—but also combine and analyze it—no matter where it is stored.

For example, a retailer may want to cross-reference customer information from an on-site database with big data insights from analysis of purchase data stored in the cloud to deliver relevant offers or coupons.

Despite gobs of core business data residing in-house, business leaders are increasingly relying on cloud services to access big data via mobile devices, social networks and business collaboration tools in the cloud. Consequently, they have to switch from between the cloud and local systems to gather and compare insights from business data.

IBM said patent #8,504,400 expands on IBM’s earlier Cloud Suites for the C-Suite that delivers more than 100 Software as a Service (SaaS) applications designed to meet the needs of business users providing a dynamic and low-risk environment that avoids the costs traditional associated with getting new IT projects up and running.

IBM’s patented cloud-based BPM technique intends to put some of the same technology used by some the world’s largest companies into the hands of small and mid-size companies and their business users. This could make IBM’s key branded middleware and business process management software more accessible to a wide variety of clients affording them economies of scale, reduced costs, less financial risk and greater efficiency, IBM said.

IBM invests more than $6 billion annually in research and development and consistently explores new approaches to cloud computing. For 20 consecutive years, IBM has topped the list of U.S. patent recipients.

Meanwhile, in other cloud news, IBM announced that Bharat Light and Power (BLP), a renewable energy producer in India, has formed a long-term strategic engagement with IBM to drive business growth, enhance revenue and increase operational efficiency. In this 10-year collaboration, BLP will use IBM’s SoftLayer cloud capabilities as well as IBM analytics and mobile solutions to increase its power generation capacity.

According to industry estimates, approximately 400 million people in India do not have access to electricity. At the same time, India’s energy infrastructure is highly strained, with an ever-increasing demand for energy. To sustain its growth trajectory, India needs to meet its energy demands in an environmentally sustainable manner.

IBM Patents Cloud-Based BPM System

"The Indian power sector has doubled its capacity in the last 10 years and is projected to add another 100GW in next five years," said Tejpreet Chopra, president and CEO of BLP, in a statement. "With the issues facing fossil-based fuels, a good share of this growth will come from renewable energy sources. The scope of investments for renewables is estimated to be $10-12 billion in next five years making it ripe for global investments in India."

BLP aims to address the sustainable-energy challenge by increasing its renewable energy generation capacity to one gigawatt (GW) over the next few years. The company focuses on wind, solar, biomass and hydro technologies for power generation and is exploring other advanced technologies such as energy storage, and smart grid to better integrate renewable energy to the grid. BLP also uses its years of expertise in building, owning and operating power plants around the globe to offer pre-development and post commissioning services to wind farm developers, operators, owners, investors and lenders.

IBM will work with BLP to help the company manage, and use the vast amount of data generated by the power generation sources. With efficient and predictive analysis of data, energy producers can better manage their resources, take necessary precautionary measures, and improve overall productivity. IBM will deploy its SoftLayer cloud infrastructure as a service to centrally monitor and manage BLP’s existing and future generation plants as well as store and manage the data on cloud.

"The focus of power generation globally, and especially in India, in the next five years is going to be about operational efficiency and productivity enhancements," said Balki Iyer, chief development officer at BLP, in a statement. "This requires an intelligent and innovative collaboration between the power and the IT sector. BLP has ambitious growth plans for providing this service and we needed a strategic partner who understands, and helps us realize, our vision. A significant factor in selecting IBM was its rich global experience in the renewable energy sector and scalable technology capabilities that suits our requirement."

The solution is expected to significantly improve BLP’s Plant Load Factor (PLF), which is essentially the generation efficiency of the installed capacity. IBM will also bring its subject matter experts to help BLP take effective business decisions and make efficient planning, based on the data analysis.

"By making clean energy widely available and affordable, BLP is solving a very important challenge for India and we are excited about collaborating with BLP on this transformative journey," said Ajoy Menon, director of strategic outsourcing for Global Technology Services at IBM India South Asia, in a statement. "We see tremendous potential for smarter operations, using cloud and analytics, in achieving scale and efficiencies in this business. As a strategic partner, we will deliver measurable business outcomes to BLP by bringing together expertise and capabilities across IBM."

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