IBM is leading with its SoftLayer cloud infrastructure and Bluemix platform as a service to expand its cloud presence in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) by targeting the untapped startup and emerging business market in the region.
Indeed, Big Blue officials noted that startups throughout the CEE region are increasingly turning to IBM to accelerate cloud-based business models and deliver new services. By adopting IBM Cloud’s Bluemix and SoftLayer platforms, emerging companies in industries such as health care, gaming and public safety are growing their businesses in CEE and beyond.
“In Central and Eastern Europe, spending on cloud services, which includes public, private and hybrid cloud, is on the rise and is far exceeding the growth rates of traditional technology delivery models,” said Vladimir Kroa, associate vice president of IT services for IDC’s Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (CEMA) region, in a statement. “Cloud delivery—along with other modern technologies and delivery models such as mobility, big data/analytics and social media—is becoming a de-facto business model and requires a new sourcing approach and a transformation of services management.”
According to International Monetary Fund, across much of the CEE region, the economy has begun to recover at a relatively solid pace. With a strengthening business climate, organizations are committed to investing in technologies like cloud, mobile and analytics, IBM said.
“Consequently, the integration of internal and external resources is becoming more frequent as end users are opting for a hybrid cloud model that, on one hand, solves some of the legislative concerns about data privacy, and, at the same time, enables more flexibility, price transparency and acceleration of go-to-market strategies,” Kroa added.
CEE businesses that adopt the IBM Cloud gain infrastructure and tools to extend their businesses to the cloud through a variety of deployment models, including hybrid cloud. And the Bluemix cloud development platform enables developers to build mobile and analytics-based applications that can be hosted on SoftLayer infrastructure.
IBM launched Bluemix with a $1 billion investment in 2014. The platform provides developers with a catalog of more than 100 tools and services—including open-source technologies combined with IBM and third-party services. SoftLayer became part of the IBM Cloud in July 2013 after IBM acquired the company for $2 billion. The SoftLayer infrastructure is now the foundation of IBM’s cloud portfolio. In January, IBM committed to investing $1.2 billion to expand its global cloud operations in all major geographies and financial centers. IBM Cloud operates SoftLayer facilities in North and South America, Asia, Australia and Europe, including data centers in the greater London area; Paris; Frankfurt, Germany; and Amsterdam and Almere in the Netherlands.
IBM also earlier this month opened its first cloud data center in Italy. Located in Cornaredo, a municipality in the province of Milan, the new facility provides the fast-growing Italian cloud market with a local IBM Cloud presence, allowing customers to deploy their workloads in the country and benefit from a low-latency connection into IBM Cloud’s global platform, which integrates data and applications for users around the world.
IBM Taps Startups in European Cloud Expansion
Moreover, IBM’s European expansion is attracting new customers from the ranks of young companies across the region. For instance, in Poland, CI Games, a computer-gaming developer, publishes and distributes interactive entertainment products with sales in more than 40 countries worldwide. To improve the quality of its multiplayer online gaming service, CI Games migrated its multiplayer game services to SoftLayer. With IBM Cloud, CI Games has improved service quality for its customers, reduced IT costs, increased service availability and increased agility to deliver new multiplayer games, IBM said.
Also in Poland, startup Telemedi.co used IBM Cloud to deploy a platform to store data and enable consultations with doctors via Web or mobile device. With Bluemix and SoftLayer, Telemedi.co gained greater scalability and reliability for its platform, enabling it to grow traction by 10 times in one year, and increase customer satisfaction and trust by 20 percent.
“We are now expanding our operations to other European markets. By using IBM Cloud we can do it seamlessly and make sure our customers get the best service no matter in which country they operate,” said Pawel Sieczkiewicz, CTO of Telemedi.co, in a statement. “We probably would not have attempted such a large move without relying on IBM Cloud.”
In the Czech Republic, emerging business Kodarna relied on IBM Cloud to develop and host a mobile video app called “Silent Line” that enables deaf people to communicate with a call center using sign language or plain text to request emergency services from any mobile device. Based in part on its adoption of Bluemix and SoftLayer, Kodarna’s business grew 30 percent over the past year, IBM said.
Meanwhile, in Russia, navigation services provider Navigine relied on IBM Cloud to roll out its indoor navigation platform for a fire department customer in less than two days. For firefighters, the platform collects and analyzes data from multiple sources within buildings where GPS navigation is not reliable. With SoftLayer, Navigine can rapidly scale server capacity and easily integrate their services with Bluemix.
And in Slovenia, Acceleration Business City (ABC), a private business accelerator, selected IBM Cloud as its primary platform to provide students, researchers and entrepreneurs with a place for networking, gaining business expertise and developing go-to-market strategies. ABC transitioned to the IBM Cloud to build a platform to provide small businesses and startups with access to mobile, big data and Watson services that accelerate the creation of new solutions, IBM said.