IBM Brings Managed Storage to Health Care

Big Blue also showcases at CeBIT Dynamic Workplaces for the finance industry.

HANNOVER, Germany—IBM this week at CeBIT is showcasing its e-business-on-demand and dynamic workplaces initiatives, both designed to help organizations reduce operating costs and pay for only those resources needed and used.

Wednesday, IBM and Siemens Medical Solutions unveiled here a storage-on-demand service tailored to the health care industry. The notion behind e-business-on-demand is to allow enterprises to buy IT the way they buy electricity—paying only for what they use when they use it.

An increase in the use of MRIs, X-rays and other high-resolution digital imaging has produced expanding medical files that must be stored for long periods of time. The growing volume of data requires a high storage capacity, but hospitals cannot necessarily afford the necessary initial investment for it. With storage-on-demand, hospitals and clinics pay only for the storage they use.

IBM and Siemens will jointly market IBMs Management Storage Services and Siemens SIENET Integrated Radiology Suite, the companies said Wednesday.

Thursday, IBM championed the benefits of its Dynamic Workplaces initiative specifically for the financial industry. The company announced that Zurich Financial Services has implemented a Personal Employee Portal through the initiative.

Mark Latchford, vice president of Lotus Software for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said the initiative responds to the typically ad hoc approach of enterprise IT projects, which often produce redundant pockets of information and costly implementation.

Underlying the Dynamic Workplaces initiative is the notion that the growing volume and complexity of information require new management structures. Processes and applications must be better linked to be most efficient, but that isnt easily achieved within global enterprises. However, by creating a single information platform, various business processes can be bridged.

Zurich Financial Services found itself in need of a single platform two years ago after a rapid series of mergers and acquisitions, which left it with a host of isolated applications, myriad platforms and about 10 separate intranets for its 68,000 employees, according to Stefan Benz, head of e-communications at Zurich. The company considered building a new intranet from scratch but decided against it.

"You would have to do a huge investment up front, and you wouldnt know how long it would take," Benz said. "So we said, Lets use the current assets as we have them."

With IBM Dynamic Workplaces, Zurich created a single information platform, called the Personal Employee Portal. The technology incorporates Lotus Sametime, QuickPlace, Notes Mail software and the WebSphere Portal Server. Zurich started by integrating its existing Web sites onto one portal and then migrated the content to that portal. Finally, the company consolidated all the information onto the single entry point of information.

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