Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent
September, 17th 2012

by Jeanette Horan, Vice President and Chief Information Officer of IBM

The last thing a technology company wants to talk about is its own headaches from tackling IT challenges. But constantly learning from ourselves to develop the best practices that drive innovation is part of the turf for early adopters.

IBM’s most valuable lesson learned? Businesses must embrace change, but not just in theory. They need the right tools to get the job done.

You know big data is changing the world as we know it. For businesses, it can help make services and products more intuitive, meet higher and more complex demands, and save time, energy, and money.

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But first come big data challenges: application overload, skyrocketing energy demands, and server sprawl, to name a few. Our own business had swelled to more than 15,000 applications running on some 15,000 servers at more than 150 data centers, draining not only computing power, but also time and management resources.

We went to the root of the problem, making data center transformation an integral part of our overall business transformation. After a decade of rallying around the mantra of “radical simplification,” our Smarter Computing journey has produced a leaner, more nimble organization that meets today’s needs and is ready for the future.

Some of what we learned can be summarized in the following principles:

Make better use of data

Though big data can wreak havoc on IT as it comes in all shapes and sizes, it also provides insights that deliver unprecedented opportunity for innovation. Because data is everywhere and ever-increasing, there has never been a greater need to give an enterprise a clear and complete view of all their data.

Business need to compress data so it takes up less space and is easier to see. In the process, they can move data to where it belongs and eliminate redundancies, making better use of storage. The result is faster and easier access to data for better business decisions. This approach set a foundation IBM’s the future; we can now support 25-40 percent data growth every year at no extra cost.

Improve efficiency

Every business task is different in priority and difficulty. Closely evaluating business needs at a given times of the day or year can shed light on when demands are greatest. It also helps prioritize work, group similar activities together, and essentially do more with less. The goal is to choose the right technology for the job, using nothing more and nothing less than required.

Consolidating and virtualizing our infrastructure onto “best-fit” technology helped IBM shed 6,500 servers, saving 74,000 square-feet of floor space. The eliminated 30,000 megawatt-hours of energy equals what it takes to power a town of 3,000 homes for a year.

Simplify experience

The way businesses and their users experience technology determines their success. Fast, easy, and flexible access to data and services, such as cloud and analytics, improves management and collaboration. The more personalized these experiences, the simpler it is to roll out new and improved services.

IBM developed a personalized, private cloud, Blue Insights, for hundreds of thousands of IBMers. As the world’s largest private cloud for analytics, it pulls together data from nearly 100 different sources and analyzes more than a petabyte of data. It can perform a variety analytics in hours or minutes instead of what would take weeks or months.

Smarter Computing is a manner of traveling more than a final destination. The good news is that technology continues to evolve, expanding the possibilities of what businesses and people can accomplish. This is truly about making technology work for the business rather than vice versa.


Continue the conversation at #smartercomputing. To download the infographic please visit here.

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