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Making Industry Smarter

IBM Systems and Technology Group VP Susan Confort is pictured here in New York City’s bustling retail neighborhood of SoHo. Photo by Jordan Hollender

Every industry is feeling the pressure to operate smarter, faster and leaner. But for the healthcare industry, delivering a timely diagnosis to a patient presents different business challenges than, say, rendering architectural designs for the construction industry or providing real-time scheduling for suppliers in manufacturing. Delivering on those demands depends on systems that are well matched to needs.

“The average line-of-business executive doesn’t care about the POWER* chip or which operating system is running,” says Susan Confort, vice president, Global Industry Solutions and Marketing for IBM Systems and Technology Group (STG). “But they care deeply about what the systems bring to the table in terms of performance and reliability. For example, will that technology deliver on Black Friday and allow me to convert more sales, or will people abandon shopping carts because my site is too slow?”

“We take great care to make sure that IBM systems really do deliver on total cost of ownership by optimizing usage of resources, driving system utilization and maintaining service levels.”
—Susan Confort, vice president, Global Industry Solutions and Marketing for IBM Systems and Technology Group

IBM Power Systems*—as well as System z* and System x*—technologies are deeply integrated to provide businesses of all sizes in any industry the capability to run smarter, faster and more efficiently, and to tune those capabilities according to the business task. Solution stacks can be optimized for speed and low latency for ERP or transaction processing, for example, which are critical capabilities for retail, financial services and telecommunications. Another solution stack may be optimized for analytics of large amounts of data, which is important to life sciences, healthcare and R&D. Yet others can be optimized for reliability and redundancy—capabilities crucial to the energy and utility industries. And Power Systems servers are built with an eye toward the bottom line—offering scale-up and scale-out servers that help consolidate space and resources and optimize workloads, as well as PowerVM* virtualization for rapid cloud provisioning, enabling companies to quickly deploy new applications and processes to support a new strategic business direction.

STG has collaborated closely with partners to deliver industry-specific solutions such as the IBM BladeCenter* S series, designed to consolidate distributed workloads in retail store environments, as well as NEBS-compliant BladeCenter T series for the telecommunications industry.

Clients will see increasing efforts by IBM—through a focus on enterprise systems, IBM PureSystems* and storage solutions—to “drive the industry perspective into our DNA,” Confort says. “We need to understand the value drivers and key performance metrics industries face—what are their line-of-business executives on the hook to deliver? And then we need to deliver systems that enable the achievement of those performance metrics.”


Unlocking Big Data’s Value

Across many organizations, data remains segregated in disparate, disconnected systems, which leads to confusion, waste, redundancy and error—not to mention lost opportunities to increase productivity, accuracy, efficiency or revenue. This affects the bottom line. For example, if a component manufacturer doesn’t have visibility to both current inventory and future demand, it may order too much from suppliers, resulting in excess costs for transportation and storage. Or it may carry too little and risk being unable to fill orders or react quickly enough to emerging market needs.

Enabling data to be more transparent and measurable creates value for industry by exposing patterns, changes in those patterns, and potential opportunities and risks. Transparent, accessible data about the systems themselves delivers value back to a business by creating opportunities for workflow automation and for reducing the cost of error or redundancy. As data proliferates, the need for industries to unlock its potential across their organizations will only increase.

Sara Aase is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer.

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