No More Business as Usual


Note: We are currently posting the top 5 posts of 2012 today through Jan. 1. This post is #5 on the list and was originally published Oct. 3, 2012.

Analytics, cloud, mobile and social technologies are leading the strategic direction of businesses today. But the dynamic nature of these technologies means we’ve moved past the days of business as usual. Every single slice of a company is touched by these innovations, from marketing and customer service to manufacturing and operations. And every company – in some way – has to become a technology company, whether it is to access health records, analyze traffic patterns or process thousands of retail purchases.

Business leaders, whether the CMO, CIO, CEO, or IT manager, need to remember that these cross-business, cross-industry technologies are only successful if there’s a stable IT infrastructure ready to support them. Without first considering the backbone of the business, all other efforts are in vain. The IT infrastructure that companies need in order to stay relevant has to be ready for what’s ahead, as unpredictable as it might be.

Smarter Computing is an approach that helps leaders think differently about IT and how they can use it to their advantage. More specifically, it’s about getting the most from cloud, unlocking the power of Big Data, and securing critical informationand processes.

Cloud computing’s greatest gift is that it can speed time to market and improve efficiency. Because of its ability to improve the flexibility and efficiency of an IT infrastructure, it’s no wonder that 80 percent of new applications are distributed and deployed via the cloud (PDF). Cloud makes it possible to easily and quickly roll out new services, make organizational changes and access communal resources. This happens from the inside and out, redefining how a business uses its resources and how it delivers products and services to its customers.

Analyzing Big Data provides a lot of market power. Harnessing the explosive growth of information is the only way businesses can gain the insights they need to make the right business decisions. According to an IDC survey (PDF), 83 percent of CIOs ranked business intelligence and analytics as high priority in their visionary plans.Making analytics part of core operational processes will help them learn what can be done to improve services and efficiency in real-time.

Securing critical information helps businesses reduce risk, comply with standards, and protect the integrity of not only their IT system, but ultimately their organization as a whole. Today’s more sophisticated threats and higher risk activities are driving the need for more responsive, context-aware approaches to data security management. To take advantage of new market opportunities while minimizing risks, companies must proactively incorporate security.

AXTEL, one of Mexico’s largest telecommunications providers, is an excellent example of a company taking a Smarter Computing approach. The company has quickly grown from the ground up and now serves a million customers in 39 cities with sales reaching more than $730 million. While the business is still expanding, it faces steep competition.

To keep up, AXTEL knew it had to start thinking differently about IT. The larger they grow, the greater their need will be for a more efficient IT infrastructure that keeps up with their momentum – providing faster response times and more cost effective operations. They built a new system of servers and storage and now they’re gaining insights in less time so they can quickly make the decisions that keep waste down and meet customer demands.

Now, AXTEL spends 25 percent less time on management tasks and 60 percent less time creating business and marketing reports. Intense processes —logistics, payroll, asset processes – that used to take hours, now only take minutes to complete. That’s more than a 50 percent improvement. Additionally, they have reduced energy consumption by 15 percent and have more reliable backup and restore functions.

Over the next few years, data and security challenges will only intensify. Being ready in advance to address them takes a deep commitment, from both businesses and technology providers. That is why IBM is constantly investing in research and development to help customers find Smarter Computing solutions so they will be ready for that future. For example, our addition of new POWER7+ processors to the Power Systems familyof servers is the result of a $1.4 billion R&D investment.

This development demonstrates our emphasis on compute intensive workloads, high performance computing, and high performance analytics – key areas for future enterprise success. We built these systems with a close eye on the cloud, data and security challenges our customers are facing, knowing that these are the levers for making IT a driver of business growth. We are always trying to find the key to a better IT solution, not only in terms of technology innovation, but also in developing best practices that can help our customers succeed faster. That is the only way to be truly prepared for what we can’t even see ahead of us yet.

Smarter Computing Analyst Paper - HurwitzTo effectively compete in today’s changing world, it is essential that companies leverage innovative technology to differentiate from competitors. Learn how you can do that and more in the Smarter Computing Analyst Paper from Hurwitz and Associates.

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