Managing disruption. Designing for the future of enterprise IT.


Since Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm and Managing Director of Geoffrey Moore Consulting defined them, much has been written about systems of record and systems of engagement. Numerous authors describe what they see as a shift in computing between these two types of business systems. Their main thrust is often that core business applications (systems of record) like ERP or CRM and new customer-facing mobile, social, and web applications (systems of engagement) are somehow on parallel paths with little in common.

Read more on this topic from Geoffrey Moore

While that thought makes interesting headlines and spurs online debates over computing philosophy, the discussion we ought to have is how we get the most value from both types of systems. How do we ensure that IT infrastructure is ready given that many customer-facing systems are now business-critical? In the 2012 IBM Global Chief Executive Officer Study 72 percent of CEOs said they wanted to “improve response time to market needs.” For the first time since the study began, CEOs (71 percent) identified technology as the most important external force impacting their organizations. With CEOs focused squarely on gaining competitive advantage through technology, CIOs need to make the critical architecture choices that enable them to deliver results that meet that expectation.

Core business systems such as ERP and CRM and the IT infrastructure they are built on are a crucial component in responding to market needs. They deliver the database capabilities, support the operations, and provide the reliability, availability, and security that our businesses – and customers – demand.

And while we’re connected with a business through a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) interface, we’re creating data, completing transactions, and making decisions – all of which need the level of business controls, security, and reliability we require for critical, core business systems. After all, how happy would we be if our new Nexus 4 phone never shipped because the Google Play engagement system didn’t pass the order to their ERP system for fulfillment?

In this increasingly complex environment, core business systems and consumer systems are both vital to businesses and cannot run on independent paths. CIOs and IT Architects need to evaluate their IT infrastructure in light of the need for integration of these two types of business systems and based on the growing criticality of customer-facing systems. Building a shared IT infrastructure can offer advantages for both types of systems – enhancing scale, security, availability, reliability, and workload management for engagement systems, and extending transactional systems through a BYOD or social model.

IBM’s enterprise systems (Enterprise Power Systems and zEnterprise) offer the unique set of capabilities today that support this vision of an integrated IT infrastructure running all of the critical enterprise applications – whether they are core transactional systems or customer-facing systems. They extend the efficiency, security, database, and workload optimization advantages of a shared IT infrastructure to consumer systems. With their sophisticated virtualization and workload management, enterprise systems also offer user-centric, open, rapid deployment, and dynamic scale capabilities to help evolve systems of record.

How are you handling these business systems and their related IT infrastructure in your enterprise? How is your business ensuring that BYOD consumer systems are secure and reliable and that customer data is kept private? If you’ve solved this equation, connect with us via the enterprise systems web site or comment below and share your story!

Doug Brown is Vice President of Marketing for Smarter Computing, Power Systems and System z brands. Previously, Doug spent twelve years in IBM’s Software Group where he held several marketing leadership positions including global leadership for the Tivoli brand. You can reach him on Twitter @dougbrown700

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