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INFOGRAPHIC: How Businesses Are Really Using The Cloud -- And What They're Getting From It

Adam Clement   |   October 24, 2013   10:22 AM ET

There's a lot of noise about how cloud computing is being used these days, and while the conversation can be as nebulous as its namesake, there's truth in the old saying: Where there's thunder there's lightning.

IBM surveyed more than 800 decision-makers and cloud end users from around the world. What they found was that early adopters drive significant competitive advantage through cloud. See how else businesses are using cloud computing in our infographic below!

*Click to expand.

Survey Says: How Businesses Are Really Using The Cloud
by WaywardAndSons.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

Who's Running The Retail Industry? It's You

Jill Puleri   |   October 23, 2013    9:22 AM ET

As consumers, you've been enjoying a lot of power lately. Thanks to digital tools and an abundance of information, you can generally ask for and receive much more individualized service from your favorite service provider -- whether it be an insurance company, car dealer, a retailer or a bank.

But this may only be the beginning, according to a massive, new IBM study of C-Suite leaders. The findings show that while customers have been in the driver's seat, the C-Suite wants to give you even greater control. This goes way beyond developing new products or services. Now business leaders want you to give input to their corporate strategy.

According to the study, 60 percent of CEOs plan to directly engage their customers and proactively apply what they learn to set their business agendas in the next three to five years -- up from 43 percent of CEOs who now include customers in the development of business strategies.

The discussions with C-suite executives from the retail industry in particular show that, as a group, they are hyper-focused on the experience of you, their customer, and recognizing you as individuals, but admit to lagging in this regard.

Seventy-three percent of C-suite leaders from the retail industry recognize that focusing on customers as individuals will be essential over the next three to five years, compared to 54 percent of the global, multi-industry sample. But only 39 percent of retail C-suite leaders today say they have strong collaboration with customers. Eighty-eight percent expect to have stronger collaboration with customers over the next three to five years.

To improve their collaboration with you, retailers need to combine data across their sales channels to build an accurate picture of your preferences and how you want to interact -- whether it's on a phone, in the store or over social media. This is known as omnichannel retail. To do it right, retailers must gather together all the data from their interactions with you and analyze the information for insights in to what makes you tick. Wouldn't it be great if a salesperson in the store could see the last few purchases or even searches you made online and recommend some items to you based on that?

Of course, we've been hearing that such innovations are on the way for a while. Some retailers are getting close by arming their sales associates with mobile devices and sending you somewhat personalized offers over email. But for most retailers, it's still a work in progress. Wonder what the hold up is? The problem many retailers still have is knitting information from various sales channels together. With different channels running in their own silos, it's hard to share information across the business to form a consolidated view of a customer.

I predict that retailers will start closing this gap now that many of them are using cloud computing or the ability to access remotely stored applications and data. Simply put, cloud is one of the ways retailers can bring various sales channels together as a single, secure platform.

It's no wonder that retailers are embracing new technology models to better meet the needs of their customers. They're obsessed with you! Twelve percent of C-suite leaders from the retail industry list customer experience management at the top of the five areas they are personally involved in, compared to just 5 percent of the sample.

So while you've already been in a position of influence and power, you can expect to have an even greater impact on everything from how your favorite company operates to how they engage their customers. It's good to be in charge, isn't it?


To find out more about IBM's smarter commerce solutions, click here.

Follow IBM on Twitter @ibm.

Saving Lives From Afar: Bridging The Knowledge (& Distance) Gaps In Health Care With The Cloud

Jeffrey Burns, MD   |   October 15, 2013    9:23 AM ET

It was a child who nearly died that made me realize just how drastically my profession had to change.

As the chief of critical care medicine at Boston Children's Hospital, I get plenty of calls from colleagues worldwide in need of advice. This particular call came from a hospital in Guatemala City, where a young girl lay gravely ill with a serious blood stream infection.

Luckily, I -- and a team of doctors and nurses -- had recently managed to bring back from the brink another little girl in Boston suffering from the same illness.

I was relieved that our experience meant a doctor half a world away could save a child's life. But I also realized that the health of the world's children shouldn't come down to chance.

My profession needs a new approach to tackling the inadequate health care that children get worldwide because of global shortage of qualified health care workers. We have to do more to share the knowledge pent up in a few nations and hospitals, primarily in the West.

That's why my hospital, in partnership with IBM, created OPENPediatrics, the world's first global education network for physicians and nurses that is designed to transform how pediatric medicine is taught and practiced around the world.

Why?

Because nearly 8 million children died in 2010 before reaching the age of five, in large part because of imminently treatable illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and birth complications.

Because 57 countries globally are facing a human resources health crisis and of those countries, each only has 1.13 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants, compared with 13.22 per 1,000 in the U.S.

Because there are few if any trained pediatricians in most developing countries. Niger, a country with 6.6 million children, only counts 30 pediatricians.

Housed in the cloud, available through desktop computers and grounded in social communities, OPENPediatrics is aimed squarely at creating a broad, skilled pediatric workforce worldwide -- one that could have a dramatic and sustained impact on the quality of life for children around the world.

OPENPediatrics doesn't just dish up most recent research and data on life-saving treatments to doctors and nurses around the world. It equips them with online tools, including video and simulation technologies, to help them master critical medical procedures and techniques. Further, it creates a global community of experts, including physicians and nurses who can share best practices and insights, using analytics to match expertise with need.

Though it's just getting started by initially being rolled out to some 1,000 doctors and nurses in 74 countries, OPENPediatrics is already chalking up real results. To wit, helping a doctor in Israel master a crucial procedure and assure adequate nutrition and hydration using the service's video demonstrations; teaching physicians at the Fundación Aldo Castañeda in Guatemala new ways to avoid infections, resulting in a new infection prevention program; becoming a standard part of training for fellows and residents at the Institute Giannina Gaslini in Genoa.

And in that way, it's already on the right track. Because the whole point of OPENPediatrics is to connect us, to sweep away those bottlenecks that keep life-saving information from getting to doctors and nurses who most desperately need it. It's not a panacea. It won't cure all problems children face, but it's an extraordinary start.


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IBM on Cloud Security Trends (VIDEO)

Adam Clement   |   August 1, 2013    2:28 PM ET

In this video, IBM cloud security expert Kevin Skapinetz describes the unique challenges of securing a cloud environment, and how it compares to a traditional IT environment. He also discusses considerations for securing private, public or hybrid cloud environments in various stages of development.


Follow IBM on Twitter @ibm.

How A Secure Linux Cloud on IBM System z Creates an Empowered Honolulu (VIDEO)

Adam Clement   |   August 1, 2013    2:16 PM ET

The City and County of Honolulu sought to create a smarter city with enhanced data transparency and data access for the citizens. Honolulu first needed to address several problems that plagued them before they could be well positioned for serving their citizens better. Honolulu identified their needs and determined how IBM System z could create a foundation to build a Smarter Honolulu.


Follow IBM on Twitter @ibm.

aatranslations Transforms Its Business with IBM SmartCloud Engage

Adam Clement   |   August 1, 2013    1:40 PM ET

Learn how aatranslations takes advantage of the guest model in IBM SmartCloud Engage Cloud Collaboration Services to work with translators and customers all over the world.


Follow IBM on Twitter @ibm.

The Bridge to IBM's SmartCloud Now has a SoftLayer

James Grundvig   |   June 24, 2013    1:29 PM ET

In the world according to rumor and speculation -- there's a lot of that in the rapidly changing world of technology -- why did IBM acquire SoftLayer?

• Was it to compete directly against Amazon Web Services, as one industry insider told me at the Cloud East Expo in New York?
• Was it part of IBM's corporate strategy and 2015 Mobile Roadmap?
• Or was it part of the venerable company to get younger, faster?

In the former, Amazon appeared to have sealed the $600 million on-premise cloud contract with the CIA two months ago, when news this month surfaced about the intelligence project is now a two-horse race between AWS and IBM. Such competition is good for the taxpayers. IBM had no comment on what stage those discussions are at.

In speaking with Denis Quan, PhD, Vice President of IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, and two SoftLayer executives at the Cloud Expo, coupled with a follow up interview with the director of IBM's MobileFirst initiative, I came away with a lot more intel than mere speculation.

After talking to SoftLayer's Duke Skarda, CTO, and Simon West, CMO, my bet on the reason why IBM made the acquisition was a combination of the mobile, younger strategy, not just competitive juices flowing between tech giants.

Duke Skarda said, "At SoftLayer we focus on delivering a broad range of cloud infrastructure."

Simon West began to explain in his fast-talking British accent: "We've built a powerful software platform to completely automate the data center. We offer a virtualized cloud infrastructure--the traditional virtualized, multi-tenant platform. Then, SoftLayer has a range of bare metal dedicated cloud servers for performance-intensive workloads. Customers can combine these two compute models to build highly scalable public, private or hybrid cloud infrastructures across our global footprint depending on their needs, and manage the entire environment from one portal and a powerful API."

SoftLayer in the Cloud
"We have more than 100,000 physical servers located at 13 datacenters around the world, serving 140 countries, backed by a single pane web portal with a support team," Mr. West said.

"We have achieved steady growth since 2005. The challenges we faced were business challenges," Mr. Skarda said. "We did a merger in 2009 with The Planet Internet Company," which, like SoftLayer, has its roots in Texas. "The Planet had a good customer base and operations. SoftLayer had a great bare metal cloud platform. It was a natural fit for us."

As with the IBM acquisition, at first I had trouble seeing the natural fit. So I asked SoftLayer's West and Skarda: "What verticals do you serve?"

"Our customers were born on the web," Mr. West said. "Companies that are into gaming, iPhones, digital, social media. We have 100 million gamers in our ecosystem. Our cloud offerings were built from the ground up for those Internet-centric companies."

West added, "Both companies have gaps. Both are technology and business oriented. Over the next five years IBM will allow us to expand geographically, accelerate our business plans. Both companies are intensely tech-driven, innovators with similar cultures."

Lifecycle of the Enterprise
"There's a fundamental shift in the way the enterprise is going to evolve," Duke Skarda said. "We are well-suited architecturally for large enterprises going forward. SoftLayer offers a secure environment and unified platform."

Dennis Quan said, "SoftLayer is part of the new SmartCloud Services division in IBM Global. The value proposition for IBM, cloud without compromise. We have strength in the enterprise, cloud computing, enterprise use cases, private, Open Stack, hybrid platforms. Clients today need public and private clouds to keep open standards, to leverage scalability, to find solutions. IBM has PaaS and a robust SaaS portfolio, part of our Smarter Planet Solutions."

He paused, and said, "Another big factor for the acquisition is to take enterprise level security, the compliance need to switch. Start with standards. Add Open Stack to SoftLayer."

West added, "Or what I call take a broad set of Legos and make it even broader. There's a lot of that in mobile."

To learn more about IBM mobile, I reached out to IBM's Michael Gilfix, Director of Mobile Enterprise Solutions, in a phone interview.

IBM MobileFirst initiative
"IBM's MobileFirst initiative begins with investing heavily in mobility. We see it as a huge transformation with mobile being the primary access point, the mechanism for user interaction with businesses. This will create different ways to make employees more productive to support the rapidly growing space on a first class basis," Michael Gilfix said.

With expertise in IBM's business process unit, prior to coming to the Mobile Enterprise Solutions unit, Gilfix said, "We are investing in mobile across IBM, investing in shoring up our portfolio and IBM capabilities."

To Mr. Gilfix, the next generation digital platform will empower users the "ability to have access to data" as they never had before. "It will allow them to service their end customer in more personalized ways. That will create a lot of value with an increasing focus on design. The new employee will need the kind of skills to meet the next generation of productivity," he said.

He emphasized that traditional workflow will change as, "Mobile is about leveraging context: what's known about a user, incorporating their surroundings via device sensors, new device form factors."

Michael Gilfix said, "A perfect example is the changing relationship with digital content." He discussed how mobile would become so "pervasive" in our daily lives. The old viewership was the cable model that was delivered during "couch time." Now mobility goes beyond smartphones and tablets. It will show up in set-top boxes on TVs (watch out cable), dashboards in the car, and control sensors in the home. "These new data points will drive new context to gain information on the end user in ways we haven't even thought about," he said.

A big part of that new ecosystem will be the need to overcome the lag created by "device fragmentation." The other part will be securing data. He brought up a valid point on the BYOD trend, saying, "Where does the company draw and define the boundary in an employee's device?"

Mr. Gilfix finished his thoughts about mobile growth: "It's all about maximizing the multi-channel experience."

The tech ecosystem is expanding rapidly like the universe, from galaxies (industries) and constellations (enterprises) to stars and planets, or us people as consumers and mobile data points in business and our everyday lives.

Smaller Cities Engage Citizens Through Small Business Innovation

Katharine Frase   |   June 19, 2013    9:22 AM ET

People say they'd like to influence or actively participate in their local government. In fact, according to a Civic Plus Digital Citizen Engagement survey, nearly half of those polled want to provide input into their municipal government.

But turning this interest into action is one of the biggest roadblocks to implementing local community ideas. How can local municipalities tap into the increasing power of social and mobile technologies to create a community of active influencers?

One of the foundational tools for this conversion is already widely used: mobile devices. In North America alone, smartphone usage is about 55 percent and is expected to reach more than 70 percent by 2016. Knowing the ubiquity of this vital communications tool, local governments are investing in systems to share relevant local information.

Everyone understands that information flowing from government to citizens and from citizens to government is critical for responsible citizenship and responsive and accountable governance. Informed citizens are better equipped to access services, exercise their rights and hold their representatives accountable. Smarter governments know that information sharing re-energizes and encourages wider participation in public processes.

Governments have discovered that citizens are more likely to access relevant information via text, tweet or Facebook comment than via impersonal robo-calls or flyers. These new methods are less expensive than phone and face-to-face interactions. There also are no time constraints in cyberspace; citizens can consume and submit information on their own schedule 24 hours a day, increasing the likelihood of their engagement and participation.

If a citizen knew that traffic congestion would be especially high due to a major event taking place, would that person choose to take the bus or the train instead of driving his car into work? Or if a small business owner had accessed the minutes of a city council meeting on initiatives to help drive sustainability, would she begin to start working with suppliers that sold eco-friendly materials? Local businesses could also partner with governments and publicize and socialize their goods and services in more interactive ways, which could lead to more business and unique marketing opportunities.

At the same time, online resources can provide citizens with virtual anytime, anywhere access to the cloud-based information and services. Citizens can look up information about events, apply for permits or licenses, pay bills and fines, or log reports and requests. Governments can also provide access to relevant data such as weather, traffic, pollution air quality, or unemployment benefits.

The city of Dubuque, Iowa, combines smart meters and powerful analytics to give its citizens the insights they need to adjust their energy and water consumption. The results -- an 11 percent reduction in electricity usage and a 7 percent reduction in water usage -- are impressive. City council leaders now have abundant evidence that the cloud-based access to its progressive policies and programs, influenced by citizens, are attracting new residents to put down roots in the city, boosting economic vitality.

Creating these kinds of communications and engagement systems, don't have to be a luxury. All communities have the same appetite for interactive engagement with their citizens, and city mayors and administrators are thinking of creative ways to balance these strategic goals with operational cost efficiency.

How is all of this accomplished? Innovative small- and medium-sized IT providers are collaborating with local governments and larger suppliers to deliver better value for the taxpayer. Tapping local innovation potential could bolster small local companies, which in turn creates jobs and drives local economic growth, all while improving citizen services. And unlike larger cities, smaller municipalities have more agility to maneuver around bureaucratic obstacles, creating a more direct line of communication between citizens and their representatives.

For instance, discussions around a piece of legislation or an upcoming election requires the dissemination of large amounts of information as well as the ability to collect and analyze citizens' reactions. Big data collected from these online conversations can provide insights that influence policy for the city, and tools like social media or cloud computing simply speed the pace of proposals or analysis delivered to constituents.

As we've seen, given the widespread adoption of mobile devices, social media platforms and cloud computing, citizen expectations of how they interact with private organizations have changed how they view their relationship with public entities. Why shouldn't the public expect its government to offer the same personalized communications they get from online shopping sites?

Thanks to social media, mobile and cloud technologies, city governments and local organizations are finding the right resources and the right technologies to better engage their constituents to help move government forward making ordinary citizens the center of civic life.

For more information about Smarter Cities, click here.

Follow IBM on Twitter @ibm.

Why Can't I Bring my Cloud-based Consumer Apps to Work?

Ric Telford   |   May 14, 2013    9:41 AM ET

If you're like most of us, you always keep your smartphone or tablet within arm's reach and have become accustomed to limitless access to information anytime and anywhere from an array of aesthetically designed, simple and user friendly apps.

Perhaps that's why the overall app market for smartphones and tablets grew to 13.4 billion downloads for the first quarter of this year. You can now find long-lost friends, crowd-source a network of thousands on an important decision, compare prices before a major purchase, manage your personal finances across several accounts, and make edits to your daughter's homework, all in real-time from your mobile device.

So, why is it that stepping into your office feels like stepping back in time?

Your expectations have changed. Networking with colleagues, identifying new business contacts, making cost-efficient purchasing decisions, managing your company's balance sheet and collaborating with colleagues should only be a few clicks away from wherever you are. The new standard of employee expectation in the workplace is driven by experiences at home, and the mobile and cloud revolution has transformed that reality.

The success of cloud-based consumer apps has affected the way we do business at work. We now expect to have quick and easy access to data at our fingertips as part of our daily toolbox. This is having a big impact on how organizations are supplying IT and changing the way tools are being delivered to an organization. This is called "The Consumerization of IT."

In a sense, the consumer world -- enabled by cloud -- is empowering business.

We can't slow the rising tide of expectations for workplace technology. People who work in HR, marketing and finance expect to have the same kind of collaborative tools at their fingertips as they do on their smartphones. Business leaders are hungry to make informed business decisions as quickly as possible. Cloud is the invisible thread behind both consumer apps and business tools that makes it possible.

Consumer apps have set new standards but there remain important considerations specific to the business world, including security and reliability. With more to lose from breaches in data security or downtime of business critical work, organizations must continue to demand industrial-strength IT.

Businesses need the best of both worlds: the simplicity and ease of the consumer world, with the security and reliability of traditional business applications. Industrial strength IT is important for countless reasons but let's just review a simple fact. It's OK for the weather or commuter train app on your smartphone to go down, because it only causes a personal inconvenience. But management and investors won't be as forgiving if the company's cloud for customer data delivers inaccurate information or fails to run properly during critical business cycles, such as the end of a quarter.

With security and reliability ensured, the convergence of social business, analytics and cloud along with the proliferation of mobile devices will continue to drive innovation. While we are already seeing how these technology trends can change the lives of consumers, business leaders should arm their workforce with the tools that employees need and expect.

To learn more about cloud computing, click here.

Imagine the Marriage of Social Networking and Cloud

Bethann Cregg   |   June 26, 2012    7:36 PM ET

What's the one thing all organizations have in common? They must identify new ways to grow revenue and expand their business to stay competitive.

Increasingly, organizations are using cloud computing and social networking to help them embrace new market opportunities.

Over the past several years cloud computing has matured to a point where it's considered a mainstream technology service. The benefits can seem endless. It helps to reduce IT costs, it's easy to set up, scales to your business' storage needs seamlessly, provides customers, partners and employees with remote access from anywhere at anytime, it's secure and security-rich. Expected to grow to more than $214 billion by 2020, cloud computing has become a catalyst for capturing new business value.

Similarly, social networking for business has exploded over the past several years. Forrester Research reports that the market opportunity for social enterprise apps is expected to grow at a rate of 61 percent through 2016, reaching $6.4 billion. Once viewed as a tool for students and teens to connect with one another, businesses are now adopting similar concepts to better connect their employees, partners and clients and to transform globally. These organizations are transforming into social business as every department, from HR to marketing to product development to customer service to sales, are using social networking the way they use any other tool and channel to do their job.

They're integrating social networking tools into traditional business processes to fundamentally impact how work gets done and to create business value. They're deepening customer relationships, generating new ideas faster, identifying expertise, enabling a more effective workforce and ultimately driving their bottom line.

Imagine what could happen if you were to marry cloud computing and social networking.

Many organizations, of all shapes, sizes and industry, are already doing so and creating significant business value.

For example, within the RICOH Company, Ltd., an international supplier of office and industrial equipment, the Business Development Center is collaborating in the cloud creating products faster with an expected improvement in cycle time for new product introduction of 20 percent. Chefs at Newly Weds Foods, a world leader in food ingredient technology, have reduced department travel and meeting costs by 10 percent. Strategic Decisions Group (SDG), an international strategy consulting firm, has also achieved more than 60 percent cost reduction in their Asia Pacific e-mail system costs, all thanks to using cloud services.

Colleagues in Care' Global Healthcare Network (CIC) is using social networking tools in the cloud to virtually connect medical workers and volunteers from around the globe. Using this technology, the volunteers and those on the front lines taking care of patients are armed with an online medical knowledge system that includes treatment options, clinical pathways, and best practices specific to the situation in Haiti. For example, doctors on the ground in Haiti now have immediate access to information. Previously, a healthcare worker typically had no access to a specialist to consult about a specific medical condition. They can now immediately determine how to best care for a patient directly in front of them, at the same time collaborating with colleagues to determine more population-based strategies of effective care.

graph

Colleagues In Care is using IBM cloud-based social analytics and collaboration services to provide their global network of healthcare volunteers with immediate access to critical data and information for the current healthcare needs of the Haitian citizens.

Organizations like Colleagues in Care, Neiman Marcus, University of Texas El Paso (UTEP), Strategic Decisions Group (SDG), Hindustan Motors, Bonduelle and Apave have chosen the cloud to help drive social business adoption across the enterprise. These organizaions are seamlessly collaborating, sharing information and ideas, resulting in increased efficiency, improved productivity and in the case of CIC changing the very fabric of healthcare delivery in an areas devastated by earthquake.

Social and cloud are opportunities that organizations are realizing can't be missed, they're becoming must-haves that businesses can't ignore. Have you taken advantage?

Small and Midsize Businesses Seizing the Cloud Opportunity

Andy Monshaw   |   June 26, 2012    7:28 PM ET

A small healthcare provider decides to put patient records on the cloud while ensuring that they are HIPAA compliant. A regional bank turns to a managed services approach to host mobile applications and platforms so the bank can create new channels to engage consumers who expect to access their bank information with a few taps of a finger.

No matter how you look at, it's the cloud that is driving the way information and technology is being consumed -- changing the way we work.

Businesses -- driven by consumers -- expect their data to be open, accessible and easily moved between different programs. If somebody wants to connect their customer information to their sales analytics application and have that insight sent to their mobile device -- they don't see why they shouldn't be able to.

The convenience of cloud applications has become so common that we almost take it for granted. Basic email and other cloud applications are used everywhere from small to large businesses around the world. Mobile technology has also tethered us to the cloud in ways that were unimaginable a few years ago.

Increasing Confidence in the Cloud

Today, the cloud levels the playing field for SMBs, helping them compete in today's quickly changing business environment, by spending less time and money on IT and more time focused on their most important priority -- growing their businesses.

While SMBs have expressed their security concerns in the past, they are seeing advances in this space that are changing perceptions and increasing receptivity.

No doubt, security is complex area. But it's specifically difficult for small businesses to keep up with ever-changing and increasing security threats especially when they typically have a small IT staff to focus on it.

Now, SMBs are seeing steps taken to deliver enterprise-level high availability and security to protect their most precious assets -- customer information, intellectual property and most importantly their brand -- in the cloud. This is dramatically shifting the way they think about the cloud with security in the same sentence.

And this increasing confidence in the cloud is opening up new opportunities for many SMBs to use new technologies such as mobile and social channels to better compete and enter into new markets and identify new customers. In fact, according to AMI, SMBs in the United States will spend more than $49 billion on cloud services in 2015, nearly double the size of the market today.

And as mobility will continue to gain in popularity, the demand for smartphone technology and mobile computing platforms on the cloud is only going to increase. In fact, by 2015, nearly three-quarters of the internet-capable devices will be Post-PC devices, (smartphones and tablets). Many SMBs are looking to these devices to enhance the way they to do business such as using a free downloadable mobile app to brainstorm, exchange ideas and collect feedback on client accounts in real time -- the key piece to help win new business.

Whether it's data, mobile or network, security will always be one of the top priorities for any SMB. So how can SMBs maintain a level of control over access to apps and data that they expect behind their own firewall? Seamless integration that connects users and cloud apps to manage access control, auditing and authentication will be key.

So with that said, SMBs will be looking to managed service providers to help them seize this opportunity that cloud can bring, delivering the enterprise level capabilities SMBs never had access to before -- helping to accelerate the cloud adoption for this business segment.

As many SMBs are under intense pressure to build their businesses, reduce costs, eliminate inefficiencies, the one thing they can feel confident about is how the cloud will open the doors to new opportunities and remove the barriers that once prevented them to get on to the path of innovation and growth.

Powering Cloud Adoption With IBM SmartCloud Foundation

Jarrod Dicker   |   February 28, 2012    4:12 PM ET

IBM SmartCloud Foundation technologies enable organizations to easily build and rapidly scale private and hybrid clouds with unparalleled time to market, integration and management. Listen to Scott Hebner, IBM Vice President of Marketing, Cloud & Business Infrastructure Management describe why organizations are moving to the cloud and how IBM SmartCloud Foundation technology powers cloud adoption.

For more information about cloud offerings from IBM, visit http://www.ibm.com/smartcloud.
Follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ibmcloud
and on our blog at http://www.thoughtsoncloud.com

Cloud Computing: Visibility, Control And Automation For Your Data Center

Jarrod Dicker   |   February 28, 2012    4:02 PM ET

IBM's Integrated Service Management solutions offers workload optimized systems, data center optimization, improved service delivery and easier risk mitigation. Smarter data for a smarter planet.

Integrated Service Management is all about helping our customers manage the size, scope, and complexity of their information technology assets and resources. A typical data center lasts 15 to 30 years. How do they keep up with the changes in technology, with the changes in computing models like cloud? So we're really focused on helping customers with these three issues; the ability to keep up with their growth, manage their costs, and be flexible and responsive. So what I like about this concept of IBM Smarter Data Center is the idea that this is providing a holistic view of the data center based on real world workloads, virtualization, service management, putting it context with critical issues such as security, manageability, and automation. And cloud computing can help here in this instance by combining virtualization, automation, and standardization to deliver services faster and in a flexible fashion. IBM's going through the whole process and put together a solution that can be applied and work in the realtime and be implemented in a very short time. We know how to optimize the hardware, the middleware underneath the applications to deliver the best performance for our clients. I think this is the unique thing that we bring into the marketplace end-to-end across the data center in optimizing workloads for integrated service managed environments in a delivery model that is best for each client. Well, IBM's Smarter Data Center really is making reality out of promises that have been held out to the industry, not just by IBM, but across the board. In other words, knowing what you have and what it's doing, and from that deriving patterns of control. How should you manage it, maintain it, what are the patterns, the indicators of wear and failure and things of this nature, and by operating on a continuous improvement closed-loop basis to be able to move to full automation. IBM has established itself as a leader in the thinking and as well as in the application of IT technology.

Original video/content seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N68T1H8XGAA&feature=channel_video_title

When it Comes to Cloud Computing, It's Deja Vu All Over Again

Lauren States   |   January 31, 2012    7:53 AM ET

It seems like everywhere we look someone is talking or writing about "the cloud." The recent Consumer Electronics Show featured everything from 3D televisions to cars connected to the cloud. For someone like me, this is great to see and it's an extremely exciting time to be in the technology field.

While talking to my niece last week, I came to a realization. She asked, "Aunt Lauren, what do you do at work now?" I replied that I help companies use cloud computing and went into details that no young adult should suffer through, which ended with me asking whether she understood.

Her response was, "You mean like the icloud thing from Apple?"

This struck me in two ways. One is that cloud computing has officially permeated outside of the tech world. The second is that, at its core, the idea of cloud computing is simple. We are removing all of the complexity associated with using information technology and giving people access to computing power they would never have had before.

But for some people who have spent a lifetime building all of that complexity in, that's a tough pill to swallow.

In 2003, Nicholas Carr's article in The Harvard Business Review, titled ''IT Doesn't Matter,'' questioned corporate America's faith in the value of technology. He argued that information technology is inevitably headed in the same direction as the railroads, the telegraph, electricity and the internal combustion engine.

At the time, this was considered by many as heresy. Whether you agree with the premise or not, Carr's point wasn't that technology was no longer necessary, it was that the focus should no longer be on the technology itself but on what people and companies can do with it.

Almost a decade later, I feel like we're having this conversation all over again with cloud computing. Does cloud computing truly matter?

According to Forrester Research, cloud computing will grow from the $41 billion business it was in 2010 to $241 billion in 2020. So, the answer is a resounding yes, but not for all the right reasons.

Up until now, in the five-year span of the cloud craze, most corporate leaders and people have relied on their technology suppliers or the media to define the cloud and tell them how this new style of computing will work.

But now that the hype is settling down, the discussion needs to quickly shift to one about outcomes -- often through new business models now made possible by the cloud. What matters next is how business and consumers will use it and I think that is where the fun really begins.

The cloud is already re-shaping industries in new and interesting ways:

- In Italy, at the University of Bari, a team built a cloud that allows local fishermen to auction their catch while still at sea. By creating more demand for the fishermen's product, the cloud has increased income by 25% while reducing time-to-market by 70%. Now the team is scaling the solution to create new business models for the winemaking and transportation industries.

- Researchers at Freie Universität Berlin are creating better methods for analyzing human blood proteins as a means of detecting diseases earlier than was previously possible. By working closely with mathematicians and other collaborators, computer scientists at the university created a cloud that enables scientists to analyze 12,000 patient records in real time -- each comprising roughly 2.5 gigabytes of data -- at a rate approximately 250 times faster than they had before.

Changing retail markets, medicine, consumer electronics and media are all possible with cloud computing. Fundamental changes in computing models don't come around very often, but if we focus on what we can do rather than how we do it, we're already making progress.

To learn more on how cloud computing is transforming industries, click here.

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