Posts Tagged ‘IBM’

IBM to Establish Software Incubation Centres in Lagos, Calabar

September 11th, 2013

The President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of International Business Machines (IBM), Ms. Virginia Ginny Rometty, said yesterday the company had concluded arrangements to establish two software incubation centres in Lagos and Calabar, by the first quarter of 2014.

Rometty made the disclosure in Abuja while she led the company’s delegation on a courtesy visit to the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson.

She added the centres would help in the overall development of the nation’s human capital development. She said: “We have a long-term commitment to this continent and Nigeria.

“I have actually selected Africa and Nigeria especially to make our focal point for growth in the next decade and we have invested both in people, skills and some of our most precious resources such as innovation and research centres to be on this continent.

“In fact Nigeria is our hub for Africa. So one of our purposes of visiting the minister today is to talk about something called the innovation hub that we shall be opening in the first quarter of 2014 and it will be focused on key industries such as in banking, telecommunications, government, oil and gas solution”

Rometty said she was very optimistic about the future of Africa especially Nigeria in the growth of ICT. “We hope to continue in the way of employer of labour in the country.” She said.

Earlier, Johnson said the present administration was concerned about leveraging what IBM is doing so as to increase the penetration of ICT skills and knowledge in the country. She said: “Our meeting with IBM today is to help accelerate the development of Nigeria as an important hub of global ICT centre. First of all it get more Nigerians into the ICT and also establishing innovation Centres in Calabar and Lagos that will help solve some of the biggest challenges that we have using technology.”

She admitted that Nigeria was going to benefit from the establishment of these centres. “This ICT development and programmes will help accelerate the development of this country. This innovative will really help us to begin to think of innovative ways of how to bring ICT with many of the challenges that we are faced with today. IBM as a big company spends so much on research every year and they are to bring that expertise to support the development of Nigeria.”

On how many Nigerians will be empowered from the innovative centres, Johnson said: “Though we have not set a target in terms of how many people that we are going to empower with these Centres. What we are actually doing is trying to develop ICT skills all around the economy which runs into thousands of numbers that will make impact in the country.

“On a more broader basis we want to give more young Nigerians broader based ICT skills because research has shown that most of the jobs that are going to be created in the country will around ICT services. And so it is important for us to build these skills in their thousands.”


BMC Helps Trim Costs on IBM Mainframe Software

September 10th, 2013

Navigating IBM mainframe pricing has always been an adventure in complexity. When it comes to deploying workloads on a mainframe, the options are numerous. Most mainframe shops always have a nagging feeling that they are paying too much for something; they are just never sure what.

To help mainframe customers get a better handle on mainframe software costs, BMC Software has released BMC Cost Analyzer for zEnterprise, a predictive analytics application that has been optimized to analyze mainframe software spending.

According to Jay Lipovich, director of solutions marketing for BMC, the BMC Cost Analyzer for zEnterprise not only identifies where software spending is being allocated, it also allows IT organizations to develop various scenarios under which they can determine the true cost of moving a particular workload under one mainframe licensing scheme or another.

To attract more workloads to the mainframe, IBM has developed an array of licensing options that make it cost effective to run Linux or DB2 workloads on a mainframe. These options help reduce costs, but they also introduce a level of complexity that often makes it difficult to actually figure out what workloads should run where on a mainframe.

Lipovich says BMC Cost Analyzer for zEnterprise could save the average mainframe shop as much as 20 percent of mainframe licensing costs. But the software itself is restricted to workloads running on a mainframe, so it does not include any metrics relating to the movement of those workloads to distributed systems that might be linked to that mainframe.

Lower-end mainframe systems have been cannibalized by distributed systems, but as IBM has introduced more powerful mainframes, the number of workloads running on those systems has actually increased. As a result, BMC contends that software costs on mainframes have actually been increasing 7 percent annually, on average.

The challenge is figuring out how to best take advantage of all the licensing schemes that IBM has created to make those mainframes more financially appealing. After all, every dollar saved on licensing costs is yet another dollar that can be reinvested elsewhere.


IBM Re-Emphasizes Software And Services To The Channel

September 9th, 2013

In his keynote address at the Avnet and IBM Executive Directions meeting last month, Steve Mills told a roomful of folks in the sales channel that their greatest opportunities for future success would be in software and services. That’s not a new tune the general manager in charge of the converged Software and Systems Group was singing, but in this business setting where hardware sales is the sentimental favorite, Mills would like to make sure the choir is singing his song.

Mills carefully built a bridge that connected the old reseller sales approach that led with hardware sales by saying up front that “all new things have roots in the past” and “no one thing will solve business problems,” but once he launched into the IBM key initiatives and investments portion of his message, it clearly stated the future is in solving business problems and the best way to do that was with software and services.

To make his point, Mills notes during the past 15 to 20 years there’s been an increasing amount of IT budget devoted to the care and feeding of infrastructure, to the point where it has reached more than 70 percent, leaving little for solving the business problems. Operating costs are a critical issue and when the money is tied up, it can’t be used for improving infrastructure.

For companies in the IT business–in this setting Mills was talking to resellers–to make money, they have to have customers with a budget. And they have to have products and services with a decent profit margin, which is increasingly difficult in the hardware business, where commodity pricing and server consolidation have squeezed much of the juice from that fruit.

Helping end users find more budget is a big part of the equation. The answer to that is reducing the dependency on administrative and management duties. That will cause several things to happen, Mills says. As time goes on, more computing will be done off-premise. In-house IT will not disappear, but some of it will move to a new address. When it does, those companies moving workloads off premise will tap into the expertise of the service providers, so if you are a service provider it’s time to build some specific skills. And if you are an IT professional, in an IBM i shop or otherwise, this is the way the wind is blowing.

It’s inevitable, as Mills points out, that we all become aware of where the marketplace is going and adapt to it.

As an example of how IBM is adapting, Mills says IBM is delivering more incremental MIPS processing capacity on Linux than on z/OS on its mainframes. Sure, that’s in the mainframe world, but similar changes are coming to Power Systems as well. Architectural shifts have made and will continue to make Power more adaptive and customizable with regard to new workloads.

You might recall IBM made a $1 billion investment in Linux about 10 years ago. That’s not the kind of investment that you just forget about.

“We are moving in a direction where people will not know what class of server they are connected to,” Mills said.

Another IBM initiative and investment that Mills wanted to remind the reseller community of is storage, and in particular, flash storage, where IBM has another $1 billion investment.

“There will be a huge transformation around flash technology,” Mills declared. “Today solid state disk flash memory runs at about twice the price per gigabyte compared to traditional Tier 1 magnetics. But when factored into the cost of the operation, flash is about one-third the cost.” He backed that up by saying there are IBM customers spending months tuning applications for better performance in a magnetic storage environment. This, he says, can be done in a matter of hours in a solid state environment and solid state is already affordable for Tier 1 and 2 enterprise companies. It’s all within the parameters of helping companies solve problems and save money.

Selling software as a service is one more IBM initiative that Mills highlighted.

One of the biggest misconceptions about SaaS from a sales perspective is that it cannibalizes existing business, according to Mills, who has been with IBM for 40 years and “hasn’t seen that happen yet.” The guy at the top of IBM’s Software and Systems business says SaaS leads to expanded customer bases. (See the story of NorthgateArinso’s SaaS business elsewhere in this issue of The Four Hundred for a shining example.) And Mills also pointed out to the IBM partners that additional services business can be built around SaaS.

To the list of software solutions that Mills emphasized for their ability to solve business problems, add mobility, data analytics, security, and social/collaboration. Of those, mobility stands out as the one that tops the charts when I talk to IBM i shops and software vendors.

Mills made note of a “huge opportunity for effective implementation services” surrounding the desire for mobile applications. Many businesses (not just IBM i shops) are struggling to quickly deploy mobile apps and it’s not uncommon to find a deploy-fix-adapt progression. The skills gap for most companies is considerable; therefore the door is open for service providers.

Software and services are where IBM sees its best opportunities and there are plenty of indicators to make that look like a good bet.


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