The game changer: The future of enterprise IT has begun

When the iPhone launched in 2007, we all instinctively knew […]

February 11, 2013

When the iPhone launched in 2007, we all instinctively knew that this was not just “a new development” in the market. We had seen a completely different concept; a revolution. Overnight, every other mobile phone on the market was made redundant.

What exactly made the iPhone a game-changer? For the first time, consumers had an integrated system — combining web browser, phone and multimedia player in one, simple console. That made it not just more convenient for users; it launched an entirely new lifestyle of total interconnectedness. The iPhone also had boundless potential to grow: development Tool Kit enabled thousands of apps to be created overnight by independent developers. And it had intelligence built into its design: From gyroscopes to GPS-tracking, apps could capitalize on the multiple intuitive features in the handsets to deliver intelligent services to users.

Most of all, the iPhone hid all this complexity behind an interface of total, elegant simplicity for the user: Web, phone and computation functions integrated seamlessly, while groundbreaking touch-screen navigation moved users dynamically and easily between features.

Total integration and intelligence at the platform level combined with total simplification at the front end … the idea that such a revolution could ever happen with enterprise ICT systems might seem far-fetched. But that revolution has, in fact, already happened.

They are called Expert Integrated Systems (at IBM, we have branded them “PureSystems”) and they really do change everything. In fact, they represent such a radical shift for our industry that many ICT professionals simply can’t believe what these systems will mean until they see them in person. That’s because this is not a new technology. This is ICT as a business function re-imagined completely from scratch — and, just like the iPhone, intelligence, integration and simplification are the three driving forces of the revolution.

The headline results are jaw-dropping: Expert Integrated Systems don’t just reduce the application development cycle from years to months. They reduce it to minutes. They don’t just build bridges between functional siloes in ICT. They eradicate those siloes completely. They don’t just bring down operation costs — they slash them in half. And deployment? The whole system can be installed in one afternoon.

How is all this possible? Because, with Expert Integrated Systems, the organization’s entire IT system is finally run from a single system. Computing, storage, networking and IT management are all housed in a single chassis, and with all elements designed, from the start, to work in complete harmony with one another.

That signals a complete change for how the business of IT will now be done. Integrating the whole ICT infrastructure into one system has allowed real intelligence to be built into Expert Integrated Systems’ design — decades of industry expertise, coded as algorithmic “patterns” (including the artificial intelligence that powers supercomputers like IBM’s ‘Watson’). The result? Expert Integrated Systems automatically conduct problem-solving across the whole ICT network: If you change the attributes between two elements somewhere in your infrastructure, the system automatically reviews all dependencies elsewhere and adjusts them accordingly, guaranteeing a stable workload performance. Risk, cost and time are all vastly reduced — as is the need to constantly bring in specialist expertise to meet varying demands. They really do change our job forever.

The flexibility of Expert Integrated Systems also means that they are “future-proof”: Quite simply, they are designed for Cloud. Infrastructure patterns, which optimize the management of virtualized applications, reduce latency by half. And with resource pooling and automated provisioning patterns, users can manage a cloud infrastructure as easily as they can a single system.

Amid all this integration and intelligence, Expert Integrated Systems offer the kind of ease-of-use for ICT managers that were previously only a pipedream. Leaders can get a holistic view of every last corner of the ICT infrastructure via a single management console, which pools system data — software, middleware, networking, storage, performance — into one dashboard. From its “pattern store” they can then drag and drop pre-installed applications into the system in seconds. (And more patterns are being developed every week — even now; tens of thousands are available for system users.)

In short, Expert Integrated Systems promise to re-start the business of ICT from scratch: as a unified service; centralized; adaptable; cost-effective; and with simplification as its driving value. Within a few years, its integrating power will eradicate old-style siloes: Everything will be in the same language. Software will be so cheap and easy to install as to become almost disposable. The process quagmires, and the years of software development and deployment, will be aberrations, not the norm.

In short, these systems now enable ICT to be managed as a strategic function, finally able to operate at the speed and cost demanded by today’s business world. And organizations that don’t believe that will very soon find themselves with ICT systems that are like Nokia 3750s in an era of Smartphone’s.

Pascal Lanser: Country General Manager IBM Luxembourg

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