'Smart' move can help Asian firms ride slump

Investing in a "dynamic infrastructure", part of Big Blue's "smarter planet" vision, can help region's data centers prepare for growth in the future, says IBM exec.

SINGAPORE--Businesses need to invest in a smart, dynamic infrastructure to address current business demands, as well as upcoming opportunities.

Having a dynamic infrastructure is one of the key aspects of IBM's "smarter planet" vision, said Hermant S. Shah, Asean executive for infrastructure business in IBM's Systems and Technology Group. Speaking Wednesday at the IBM Technology Conference & Expo 2009 in the island-state, he said the vision was first introduced by IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano late last year.

Being "smart" demanded businesses to do things in a different way--especially relevant in the current economic climate, Shah pointed out. This may mean taking current technologies and applying them differently through the additional input of ideas.

Being smart was also about getting ready for the future, he said. Companies must have a "willingness and desire to be smart".

Patrick Chan, chief technology adviser at IDC Asia-Pacific, concurred. Noting that recovery will take place "two years down the road", he said businesses need to start preparing for that growth scenario "now".

New technologies have an important role in these times, when spending on strategic initiatives will continue, added Chan. An electric kettle for instance, can be labeled a "disruptive technology" as it takes a shorter time than the traditional kettle to boil water and has the ability to switch itself off after heating the water. Similarly, a data center could align its business priorities with the "next wave of technologies", he said.

According to Shah, a dynamic infrastructure not only reduces cost, but helps improve service and availability to customers and manages risk for the organization. In such an environment, different types of infrastructures are interconnected and intelligent.

A dynamic infrastructure, he said, would include service management, asset management, information infrastructure, virtualization, security, business resiliency and energy efficiency. Although all components are required they may, however, be needed in different measures at different times.

Shah added that for businesses gearing toward a dynamic infrastructure, the first step is to assess their current infrastructure, then tap on the appropriate models such as managed services and cloud computing.

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