Cognitive Cloud Computing and IT as a Service Hold the Key to Enterprise Rebirth

By: Mickey Iqbal| - Leave a comment

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Many businesses feel threatened by the digital age. They look around and no longer see the same competition.

Since 2000, more than half of the companies that had earned a spot in the prestigious Fortune 500 have gone bankrupt, were acquired or simply ceased to exist. New businesses have rapidly emerged in their place, and many of them are disrupting how things are done on their way to the top.

With cloud computing facilitating remarkable agility and flexibility, these new businesses always seem to be in the right place at the right time. Meanwhile, those that abide by traditional business models can’t get to the right place quickly enough. They’re remarkably rigid and inflexible.

These organizations struggle because they don’t have the proper IT infrastructure to handle data. They possess more data than ever — and it will only continue to increase exponentially — but as long as they rely on computing architecture that’s more than 70 years old, they come perilously close to joining the ghosts of the Fortune 500.

Businesses don’t have to fail because of creaky architecture. Enterprise IT as a Service, coupled with IBM Watson, offers companies a ticket to the fast lane, where cognitive computing understands all the unstructured data that companies struggle to coalesce, clean and analyze. Organizations that harness cloud IT and cognitive computing can access and use virtually all types of data, empowering them to create new business models and form new revenue streams. They become disruptors.

Architectures Conceived in the 1940s Can’t Handle the Data of 2020

Cloud computing gives startups the courage to aim their slingshots at longstanding business giants both inside and outside their industries. Startups steal market share and keep executives awake at night because of the freedom they have by being born digital. Free of traditional constraints such as overhead and logistics, they thrive on app-based business models that engender flexibility and help them make the most of their data.

Without question, data drives business. Analysts recently posited that all the data in the world amounted to 4.4 zettabytes. To put that in perspective, a zettabyte is about 10 to the power of 21 bytes. That will seem like a drop in the bucket by 2020, when global data could potentially increase 10 times over to 44 zettabytes. What should concern organizations is not just the sheer amount of data but the fact that 80 percent of it is unstructured. Dark data comprises video, texts, social media posts, audio clips — things that are also meaningful to businesses because the information carries great insight on consumer behavior.

Businesses can’t tap dark data using traditional computing, most of which relies on architecture that was designed in 1945 by Princeton mathematician John von Neumann. This 72-year-old architecture has only four tenets: input-output, memory, the arithmetic logic unit and the control unit. Von Neumann’s creation advanced innovation for decades, but it can no longer properly serve the many technological needs facing organizations today.

Cognitive Technology Mines Riches in Masses of Data

Organizations don’t need to be uncertain or afraid of where the digital future is headed. The transition from struggle to strength requires only a cloud-native platform that is cognitive-ready.

The reason why programmed technology can’t even begin to handle today’s data demands is that it needs organized information and programmed logic to function. Cognitive systems learn systematically and continuously, all while handling disparate and varied data.

Cognitive technology understands unstructured information such as the imagery, natural language and sounds in books, emails, tweets, journals, blogs, sentiments, images and videos. It finds meaning because it can reason through data and offer new contexts to weigh and consider. Our clients see this with IBM Watson and its ability to learn from high volumes of data at astonishing speed. Watson software reads 800 million pages per second. For one of our clients, Watson technology initially ingested 80 million documents and is incrementally adding 30,000 additional documents every day.

Cognitive technology consistently increases the insights you can produce against your data, while simultaneously expanding your universe of data. All your dark data sees the light of analysis and action, and with newfound agility and flexibility, your organization constantly gets better at everything.

Technology Is Only as Strong as Its Flexible, Secure Foundation

It’s important to stress that advanced architecture underlies these remarkable gains in data insight. IBM clients, for example, depend on us to integrate the right mix of resiliency services and then flawlessly orchestrate and operate them. We leverage cognitive technology and automation into architecture so that Watson can predict issues and keep the IT environment healthy as well as offer insights so executives can improve business and IT performance.

The global food delivery service company Sysco, for one, partnered with IBM Global Technology Services to improve its transport of 1.8 billion cases of mostly perishable food. Our Dynamic Cloud Automation of 4,000 servers automatically resolves incident and problem tickets, reducing Sysco’s critical issues by 89 percent and the average resolution time from 19 hours to 28 minutes.

Similarly, IBM Watson enhanced the customer engagement efforts of retailer The North Face. We created a digital tool that personalizes The North Face customers’ shopping experiences. A URL on their devices activates when they’re in a store to help them find the right merchandise, while The North Face website taps Watson to ask customers pointed questions about their locations and when they’ll wear apparel to forecast weather and lead them to appropriate seasonal selections.

Start With One Use Case, and Soon You’ll Be a Disruptor

Whether it’s Sysco, The North Face or any other enterprise, we help our clients move as fast as an agile digital-born startup while still providing a resilient architecture that is secure and meets government regulations. Our flexible, scalable cloud-native architecture supports the full spectrum of cloud delivery — from on-premise and private to public and hybrid — and bakes in security to protect against complex threats.

CTOs and CIOs often ask me where they should start. I tell them to first take the surest path to success: Identify a use case with a client or customer and get a quick win. Then, they can prove to shareholders that enterprise IT as a Service and cognitive computing can do even bigger and better things.

Then, they can have agile development, respond to the competition’s business models and introduce their own business models — they can be disruptors.

To see how your organization can be reborn as an agile disruptor, learn more about IBM Global Technology Services.

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About The Author

Mickey Iqbal

IBM Fellow and IBM Master Inventor - Global Lead for GTS Enterprise IT Transformation Advisors, IBM

Mickey Iqbal leads the worldwide Enterprise IT Transformation Advisors team for IBM Global Technology Services (GTS). He is an IBM Fellow and Master Inventor responsible for designing world class IT infrastructure management systems for IBM's largest clients.