Palmisano: On-demand computing demands openness

IBM chief executive Sam Palmisano issued a challenge to CIOs on Wednesday: push for open standards within your organization and encourage your suppliers to do the same.

“”You know all the linkage points, you know all the inefficiencies.

You have that perspective. You have to get your leader, the CEO, engaged,”” said Palmisano.

“”You’re the ones that can lead it, you’re the ones that can insist on open industry standards. You can demand Java-based systems, you can demand your ISVs give you an open approach before you install it.””

Palmisano addressed IBM employees and customers across the world via satellite link from New York. It was his first major address since taking the reins from Lou Gerstner in March. His call for open standards is part of ‘on demand’ computing — IBM’s term for the next epoch of enterprise technology which, said Palmisano, will emphasize interoperability within businesses and across supply chains.

One IBM customer, carmaker DaimlerChrysler, is taking interoperability to heart by connecting all of its dealerships through a platform called Dealer Connect — an application suite comprising 240 products, according to DaimlerChrysler vice-president and chief technology officer Vincent Morrotti. “”(Dealers) no longer have to worry about the infrastructure of doing this kind of business,”” he said.

Blind faith in technology was partly to blame for the dot-com bust and economic recession, Palmisano said. “”If we just saw it as a tool . . . then we could have avoided the bust. This could have been understood and it could have been avoided.

“”If you think it’s going to get easier, think about Moore’s Law,”” he added. The law, coined by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, states that the number of transistors on a chip doubles every 18 months.

Palmisano referred to the growth and ubiquity of high-tech devices and platforms — everything from personal digital assistants to telematic computers in cars. “”This complexity is only the beginning . . . therefore it has to be integrated,”” he said.

“”A transaction today explodes across your infrastructure. The complexity isn’t the thousands of transactions, it’s the 40 or 50 systems that are designed on different infrastructures.””

To help customers with this task, IBM is opening four customer centres in Poughkeepsie, N.J., San Jose, Calif., France and Japan. The company is providing connectivity tools through its line of Tivoli software — which emphasizes autonomic, or self-healing, self regulating computing — as well as self-healing hardware, which falls under the eLiza project.


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