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IBM Builds Out Concierge Services So Internal IT Departments Can Satisfy The Business

The recent IBM Cloud Analyst Day continued a theme introduced at IBM Think 2018, with numerous IBM executives reiterating “the axis has flipped” in the market for IT solutions. Nowhere has the axis flipped more than in the relationship between IT and lines of business (LOBs). Where IT hardware and software were once costly components, the IT department served more as a security guard meant to ration the business use of IT. Today, with virtualizing compute and storage turning computing ubiquitous and 5G set to disrupt network virtualization, IT must shift to the role of concierge — listening to LOB demands and then stitching together the requisite IT assets to enable successful execution.

At IBM Cloud Analyst Day, IBM Analytics General Manager Rob Thomas discussed the concept of data virtualization, made possible by adhering to specific run times that allow for abstracting the requisite data from where it resides and transporting it to where it is needed with pervasive encryption, to deliver the business insights required for the LOBs. That vision is what IBM described as the “ladder to AI,” or the climb the business must make to infuse its operations and integrated IT stack with artificial intelligence (AI) insights, deploying all IBM AI assets from SPSS to Watson.

IBM has a compelling story around its technical integration, abstraction capabilities, advisory services and how it can help enterprise IT departments adjust to the flipped axis requiring a shift from a security guard persona to a concierge persona. In extending its message to the analyst community, IBM left the audience with the impression that cloud, analytics and IT services assets will remain advisory services agnostic as Global Business Services (GBS) seeks to compete against advisory services firms with tax and audit divisions and greater business domain expertise. What this means for GBS remains unclear, but the compelling story around close-to-the-box advisory services and rapid assembly of analytics insights, coupled with continued research into emerging technology use cases around health, cognitive and quantum rang clear despite the challenges IBM continues to face in this new era.

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