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your own e-business infrastructure
Thomas is Managing Director, IBM India Ltd. He oversees
and manages IBM's sales & marketing, services and exports
business in India. He began his career with IBM in 1986.
Since then he has moved across various divisions within
the company in ASEAN and South Asia, right from handling
Business Server Systems to the Financial Services Sector,
before taking over as the Managing Director.
24x7 total and up-to-the-minute management solution is now
a vital part of e-business infrastructure
viewpoints change. The IT infrastructure of a company, once
regarded as a secondary entity, is now seen as a critical
business driver that must be well managed, tightly aligned
and highly efficient.
As Internet euphoria swept across the world in the last few
years, many companies found their infrastructure unable to
cope with the unpredictable traffic and with competing applications
that came their way. They found themselves locked into proprietary
systems and unable to adapt and adopt new technologies. Managing
their infrastructure became a nightmare of juggling complex,
unplanned, interlinked but non-integrated systems.
Mergers and acquisitions, decentralization and a spate of
unexpected competitors have added to these challenges. CEOs,
CFOs and CIOs alike are learning that in the world of e-business,
their companies' IT assets will be key to supporting change,
reducing costs, heightening efficiency, opening new channels
and sustaining customer relationships.
the bottom-line, not burying it
A relatively new concept, known as Infrastructure Resource
Management (IRM), has emerged to address the increasing need
to effectively manage enterprise-wide change while maintaining
control over the total cost of ownership to ensure that IT
infrastructure serves to boost the bottom line, rather than
A Gartner Group report as early as 1999 articulated this:
"The complexity, interdependence and business need for
the IT infrastructure has become so critical that it must
be managed as a whole."
As an organization's capabilities broaden and develop, so
do the costs and complexities. Managing a traditional bricks-and-mortar
business with a basic Web presence is relatively low-risk,
whereas the impact of e-commerce and other e-business initiatives
can be substantial. As these transformations become increasingly
requisite, e-business infrastructure management is fast becoming
a critical component of overall e-business administration.
Four C's approach
Effective IT asset management oversees every level of the
IT organization. The Giga Information Group breaks these responsibilities
into four distinct data categories:
Characteristics (hardware data)
Configuration (software information)
Contracts (service and warranty information)
Costs (financial data) of all IT assets
By utilizing the technical and financial data comprising these
Four C's, companies can begin to fully understand the nature
of their organization's technology resources from requisition
to disposal so that intelligent management decisions can be
For example, as the supply chain from procurement, warehousing
and inventory to distribution and delivery becomes a more
critical link between companies and their e-commerce and e-business
customers, an IRM solution can assist employees and customers
in tracking purchases from order to receipt and ensuring accurate
delivery dates. These capabilities rely on supportive, carefully
aligned and well-managed e-business infrastructures, plus
solid coordination of on-site activities.
By providing 'big-picture' oversight, IRM can speed the integration
and enablement of sprawling e-business enterprises while providing
assurance of continuous availability, reliability, flexibility
and scalability. Although deploying such a comprehensive solution
can be a daunting proposition, the results can be dramatic.
it's done right . . .
management of a company's e-business infrastructure can translate
into significant cost savings, such as:
A bank, saving $2 million through invoice verification
A telecommunications company, cutting $600,000 by canceling
duplicate software licenses
A tobacco company, recovering $600,000 by correcting lease
and invoice errors
The process IRM is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. But
most technology consultants will follow a three-step approach:
Evaluation: This stage will include an assessment
of the company's current infrastructure and total cost of
Design: The second step is one of implementation,
in which IRM strategists will work to discover the resource
management needs of a company and provide strategic design
for its IRM solution.
Implementation: Finally, the technology consultant
can oversee and help put into practice the in-house or out-tasked
resource management initiatives.
demands on infrastructure
In less than five years, Internet users have grown from
16 million to nearly 200 million. IT transactions have soared
threefold, and the requirement for computing power surged
six fold. Yet the Internet revolution is less than three percent
Business applications for use in key areas such as core banking
and moving toward more complex requirements like wealth management,
will drive an explosion of complex, data-intensive and highly-integrated
transactions that threaten to overwhelm networks. Throwing
additional server or storage capacity at the problem isn't
the answer, nor is hiring armies of IT workers; analysts already
forecast a further shortage of qualified technology workers.
But how will the current infrastructure evolve to support
the next wave of e-business?
Wealth Management solutions, as a classic e-business application
will be driving the need for more scaleable, reliable and
flexible systems. The trends in e-business also calls for
unprecedented demands on servers where 24x7 is a basic requirement.
Wealth Management needs to embrace open standards and inter-operability
in order to provide a fuller view to bank clients, from interconnected
systems. Operating systems are technically becoming more and
more irrelevant to customers, who see them as roadblocks to
making systems work together. It is critical that variety
of devices, based on various OS platforms, should be able
to submit transactions, and securely access information.
E-business in no longer a stand-alone project for most companies,
it has become an integral part of day-to-day operations. Today,
a company's e-business infrastructure is probably accessible
24-hours-day to their customers, partners, suppliers, or all
of the above. Investing in the most sophisticated e-business
applications and latest servers has become second nature to
many companies. This investment must be protected with an
aggressive and proactive security policy.
The integrity of a company's e-business infrastructure can
make or break a business. When the trust customers, partners
and suppliers place in a company is broken, it is most likely
irreparable. So don't wait, secure your company's future today!
E-business is here to stay. In the near future there will
be an increase in direct interaction between a company's e-business
infrastructure and its customers, partners and suppliers.
So a 24x7 total and up-to-the-minute management solution is
an absolute necessity.