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IBM Offers CIOs Predictive Analytics for Data Planning
By Jennifer LeClaire
December 10, 2010 2:18PM
Adding predictive analytics to IBM’s technology services is aimed at helping CIOs make better decisions about their IT operations. IBM’s Steven Sams said the new capabilities use data generated by IT operations. An analyst said IBM is going farther than other vendors, and the predictive analytics will help ensure money is being spent effectively.
In yet another move to use analytics to transform business, IBM has rolled predictive analytics into its global technology-services portfolio — including IT and strategic outsourcing services. This time it’s all about helping CIOs make better decisions about IT operations.
The predictive analytics aim to empower CIOs to construct specific, fact-based financial and business models using tools that help interpret and model data. Practically speaking, that means better planning for data-center capacity or emerging technologies such as cloud computing.
“Until now, CIOs have been unable to access many of the predictive, analytics-driven tools that CEOs or CFOs have used for years,” said Steven Sams, vice president of IBM Site and Facilities Services. “In essence, this broad array of new analytical capabilities take data generated from IT operations and turns it into a set of facts that clients can then use to make smarter business decisions.”
Analytics in Action
One example is IBM’s Alternate Cash Flow Analysis. The tool can help determine which alternatives in data-center or IT infrastructure operations can cost-effectively meet business goals. This analysis calculates the “do-nothing strategy” — for example, what would happen to investments if left in their current state — as a baseline for other financial comparisons.
IBM’s Physical Threshold Capacity Analysis can help forecast data-center capacity requirements many years into the future, allowing clients to know how long their data centers will remain viable and when they will need to be upgraded. Based on a client’s input on expected application growth, IT strategy, and current data-center capabilities, the tool provides objective analysis on the data-center capacity thresholds to predict energy and space requirements.
IBM’s Resiliency Rationalization Analysis works to help clients correctly gauge resiliency within their data-center infrastructure. IBM said current metrics for understanding reliability typically focus on the capital costs and don’t facilitate the business decision of understanding the value of availability to ongoing business operations. Using client input on relative application values, recovery times, operational quality, and other data can provide visibility into the trade-offs between the value of availability and the cost of reducing risk exposure.
Adding Value To IT
As IBM sees it, adopting predictive analytics to analyze cash flow, threshold capacity, and resiliency rationalization can help CIOs and business leaders better plan, manage and deploy IT infrastructure and budget effectively. Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, agreed, noting that IBM is taking predictive analytics a step farther than other vendors.
“We seem to be in a period where companies are starting to spend on IT again. Even though the purse strings are loosening up, businesses still want to make sure they are spending their money intelligently and responsively,” King said. “This is the kind of service many companies will find valuable as they are laying out their data-center purchases and their broader IT strategy.”