By Sramana Mitra and guest authors Pablo Chacin and Saurabh Mallik
This is the first interview in our series on cloud computing. Sramana talks with Pat Toole, the CIO of IBM. He is responsible for advancing the company’s transformation agenda and aligning IBM’s information technology investments with the company’s business strategy. Pat became CIO of IBM in 2009, and before that he was the general manager of IBM’s intellectual property, overseeing the direction of the company’s intellectual property portfolio and global patent program while advancing company-wide intellectual property and innovation. Pat has been with IBM since 1984 in various senior executive positions.
Sramana Mitra: Hi Pat, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. I want to start by asking you about cloud computing adoption at IBM. Have you gone beyond pilots and evaluations? And what workloads are moving to the cloud?
Pat Toole: Yes, we’ve definitely moved beyond pilots. We have six towers of cloud offerings at this point. We’re focusing heavily on analytics as a first tower with our Blue Insight project. Blue Insight provides a single entry point to information from nearly 300 different information warehouses and data stores. It provides analytics on more than a petabyte of data. More than 130,000 IBMers will have access to Blue Insight in 2010. At present, we have just over 109,000 users, so we’ve definitely moved well beyond pilots. Thirty-five ported applications and another thirty applications are the pipeline for deployment toward our full-year user deployment goal. We expect to realize tens of millions of dollars in savings over five years through deployment of Blue Insight.
SM: Is that built around your Cognos acquisition?
PT: Yes, very much so.
SM: Now, with analytics in particular, there is a lot of integration involved across applications and data warehouses. I find it interesting that you are leading with analytics; I would not have guessed that. So who does the integration? IBM Global Technology Services (GTS)?
PT: Yes. Our entire cloud strategy is driven by GTS and Global Business Services (GBS), and they also provide us with consulting on various aspects of the deployment. They provide all of the outsourced resources. So in effect, IBM IT acts as their client, just as any other large enterprise would be.
SM: I see. What other areas fall within your six towers of cloud deployment?
PT: Collaboration is a major focus area for us. IBM adopted LotusLive Meetings last year as our primary Web conferencing capability for meetings among IBMers, clients, and business partners. In 2009, we did 200 million minutes of meetings. The adoption rate of LotusLive for meetings has been fast, with 65% of IBM’s current meeting minutes provided through LotusLive. IBM is also piloting the use of LotusLive Engage with 6,000 registered users sharing files, internally and with clients. In terms of strategy, we intend to expand our LotusLive footprint to support other collaborative requirements, for example, file sharing, social networking, and instant messaging.