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POWER > Business Strategy > Competitive Advantage

A Power-Full Mosaic

IBM Continues to See Growth in Key Geographies

Illustration by Brian Hubble



Power Systems technology is generally recognized as the best IT infrastructure in Taiwan. Reasons for its success in this growth market are similar to other countries: leading performance; excellent reliability, availability and serviceability; stellar security function; and leading-edge integrated solutions from IBM Software Group. However, Taiwan offers another interesting twist—research.

A new Power Systems development lab in Taiwan was announced in early 2011 and is a hub for the company’s research workforce and business in Asia. The new lab is only the second Power Systems research center outside the United States (the first is in Germany) and is expected to add to the range of IBM expertise in Taiwan, including expanding electrical, mechanical, thermal and firmware design capabilities.

In addition to developing new products, the R&D lab provides critical local presale support by developing proof-of-concept systems based on clients’ requirements. Researchers input those requirements into worldwide development labs and incorporate them into long-term product planning. Post-sale technical support includes installation, configuration and user training, plus addressing technical questions to ensure clients’ success in adopting IBM products.

Janice Wang, director of worldwide high-volume Power System development for the Taiwan Systems and Technology Lab, says IBM is well known and recognized as the best IT solutions provider and the best employer in Taiwan. It outperforms the Power Systems market in most other countries, Wang says, and sees the best success in the high-end server segment. The country’s major market segments include general business, banking and industrials sectors, where the major needs are database and ERP solutions.

Growth strategies for IBM in Taiwan include expansion by introducing and deploying Power Cloud, Business Analytics and Optimization (BAO) solutions, and upgrading older Power Systems servers to include the latest capabilities. Winning business by migrating clients from HP and Oracle/Sun is a priority as those clients seek the benefits of advanced virtualization, security and optimization that Power technology provides. Consolidating and integrating x86 server workloads onto Power Systems architectures also is another priority. This is especially true with Power Systems running the rapidly growing Linux operating system and delivering higher optimization and lower operating costs than x86 server farms.


Middle East and Africa

The MEA region offers huge opportunities to exploit all Power Systems capabilities—especially software and stack utilization—to bring solutions to the 50-plus countries in this growth market. Infrastructure spending exceeds $70 billion annually, according to Miguel Vega, Power Systems director, Middle East and Africa, and state and federal governments are building intelligently with Power Systems technology to stimulate the economy.

Already, the Power Systems UNIX market share in the Middle East and Pakistan is 54 percent. That figure rises to 55 percent for Africa. The banking and telecom industries are the biggest users of Power Systems architecture, with global banks expanding into Africa and opening offices. Mobile banking is huge in this region, and platforms for smart commerce and large bandwidth are necessary. Also important is the oil and gas market in the MEA region, and Power Systems technology supports the backbone and back-office operations by providing broad, high-performance computing solutions.

“In 2011, Power Systems technology had a presence in 24 MEA countries, and we plan to have a presence in 40 countries by 2015,” Vega says. “We’re getting close to our clients in this market and meeting their needs by bringing the best of our portfolio. We’re also working closely with independent software vendors and system integrators to bring our clients complete and full solutions.”

Power Systems technology has been able to demonstrate value to clients in three main areas: utilization, scalability and delivering superior economics in energy consumption. The Power platform is more energy efficient than its competitors, so it requires less cooling, Vega says. In a region where climate and reliable electricity is an issue, and clients can experience multiple power outages weekly, Power Systems servers are reliable, robust systems that can work under tough conditions.

“We have superior economics and the ability to respond quickly to clients’ needs in a secure, efficient and economical way,” Vega says. “We also have proven software capabilities to securely virtualize with PowerVM and PowerSC and manage client workloads in a single box—a virtual server—to provide an efficient solutions delivery model in the journey to cloud.” IBM PowerVM and PowerSC products provide world-class virtualization, security and compliance to the software stack.

The keys to success in the MEA growth market are understanding market needs, technological requirements and clients’ vision. Developing local expertise and leveraging IBM solutions from competency centers worldwide to bring the right solutions to help clients have also been critical.

Vega expects double-digit growth for Power Systems in the region in 2012, as his team works to expand its network of business partners and ISVs as well as continue to develop solutions for clients that allow migration to the Power Systems platform.


Positioned for Growth

Vega stresses that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in growth markets. Rather, understanding each client’s needs and leveraging alliances to address those needs is key to Power Systems success in the MEA region and beyond. Working as a partner and aligning a total solution increases growth market clients’ confidence in IBM’s ability to work efficiently with them. With three strong platforms—AIX, IBM i and Linux—Power Systems technology allows IBM to bring the best solution for each client’s business requirements.

Power Systems technology is uniquely positioned for expansion in key growth markets worldwide by meeting clients’ need for efficient, workload-optimized systems with reliability and performance. As these growth-market enterprises expand, Power Systems will be there with new products, technical support and training to help them succeed globally. With a proven technology platform, focused execution on the ground and IBM’s extensive domain expertise, IBM continues to make and grow markets worldwide.

Tom Brandes is a freelance writer for variety of subjects, including technology, healthcare, manufacturing, sustainability and more.



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