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POWER > Business Strategy > Executive Perspective

Transforming the Power Systems Brand Strategy

new platform strategy
Doug Balog Power Systems General Manager—Photography by Craig Washburn

Power Systems* General Manager Doug Balog describes 2015 as a pivotal year for the brand as it began to build momentum from the many changes IBM put in place in 2014. The strategy to position Power* as the ideal platform for big data and analytics and hybrid cloud began to bear fruit. And more importantly in 2015, for the first time in four years, Power Systems saw four quarters of growth.

“I think we can reflect back on POWER and say we certainly embraced the changes we committed to, and saw progress and results last year.”
—Doug Balog, Power Systems general manager

Balog expects that push to continue throughout 2016, which he says will further the transformation of Power Systems. “The last two years have been a journey for the Power platform, taking the full benefit from our awesome design point around data,” he explains.

IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems edition, sat down with Balog to learn more about what IBM expects from the POWER* transformation.

IBM Systems Magazine (ISM): How have the last few years shaped the platform?
Doug Balog (DB):
In the last two years, we have positioned POWER as the platform for big data, delivered through the cloud. We also doubled down on our commitment to open source and open innovation. Open-source software, including Linux* and open standards, has enabled us to completely open up the platform. In 2014, we started to deliver on many of the promises we made with POWER8* and several solutions. The OpenPOWER Foundation’s coming out party was also in 2014.

Last year, we demonstrated progress based on these strategy shifts. POWER experienced a year of solid growth driven by the uptake in Linux on Power, including solutions such as SAP HANA but also IBM DB2* BLU and others. OpenPOWER also grew from five guys kicking around an idea, as I like to say, to a foundation with over 200 members.

ISM: Is the transformation complete now?
One is never done with transformation, especially given the IT space and how fast it moves. You have to get on it and stay on it, but I think we can reflect back on POWER and say we certainly embraced the changes we committed to, and saw progress and results last year.

ISM: What can we expect to see in 2016?
We are not fundamentally changing our strategy, but we are continuing to build on all of the foundational bricks we put in place. IBM has committed in a big way to be the company of cognitive business delivered via the cloud. POWER fits well because cognitive takes advanced analytics one step further. IBM Watson*—a cognitive system that can understand that data, learn from it and reason through it—runs on POWER already.

As I think about 2016 for the POWER brand, it’s continuing to drive workload optimization focused around advanced analytics in cognitive. Through OpenPOWER, as well as our own portfolio, it’s continuing to make POWER relevant to the hybrid and public cloud. And it’s continuing to underpin both cognitive and cloud with a macro focus on openness, open source, Linux, open standards, OpenStack software and then OpenPOWER.

Evelyn Hoover is the content director of IBM Systems magazine. She can be reached at



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