In the era of cloud and AI, we all need more from our data storage

By | 3 minute read | October 16, 2019

How your data storage performs relates directly to your overhead, to your business resiliency in the event of an unexpected outage and to your ability to move to a cloud delivery model or adopt new AI capabilities. Having efficient data storage is also at the heart of getting faster, better data insights that can help you understand customers’ needs. Today, data is our most valuable resource, and mining that data for insights can give organizations an edge over the competition.

Businesses today, therefore, need to know that their storage systems are running optimally. If your storage performance is lagging, if your customer data isn’t properly protected, if you’re not taking full advantage of opportunities to introduce new technologies into the business, a closer look at storage performance may be in order. Regular storage health checks can offer a clearer view into storage gaps while outlining a roadmap to help businesses optimize that infrastructure.

Storage Infrastructure Optimization (SIO) is designed to do just that. It’s a set of comprehensive assessments conducted by storage specialists from IBM Systems Lab Services aimed at identifying optimization opportunities within a client’s storage infrastructure. SIO uses Enterprise Design Thinking to support user-centered storage design, and it can help IBM Business Partners close their deals.

How does SIO help Business Partners?

There are two key ways for SIO to benefit IBM Business Partners:

  • Accelerate sales opportunities you already have in the pipeline
  • Expand on potential sales opportunities by adding the SIO service

An SIO engagement helps IBM and our Business Partner obtain a deeper understanding of a client’s infrastructure as well as its business and technical challenges. It helps us identify opportunities to help them succeed. An SIO study also positions IBM and our partners as trusted advisors and gives clients (who actively participate in the engagement) a strategic roadmap highlighting IBM solutions that align to their needs. Consequently, it grants Business Partners greater access and influence with clients. 

How does SIO help clients?

The SIO offering benefits clients by helping them to define strategic initiatives for their storage infrastructure. It gives them an overview of their current storage landscape and provides prioritized recommendations in a roadmap, all based on industry best practices and alignment to the business’s needs.

Here’s some of the feedback we’ve received:

  • From a chief information officer: “This work had a substantial positive impact on our ability to strengthen the position of technology and bean innovation leader in the market. The study is valuable and can be recommended for all executives and high-level managers responsible for IT.”
  • From a chief executive officer: “IBM and [the Business Partner] are the strategic partners we needed. They helped our executives realize that while they treated and, more importantly, funded IT as a commodity, we require an IT partner and an enabler of our business.”
  • From a senior vice-president: “We have had many reviews over the years, but none like this! IBM brought just the right amount of people and skills.”

What SIO options are there?

There are four SIO modules available:

  • “Modernize & Transform” focuses on updating storage infrastructures for optimal efficiency, along with lowering storage costs and supporting new workload requirements. Recommendations include new capabilities that would benefit the environment including Flash, NVMe, SDS and data reduction technologies.
  • “Business Resiliency” helps the client identify and prioritize storage infrastructure reliability shortcomings and future requirements. Recommendations are developed and prioritized to improve backup/restore, availability, disaster recovery and cyber resiliency capabilities.
  • “Cloud Acceleration” helps identify opportunities to leverage private, public or hybrid multicloud storage solutions. This collaborative workshop explores storage infrastructure options to accelerate the benefits of moving to a cloud delivery model.
  • “Adopting AI” ensures business goals are aligned with AI and big data strategies. It looks to take advantage of existing technologies while integrating new solutions to improve data scientist productivity and reduce time to accuracy by improving the AI data workflow.

Each study typically runs two to three weeks but can be compressed down to a single week depending on size and scope. The assessment starts with data collection, followed by an Enterprise Design Thinking workshop, and concludes with a presentation of findings, recommendations and a prioritized roadmap in a PowerPoint report.

What now?

To learn more, check out this conversation I had with Calline Sanchez, Vice President of IBM Systems Lab Services and Technical Universities:

You can also download the IBM Storage Infrastructure Optimization solution brief to share with your clients.

Do you know an interested business? To nominate a client for the program, contact Lab Services today.

Learn more about IBM SIO

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