The cloud has fueled the rise of small business. Even though small businesses do not have the diversity and depth of capabilities that exist in the enterprise, they are able to bring a new dimension to users; especially users who rely on mobile devices. That dimension is the ability to move with agility. Because small businesses are able to recognize and react to customer needs quickly they are able to provide new services in less time than their enterprise class competitors. This speed to delivery advantage is not often attributed to the enterprise environment, which despite having large development resources they are hampered by a certain amount of technology baggage that negatively impacts speed to delivery.
The agility of small businesses allows them to successfully compete against enterprises that have not yet figured out how to move as quickly. This has caused a disruption to the traditional view of small businesses being at the mercy of enterprise.
Imagine what would happen if enterprises could also develop applications with the same speed and agility as small businesses. That would certainly - as they say - level the playing field. Such a level playing field could benefit both small and big businesses.
The IBM® Redbooks® publication Creating IBM z/OS Cloud Services (SG24-8324) discusses the real world experience of an enterprise that developed and implemented IBM z/OS® cloud services. This book shares the experience of a team at Walmart Technology, Walmart Stores, Inc.® and some of the decisions they made to create business critical cloud services.
By embracing the ideas and approaches presented in the book Creating IBM z/OS Cloud Services, enterprises have the potential to match the speed and agility of small businesses through born on the cloud applications. Embracing such a model is simpler than you might think.
One key aspect of embracing a services model involves cherry picking enterprise applications and then developing corresponding services. If the services are designed in an easy to use manner then applications programmers will enthusiastically accept and adopt the usage of the services. This will make it easier for an enterprise to compete agilely with small business.
Conventional wisdom would say that building and managing services on z Systems (particularly z/OS) is hard and time consuming. As it turns out, such wisdom is a myth. This myth is dispelled in two new IBM® Redbooks® publications Creating IBM z/OS Cloud Services (SG24-8324) and How Walmart Became a Cloud Services Provider with IBM CICS (SG24-8347).
Companies who have developed services on z/OS have found some interesting benefits. The most obvious benefit is that z/OS can solve a set of problems that are often difficult or expensive to solve in traditional x86 cloud environments. Companies who have added z/OS to their cloud ecosystem have found that it can be a powerful and inexpensive (that's right, inexpensive) addition to their portfolio.
They have also found that they can hide the technical complexities in services allowing application developers to focus on the business issues rather than the technical ones. This not only allows them to develop more quickly, but allows them to solve problems across multiple lines of business thus bringing expertise across what was once relegated to each LOB technology silo.
A few companies have even embraced the idea that they can provide these services (at a price) to their external niche competitors, turning them into value added resellers of their capability. The neat thing about this is that everyone benefits. The enterprise gains a new revenue stream from what was once only an expense. The small business now has the power to provide services it could not provide on it's own. The consumer wins because they can take advantage of multiple providers in new and different ways. The cool thing is that everyone in the chain benefits.
It might seem like science fiction to you, but this is the direction a number of enterprises are exploring. The enterprises that successfully build marketable services will be the service providers of the future. This disruptive technology will bring new life to aging enterprises, new capabilities to small developing businesses and new choices and opportunities to consumers.
Frank De Gilio is an IBM Distinguished Engineer. He works at the IBM World Wide Client Technology Centers with a global focus on client enterprise infrastructures. He is the IBM Systems Chief Architect for cloud computing. Frank's recent projects have been focused on providing enterprise-wide cloud solutions to IBM clients who are interested in using cloud computing. His unique approach looks at the holistic requirements on cloud of an enterpr, uniting the development, operational, and business aspects of the cloud deployment model to ensure that a business is considering at all of the implications when implementing the technology. Frank is one of the authors of the IBM Redbooks Creating IBM z/OS Cloud Services.
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