IBM helps with business continuity

Directing seasonal Web traffic and re-routing phone calls are of concern to many businesses, but IBM Global Services is trying to help relieve that stress through its recently launched Business Continuity and Recovery Services.

Targeting all sizes of network-dependent businesses, from Internet start-ups to large corporations, the company says it will handle everything from implementation to execution.

“The services include the solution design, implementation and management of the services required to support customers who are operating in an e-business world that require 24 by seven operation no matter what occurs,” said Ralph Dunham, manager of Business Continuity and Recovery Services at IBM Canada.

Some of the services offered include call centre, application and ERP continuity services.

The company will provide an alternate location for servers should a disaster arise. There are a total of four Canadian recovery facilities – in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Calgary – as well as others in the U.S. Users switch their server access over to one of the company’s sites, where IBM has its servers positioned, Dunham explained.

As every business’ needs and goals are different, consultants help customers decide what services they will require. “We actually work with customers to define what their continuity requirements are, and the continuity requirements are defined in three categories,” Dunham explained. “One is how fast they need access to their Web-based e-business environment. Secondly, how much data can they afford to lose if they have an interruption – how current must the data be when they do move to the second site? And then the third is what network connectivity do they need to access that secondary site?”

Once all of that is figured out, a capability is built for the customer to meets those requirements.

While similar services have previously been offered by Global Services, the new offerings are “a consolidation of those services into an easy to understand and then easy to implement methodology and package for the customers to work with,” Dunham said.

Pricing for the services is based on the size of the company and the services required, as well as what is most cost effective for the business. But Dunham estimated the average cost for a small- to mid-size business to be in the $15,000 range.

Enterprise customers can expect to see more competition in this market, according to Donna Scott, vice-president and research director at the Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Group.

Scott said ISPs and ASPs will be the new breed of competition for companies like IBM’s Global Services. They have their facilities networked, she pointed out, and you could use one of their other facilities for disaster recovery.

“They are all trying to rework their strategy to figure out how they can change their business model – still handle the old, traditional line of business, while moving forward with some of the new and providing capacity on demand, overflow requirements for e-business,” she said.

More information on the new services is at

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