Big Blue is seeking to change the way IT services are delivered by driving out as much of the needed customization as possible in order to deliver standardized network and communication service products to its clients.
IBM has announced the creation of its Integrated Communications Services unit, with competencies in converged communications services, networking strategy and optimization services, mobility, wireless and RFID services, as well as network integration and management services.
Marc Seeman, practice leader, network convergence with IBM Canada, said the goal is to take people-based processes and turn them into standardized, asset-based technology and consulting products that can be replicated globally.
“We’ve been operating as 160 different businesses and we have different ways of delivering services to the marketplace,” said Seeman.
“Under one worldwide unit, the intent is to get some consistency across the board, and build on that with these service products.”
While all customers will benefit from a standardized, best-practices-based offering, Seeman said multi-site organizations will reap particularly significant benefits by being able to replicate the service offering across multiple sites, making for a simplified management scenario.
The goal, said Seeman, is to address 80 per cent of a service requirement without customization with a bundled service product, through architectural models and predetermined plans for engineers.
Still, he said, a certain level of customization will always be required to address specific customer needs.
“Out of the box, it’s not going to be a one-size-fits-all,” said Seeman. “Our customers are unique, so many of them will be asking for specialized customization over and above that.”
The initial areas of focus will be network convergence services and IP telephony services, with more offerings to be rolled out in the coming weeks.
“Convergence for us right now is an area that’s going through rapid growth,” said Seeman.
“We’re discovering when you pull data and voice together it really does use the best of the skills we have.”
David Komaromi, manager of technology services with Fraser Milner Casgrain, said his Toronto-based law firm has used IBM’s IP telephony services for the past two years. He added that it is currently working with IBM to add video capability to its Cisco Systems-based network.
Currently the firm’s offices in Toronto and Ottawa are both on the IP-based network, with Vancouver coming online soon and other offices to follow soon, as their existing infrastructure ages.
“It allows us to do desk-to-desk videoconferencing between sites and within the same building, too,” he said.
“Our hope and desire is to get it to the point where our lawyers can pick up their phones, call one of their clients and do videoconferencing from the comfort of their own office, where they’ve got all their files readily available for their use.”
Komaromi said as they worked with IBM on the initial design and deployment of the network, and now to add video and other services to it, Fraser Milner Casgrain benefited from the standardized approach IBM is now taking to the wider market.
“It allows you to know and be confident the initial design work and your infrastructure meets a certain standard,” said Komaromi.
“The beauty in taking that approach is you can rest assured the design is done right.”