IBM Corp. Chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano used one of his rare conference keynote appearances recently to exhort the company’s business partners to adopt IBM’s on-demand vision of standards-based IT flexibility.

Speaking at IBM’s PartnerWorld conference in Las Vegas, Palmisano focused his speech on reiterating the on-demand vision that has formed the foundation of IBM’s strategy for the past two years, and on emphasizing the critical role business partners play in IBM’s market approach.

When the company first unveiled its on-demand strategy, it was met with widespread confusion and misunderstanding; that’s because “on-demand computing” isn’t one thing, he said, it’s a combination of approaches to address what IBM sees as a fundamental change in how the IT industry operates.

“The value proposition of the past decade has failed,” Palmisano said, criticizing the best-of-breed approach to building an IT infrastructure. “The client is forcing us to focus on solutions. They do not want to be the assemblers of piece parts. … That was a different era, and the world has changed.”

Palmisano cited open standards as the critical element in the new approach needed by IT vendors. “Every industry that’s matured has adopted standards,” he said. “The IT industry is a young industry maturing into adopting standards. You have to have standards. It’s the only way to solve the very great, very important, complex problems.”



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