Computing Giant Faces Information Challenges Similar to Defense Department

May 12, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman
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IBM is addressing many of the same information technology issues the military faces.

The cloud, social media and cybersecurity are some of the major issues vexing two of the world’s major information technology users. One of those users is the U.S. military, but the other is IBM, which is plotting a road map to the future that might apply to the defense community.

Jeanette Horan, vice president and chief information officer for IBM, described how her company is meeting those challenges in a plenary address at AFCEA’s three-day Joint Information Environment (JIE) Mission Partner Symposium being held in Baltimore May 12-14. She outlined three shifts in industry that are influencing IBM’s strategy: data is becoming the world’s new natural resource; the cloud is transforming information technology and business processes into digital services; and social media, mobile technology and access to data are changing the way individuals are understood and engaged.

The cloud allows the development of more user-centric services, she noted. It has become so ubiquitous and its usage so general that it has become an overused word.

“I’m almost going to ban the term ‘cloud’ from my department,” Horan offered.

Social media has changed the way people communicate and has led to the generation of huge amounts of data. Horan noted that about 80 percent of data today is unstructured, and 90 percent of the world’s data was generated within the past two years.

For cybersecurity, IBM holds mandatory training once a year to deal with the new challenges that continue to emerge. “The threats are becoming so sophisticated these days, we have to educate everyone,” she emphasized.

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