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4/6/2012
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Q&A: IBM Global Business Services CTO Talks Cloud

IBM Fellow and Global Business Services CTO Kerrie Holley, who helped shape SOA, shares his thoughts on cloud trends, the future of IT, and more.

Kerrie Holley, CTO of IBM's Global Business Services division, sat down with InformationWeek last month to discuss IBM's focus, cloud computing, and the tech industry trends. What follows is an edited transcript of that interview.

With a background in mathematics and the law, Holley helped develop Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), a way to make enterprise software modular.

IBM Global Services CTO Kerrie Holley
IBM Global Services CTO Kerrie Holley

He holds several related patents, not to mention a patent on a way for mobile phone carriers to locate lost or stolen cell phones.

In 2006, he was appointed to be an IBM Fellow, the company's highest technical leadership position. Holley is one of 69 current employees in IBM's technical community of more than 200,000 people to hold that distinction.

InformationWeek: Let's start by reviewing where IBM Global Business Services is at the moment. How is the consumerization of IT, the mobile revolution, and the shift toward cloud computing affecting the company?

Holley: From a Global Services standpoint, there are three major focus areas that we have. Ginni Rometty, who's our new CEO, set the stage in 2012 in talking about us becoming an essential company. But if you look at a lot of what we're doing in Global Services, we do believe very strongly that analytics has a powerful opportunity to add a tremendous amount of value. In fact, we established a whole service line around analytics in terms of resources, training, capability. So analytics, I would say, is a big area, in predictive analytics and commerce and a variety of areas.

The second area is around cloud. We see cloud as more than just a paradigm shift. We actually see it as a business shift in terms of being able to preserve capital, being able to do business innovation, being able to actually do transformation, be able to actually do things that maybe business was heavily reliant on IT before but now has an opportunity to sort of shift that equation.

Then smarter commerce, and that involves a lot of what we're doing with retailers and others. It involves analytics. It involves cloud.

A fourth area is the whole campaign that we've done around smarter cities.

InformationWeek: Does IBM's focus on predictive analytics involve a compliance practice? There's a lot of focus on privacy regulation at the moment.

Holley: We focus not only on the infrastructure but also on the business side in terms of what you can actually do to drive better business outcomes. In terms of security and privacy, the answer is yes, we do focus on that. We focus less on the compliance issues that maybe an auditing firm might spend more time on, in terms of whether or not you're violating a law in Croatia. But yes, a very strong interest of ours is to ensure that we're not doing anything that would undermine the credibility of our clients or ourselves in terms of privacy and security. We actually have a privacy and security practice in this space.

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