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Saving Money and Saving the Planet With BI: Talking With Tivoli

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Listen to my podcast with Rich Caplow, Director of Tivoli Product Management, who is responsible for product management and strategy in the area of asset and financial management. In this podcast we discuss something I think everyone should have at least some interest in: saving money with green technology.

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PS: How about just giving me a quick overview of IBM's Smart Building Solution.

RC: Sure. So Peter there's a number of different facets or components to the total IBM Smart Building Solution. It includes some capabilities and some solutions that we offer from the Tivoli portfolio having to deal with asset management, energy management but also gets into event correlation, being able to take different data inputs and relate them to one another as well as storing that data, and being able to use it for a variety of purposes. But it also extends well beyond just Tivoli.

The total IBM Smart Building Solution includes other solutions from different parts of IBM software group, Cognos, for example, for reporting and presentation of data, SPSS for some predictive capabilities and so on. So there's a variety of different pieces to this picture and our intent is to be able to deliver this among other ways as an appliance, which offers the solutions pre-integrated, helps customers very quickly reach time-to-value.

Can you elaborate a little bit on your partnership with Johnson Controls and how that's helping companies save on cost?

Sure. So this partnership with Johnson Controls actually dates back a couple of years and they were one of the first and perhaps the largest to date partners in a larger ecosystem of solutions. They're important for customers as they bring together the different elements of a total operation of a business facility. And so what Johnson Controls offers is the ability to actually control the operations of the building. They've got a building automation system that accomplishes that and the nature of our partnership among other things includes the integration to their building automation systems.

So Metasis happens to be the name of their system for that purpose. And then, part of our work with Johnson Controls has to do with integrating to that building automation system. That integration gives us the ability to absorb or take in data points from the HVAC systems, the cooling systems, the lighting, security systems and be able to correlate that and use it for the purpose of driving a smart building. So combining their building automation system solution with our software solutions that I was just describing delivers a variety of different benefits to our customers.

I think we have the attention of a lot of companies right now and I think the next question they would like me to ask then is exactly how long does it take before we start to see some results in our bottom line?

Sure Peter. And the answer truthfully will vary depending on the specific nature of any given project. But the time-to-value is measured in weeks. Certainly, very large projects could take longer. But by applying a step-by-step approach to solving energy management and building automation system problems it gives customers the ability to see some real tangible benefits very quickly. And so what it allows them to do is to achieve savings and energy costs to improve the efficiency of the building operation to drive down cost of occupancy. And this can range between 5 and 30 percent or more in total savings. So this is real benefit to customers that makes a big difference to them in identifying and correcting operational issues.

Can you give me a real world example of how this was actually implemented and how it saved a company money?

Sure and we're still working with a number of customers that are working to implement and capture value this way. There are a couple of customers today. I can't actually release the names of these companies right now but they are companies they are working with our solutions and the value I was describing around delivering these IBM solutions for smart buildings in the form of an appliance will greatly accelerate the point at which they reach that time-to-benefit, time-to-value. And again, we believe it's measured in weeks. And the benefit of that appliance is that it offers pre-integration of those solutions so that they can realize those benefits very quickly.

Now, let's look ahead. What do you see for the future of this whole efficient data center and green building project?

Yeah, and it's such an interesting and fascinating story. We're certainly working very hard to solve the problems of what goes on inside the data center and their myriad of problems not only around systems and network management inside the data center but the energy management problem. Space and power constraints are very real problems that affect the facilities people as well, which is opening up new challenges for companies as they grabble with the complexity of combining the organizational dynamics. Among everything else, the organizational issues between the facilities people who aren't always necessarily historically working very closely with the IT operations people and vice versa and they're now being confronted by the challenge of working more closely together dealing with those space, power and cooling constraints.

And we see an opportunity to bring some unique value and some new solutions to the market that will help them with that. But I'd also add that as we look to solve these problems for the data center we've also focusing on extending outside the data center, outside those four walls to reach the rest of the enterprise helping customers solve the same sort of energy management and efficiency problems dealing with similar constraints in the rest of the building. And there are real opportunities for finding real savings there as well.

ebizQ’s expert blog team covers a broad range of BPM, business integration, business analytics/monitoring, collaboration, content and related issues.

Peter Schooff

Peter Schooff is Contributing Editor at ebizQ, and manager of the ebizQ Forum. Contact him at pschooff@techtarget.com

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