IBM Business Continuity and Recovery ServicesBy Elizabeth Bennett | Posted 2001-10-29 Email Print
You may have to dig deep but some say it's worth it for Big Blue's seemingly limitless offsite facilities. After Sept. 11, IBM actually took on additional customers who hadn't yet subscribed to its disaster recovery services.
Reliable but Not Cheap
IBM came late to the market for business continuity planning and disaster recovery, but it arrived with a bang. In the space of a few years, it has bypassed Comdisco and SunGard, each of which had a 20-year head start, to become the market leader.
IBM's Business Continuity and Recovery Services focuses on upselling existing IBM customers rather than wresting customers from competitors. IBM isn't generally the cheapest option, but for users who've already invested heavily in the company's mainframes and other hardware, the choice is simple. "They're Big Blue: The customers come with them," shrugs Ken Donovan, vice president for corporate risk management at U.S. Bancorp, which is a client of all three major disaster-recovery outfits. "We are a pretty big IBM shop as far as our equipment as well, so we're using IBM global recovery for mainframe applications. "
Moreover, the division can call on IBM's global network of facilities if disaster strikes. "IBM has numerous data centers worldwide that can be used to recover anybody, any time, unlike Comdisco and SunGard," says Julie Giera, an analyst at Giga Information Group. Even if its disaster-recovery facilities fill up, IBM still has millions of square feet at its data centers that can be used during a crisis. Indeed, Frank Grau, vice president of information technology at Norwegian Cruise Line in Miami, says IBM contacted customers nationwide immediately after the World Trade Center attack to assure them that it still had plenty of space available. While SunGard's facilities in New Jersey quickly maxed out after Sept. 11, IBM actually took on additional customers who hadn't subscribed to its disaster recovery services in advance, such as Franklin Fiduciary.
Perhaps because the $600 million to $700 million in revenue represented by the division is small potatoes for IBM, the company can sometimes fall short of the competition in conveying an eagerness to please. According to Jim Aschenbach, disaster recovery coordinator with International Flavors & Fragrances in Union Beach, NJ, Comdisco won his business over IBM because of its willingness to meet International Flavors' hardware needs. With Comdisco, "anything we were going to contract with was available on the floor or would be put on the floor within 60 days," Aschenbach says. "IBM's position was, 'If IBM doesn't have it, it is going to bring it in'" for an additional charge to the customer. Comdisco, Aschenbach believes, is more willing to find additional customers with similar hardware needs to offset the expense of the needed equipment.
IBM's position struck Aschenbach as intransigent. "That means I've got to pay for having this equipment brought in, and when I'm done with the test, I'm going to have to have it brought out. If it's not there, how do I meet my recovery-time objectives of 24 hours?"
330 Long Meadow Road, Sterling Forest, NY 10979
(845) 759-4900 www.ibm.com/services/brs
IBM Business Continuity and Recovery Services Employees: More than 2,000
IBM as a Whole, Has: 316,303 employees
Todd F. Gordon
Vice president and general manager, IBM Business Continuity and Recovery Services
Gordon is a 20-year IBM veteran. Before joining Business Continuity and Recovery Services, he served as chief financial officer and vice president of operations for IBM's global network services.
He was previously vice president of IBM's supply chain solutions unit as well as treasurer and chief strategist for IBM Global Services at its inception. Gordon holds a B.A./B.S. in economics and computer science from Harvard University.
Director, Business Continuity and Recovery Services
Manager, marketing and development
Director, services delivery for Business Continuity and Recovery Services
Manager, IBM crisis management services
Recovery options include maintaining duplicate systems at an IBM recovery facility, accessing a hot site, or mobile data or command centers during a disaster, temporary hardware replacement, back up and retrieval of data; operating system, database and applications recovery programs; assessing and designing a recovery plan; risk management and business impact analysis, and crisis management services.
NAFTA operations leader
Project: Business continuity planning and data backup for North American division of German pharmaceutical giant. DeGussa called in a disaster for Hurricane Georges in 1998.
Vice president of corporate risk management
Project: Mainframe recovery for the Minneapolis, Minn.-based financial services company. U.S. Bancorp also contracts with Comdisco and IBM for recovery services.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Vice president of information technology
Project: Business-continuity planning and backup of data and call centers for Miami-based company. Since signing with IBM in 1994, Norwegian Cruise Line has declared two disasters: for Hurricanes Georges and Floyd.