z13 is a Bright Spot in IBM's Business

Though IBM's financial picture hasn't been particularly rosy recently, there's one silver lining: z13.

The Poughkeepsie Journal, the paper of record in the mainframe's hometown, reported in mid-April that IBM is seeing strong interest and sales in the latest z model in IBM's portfolio.

"Executives in the Systems and Technology Group have sounded quite optimistic about how the market would embrace the souped-up new model, which has been shaped to serve emerging needs like mobile commerce, cloud serving, security, social media and live analytics, as well as to perform its decades-old role as the data-processing workhorse for large enterprises," the article said.

Though sales had slowed for System z, the introduction of z13 injected a bolt of new energy into Big Blue's mainframe business.

IBM stocks are down about 20 points from this time last year, though they've remained relatively flat -- minus a few blips -- since October.

The company is also banking on its Watson Health initiative to revolutionize the way healthcare is delivered. Though it's not directly connected to the mainframe business, supercomputers like Watson certainly have the mainframe to thank for their development. Watson Health has the ability to process vast stores of data and cross reference it with a patient's symptoms and diagnosis to create a tailor-made treatment plan that's crafted with the aid of more information than a human could ever process in his or her own brain.

“All this data can be overwhelming for providers and patients alike, but it also presents an unprecedented opportunity to transform the ways in which we manage our health,” said John E. Kelly III, IBM senior vice president, solutions portfolio and research, in a statement. “We need better ways to tap into and analyze all of this information in real-time to benefit patients and to improve wellness globally. Only IBM has the advanced cognitive capabilities of Watson and can pull together the vast ecosystem of partners, practitioners and researchers needed to drive change, as well as to provide the open, secure and scalable platform needed to make it all possible.”

What do you think is IBM's best prospect for re-energizing its business? Watson Health, z13 or some combination thereof?

SHARE keeps close tabs on all of IBM's new developments, exerting its industry influence to strengthen the mainframe while educating members on the particulars of new developments. It's not too early to mark your calendars for SHARE's next big event, SHARE in Orlando, scheduled for August 9-14 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. We hope to see you there!

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