IBM (NYSE: IBM) might be a century old now, but it’s still moving ahead at full-speed.
On Monday, the company reported stronger than expected second-quarter earnings:
- Net income hit $3.66 billion, representing an 8% increase over last year.
- Revenue jumped 12% to $26.7 billion, and…
- Earnings per share came in at $3.09, beating the average estimate of $3.03.
Yet while traditional revenue streams like hardware mainframes, software and services will continue to drive revenue growth, it’s the company’s recent foray into the healthcare industry that really demands our attention.
Recall, back in April, IBM teamed up with the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology to develop “Ninja Particles” – a disease-zapping replacement for traditional antibiotics.
IBM’s latest partnership might be even stranger. That being said, it’s a shrewd business move – one that could even save your life someday.
Let me explain…
4.5 Million Answers on the Line
The Coriell Institute for Medical Research runs the world’s largest library of living genetic samples.
Its “biobank” collection includes 4.5 million vials of cells, DNA from over 2,000 genetic diseases and other various biomaterials that doctors can access to customize patient care.
Coriell calls it “genetically informed personalized medicine.”
As Coriell’s CIO, Scott Megill explained to eWeek…
“There’s an awful lot of information we can glean from someone’s genetic makeup to help us determine what drugs will work for that person or what complex conditions they might have a predilection for throughout the course of their life.”
You see, the genetic information stored in Coriell’s biobank is being used to pinpoint the causes of critical diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease – so the importance of protecting these biomaterials goes without saying.
But analyzing all of these cells is an IT nightmare.
According to Coriell, a person’s genome is made up of two million points of data – or 1.5 GB – about how much space an average movie download requires. And with 4.5 million samples, Coriell’s basically shouldering 225-times more data than Netflix’s (Nasdaq: NFLX) entire streaming movie library.
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Put simply, Coriell’s data storage needs have grown beyond its control.
In fact, the data deluge is so powerful, the firm’s systems have overloaded, causing the cryogenic freezer units (which store up to 48,000 samples) to malfunction.
But that’s where IBM comes in…
IBM’s Innovative Data Solutions
Partnering with innovators in the healthcare space keeps IBM nicely aligned with CEO, Samuel Palmisano’s plans for transformation: “As IBM begins its second century, we continue a process of transformation, positioning the company to lead in the future.”
By extension, Coriell is a winner here, too.
IBM’s XIV Storage System allows Coriell to virtually store data more efficiently than traditional systems, which should cut costs by 30%.
To help manage the freezers, IBM installed its Tivoli Omnibus and Netcool dashboard applications, allowing Coriell staffers to easily monitor cryogenic freezer status.
Even better, the wireless probes installed in each unit are helping keep tabs on the status of individual samples, too.
Yet another hurdle IBM is helping Coriell overcome is how it accesses biomaterials. Since biomaterials are constantly being studied, the samples aren’t always in the storage units.
Not a problem… IBM’s Lombardi software lets Coriell easily track a sample’s location as it moves through different laboratory processes.
So Coriell is both cutting costs and improving efficiency.
As IBM puts it, by “aligning the right technology infrastructure to meet its Big Data challenges, Coriell is well positioned to promote tomorrow’s medicines and treatments to help usher in a new era of medicine.”
And in the cutthroat world of Wall Street, staying ahead of emerging trends is vital to staying relevant as a company. Just ask Sears (Nasdaq: SHLD), who’s presently hemorrhaging cash.
But unlike Sears, IBM’s latest moves are proving its mettle.