IBM is continuing to ramp up its cloud computing capabilities with the launching of a series of initiatives to make it easier and more profitable for Business Partners of SoftLayer, an IBM Company to develop, market and sell cloud services to their customers.
Cloud computing is transforming the way that IT services are consumed and delivered and will account for the bulk of new IT spending by 2016. For Business Partners who specialize in streamlining integration and delivering value-added solutions, cloud presents an unprecedented opportunity to capture new revenue and enter new markets.
In fact, Business Partners who have transitioned to cloud are experiencing more than twice as much revenue growth as Business Partners who have not.
With the new sales incentives, marketing programs and training courses it is announcing today, IBM is building on its industry-leading support for SoftLayer and IBM Business Partners to help them capture the growing cloud market opportunity. It is also combining best practices from the SoftLayer partner program and IBM PartnerWorld to enable Business Partners to improve margins, build skills and drive demand.
As part of today’s news IBM is:
- Offering improved margin opportunities with richer earned-volume discounts for SoftLayer Business Partners without requiring a prior commitment.
- Creating a new SoftLayer Services & Solution Provider program, which streamlines the SoftLayer hosting reseller and strategic partners program to improve clarity of eligibility requirement and benefits of the program.
- Launching a co-marketing initiative as part of PartnerWorld to help SoftLayer Business Partners that join the program build their brands, generate demand for their services and grow their marketing skills. Partners who join PartnerWorld, and existing IBM Business Partners who join the SoftLayer partner program will have access to campaign design and creation tools as well as customizable campaign templates to minimize upfront work and deliver consistent messaging.
- Expanding the technical training courses for both SoftLayer and IBM Business Partners to build skills that meet clients’ plans to use outside resources for delivering high-value cloud solutions. The free two-day courses introduce SoftLayer solutions through hands-on activities delivered by Global Knowledge, one of IBM global training providers. Classes are held in 21 locations including markets where IBM is expanding its global network of cloud hubs in addition to several other key markets around the world, including: Japan, India, China, England and several locations across the United States. SoftLayer, an IBM company, provides a high performance, enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure that can expand to accommodate any workload and offers a unique network architecture that optimizes global performance using a high-speed private network.
Offering services on SoftLayer’s high-performance cloud enables Business Partners to take advantage of IBM’s considerable investments in building out its cloud portfolio, including a recent $1.2 billion investment to expand its global cloud footprint and its $1 billion investment to develop a unique platform-as-a-service offering, codenamed BlueMix.
ClipCard is a SoftLayer partner that provides a big data discovery platform built on SoftLayer’s cloud infrastructure. ClipCard renders big data discoverable for end users by driving new insights and context to support business decisions.
“As a lean company selling to large enterprise customers, we really appreciate what SoftLayer has to offer,” said Ryan Cunningham, product vice president, ClipCard. “Our customers like the security, reliability, and control that comes from a cloud provider who really ‘gets’ enterprise. We love that we have a real partner in the SoftLayer team, not just a website to go to when we need a hand. IBM is clearly invested in helping us be successful, which is a great boost for a company like ClipCard.”
Today’s offerings build on IBM PartnerWorld’s existing cloud-related resources, including: Cloud services mark, an IBM ingredient brand mark for cloud solutions and service to allow eligible PartnerWorld members to promote cloud services that run on IBM technologies, including SoftLayer; PartnerWorld Cloud Benefit Guide, a catalog of resources connecting PartnerWorld members with benefits for building, selling and deploying cloud solutions; PartnerWorld SatScor, a free client satisfaction survey for promoting referral marketing; Cloud-based Program Criteria to make it easier for cloud-based PartnerWorld members to achieve advance participation levels in the PartnerWorld program.
The IBM Impact event in Las Vegas is short upon us, transpiring April 27th through May 1st at the Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Thus far, we’re expecting over 9,000 developers, business and IT leaders to attend this year’s event, and this year’s motto has already begun to emerge: BE FIRST.
Yes, in all capital letters!
That motto seems to be a head nod to the notion that change is in the air, and that the traditional approach to business processes, applications, IT infrastructure and workforce is no longer working the way it needs to in a digital economy.
So what can you expect to learn at Impact 2014? First and foremost, how to build a faster, more adaptive and secure “composable business” to overcome key challenges and to thrive in this digital realm.
That includes being first to see how disruptive technologies such as cloud computing, big data, and mobile can help organizations capitalize on the benefits of the business model of the future.
At this year’s Impact 2014 there will be six primary tracks and over 600 interactive sessions, a massive Solution Expo, visionary keynote speakers, and as always, great networking with 1000s of enthusiastic attendees.
One keynote speaker in particular will include Hollywood stalwart and two-time Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey, executive producer and star of the critically-acclaimed Netflix series, "House of Cards." (You’re missing out if you’ve not yet seen this show…I did a weekend binge watch of the second season when it recently appeared, and…well, so much for self-control!)
Spacey is a great actor, producer and director, but he’s also a great public speaker, and he has implemented information technology very smartly in several of his organizations and production ventures.
We’re also seeing the advent this year of dev@Impact, a two-day session devoted entirely to software developers. At the Hands-On Workshops, they will be able to get their hands on the latest tech in mobile, the Internet of Things, big data, and cloud technology, among others.
There will also be an IBM SportsHack Developer Challenge, a themed hackathon centered around the internet of things, wearables and personal fitness data. (Winners will be announced at the conference.)
IBM Impact will also include the hosting of "Meet-a-Mentor" sessions, where registered attendees will have the chance to speak with IBM’s top technical talent on the topic of their choice: Career direction, IT architecture, coding challenges, specific IBM technologies or products! Click here to see a list of those available mentors, and register on IBM Impact Conference Connect for the Meet-a-Mentor sessions.
Developers will also want to make note of the Developer’s Playground in the Social Impact Lounge, which will feature some very cool technologies, including a special Oculus Rift experience, Code Rally open source racing technology, and Raspberry Pi, among others.
I’ve just hit a few of the highlights..check out the IBM Impact 2014 site to get the full lowdown.
The Hartford and IBM recently announced a new six-year technology services agreement to implement a new service model that includes a private cloud infrastructure.
The partnership supports The Hartford’s strategy to drive profitable growth and increase operational effectiveness as it continues to focus on its property and casualty, group benefits and mutual funds businesses.
The Hartford will move to a private cloud-based infrastructure on IBM’s PureFlex System. Under the $500 million agreement, IBM will also provide a number of other services related to mainframe, storage, backup and resiliency.
A recent IBM study reveals that 66 percent of organizations are using cloud to strengthen the relationship between IT and lines of business, and the majority are using cloud to integrate and apply mobile, social, analytics and Big Data technologies.
As part of the agreement, The Hartford and IBM will also partner on the creation of a joint innovation committee to foster collaboration on strategic initiatives.
The project will leverage the expertise of both firms, market insights and research to build new business models and competitive capabilities that will enhance The Hartford’s ability to anticipate and meet the needs of customers and agents.
To learn more about IBM cloud offerings go here and follow on Twitter at @IBMcloud.
Big news on the Austin social media front today.
The Austin Business Journal has reported two leading social media firms situated here, Spredfast, Inc. and Mass Relevance, have completed a merger.
Mass Relevance CEO Sam Decker will join the combined company’s (which will be known as Spredfast) board of directors, and former Lombardi Software and now Spredfast CEO Rod Favaron will continue in that role.
Spredfast’s focus has been on helping firms with social media management and analytics, while Mass Relevance has been largely consumed with helping companies in their social content curation and assisting broadcasters to integrate Twitter into their programming, so it will be interesting to see how these two players integrate their offerings.
In a blog post about the move, Favaron wrote that "By teaming up, we’ll give marketers access to every piece of social data submitted in real-time, so they can uncover conversations that matter to their brand and build shared experiences that allow them to interact with their audience, both one-to-one and one-to-many. In turn, their audiences can impact, shape and advance the brand."
Spredfast has raised over $66 million in investment capital since its launch and with the addition of Mass Relevance will grow to over 350 employes.
IBM today announced that based on Gartner’s definition of the application infrastructure and middleware market, IBM has once again been named the worldwide market share leader, marking 13 consecutive years of sustained leadership. The rankings are based on total worldwide revenue for 2013.
According to the Gartner report, "All Software Markets, Worldwide, 2013" report names IBM as the leader in application infrastructure and middleware software with 30 percent market share, nearly double that of its closest competitor. The worldwide application infrastructure and middleware software market grew 5.6 percent to $21.5 billion, according to Gartner.
IBM leads in eight out of the 11 application infrastructure and middleware markets. Based on IBM client feedback, there is a demand for organizations to link together Big Data, mobile, cloud and social computing technologies into core enterprise software systems.
IBM is also the leader in Business-to-Business (B2B) Middleware, which drives better collaboration among partners and clients, and Managed File Transfer Suites, a new segment tracked in this report, for secure, reliable delivery of data between people, process and systems.
This one comes under the heading of while you were out. Or rather, while I was out.
Last week, I was off attending a software developers event in California when this announcement was made, but being from the oil and gas state of Texas I couldn’t help but come back around and share it.
IBM announced then that it had been selected by BP to integrate and manage the company’s business applications globally, as well as provide enhanced service desk support for 60,000 employees and 80,000 devices in the Americas and Europe.
IBM was chosen to support BP in enhancing user interaction with the service desk and improving business IT processes across all key BP IT operations.
The IBM solution is focused on providing a personal service that gives an individual choice on how and when to get help. Enhancements will include new services such as live online chat whereby employees can engage the help desk in real time and in their local language through a live agent or through BP’s self-help web portal.
The self-help portal leverages IBM’s knowledge base, deep analytics of IT incidents and natural-language search capabilities to rapidly deliver the most relevant results and reduce the need for on-site support.
With operations around the world, BP selected IBM to provide the next generation of application management services for its global enterprise systems and additional connected applications.
Central to these new generation services is the IBM Command Centre that monitors BP’s enterprise systems and applications in real time, utilizing predictive analytics to prevent system outages and data flow failures, thus maintaining a world-class level of application availability.
IBM has developed its next generation application management solution for BP by harnessing the knowledge and insights gained from serving BP and from IBM’s extensive global client base.
IBM is providing IT help desk services to BP from its delivery centers in Boulder, Colorado; Greenock, Scotland; Dublin, Ireland; Brno, Czech Republic; and Bangalore, India.
IBM is providing application management services from its delivery facilities in Bangalore, Kolkata and Hyderabad in India; Houston and Tulsa in the U.S., UK, Germany and Australia.
During my time this week at the Evans Developer Conference out in Santa Clara, I had a chance to hear from a wide range of industry tech stalwarts on the challenges and opportunities software development professionals face around the globe.
Gina Poole, who is head of developer outreach for IBM Software and who led the launch of the original IBM developerWorks site for developers back in 1999, gave the keynote address this year, aptly entitled “Software is Everywhere.”
Poole began her talk by explaining how everyone who was attending the event got to the physical location of the event: Trains, planes, automobiles, elevators. And all powered by lines of code as much as mechanical components.
Poole joked that even the crazy dog lady’s loving companion has software these days (in their RFID dogs that help to get found after they first get lost).
But then she went on to observe that the developer landscape is changing, that new players were coming into the developer ecosystem: citizen developers, hobbyists, marketing and finance, automobile manufacturers, home cooling and heating players (think Nest)…as Marc Andreesen said in his 2011 Wall Street Journal piece, software is taking over the world.
But Poole explained the changes in the development landscape brings new challenges for those with developer outreach programs. More and more, players are building what she called the “composable business,” where organizations take the best of the services and APIs that are available both inside and outside the firewall to build best-of-class businesses.
Because of that, developer outreach programs need to better understand their audiences: Who are you talking to, and what do they need from you?
Systems engineers who build embedded software will have different needs than a developer building a customer-facing website — in tools, in training, in sample code, in documentation.
Poole went on now to explain the aspirations and intent of a large majority of developers, as there are some common needs out there:
- Every developer is trying to solve a business problem.
- Therefore, they want help to solve a technology program related to that business, and quickly.
- They want to build their skills and stay relevant in the market (either by growing some new skills or enhancing some existing ones)
- Fame and fortune…not necessarily in that order
Poole then sampled some sound bytes that reveal the changing developer landscape.
For example, did you know that 85 percent of new software is now developed for the cloud, and one quarter of all applications are expected to be in the cloud by 2016?
Developers are adapting to this new climate, Poole explained, citing that 72 percent of all developers are already using APIs in their efforts.
But there are other key trends at play, including the introduction of “big data,” what IBM CEO Ginni Rometty has called the “natural resource for the 21st century.” With 1 trillion connected devices and 2.5 billion gigabytes of data being generated every day, there’s massive opportunity in building new applications to make sense of and capitalize on all this new information.
But it’s not all just about the data and APIs. New experiences mean new models of exchange and engagement. Eighty-four percent of milennials say social and user-generated content has an influence on what they buy, so developers must be mindful of designing experiences in new venues like mobile in order to best address that level of engagement.
“Of course, mobile is a lynchpin,” Poole explained, “and yet developers still must focus on multiple platforms.”
Poole explained that IBM is bringing new technologies to bear in the service of developers, including IBM’s Watson technology, which most recently is being put to use to help answer questions on its own developerWorks website through its “Answers Capability.”
“Anything that can help developers find answers to their questions more quickly,” Poole explained.
Poole also gave a head nod to the role cloud computing is playing in this new ecosystem, explaining that a new and open cloud architecture is emerging, one built on open technologies like OpenStack and creating a market for leading composable services that developers can pick and choose from to build their applications.
“Fifty-seven percent of companies are using cloud to drive competitive and cost advantages,” Poole explained, acknowledging the economic benefit to the business as well as to the development ones.
But the new app culture has created new expectations, one that is integrated, mobile, and interactive, and which requires new delivery tools, like IBM’s BlueMix next generation cloud platform.
“Speed, choice, open, API,” Poole went on to say, “The ‘new normal’ for developers.”
Poole reviewed the sample persona of such a developer, Carlos, who was looking to build an end to end digital experience and who wanted good “how to” content as well as a new platform to build those apps on.
Poole explained how such a developer would find such capabilities, most likely with a search started on a search engine such as Google and ending on a preferred cloud-based developer website like BlueMix or GitHub.
Poole’s advice, then, was for such providers to give developers deep “how-to” learning content, and to build a frictionless experience. Also, she explained, give them a place to communicate, to vent their frustrations, and to help one another.
“Developers want to hear from other really smart technical people,” Poole suggested. IBM has created a variety of such community forums, including with the developerWorks Network, its recent introduction of BlueMix, and a whole garden variety of others.
Large organizations with a small army of developers could also learn from IBM’s own playbook, including its Blue Galaxy developer site which helps empower and equip the IBM internal technical community to engage with the world’s developers.
In closing, Poole explained that “all developers are not equal.”
“We need to understand the needs of developers based on adoption, expertise, and their roles, and also provide value in those communities where they are already engaged.”
“Focus on enabling them [developers] to be productive, make it frictionless, make it social, and, oh yes, make it fun!”
IBM recently announced plans that it will commit more than $100 million to globally expand its consulting services capability to help clients with experience design and engagement.
As part of the investment, the company will open 10 new IBM Interactive Experience labs around the world and plans to add 1,000 employees to create new, personalized models of engagement through data and design.
Located in Bangalore, Beijing, Groningen, London, Melbourne, Mexico City, New York, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, and Tokyo, the new labs provide clients with the opportunity to work side-by-side with researchers and consultants as well as experts in experience design, mobile and digital marketing.
These multi-discipline teams analyze business challenges and jointly create solutions that integrate next-generation mobile, social, analytics and cloud technologies. IBM plans to open additional labs in the future to support the global demand for data-driven experiences.
“There’s no longer any real distinction between business strategy and the design of the user experience. The last best experience that anyone has anywhere, becomes the minimum expectation for the experience they want everywhere, and the quality of that experience is entirely dependent on the use of individualized information,” said Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President of IBM Global Business Services.
“As our clients recalibrate what it means to engage with their customers or employees, we’re bringing them the full spectrum of world-class design and IBM Research, book-ended by strategy consulting and our strength in Big Data.”
As hallmarks of the IBM Interactive Experience consulting practice, the new labs will enable companies to engage with their customers in entirely new ways.
Researchers within IBM Interactive Experience are developing capabilities to harness the value of data to help clients create personalized experiences, while designers within IBM Interactive Experience are working directly with clients to develop experiences that are increasingly mobile-driven.
These experiences leverage IBM’s MobileFirst portfolio to take advantage of the transformational nature of mobile solutions. The combination of these capabilities and design elements hinge on insights IBM converts from data — including information on individual decisions, choices, preferences and attitudes.
In addition to the 10 new labs and four existing locations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, and Toronto clients can partner with IBM Interactive Experience teams in IBM Research Labs in 12 locations around the world to personalize their every interaction with consumers.
Big Data Capabilities
Along with the new facilities, IBM also unveiled new data-driven innovations from IBM Interactive Experience that help business leaders gain deeper insights into individuals and transform the way customers experience their products, services and brands. IBM researchers within IBM Interactive Experience invented unique algorithms that conduct the analysis for these new capabilities:
- Intelligent Customer Profiles is an analytics-driven solution that enables consumers to directly manage the personal information companies use to provide them services.
- Influence Analysis is an analytical approach that goes beyond basic social media influencer scoring to identify individuals who influence other consumers related to a specific topic.
- Customer Identity Resolution is a rules-based matching toolkit that helps enterprises build a broader understanding of who their customers are by connecting information across different data sources such as customer relationship management (CRM) records, social media accounts and other profile information.
These join an existing portfolio of data-driven capabilities including Life Event Detection, Behavioral Pricing and Psycholinguistic Analytics.
Clients can choose these capabilities, or team with experts to co-create entirely new, customer-centric, innovative experiences that are unique to their business and the needs of the customers.
IBM, Other Tech Companies Form Industrial Internet Consortium To Improve Integration Of Physical And Digital Realms
Yesterday, AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM and Intel announced the formation of the Industrial Internet ConsortiumTM (IIC), an open membership group focused on breaking down the barriers of technology silos to support better access to big data with improved integration of the physical and digital worlds.
The consortium will enable organizations to more easily connect and optimize assets, operations and data to drive agility and to unlock business value across all industrial sectors.
An ecosystem of companies, researchers and public agencies is emerging to help drive adoption of Industrial Internet applications, a foundational element for accelerating the Internet of Things.
The IIC is a newly formed not-for-profit group with an open membership that will take the lead in establishing interoperability across various industrial environments for a more connected world. Specifically, the IIC’s charter will be to encourage innovation by:
- Utilizing existing and creating new industry use cases and test beds for real-world applications;
- Delivering best practices, reference architectures, case studies, and standards requirements to ease deployment of connected technologies;
- Influencing the global standards development process for Internet and industrial systems;
- Facilitating open forums to share and exchange real-world ideas, practices, lessons, and insights;
- Building confidence around new and innovative approaches to security.
“We are at the precipice of a major technological shift at the intersection of the cyber and physical worlds, one with broad implications that will lead to substantial benefits, not just for any one organization, but for humanity," said Janos Sztipanovits, E. Bronson Ingram Distinguished Professor of Engineering and Director of the Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS), Vanderbilt University.
“Academia and industry understand the need to identify and establish new foundations, common frameworks and standards for the Industrial Internet, and are looking to the IIC to ensure that these efforts come together into a cohesive whole.”
As founding members, AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM and Intel will each hold permanent seats on an elected IIC Steering Committee along with four other elected members. The Steering Committee will provide leadership and governance to help organizations capitalize on this vast opportunity.
Given the importance of this technology, the federal government is investing over $100 million/year in R&D related to cyberphysical systems, and has been partnering with the private sector on a series of testbeds in areas such as healthcare, transportation, smart cities, and increasing the security of the electric grid.
The IIC is open to any business, organization or entity with an interest in accelerating the Industrial Internet. In addition to gaining an immediate, visible platform for their opinions, consortium members will join in developing critical relationships with leaders in technology, manufacturing, academia and the government on working committees.
"IBM’s vision of a Smarter Planet is being realized as we connect more of the physical world with the Internet, pairing the Internet of Things with advances in analytics, mobile and cloud computing in ways that lead to new insights and efficiencies that can be harnessed for competitive advantage," said Ron Ambrosio, Distinguished Engineer & CTO, Smarter Energy Research, IBM. "Smarter cities, utility grids, buildings, and machines are becoming more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent, and through this consortium we will accelerate both innovation and technology advancement."
The IIC will be managed by Object Management Group (OMG), a nonprofit trade association in Boston, MA. The fee structure and membership application forms are available at www.iiconsortium.org.
Greetings from sunny Silicon Valley, where the 101 is moving right along and the sun is shining.
I’m visiting here for a software developer’s conference hosted by our friends at Evans Data Corporation, and I’m looking forward to learning how various organizations are working to reach out and communicate more effectively with their own developer communities.
There are also some other developments in the greater IBM worth noting on this bright Monday March morn.
For example, did you know it’s World Tuberculosis Day?
And so IBM and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) have announced plans to research new treatment approaches to fight tuberculosis (TB) in South Africa. IBM’s big data technologies will be put to work on bacterial genetics and drug susceptibility tests to better understand the genomic mechanisms that cause resistance to antibiotics.
The ultimate goal is to find new treatments and diagnostic approaches to fight TB.
The scale of the TB problem in Southern Africa is largely a result of HIV infection, lack of integration between HIV and TB treatments and historic challenges in healthcare delivery.
Currently South Africa has the world’s third highest burden of TB, with the province of KwaZulu-Natal being the most affected by both drug-susceptible and drug-resistant tuberculosis. Over 100,000 cases of TB are reported every year from this province alone and over 60% are also infected with HIV.
The KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH), which is based at the University of Kwazulu-Natal’s Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, is an independent research institute established in 2009 to conduct basic science research into TB and HIV, and translate the scientific findings into new tools to control these deadly diseases.
The Institute’s work has boosted the TB and HIV research capabilities of scientists in South Africa. The work with IBM involving its Big Data and deep data analytics technology– will enable K-RITH to understand bacteria genomes from drug-resistant strains of M. tuberculosis