IBM ConnectED – Indicator of Changed IBM, ISV Digital Business Realities

What is Happening?

Changes in IBM’s ConnectED event indicate a microcosm of the scope, and pace, of evolutionary change in IBM and one of its core ecosystems of developers and partners. Established as Lotusphere and known more recently as IBMConnect, this event traditionally focused on Notes developers, with an annual fervor of discussion surrounding changes to Notes and the Notes client, and ways to adopt and adapt these into ways to build or improve business systems and operations. This year, IBM – and the event in total – stepped back toward the Notes roots, the beginnings of the event and for many, the beginnings of social business interaction architecture. The number of attendees was purposely reduced, as was the framing of the event in all of its forms (i.e., number and range of presentations, even the after-hours fun). Most significantly, the discussion focus, while still heavy on “social business,” reverted mostly toward developing and adapting within the Notes ecosystem to enable more and better ways of doing business, with “social” as an important aspect – although with more emphasis on user desires, design preferences, and utility.

The event, in sum, is an indication and celebration of business re-focus and re-invention by IBM, partners, and customers. “Social” is being subsumed into the mix, as have been Cloud and advanced analytics. And that’s changing development, partnership, and go-to-market approaches for everyone, but especially IBM. Continue reading

Migrating to the Cloud using Microservices

Microservices is an emerging application architecture that focuses on enabling Cloud-based, distributed applications to be built more easily. A Microservices application breaks up a traditional application into its composite services, each accessible through its own RESTful API for real-time connectivity. This enables the individual services to be developed and delivered separately using a DevOps / Continuous delivery method, and further enables each service to use the technology stack that is most appropriate for that service’s needs; the only thing a service exposes to the outside is its interface.

Companies that have existing Monolithic applications and want to move them to the Cloud know that the Monolithic architectures that worked well on-premises don’t translate well to distributed systems at scale. Since a Microservices architecture is flexible, and can be developed on a per-service basis, it is possible to use either integration code, or an iPaaS solution to build and deploy individual services that can support or replace parts of the monolithic application. In this way, Monolithic applications can be gradually broken down and deployed in parts into the Cloud. Because Microservices allow a gradual migration of traditional applications to the Cloud, Saugatuck expects that they will become a common pattern used in the Hybrid Cloud, where parts of the application using Microservices migrate to the Cloud, and the Monolithic parts will remain on-premises.  Continue reading

IBM ConnectED – Keep the Conversation Going

Wrapping up the second day of IBM’s ConnectED event – formerly Connect, neé Lotusphere – I’m struck by the conversations going on in all areas and aspects of the event.

As always, the halls and meeting rooms are populated mostly with developers, all learning or sharing knowledge about IBM Lotus, Domino, and Connections environments, capabilities, challenges, advantages, integration, and so on.

But this year’s event is, purposely, smaller than previous events in scope and focus. And this year, to quote more than one IBM Business Partner, “there’s no hot air. It’s all about making things and making them work.”

“Hot air” is probably uncharitable way of putting things. But there is a noticeable lack of hype, and of gung-ho rhetoric, particularly about Social IT and “social business.” A key theme within this year’s event is “new ways to engage,” and the sessions, demos, exhibitor stands, and hallway chats are very focused on that.

The “event conversation,” in sum, has shifted from the concept and possibilities – and hype – regarding Social IT, to a very business-like focus on development, adaptation, and application of IBM’s technologies and services into ways to engage users, buyers, sellers, supporters, and all the other Continue reading

What’s the Value of Your IT Organization?

Adoption of Cloud-based solutions is enabling and catalysing IT organizations to transform to new modes of operation with associated higher value propositions. In a recently published Strategic Perspective, Saugatuck defines four primary IT Organization Profiles:

  • Supportive: These organizations collect, document, and analyze IT-oriented performance metrics and strive to react in a timely manner to new requirements from the business units.
  • Proactive: These ensure delivery of services and strive to adopt new technologies.
  • Collaborative: These collaborate with business units (BUs) to support new business processes in a timely fashion by facilitating use of new technologies.
  • Innovative: These work in close partnership with BUs to innovate new business processes, products, and services.

Continue reading

A Day at the Circus: Microsoft’s Re-invention is No Act

Thousands of analyses and commentaries on this week’s big Microsoft #Windows10 event can be found in any web search. The focus and tone of almost every analysis and commentary that I’ve seen has been on the technology and the “stuff,” and what Microsoft has done or promises to do with it – what’s included, what’s missing, what they got right or wrong, and so on.

That’s understandable, as watching the event (and the Twitter stream that couldn’t keep up) was like watching a 3-ring circus – there was just one cool act after another, with lights, music, magic, and even 3-D experiences with lots of “ooohs” and “ahhhs.” When you talk about the circus, you want to talk about what you saw.

Even so, focusing on the circus of nerdy-cool stuff that played out yesterday is like critiquing the acrobats, the dancing bears, and the clown car, and not noticing that the big ol’ tent has been replaced by a new domed stadium with a new foundation and 21st-century facilities and capabilities.

Almost everyone except us (and the Wall Street Journal) missed the real eye-opener yesterday: how Microsoft has fundamentally changed, and is changing, itself and its business. Little to none of what MSFT demo’d, rolled out, or Continue reading

Four Keys to Competing in Digital Business

What is Happening?          

Cloud and Boundary-free Enterprises are just beginning to understand the full implications of managing Digital Business transformation. And, despite the natural inclination of many to bolt-on a new face and call it “Digital,” competing to succeed in Digital Business does require a real transformation. As Figure 1 highlights, less than half of all business and IT leaders recently surveyed believe that they are “very” or “extremely” successful in their Digital Business pursuits (1390SSR, 2014 Enterprise Intelligence Survey: Digital Business & Hybrid Cloud, 20June2014). Another fifty percent believe they are at least “somewhat” successful.

Figure 1: Enterprises Report Digital Business “Success”

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Source: Saugatuck Technology Inc., 2014

We are still early on in this disruptive transformation, but we already know several important things:

  • Customer Experience has become a foundational element of Digital Business
  • Digital Businesses must position themselves to engage successfully with customers and manage their experience
  • Digital Businesses must understand the strategic importance of new and emerging business models and the various options for monetization, including mobile payments
  • Digital Businesses must thoughtfully manage the tradeoffs between renovating and modernizing and productivity and control in evolving their operational platforms
  • Existing Legacy Businesses must bring their back office into the Digital Age by a variety of phased tactics, including re-architecting or upgrading technology platforms
  • To compete successfully, Legacy businesses must reframe Application Development, enabling Mobile and Cloud platforms for the Digital Economy
  • Finance Systems can become competitive weapons and help CEOs, CFOs, and CIOs navigate their strategies in the Digital Age.

Continue reading

Fireside Chat with Bethann Cregg, IBM on Cloud Data and Watson (CBS14)

On November 12th, 2014, Saugatuck Technology held its 4th annual Cloud Business Summit at the Yale Club of New York City. As with prior Summits, our event brought together more than 100 large-enterprise CIOs, CTOs and senior business, marketing and finance leaders – to explore how they can and are realizing value from the Cloud.

Saugatuck Research Fellow Mike West hosted a Fireside Chat with Bethann Cregg, Vice President, Information and Analytics Group Cloud at IBM. The discussion’s theme was “Turbo-Charging Digital Business with a Cloud-First Strategy.”

The first video clip is an excerpt of their discussion about the way in which the Cloud and Cloud platforms such as BlueMix are changing how enterprises of all sizes Continue reading

Panel: Cloud Business Solutions – New Synergies (CBS14)

On November 12th, 2014, Saugatuck Technology held its 4th annual Cloud Business Summit at the Yale Club of New York City. As with prior Summits, our event brought together more than 100 large-enterprise CIOs, CTOs and senior business, marketing and finance leaders – to explore how they can and are realizing value from the Cloud.

Saugatuck Research Fellow Mike West hosted a panel of experts from the world of Cloud Business applications – Vikram Nair, VP & Head of IT Strategy at Carnival Corp, Louis Nauges, CIO Advisor & Blogger at DHASEL Innovation, Daniel Couture, SVP & CIO at Zoetis, Mark Nittler, VP at Workday – all of whom were asked to consider Continue reading

Infor – A Focus on Verticals

As part of Saugatuck’s “Finance in the Cloud” research program, we conferenced with executives from Infor several weeks ago to learn more about the Infor solutions, their market reception, future plans for enhancement and how Infor views “Finance in the Cloud.” Formerly known as a legacy vendor of many acquired ERP and related finance solutions with an on-premises footprint, Infor began a complete remake of its portfolio in 2008 with an eye to the Cloud. In October 2010, Charles Phillips, ex-Oracle co-president, was introduced as Infor’s CEO, beginning a new era of innovation and investment, with a focus on vertical industry solutions. In 2011, the firm relocated its headquarters to New York City.

Infor can now claim 73,000 customers in over 200 geographies, and can cite many customer examples of its vertical industry support (e.g., 19 of the top 20 aerospace co.’s; 10 of the top 10 high tech co.’s; 10 of the top 10 pharmaceutical co.’s; 20 of the top 20 automotive suppliers; 16 of the 20 top global retailers). Infor’s strategy targets a focus on a dozen key industries and claims an advantage to the buyer because of vertical functionality tailored for industry business processes, eliminating the need for Continue reading

Where Are Apps Headed Now?

Saugatuck’s research has identified two major influences on the nature of apps, applications and Cloud solutions in the rapidly evolving world of Digital business: RESTful APIs and Containers.

The first influence is the use of RESTful APIs that enable loosely-coupled architectures and build on powerful synergies across platforms (See 1488MKT “Endpoints and Connectors: iPaaS and the API Economy,” 12 December 2014.   Continue reading