Archive for June 2011
If the suspense was killing you, the winner of the IBM SmartCamp New York competition has been announced.
And the winner is…Localytics!
Great name. And also a great idea.
Localytics providers real-time data analysis that helps the makers of mobile phones and tablet apps better understand their clients.
How cool is that?!
Congrats to Localytics, and all the other participants and semi-finalists (along with winners of prior city instances of SmartCamp).
Localytics was selected from more than 200 entries from around the world, and the NY finalists’ all had technology and business models that capitalized on the growing opportunity to apply analytics to data.
On the topic of analytics, IBM recently introduced a new program entitled “What’s Your AQ?”
The sitelet allows you to take IBM’s “Analytics Quotient” test to measure how ready you and your team are to apply insight to your strategy, processes and tactics.
The more your embrace analytics, the higher your AQ!
There’s been a lot of very exciting news from IBM out of Africa of late, where IBM is actively expanding its operations as part of its continued geographic expansion to increase its presence in key growth markets.
Just earlier today, IBM announced details of a $3M deal with the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia to support the bank in a major modernization and business expansion program.
With its new IT infrastructure, the bank plans to increase its number of accounts by 25 percent per year, launch 200 new ATMs per year, and open 500 new branches over the next five years.
That’s just one recent example.
IBM also opened subsidiary offices in Tanzania and Senegal this year, and IBM now has a direct presence in over 20 African countries (with more offices planned).
IBM also recently announced a deal with Bharti airtel to create an integrated telecommunications infrastructure to enable mobile phone communications throughout 16 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
If you visit here, you can learn more about IBM’s numerous African-related announcements over the past two years. There, you can also hear directly from some African citizens and IBMers about IBM’s Corporate Service Corps initiatives in Africa.
Back in mid-May, I mentioned in this blog that the IBM SmartCamp would be taking place in New York City in late June.
Well, that time has arrived, and the startups that made it as finalists all seemed to have a generally common thread: They all use software to analyze large volumes of today.
The five finalists for SmartCamp New York developed software that helps people and businesses better manage energy consumption, monitor environmental hazards, understand mobile device usage patterns, and track brand sentiment.
SmartCamp New York is part of the IBM Global Entrepreneur initiative, which was set up to bring new technologies to market faster that have the potential to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues.
The five finalists were selected from more than 200 startup companies that are creating new technologies in critical areas such as healthcare, energy and environment, and other services that improve the life of citizens around the globe.
IBM SmartCamps judge the best start-up company in different cities around the globe, then reward the winners with mentoring, services, access to industry experts, and deeper partnership opportunities from IBM, venture capital firms, and industry partners.
And you can participate.
Each of the final five startups created a one-minute video pitch that you can view on the Smarter Planet blog at ASmarterplanet.com. Watch the pitch videos and the companies live on the IBM Software Livestream, then vote for your favorite.
You can watch the webcast here starting tomorrow, and you can also follow the action via Twitter at #IBMSmartCamp.
Meanwhile, check here to learn more about the five finalists for IBM SmartCamp New York.
The IBM Innovate 2011 event kicks into its third day down in Orlando, and the announcements have already started streaming out of the event, as has the Livestream coverage for those of you who couldn’t make it to Orlando.
Today, IBM announced new software that helps organizations collaborate more efficiently throughout the entire software and systems development process. It allows developer teams to quickly access resources and work across global boundaries through an open, collaborative development environment.
This was a theme we heard consistently in yesterday’s keynote session, the need to be more agile, more collaborative, and increasingly across spatial and temporal boundaries.
Improving the Economics of Software Development
To reiterate the point, just glance through the topline of the latest IBM CEO Study which covered 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide. Two-thirds of global organizations manage software development teams working in multiple locations.
The study also found there is a growing unpredictability in getting software through development and into is full application within an organization. More than 62% of development projects fail to meet the intended schedule and 30% of project costs are due to rework and poor execution of requirements.
The new software helps organizations align their software investments with business process and operations across an entire organization, creating stronger linkages between planning and execution. It’s now possible to tap into talent wherever it is located, quickly accessing resources and include appropriate decision makers throughout the entire business cycles.
Built on Jazz
The new software offerings are built on Jazz, IBM’s open software development platform that supports sharing and interactions among software and systems design and development teams.
New features allow developers to interact quickly; share data instantaneously from any source in the development process and connect teams and development communities in new ways.
- Collaborative Design Management: Enables teams to integrate designs seamlessly with other development tasks and information, such as requirements, code, and quality management assets. The benefits of this approach enhance the traceability of all actions, allowing their impact on the process to be analyzed. Team members and other stakeholders can review, contribute and change solution designs with complete transparency to every participant in the project.
- Collaborative Lifecycle Management: The IBM Rational solution for Collaborative Lifecycle Management helps software development teams improve their productivity by offering an integrated application lifecycle management (ALM) solution to avoid the pitfalls of working in silos with broken communication, which results in project delays, low quality or budget overruns.
- Collaborative Development and Operations: New technologies, such as cloud computing, workload optimization and Agile development are driving the need for development and operations to work more closely than ever before. IBM has created new integrations between many of its leading software offerings that can significantly assist in bridging the cultural divide between development and operation teams.
Visit IBM Rational to learn more about these new offerings.
And don’t forget to tune in for tomorrow’s (Wednesday, June 8th) opening session at Innovate 2011 at 8 AM EST, whereupon Grady Booch will discuss the IBM Watson technology.
UPDATE: developerWorks’ guru (and my good buddy) Scott Laningham has been very busy talking to folks on the show floor at Innovate. You can check out his excellent interviews here.
Here’s my observation about the kickoff session at this morning’s Innovate 2011 event in Orlando, Florida, the IBM conference focused on smarter software and systems:
The best software in the world is everywhere around you — it helps power your car, your refrigerator, your computer, your travel reservation systems, the list goes on. And yet, at the same time, when it’s working at its best the best software in the world is hardly even noticeable!
However, its benefits and economic impact should be noticeable and even quantifiable, and therein emerged the theme for this morning’s kickoff keynote session, one we’ve become increasingly accustomed to in these austere times: Getting more value from less resources.
Though many may have become weary of beating that drum, from a software and systems perspective, however, it seems as though there’s still plenty of additional value to be derived in developing complex applications and systems, if only we would change the way we behave and develop them.
IBM executives Gina Poole, Dr. Kristif Kloeckner, Robert LeBlanc, and Walker Royce all highlighted and introduced several during the morning’s keynote to provide demonstrable proof of how large, complex organizations are realizing that value via three foundational practices: Integration, Collaboration, and Optimization.
General Motors Powers The Volt With Massive Software Reuse
Bill Bolander, a technical fellow for General Motors, took the stage to bring the renowned automaker’s case study to life. GM delivered the electric-powered Volt in only 29 months, a car which has some 10 million lines of code.
Bolander explained to the Orlando audience that there’s “not a better time to be a systems or software engineer” even in these austere times. GM has 16 development application centers across the globe, responsible for everything from code development for the powertrain to the chassie to HVAC and beyond.
This team creates a global software product line for use across the GM vehicle portfolio, and those assets now get applied across various vehicle programs. Because of their integrated, collaborative approach to development GM has seen substantial returns in both time to market and efficiency, without sacrificing quality.
As Bolander quipped, “When you hit the brakes, they need to work.”
That’s certainly how I prefer my car to operate!
As a specific example of the efficiencies, 90% of the software developed for conventional gas cars was reused on the Volt, 80% from their hybrid electric.
The General Motors study was a powerful one in terms of economic value to the organization that practices smarter software and systems development. But it wasn’t the only one.
Danke Bank: Multilingual, Multicurrency, Unified Development
Danke Bank is the second largest bank in Scandinavi and operates in 15 countries throughout Europe, and according to Peter Rasmussen, the bank’s philosophy for banking and information technology is simple: One platform for all.
They have five million customers, 2.4M of which bank via the Internet, with some 670 branches in 15 countries.
But, in terms of simplification, they use one IT platform for their entire organization. Though they still spend some $375M on software development every year, Rasmussen explained their their philosophy was “creating more value for less resource.”
To do so, his team adopted the Rational approach to smarter development, evolving their focus from documents and assets to outcome and results, and moving quicker in the market while addressing the big uncertainties earlier in the development process where they could be more readily (and less expensively!) addressed.
What did they learn? Well, as an example, those projects which had an experienced project manager saw a 50% bottom line impact.
They also improved collaboration among the bank’s key stakeholders, identifying honest measures that would help them focus on the right improvements that would matter most to Danke Bank.
Software Development At IBM Software
So, the question might be asked, do the shoemaker’s children go barefoot? Apparently not when it comes to software development at IBM.
IBM started its own agile transformation in the mid 2000s, where it had 26K developments in more than 70 locations just in its software business. Starting in 2006, Dr. Kloeckner explained, his team started measuring achievement against development goals and incented them to collaborate and share.
He also empowered them with software lifecycle tools, to help make changes stick and pervasive. “Tools, not rules” Kloeckner explained.
Revenue per headcount saw a net gain of 15% (how IBM measures productivity), and reduced scrap and rework by 4.5%. The company also avoided $300M in maintenance costs, and asset reuse shot up dramatically, with the code repository accessed some 70K times per week!
Walker Royce explained the ultimate moral of this story. Better software economics is a result of measured improvement for improved predictability, and agility for improved operational efficiency.
Thsose organizations who better measure and manage their development process better manage uncertainty, and in turn, drive costs down through more accelerated integration testing and measurement of cost of change trends.
As Royce summarized, “Your ability to respond quickly is a key differentiator.”
“Thank you for the honor.”
That’s all the words IBM’s Watson will be able to convey were it to be able to stand up on the stage and accept its Webby Award.
Watson was just named person of the year by the Webbys, which is an interesting way of categorizing the IBM supercomputer that outplayed Jeopardy! world champions back in February.
What’s all this, you say? Well, the fact is, Webby award speeches have historically been limited to five (and typically, very carefully chosen) words.
Although with all that brain power, I’m sure Watson could come up with something better and much more clever than the five I selected. I just wanted to make sure it didn’t seem like Watson was ungrateful.
Congratulations, Watson. You earned every word.
If you’re interested in watching, the 15th annual Webby Awards ceremony will be held June 13 and hosted by Lisa Kudrow. The show will stream live on numerous outlets, including via Facebook and the Huffington Post.
Back in Orlando, Florida, Innovate 2011 is preparing to get going over the weekend. I mentioned in a previous post that software guru Grady Booch will actually be speaking about Watson at the conference.
Of course, we’re giving Grady more than just five words, as he has quite a bit to say about the software methods behind Watson’s madness.
The Wall Street Journal’s “All Things D” conference is taking place out in Rancho Palos Verdes, California this week.
A number of digital industry leaders and luminaries are speaking at the event. (Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings is being interviewed by Kara Swisher as I write this post.)
Former Google CEO and executive chairman Eric Schmidt was onstage there event yesterday, and the Washington Post coverage suggested Schmidt was melancholy about missing out on how to contend with all those hundreds of millions of Facebook friends in the world (read: “the social graph”) while at Google.
Danny Sullivan delivered his own top 10 takeaways from the interview, but the headline that stuck with me was “failing at social,” or in Schmidt’s words, “disambiguating identity” on the Internet. Schmidt mentioned he wrote memos on the subject four years ago and yet “did nothing.”
And hence chinks in the strategic Web armor are thusly created. Glad I caught a replay of “Robin Hood” last evening, to get in the spirit of close contact Internet platform battles.
Also makes me wonder to myself aloud, hmmm, what memos might Mark Zuckerberg currently be writing about holes in the Facebook platform strategy!?
Well, the FB seems to have a pretty good head start, so he’s probably got plenty of time to miss a key inflection point.
Meanwhile, IBM had its own announcement to make yesterday around its smarter commerce initiative, one expected to help IBM Business Partners seize the growing market opportunity created by shifting buying patterns in the mobile and computing space.
The headline: IBM will be providing sales, marketing, and technical guidance, and BPs can also qualify to earn incentives of up to 50 percent of the software sales transaction and receive zero percent financing.
IBM’s estimates the Smarter Commerce market opportunity for software at $20 billion, driven by the demands from organizations who are increasingly looking for ways to bring new levels of automation to marketing, sales and fulfillment to secure greater customer loyalty.
IBM is investing in its ecosystem of partners, delivering the right set of skills, technical support, development resources, and industry expertise that will allow them to expand their capabilities to more effectively fulfill client demands brought on by social networking and mobile computing.
Smarter Commerce for Business Partners offers two options designed to help partners build and deliver a broad range of offerings — from integrated supply chain management, collaborative B2B networks and business-to-consumer solutions.
- Software Value Plus Smarter Commerce Capability – business partners can now qualify to receive incentives as high as 50 percent of the sales transaction for Smarter Commerce software, including Unica, Coremetrics, Unica and Websphere Commerce offerings. To qualify, Business Partners must be authorized IBM software providers with certifications in sales and technical support.
- The Smarter Commerce Solution Development Initiative — designed to deliver industry-specific sales and technical support, client focused workshops, access to IBM’s global innovation centers and sales assistance in client engagements. To qualify, regional integrators, ISVs, marketing service providers, must have IBM software and industry-specific certifications in retail, telecommunications, banking and consumer product industries.
Certified partners can also take advantage of the Smarter Commerce University to increase their skills.
Through virtual and face-to-face course materials, business partners can gain access to quick-start sales plays, role-based learning, competitive analysis and analyst review information as part of the training.
Visit here to learn more about IBM’s smarter commerce efforts.