Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘mobile

IBM Acquires UrbanCode For Rapid Delivery Of Mobile, Cloud, Big Data & Social Software

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IBM today announced it has acquired UrbanCode Inc.

Based in Cleveland, Ohio, UrbanCode automates the delivery of software, helping businesses quickly release and update mobile, social, big data, cloud applications.

Mobile, social, big data and cloud technologies are driving demand for new, faster and more frequent approaches to software delivery. Waiting days or even months to get an update to clients is no longer acceptable.

With UrbanCode’s technology, businesses can reduce the cycle time it takes to get updates or new applications into market, from months to minutes. This approach is designed to help reduce cost and risk, while helping address changing client needs by enabling a company to rapidly incorporate feedback into and improve the overall quality of their applications and services.

Software Development As Competitive Advantage

A recent study by the IBM Institute for Business Value uncovered that almost 70 percent of companies using software development for competitive advantage outperform their peers in profitability. As innovation in software becomes more and more critical to success, businesses need a collaborative, intuitive and continual approach to development, testing and delivery.

More than half of surveyed companies agree effective software development is crucial to competitive advantage. Yet, only a quarter of companies feel they have effective methods. UrbanCode’s capabilities will help solve this execution gap with the ability to accelerate software delivery.

IBM plans to continue to support UrbanCode clients and enhance their technologies while allowing these organizations to take advantage of the broader IBM portfolio.

UrbanCode’s software is a natural extension of IBM’s DevOps strategy, designed to simplify and speed the entire software development and delivery process for businesses.

The new capabilities also enhance IBM SmartCloud and IBM MobileFirst initiatives by making it easier and faster for clients to deliver software through those channels. For example, by combining UrbanCode software with the IBM MobileFirst Worklight technology, businesses can now author and deploy an application for any mobile device in hours, versus a previous multi-day timeline.

The UrbanCode solution also works with traditional applications including middleware, databases and business intelligence.

“Companies that master effective software development and delivery in rapidly changing environments such as cloud, mobile and social will have a significant competitive advantage,” said Kristof Kloeckner, general manager, IBM Rational Software. “With the acquisition of UrbanCode, IBM is uniquely positioned to help businesses from every industry accelerate delivery of their products and services to better meet client demands.”  

“Together UrbanCode and IBM technology will be unmatched in the industry, providing businesses a continuous process for developing, testing, and delivering new and updated software,” said Maciej Zawadzki, chief executive officer, UrbanCode. “By removing the bottlenecks that traditionally exist between development teams and production systems, businesses can drive rapid innovation.”

For more information visit the IBM Rational site.

IBM Helps ING DIRECT Canada Connect with Mobile, Social Customers

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ING DIRECT Canada's mobile application, developed with IBM, delivers customers with a dashboard view based on their most frequent banking activities.

ING DIRECT Canada’s mobile application, developed with IBM, delivers customers with a dashboard view based on their most frequent banking activities.

IBM is making a fast start with its new “Mobile First” initiative, which is intended to help companies around the world bring all their resources together to strengthen customer engagement, whenever and wherever the customer wants, and on the customer’s favorite device, which is increasingly a mobile one.

IBM client ING DIRECT Canada is applying a “smarter commerce” approach to consumer banking with IBM’s help in meeting the growing expectations of its 1.8 million customers.

IBM announced today that it is working with the online bank to deliver innovative financial services that improve ING DIRECT’s customer experience including simplified account access across mobile devices and social media channels, voice recognition, and advanced security.

ING DIRECT Canada’s mobile application, developed with IBM, delivers customers with a dashboard view based on their most frequent banking activities.

Based on IBM software and services, these innovations support ING DIRECT’s Orange Snapshot initiative, designed to provide its clients greater control to manage their accounts within their increasingly mobile and social lifestyle.

Orange Snapshot gives mobile consumers a complete and simplified view of all their accounts, as well as bill payment and email money transfers, in two easy clicks.

This allows consumers to sign on once from their mobile device, saving time and aggravation from multiple log-ins.

Working with IBM, the bank’s latest mobile innovation allows clients to easily and securely access their ING DIRECT account information from within Facebook’s social networking site.

Clients who opt-in to this app are able to view their account balances, history and pending transactions as well as receive account notifications — real time messages automatically pushed to them within Facebook.

With security and privacy always top of mind, ING DIRECT plans to expand this application further to include transactions such as transfers, bill payments and email money transfers.

Furthermore, ING DIRECT allows clients to share their experiences through Facebook and Twitter to make saving money more intriguing.

In a recent survey, ING DIRECT learned that 52 percent of consumers were able to forego non-essential purchases when they could better visualize the impact of their spending habits.

IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative is designed to help businesses better connect with the rising tide of digital consumers who prefer to buy through online, mobile and social channels.

It is estimated that there are more smartphones on the planet than humans. According to IDC, by 2016, more than 10 billion smartphones will be in use around the globe. In Canada, more than half of smartphone users bank from their devices — and that number grows higher when looking at users between the ages 18-34.

ING DIRECT continues to work with IBM in seeking new ways to connect to mobile applications in order to advance sales, manage secure transactions, and provide new insights about clients.

The bank has begun experimenting with new voice recognition capabilities on their mobile apps that will allow clients to conduct simple banking transactions by speaking rather than typing or the application can read account information to the customer.

ING DIRECT is also exploring the use of biometrics within their mobile apps for purposes such as client login to improve the client experience while maintaining the highest standards of security. Internal pilots are already yielding positive outcomes.

Recently, Forrester Research, Inc. recognized IBM as a leader in enterprise mobility services, according to the February 2013 report The Forrester Wave TM: Enterprise Mobility Services, Q1 2013.

Based on an analysis of 13 global leaders’ enterprise mobility capabilities and how they stack up, the report indicates that IBM “brings clients a world-class design agency combined with breadth and depth of enterprise mobility consulting both in terms of technology capabilities and global presence.”

You can go here to learn more about IBM’s “Mobile First” initiative.

Me, Frank, Dean, Sammy and Tiger

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Turbo was caught unawares at the TechTarget Online ROI Summit in downtown Austin yesterday. Among the devices identified there on the table: A Verizon Mi-Fi hotspot, Turbo's Verizon LG feature phone, a 5th gen iPod Touch, a "Blu" phone (quadband, works on GSM networks around the world, and serves as the Turbo "bat" phone), an HTC Wildfire Android tablet, and Turbo's newfangled Samsung Chromebook, which is looking like a bargain at the price ($216) compared to the new Google Chromebook Pixel ($1,300!)

Turbo was caught unawares at the TechTarget Online ROI Summit in downtown Austin yesterday as colleagues took a photo of him in “mobile warrior” mode. Among his electronic devices identified on the table: A Verizon Mi-Fi hotspot, Turbo’s Verizon LG feature phone, a 5th gen Apple iPod Touch, a “Blu” phone (quadband, works on GSM networks around the world, serves as the Turbo “bat” phone and FM radio), a Plantronics Pro HD bluetooth headset, an HTC Wildfire Android tablet, and Turbo’s newfangled Samsung Chromebook, which is looking like a bargain at the price ($216) compared to the new Google Chromebook Pixel ($1,300!)

All these people in Barcelona attending Mobile World Congress, and seemingly so little news coming out of there.

For me, the key headline was the Nokia 105 which, while yawned at by most westerners, has the potential to be the downmarket phone king as Nokia moves more aggressively into emerging markets.

It’s a $20 phone that offers the basics, including phone calls, SMS, an FM-radio and a flashlight. And, 35 days of standby with 12.5 hours of talk time.

If it were a quad band GSM phone, I’d have it on my short list for second phones.

The other big news was IBM’s MobileFirst strategy, which, while not nearly as sexy as yet another yawnifying tablet device, does provide some grown-up guidance and direction for companies actually trying to pull together something resembling a unified mobile strategy.

Here’s what IBM’s Robert Leblanc, IBM vice president, middleware, had to say about the IBM MobileFirst initiative:

“To date, mobile computing has been dominated by discussions of new smartphones, operating systems, games and apps. But enterprises have yet to tap into the potential of mobile business. Just as the Internet transformed the way we bank, book vacations and manage our healthcare, mobile computing is also transforming industries. As these devices become ingrained in everything that we do, businesses are now in the palms of their customers’ hands. IBM MobileFirst is designed to make the transformation to becoming a mobile enterprise a reality.”

Visit here to learn more about IBM’s MobileFirst initiative, and go here to watch the IBM Mobile webcast that took place in Barcelona yesterday.

As for me, I’m packing up my mobile devices and taking them on the road.

In fact, I packed them up and took them to the TechTarget Online ROI Summit here in downtown Austin yesterday, and my colleagues thought it was worthy of a Facebook photo.

To which I explained, “I was traveling light!” (See the photo caption for an explanation of what’s what.)

Where am I off to, you ask? To Vegas, of course. My second home! IBM Pulse 2013 kicks off on Sunday, and I’m heading out early manana to take in a little golf history lesson.

That is to say, I have a 2:30 tee time at Las Vegas National, the very same course where Tiger Woods won his first PGA Tour event back in 1996, and where Dean and Frank and Sammy and the rest of the Rat Pack used to hang out and swill martinis after a long hard-fought 18 holes.

I’d like to tell you I’m playing there because of all this history and Tiger lore, but the fact is the old Scotsman from GolfNow gave me a very aggressively priced tee time, which no other courses were offering!

After that, however, it’s all work, and I’m looking forward to interviewing a number of IBM Tivoli luminaries for the IBM Pulse Livestream channel, including some of our business partners, analysts, and the man himself, Deepak Advani, the general manager of IBM Tivoli.

I want to also remind you of Pulse on Vivastream, where you can go do some preliminary social networking. Also check out the killer feature there in the right hand column of the main page, the “DIY Videos” where you can get some early previews of Pulse session speakers. Kil-ler.

In fact, let me do this: Below is my list of “Everything You Ever Needed To Know About IBM Pulse 2013 But Were Afraid to Ask Turbo”:

  • Hashtag: #ibmpulse — all roads lead back to Twitter. Twitter is all-seeing and all-knowing at Pulse 2013.
  • Vivastream at Pulse — How you can maintain your crazy Pulse schedule, find your long, lost systems admin buddy…orrr, that really cute girl whose lip you accidentally bused in that crazy, countrified Carrie Underwood mosh pit.
  • IBM Pulse 2013 Conference Site — If you’re lost at IBM Pulse…or even if you’re not…this is always a good place to start. You can also use this page to find the video interviews I’ll start conducting on Monday.
  • IBM Pulse Smart Site (Registered attendees only) — The official keeper of your IBM Pulse calendar.
  • IBM Pulse On Facebook — Because we recognize there are people like me who spend way too much time on Facebook, and if you want to get their attention…

And now I want to pass you on to my good friend Rebecca’s Top Things You Shouldn’t Miss at Pulse 2013 — it does not include a round with Turbo at Las Vegas National, but other than that, it’s a great list.

Meanwhile, keep an eye for me on Saturday.  I’ll be the one driving down the Las Vegas Strip looking for errant drives.

IBM Unveils Comprehensive Mobile Portfolio

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IBM Mobile First

Click to enlarge the infographic.  As the first new technology platform for business to emerge since the World Wide Web, mobile computing represents one of the greatest opportunities for organizations to expand their business. Based on nearly 1,000 customer engagements, 10 mobile-related acquisitions in the last four years, a team of thousands of mobile experts and 270 patents in wireless innovations, IBM MobileFirst offers an array of solutions that helps businesses connect, secure, manage and develop mobile networks, infrastructures and applications.

 

IBM is going big on mobile.

Today, the company unveiled “IBM MobileFirst,” a comprehensive mobile strategy that combines security, analytics, and application development software, with cloud-based services and deep mobile expertise.

Using IBM MobileFirst solutions, businesses can now streamline everything from the management of employee mobile devices, to the creation of a new mobile commerce app that will transform their entire business model.

Today’s move by IBM builds off of its experience helping nearly 1,000 customers become mobile enterprises, and takes advantage of its thousands of mobile experts and 270 patents in wireless innovations.

IBM has made 10 mobile-related acquisitions in the past four years alone.

IBM also announced an expanded relationship with AT&T to provide developers with tools to create faster, richer mobile apps and services for customers. For instance, organizations can now quickly incorporate payment and messages into their apps.

With this expanded partnership, the AT&T API Platform, featuring IBM Worklight Adapters, will enable the more than 31,000 members of the AT&T Developer Program to quickly create and securely deploy enterprise apps that improve subscriber engagement and customer loyalty.

With these adapters that support AT&T’s ecosystem of APIs including those for speech, SMS, device capabilities, notary management and payment, developers can quickly and securely create rich, business-ready apps across a variety of platforms including iOS, Android and Windows.

Through IBM MobileFirst, IBM is providing companies with the essential tools to take advantage of new business opportunities being enabled by mobile.

A Broad Portfolio of Mobile Solutions

To be successful in embracing mobile for driving revenue growth, clients must have an integrated strategy for mobile, cloud, big data, social business and security. Today’s announcements from IBM help clients harness these complex technologies to drive innovation and growth.

IBM’s mobile solutions portfolio provides the key elements of an application and data platform with the management, security and analytics capabilities needed for the enterprise.

In addition to meeting mobile-specific requirements, the portfolio provides for rapid integration between social and cloud services as well as back-end technologies that help secure and manage strategic business processes. Key aspects include:

  • IBM MobileFirst Platform – New updates include expanded capabilities of IBM Worklight to simplify deployment. It also features single sign-on capabilities for multiple applications. A new beta of the Rational Test Workbench for mobile helps to improve the quality and reliability of mobile apps.
  • IBM MobileFirst Security – IBM extends its context-based mobile access control solutions and expands mobile application vulnerability testing with support for Apple iOS apps with the latest release of AppScan.
  • IBM MobileFirst Management – New updates to IBM Endpoint Manager include enhanced support for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs and increased security standards that are critical to governments and regulated environments.
  • IBM MobileFirst Analytics – IBM is expanding its Tealeaf CX Mobile solution to give enterprises more visual insight into mobile behaviors so they can better understand where improvements are needed and create exceptional and consistent consumer experiences across mobile devices.

To provide organizations with maximum flexibility and accelerate their adoption of mobile computing, these solutions can also be delivered through cloud and managed services.

A Deep Set of Mobile Services for Clients

Enterprises are embracing the mobile revolution at a rapid pace. IBM has thousands of mobile experts to help clients understand how industries will be transformed in a mobile world, based on client engagements across more than a dozen industries.

The IBM MobileFirst portfolio features several services to help clients establish mobile strategies, design and implement mobile projects. These include:

  • IBM MobileFirst Strategy and Design Services – Clients can tap into IBM expertise to map out a mobile strategy for employees and customers, and key experience design skills from IBM Interactive to build compelling mobile experiences. IBM’s new Mobile Maturity Model can assess how a business is progressing towards becoming a mobile enterprise, while new Mobile Workshops help clients develop applications, architect infrastructure and accelerate their mobile progress.
  • IBM MobileFirst Development and Integration Services – IBM offers services that help organizations roll out a mobile infrastructure and manage mobile application portfolios and BYOD environments. Enhanced Network Infrastructure Services for Mobile provide IT network strategy, optimization, integration and management. Mobile Enterprise Services for Managed Mobility help manage and secure smartphones, tablets and devices across a business. Mobile Application Platform Management helps speed deployment of mobile infrastructure to develop mobile applications more easily and quickly.

An Expansive Set of Mobile Resources and Programs for Business Partners, Developers and Academics

According to IBM’s recent Tech Trends Report, only one in 10 organizations has the skills needed to effectively apply advanced technologies such as mobile computing.

To help overcome this skills gap, IBM is rolling out a series of resources to help its ecosystem of developers, partners and academics tap into the mobile opportunity and augment existing skills or develop new ones.

These include:

  • Developers – IBM today is announcing a relationship with AT&T that will enable developers to enhance mobile apps by using IBM Worklight to access AT&T’s APIs in the cloud. Now, developers have another tool with AT&T to quickly and easily create apps with rich features such as speech recognition and rapid payment. IBM is also rolling out new technical assets on developerWorks and CodeRally, a developer game community.
  • Business Partners – With Ready for IBM MobileFirst, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) can also embed mobile technologies into their solutions and Software Value Plus now provides mobile certifications, workshops and incentives for resellers and systems integrators.
  • Academics – To help train the next generation of mobile developers, IBM is offering new faculty grants for curricula development. IBM is also making IBM Worklight available, free of charge, for the classroom and via online training to teach both students and faculty to develop for mobile environments.

IBM Global Financing, the lending and leasing arm of IBM, can also help companies affordably transform into mobile enterprises.

Credit-qualified clients can take advantage of simple, flexible lease and loan packages for the IBM MobileFirst portfolio — some starting at as low as 0% for 12 months with no up-front costs — allowing businesses to acquire essential technology and services while managing cash flow more effectively.

To learn more, visit the IBM MobileFirst site.  You can also follow @ibmmobile, #ibmmobile on Twitter, and see IBM MobileFirst on YouTube, Tumblr and Instagram.

Also, watch the video below (3:46), for it paints a broad, comprehensive, and gorgeous “picture” of the enterprise mobile opportunity and challenges.

IBM MobileFirst Announcement Coverage:

News To Go…And Lots Of It

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Half of all U.S. adults now have a mobile connection to the web through either a smartphone or tablet, significantly more than a year ago, which has major implications for how news will be consumed and paid for, according to a detailed new survey of news use on mobile devices by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) in collaboration with The Economist Group.

So how do you prefer to consume your news on your mobile device?

A new study from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism indicates that half of all U.S. adults now have a mobile connection to the web through either a smartphone or tablet, which is much higher than even a year ago.

Pew alleges this has “major implications for how news will be consumed and paid for.”

Agreed.

But we’re also seeing that users are moving from “snacking” on news via their mobile devices, to reading much longer form content.

And moreover, more people are moving towards using a browser and away from using an app for their tablet news consumption.

I found this one to be quite interesting, as it’s somewhat opposite from my own behavior.

For example, I’ve been a long-time New York Times reader, mainly via their Website (on my Mac), and sometimes via my iPad or iPhone 4.

I finally decided to give them some of my hard-earned money, recently signing up for an all-digital subscription. I don’t want no dead tree showing up on my doorstep!

I strongly prefer the New York Times app, particularly on the iPad. Call me old-fashioned, but being someone with a journalism background myself, I place great value on design, layout, and yes, usability.

So, I save the browser version for the desktop, but much prefer the app on my mobile devices.

Going against the trend, as always!

Some other highlights from the study:

  • Lower cost tablets in late 2011 brought in a new group of tablet owners.
  • There’s growing evidence mobile devices are adding to how much news people get.
  • People who get news throughout the day on their mobile devices are more engaged news consumers.
  • People notice ads on mobile devices and may be even more likely to click on them than they are to click on other digital ads.

From their lips to Mark Zuckerberg’s ears!

You can read more about new Pew report on mobile news usage here.

Blogger’s Note: If you’re a tried and true news junkie, then you have to check out the Magnolia Pictures documentary release “Page One: Inside the New York Times.”  The filmmakers take you inside the Times newsroom and the inner workings of the Media Desk, just as the Internet started to surpass print as our main news source and as newspapers all over the U.S. started  going bankrupt.  Page One chronicles the transformation of the media industry at its time of greatest turmoil. The best part: It features lots of coverage of media columnist and technology curmudgeon, David Carr.

IBM ImpactTV 2012 Instant Replay: Bob Sutor On Tackling The Massive Mobile Enterprise Opportunity

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Recently at IBM Impact in Las Vegas, Scott Laningham and I had the opportunity to sit down with a wide variety of great speakers, including our senior VPs Steve Mills and Mike Rhodin, whose instant replays I’ve already shared.

Most of those folks, we gave about ten minutes.  But there’s been such immense interest in the enterprise mobile topic, that when we sat down with IBM’s VP of WebSphere Foundation and IBM Mobile, Bob Sutor, we spoke for a good 18 minutes.

That’s not only because Bob was a scintillating and thoughtful guest, which he always is, but because there’s a lot to talk about in the mobile space.

So much of the oxygen recently has been around Facebook’s valuation and the rise of BYOD…but there are much more practical and necessary concerns that organizations need to think about as they start to build out their mobile strategies.

Things like application lifecycle development, cross-platform development, and that bugaboo that always rears its head in the mobile conversation, security and privacy.

Bob takes them all on and more in the far-ranging interview below:

What’s Your Mobile Use Case?

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We’re only a week away from the start of the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Madrid.

So I found it interesting that Nielsen would release these “hard numbers”

A recent Nielsen survey of U.S. smartphone owners who report using their mobile phones while shopping in a store, indicates that consumers use their phones differently depending on the type of store.

about how consumers like to use their smartphones, particularly when it comes to shopping.

Here’s what I see in the data: Couponing is mainly for groceries and clothes, and its geeks who use QR codes (*I* am something of a geek, and even *I* haven’t used QR codes…at least, not yet).

If you’re looking for electronics, you’re likely to read reviews via your smartphone, because you don’t want to be the only idiot who bought the thing who didn’t check out what Joe the Plumber (err, the Coder) had to say about the item before they bought it.

I have a plane to catch, but I’ll be pondering this Nielsen data as I check in to find the status of my flight…on my LG dumb phone.

Written by turbotodd

May 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm

IBM To Acquire Mobile Analytics Provider TeaLeaf Technology

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IBM yesterday announced a definitive agreement to acquire Tealeaf Technology, Inc., a leading provider of customer experience analytics software that helps organizations to gain intelligence and react more swiftly to consumer trends in today’s digitally transformed marketplace.

Financial details were not disclosed. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearance and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012.

The need to deliver a seamless mobile experience has become increasingly critical to CMOs with global online commerce expected to hit $1 trillion by 2014 and mobile commerce $200 billion by 2015.  Organizations today are struggling to meet the demands created by the rapidly shifting buying patterns of their customers, who increasingly turn to online, social and mobile channels to gather information, make purchases and receive services.

This new digital marketplace requires companies to be highly responsive to their customers’ behaviors in order to both compete and grow. The opportunity to better understand a customer’s experience on websites and mobile devices presents a major competitive advantage for businesses.

Mobile Analytics On The Go

With this agreement, IBM extends its Smarter Commerce initiative by adding qualitative analytics capabilities that provide chief marketing officers (CMOs), e-commerce and customer service professionals with real-time and automated insights into online customer buying experiences across online and mobile devices.

As a result, organizations can gain actionable insight that allows them to improve customer support, transform site usability, tailor marketing campaigns and increase online conversion rates.

Tealeaf provides a full suite of customer experience management software, which records and analyzes a customer’s website and mobile interactions. As a result, marketers can spot patterns and address issues in website and mobile application design and provide a more streamlined online customer experience that leads to improved revenue, customer satisfaction, customer service productivity, and profitability.

TeaLeaf: Over 450 Customers Worldwide

Tealeaf has over 450 customers worldwide including 30 of the Fortune 100 companies. These customers are predominantly in financial services, travel, retail and communications services. Current clients include: Dell, Wells Fargo, Air Canada, GEICO, Orbitz, Crate & Barrel, Neiman Marcus, Expedia, Zappos, ING Direct, Best Buy, DirecTV, McKesson and StubHub.

Tealeaf will extend IBM’s leadership in Smarter Commerce by giving companies qualitative web and digital analytics capabilities, allowing them to capture and replay a customer’s web and mobile interactions to provide a more granular and richer view of a customer’s experience.

This insightful view helps marketers answer the question of “why” customers interact as they do and thus provide a more optimized online customer experience leading to improved revenue, customer satisfaction, customer service productivity and profitability.

Tealeaf is based in San Francisco, California with additional offices in Europe.

Having Impact

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It’s the end of a long Friday, and you’re sitting there thinking to yourself, “Hmm, what in the world am I going to be doing starting on Sunday, April 29th?!!”

I’m from headquarters and I’m here to help.

If you’re a business or technology leader trying to understand and keep up with the insane amount of change going on in our industry, my recommendation is you hop on a plane and head out to attend the IBM Impact 2012 Global Conference from April 29-May 4.

No, it’s NOT “The Hangover,” thank goodness — neither part one nor part deux — but what it IS is an opportunity to mix it up with your peers and to hear from some of our industry’s key thought leaders.

Let’s start with the keynotes: Author of the acclaimed Steve Jobs biography entitled Steve Jobs, as well as president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, Walter Isaacson, will be a featured speaker this year. Isaacson is a former correspondent and new media editor of Time magazine, who went on to serve as chairman and CEO of CNN from 2001-2003.

“Chic Geek” and 2011 audience favorite Katie Linendoll will also be making a return engagement to Impact. Katie is going to be leading the day 2 general session, as well as moderating a “Women’s Panel” later that Tuesday afternoon (May 1).

And if you’ve never heard from Jane McGonigal, creative director of Social Chocolate and a world-renowned designer of alternate reality games…well, prepare to have your mind blown. I’ve heard Jane at a couple of SXSW Interactives, and Jane’s view of the world is one you’ll want to look into.  She’s also the author of the New York Times bestseller, Reality is Broken.

And those are just the guest speakers.  You’ll also hear from a powerhouse cadre of IBM experts and executives, starting with senior veep Steve Mills. Also in attendance: Rod Smith, our VP emerging technologies…Marie Wieck, GM of the AIM organization…Bridget van Kralingen, senior veep of IBM Global Business Services…Jerry Cuomo, IBM Fellow and WebSphere veep…and a host of others.

But let’s not forget one of the most important aspects of Impact: The networking prowess of 9,000 tech and business leaders all under the same roof.  You can get started in the conversation well ahead of the event by following and contributing to the Impact Social Media Aggregator, and onsite, by visiting the “Impact Social Playground,” a new social hub that will provide enhanced social networking facilities for all attendees, Tweeps, bloggers, analysts, media, and Business Partners.

If you just want to follow along on Twitter, make sure you’re using the #IBMImpact hash tag.

developerWorks blogger and podcaster extraordinaire, Scott Laningham, will also be in attendance, along with yours truly, where we will be conducting live and recorded interviews throughout the event for “ImpactTV.”  So far, we have a committed lineup of the best and brightest…and then there’s Scott and I!

Here’s the link where it all starts for Impact 2012.

I, for one, can’t wait.  Last year was my first Impact, and I had more fun and talked to more cool people than a person has a right to.  And I learned more than I could keep in my head…but of course, that’s not saying much.

And iffen your boss is giving you a hard time about taking time out of your hectic schedule, we’ve even got that covered with our “5 Reasons to Attend Impact 2012.”

I hope to see you there, and if you can’t make it live and in person, be sure to keep an eye on ImpactTV from April 29 through May 4.

Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that the Goo Goo Dolls are playing???

IBM Pulse 2012: Day 1 Keynote Session: Business Without Limits

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This morning’s keynote session at Pulse 2012 keyed in on several key themes critical to managing the world’s infrastructure.  Opening musical act, Naturally Seven, lent their own seven cents, explaining through song and human-voice driven instruments that “I Built This Wall Around Me, I Built this Wall From The Ground, See.”

IBM Senior Vice President Robert Leblanc explains to the gathered IBM Pulse 2012 audience how visibility, control and automation are instrumental for companies looking to keep up with the changing IT and business landscape.

There’s a whole lot of building from the ground up that’s been going on with respect to some of the key areas the Tivoli portfolio focuses on.  And IBM Tivoli customer Wellpoint joined the stage to discuss some of those changes in the healthcare industry.

George Zaruba, VP for Tech Strategy there, explained that Wellpoint is one of the U.S.’ largest healthcare benefits companies, with some 37,700 associates. Major industry shifts are requiring Wellpoint to reinvent itself and in its relationship with the end customer, and to be able to deliver services in ways its customers are used to and comfortable with. “Our delivery model needs to be secure and stable and reach users across a myriad of devices and platforms,” he explained.

Which means infrastructure needs to be everywhere, and which will allow Wellpoint to manage the effectiveness of their customers’ experience.

That’s why infrastructure needs to be everywhere, to have full visibility into core services. Zaruba explained “We’ve achieved this over the past several years with ITIL management and best practices, and virtualization of storage and services.”

That also led Wellpoint to its partnership with IBM Watson, which Wellpoint is currently working on as the first industry deployment of that important technology to “find the best answers to some very tough medical questions.”

Next up, IBM VP Scott Hebner joined the stage and explained there are “8,000 of you from 79 different countries.”

That’s some Pulse!

Hebner explained IBM is “obsessed about learning from our clients, and this conference is a reflection of our obsession, which focuses on real-world experiences and bottom line results.”

Hebner explained the opportunities are vast and unprecedented, and yet “the opportunity highway has ditches on both sides of the road.” The implication being, try and stay out of the ditch!

Hebner shared some factoids: 80% of CEOs surveyed by IBM anticipate turbulent changes and bold moves, and 64% of CIOs work as senior business execs in their orgs to drive innovation.

And yet, still, there’s a 3X gap increase between the desired needs and the actual outcomes.

Red meat to this gathering of IT gurus, Hebner also explained jobs related to technology are forecasted to be the fastest growing segment through 2018, with cloud jobs increasing 60%, and mobility, 50%.

But, the planet on which we operate is rapidly changing thanks to the proliferation of lower-cost technologies.  People, systems, and objects can interact with one another in entirely new ways, and that creates new opportunities and expectations.

Infrastructure is now everywhere, he explained, across every industry. Where does my business infrastructure begin and end these days? How do I turn this new reality into an advantage.

Business without limits, is what Hebner explained this as. The smarter approach turns data into insights in real time, at the point of interaction — it must, as we can now instrument everything, from the devices in the home to the processes themselves, giving us millions of data points.

To help explain this opportunity, IBM senior VP Robert Leblanc joined the stage and suggested there’s no escaping all this change, and that technology was a key enabler, according the IBM CEO study stretching back to 2004.  Beyond “market forces,” technology is considered a requirement by CEOs to enable their businesses to adapt to all this change.=

“How do you drive the speed that the business needs to adapt to its markets?” Leblanc inquired.  The answer, simple to say, harder to do: Focus on fundamental business imperatives: 1) Build 2) Reinvent, 3) Uncover.

That is, create operating dexterity while creating new customer relationships and uncovering new profit streams.

Most clients want to reinvent around their customer relationships, Leblanc explained, and if you look back 25 years ago, those that lead the industries are different from the leaders today.  The CEO is making it clear: I need change, and IT has to change with it.

Analytics continues to be the driving requirement in the industry technology shift, followed by mobility and virtualization -- all key themes here at Pulse 2012.

Leblanc then shared some data as to what is driving an unprecedented shift in technology: Analytics, 83%. Followed by Mobility, 75%. And virtualization, 68%.

Insight. Everywhere. No matter where.

Implicit to all this, underlying concerns about security, and a focus on achieving all these desired business outcomes through “visibility,” “control,” and “automation.”

To have full visibility of the span of your infrastructure, you must have and assert control, and in order to be able to focus on new value added initiatives, you must automate the more mundane but critical capabilities.

Some examples, Leblanc explained: China Great Wall improved server utilization by 30%. BlueCrossBlueShield of North Carolina saved 5,000 hours of staff time by automating security processes. SunTrust improved productivity by automating 50% of manual processes.

Finally, it was Tivoli General Manager Danny Sabbah’s time to speak, and Danny explained how all of these changes and trends are re-orienting Tivoli customers’ outlooks and the things they specifically need to be focused on.

He explained that “our world is changing drastically whether we like it or not,” and that “simply put, we’re being forced to rethink the way we run our businesses.”

We find ourselves at the vortex of three dominant transformations taking place in IT: Mobility, Smarter phsyical infrastructures, and security.

Mobility, he explained, is nearly ubiquitous, and now accounts for 40% of the total number of devices accessing business applications.

We’re seeing embedded intelligence and resultant smarter physical infrastructures where previously passive devices are now equipped with sensors and RFID tags and other tracking capabilities. Companies are now building applications to exploit the data gathered from these smart devices to better understand and run their operations.

And thirdly, security threats have become an integral part of this much larger montage. The more embedded intelligence, the more mobility, the more ways we execute commerce, social collaboration, and so on.  So, security must become part of everything we do.

This intersection, then, has spawned an even greater degree of complexity across business infrastructures, and the environment we find ourselves in has become more interconnected, moresusceptible to threats and even more difficult to manage.

Utilizing the power of cloud computing, IBM is tackling these issues head on with its customers.  But if you want hype and marketing, Sabbah concluded, you’ll have to go somewhere else because “this conference is about solving real problems in the real world.”

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