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

Archive for February 2010

@ Pulse 2010: Getting Things Going

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I have too many friends I work with in Canada to gloat about the U.S. team’s win over Canada in men’s hockey last evening at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.

So, that’s all I’ll say on the subject.

Hee hee hee.

One of the great things about attending IBM’s major customer events like Pulse is the opportunity to visit face to face with customers and also to see some familiar and friendly faces from across IBM.

We’re a distributed global organization these days at IBM (my team and I joke with one another that we only see each other on other continents…more truth to that than I care to admit) so face-to-face time is a precious commodity in an organization fluent in using Lotus Sametime and Notes to conduct so much of its business.

I ran into one such IBM old friend last night in the hallways of the MGM, Harriet Pearson.

Harriet is IBM’s Chief Privacy Officer and Vice President, Security Counsel, and someone with whom I collaborated with many moons ago to help formulate IBM’s Internet privacy policy.

Harriet has continually been a guiding beacon and thought leader for IBM and the industry around privacy concerns, including the challenging subject of privacy in the social media — view this recent and thoughtful interview as part of SuperNova on the subject of balancing the need for sharing with online privacy.

Harriet will be partnering with IBM System and Technology Group general manager Helene Armitage in Tuesday’s general session here at Pulse to explore how integrated service management can meet the needs of a smarter planet, with a particular eye on the practical concerns of managing growth, reducing costs and ensuring security.

Harriet and Helene will provide valuable insight into how to manage these concerns, and will be joined by a variety of IBM clients who are deploying integrated service management solutions using Tivoli software.

Of course, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

This morning, just after breakfast, expect to see Tivoli Software general manager Al Zollar officially get things kicked into full gear before handing off the podium to the other Al, former U.S. vice president, Al Gore.

I’m looking forward to it all, and plan to provide some real-time updates via Twitter, as are so many of my colleagues, customers, and the press/analyst community…follow the hashtag #ibmpulse to monitor the real-time stream from this morning’s general sessions starting around 11 AM EST.

Written by turbotodd

February 22, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Smarter Software, Better Business

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I went for a walkabout along the Las Vegas Strip late this morning, partially to walk off some of the jetlag and partially to do a quick photo safari.

I’ll work to share some of the pics later, but for now I wanted to share some thoughts about how software is changing the way we live on our smarter planet, which I think will provide you with a broad backdrop for the kickoff of IBM Pulse 2010 and the news that will soon begin to emanate from here in Vegas.

Be forewarned, this is a lengthier post than usual, so settle in.

On a smarter planet, people consume only what they need, when they need it — my excursion to McDonald’s this AM for breakfast aside.

By way of example, IBM is working with a leading international energy provider to launch an automated energy management system to help over 11K households to better control their energy usage.

With such a system, users will be able to establish consumption protocols to minimize electricity use in peak periods and to take full advantage of renewable energy resources when available.

On a smarter planet, people also know the best way to get from point A to point B (Note: My hopscotch trip across Europe last week was not such a journey!).

The Singapore Land Transportation Authority is building just such a capability with improvements on one of the most modern, affordable and heavily used public transport networks in the world. It includes an integrated payment option that can be used for the bus or the train, plus parking and vehicle congestion charges.

But the improvements don’t end at the bus stop — the system will also be studying commuter usage data to help design and maximize schedules and routes that will further reduce congestion.

On a smarter planet, people use smarter software to see hidden patterns.

Like at a major health insurance company, which is creating a first-of-its-kind healthcare data aggregation system that will provide information on how people receive treatment for everything from a sore foot to an ailing heart.  Such a system will yield insights that empower companies to develop employee healthcare plans that provide the highest-quality care at the best value.

(I just hope they include jetlag in their menu of studied conditions!)

In each of these examples is a business, government, or industry that has used software in new ways.

Today, more than ever, organizations use software to enable every facet of their business, but with new models and ways of working also come new challenges.

As a result, a new set of needs has emerged.  How to turn information into insights.  To increase agility.  To connect and collaborate.  To enable business service and product innovation.  To drive enterprise operations effectiveness and efficiency.  And to manage risk, security, and compliance.

Addressing these needs requires smarter software.

Smarter software which knows and acts.   Which connects and adapts.  Which monitors, controls, and optimizes.  And which even protects and helps mitigate risk.

We at IBM believe our software can make the world better, one client at a time.  Though a lot of other companies claim to do the same thing, their software doesn’t work like IBM software.

We know what it takes to solve our clients’ biggest challenges, and we’ve spent the last 50 years delivering software that is fueled by expertise, is built for change, and is ready for work.

IBM Software is fueled by expertise, and by knowledge as to how to apply software for real results.

We know industries, the world of business, and how work actually gets done.

We also know systems, both natural and man-made, and we have the proof points to back it up:

40 innovation centers worldwide, focused on solutions for dozens of industries.  26,000 developers.  80 R&D labs. 30K partners worldwide.  And the world’s largest math department.

IBM software is built for change, because it’s open, easily integrated, and flexible.  It’s built with a systems point of view.

Old, new, ours, theirs…we don’t care, so long as we have the opportunity to make it all work together, and to make it work for your busines.

But we also have forward-looking labs and researchers whose sole purpose is to help our clients be prepared for the future.  In the last several years, we’ve made over 100 acquisitions, established 300 SOA patents, and contributed to over 150 open source projects, more than any other company.

We’ve also invested over $1B in Linux and open source technologies, and continue to invest several hundred dollars annually.

That’s putting our money where the penguin’s mouth is.

And IBM software is ready for work.

It’s software that’s robust, industrial-strength, proven, and ready to scale. And we at IBM work to provide ongoing service that helps ensure our clients’ success, because we want to see our software solve their greatest challenges and create new value.

To do so, we have 60 laboratories around the globe that practice agile development and work hand in hand with clients, business partners, and academia, and 17K sales and 5K support staff to help along the way.

Let us help you build a smarter company and a smarter planet by helping you see your hidden patterns, recognize your problems before it’s too late, find your best way from point A to B.

Together, we can build better software to in turn build a smarter planet.

This week at IBM Pulse 2010 in Las Vegas, you’ll hear more about how.

IBM Pulse 2010: The Wide Shot

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I’ve overcome my jetlag enough to produce this quick introductory video for IBM Pulse 2010 here in Vegas, complete with a few housekeeping details.

Due to the aforementioned jetlag, I was up well before most of the poker players had gone home for the night (not that I would know anything about such a thing), and early this AM IBM Pulse 2010 was already coming to life.

I’ve now got my badge, I kind of know my way around, and I am looking forward to running into some of you over the next few days.

In the meantime, enjoy your Sunday and for those of you still on your way to Vegas, safe travels (the weather is nice out, with a cool temp of around 48 degrees Fahrenheit and an expected high today of 61!)

Written by turbotodd

February 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm

A Well Dressed (and Jet Lagged) Man

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NOTE: This post was written while still in Milan, but published after arriving yesterday early evening in Las Vegas.  British Airways did not provide wifi access on the Milan-to-Vegas flight.

Greetings from the Milan Linate airport.

My short week in Europe has come to a fast end, but not before I had the opportunity to get out and see the Duomo in downtown Milan.

On my last trip here, I arrived in Milan on a Sunday evening, and had to immediately leave the IBM site to drive straight to Nice, so I didn’t have the opportunity to visit the city center.

There’s but no question the Duomo is worth visiting. The church is spectacular, having been built in the early Renaissance and simply breathtaking in its beauty.

As to the food in Milan, it’s like anywhere else I’ve ever been in Italy – scrumptious. The Italians can take a simple plate of penne pasta and turn it into magic in your mouth. Mmm, mmmm, mmmm.

Before dinner last evening, my IBM amigo Michael and I took in a little Milano fashion expedition. After joking about my poor fashion sense in previous blog posts, I decided I couldn’t leave one of the fashion capitals of the world without at least trying on some fine Italian threads.

I ended up walking out of the store with a very nice Italian sport coat and a couple of gorgeous shorts, my wallet hardly the worse for the wear. Austin will never know what hit ’em (although it’ll probably take a funeral or a wedding for me to pull them out of the closet…Austin’s pretty laid back when it comes to dress, even for bidness).

But, before I get to head back to Austin, I have one last stop to make, that mentioned pit stop in Las Vegas. For anyone glorifying the jetsetting lifestyle, know that my Saturday goes something like this:

Arrive at the Milan airport around 11:30 AM local time. Sit in the BA lounge until boarding my flight, which leaves for London around 1:40. Arrive in London a couple of hours later, sit around the airport there for a couple of hours, then board the flight to Vegas which is 10 ½ hours (in economy class, of course).

That means I’ll have arrived in Vegas sometime around 4:30 am Milano time Sunday morning.

But in all my jetlagged weariness, I’ll have some fond memories of meeting some new IBM colleagues in Stuttgart, Madrid, and Milan, and hopefully of my team and I having helped them continue to improve their Web marketing efforts.

More from Vegas and the IBM Pulse 2010 event soon.

Written by turbotodd

February 21, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Turbo Fa Milano

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I arrived safely in Milan last evening, only to discover that Milan Fashion Week 2010 doesn’t begin for another 6 days!

My new line of cowboy-themed tie-die shirts, blue jeans, and cowboy hats seems to have been kept out of this year’s Milano lineup — I can’t be sure what, exactly, happened.

Did I inadvertently tick off Anna Wintour??

Perhaps it had something to do with my having worn a tie that didn’t match the color of my eyes.  It won’t have been the first time I committed a major fashion faux-pas while traveling abroad.

Though I’ll miss out on all the new Milano clothing lines, The Fashionisto blog will make sure you don’t miss a thing, no matter how short your high heels.

While I work to get my Texas fashion sense (such as it is) resituated, I had mentioned in a previous post the opportunities presented to organizations which focus on building out smarter business infrastructures.

This in anticipation of the IBM Pulse 2010 event next week in Las Vegas, which leads to some compelling questions you might want to ask yourself:

What would mean to your organization if you could always access critical business data at the exact moment you need it?

What if you could improve service and reduce costs by delivering IT services when your customers requested them?

Who knows, you might find yourself arriving in Milan for fashion week!

Especially in this challenging economic climate, companies around the globe have to manage and mitigate risk, even as they support their core business goals.

They have to address no small number of regulatory, organizational, and industry-oriented compliance drivers, and that alone can be a key inhibitor.

By way of example, 33% of consumers notified of a security breach will terminate their relationship with the company they perceive as responsible.

Doh!  Hold on, where’d all my customers go?!

71% of CIOs in a 2009 IBM Global CIO survey identified risk management and compliance as an important part of their visionary plans for enhanced competitiveness.

Can you spell Basel II?

And nearly 50% of all sensors used for critical measurements across production, facilities and transportation equipment are now smart sensors, generating up to 4 million signals daily — creating more information than ever before.

So many sensors, so little time!  Calgon, take me away!

Fear not.

Though it can’t help you with your fashion sense, IBM’s dynamic infrastructure strategy can help you deliver a shared, integrated and highly available infrastructure that can address these challenges today, but also capitalize on the opportunities of tomorrow.

It can help across a number of key areas:

  • To enable visibility, control and automation across all business and IT assets through integrated service management
  • To optimize the IT infrastructure through virtualization and energy efficiency initiatives to achieve more with less.
  • To address the complexity of managing data growth through information infrastructure initiatives.

You can learn more about these opportunities in IBM Tivoli’s integrated service management podcasts and webcasts.

I would also suggest you visit our Smarter Cities Web experience, an excellent interactive overview of how IBM is helping drive adoption of smart and dynamic  infrastructures to facilitate everything from smarter traffic systems to smarter and more efficient energy grids. (Speaking of which, click hear to visit the IBM Energy Management blog!)

Me, I’ve got to manage my own energy and get back to this meeting in Milano…keep your fingers crossed for the Italian adoption of the Turbo Cowboy fashion line!

Euro Zoning

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Hola from Madrid.

Only I would fly all the way across the pond to miss all the mobile industry action taking place in….Barcelona.

Never mind I’m a huge Gaudi fan…although I would love to see the progress made at Sagrada Familia since I was last in Barcelona in 2000…but no, the action has been at the Mobile World Congress there, the news from which I’ve hardly been able to keep up with.  Feel free to send me a debrief.

What I have been keeping up with are some fun anecdotes from my travels (travails?) across EMEA.

First, in a beer hall in Boeblingen the other night, we discovered inadvertently that the chef of the restaurant was from Ghana.

One of my IBM associates hails from there, so we twisted his arm to go back to the kitchen to say hello.

When my IBM amigo started speaking “Twi,” the Ghanian dialect he hadn’t spoken in thirty-something years, the Ghanian/German chef stared at him in wide-eyed amazement.

It’s not every day that someone comes along and speaks to you in your native, relatively obscure language, but it sure put a smile on all our faces to see both their reactions.

It was what I called a true moment of globalization.  In Boeblingen, Germany, no less.

Then there was my airline anecdote.

Apparently I was stuck on a plane myself, as I only just heard about the Kevin Smith “Too Fat To Fly” episode. Oy vey…good luck to everyone digging out from under that mess.

But as we pulled into the airport in Madrid, I saw a much less subtle approach to marketing communications.

On a RyanAir plane that was parked just across the way, there was a simple message for their competitor, that large unnamed German airline, painted in bright blue letters on the side of the RyanAir plane for all the world to see.

The message said simply this: “Bye Bye Late-Hansa.”

Ouch.  They play full contact soccer over here!

I must say, it’s amazing to be here 17 months after September 2008, when the financial crisis in the U.S. started into full tilt, and to still find such a mess of a situation with Greece.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that German and French banks carry a combined $119 billion in exposure to Greek borrowers, and more than $900 billion to Greece and other countries on the euro-zone’s vulnerable periphery: Portugal, Ireland and Spain.

There’s even talk from some journalists of a split in the Euro.

I’m no economist, so I can’t add much value to that particular discussion.

But please, don’t make the split until I’m heading out of Milan on Saturday so I don’t get totally s—wed on my exchange rate.

Better yet, beers on me at the Milanese pub…if there is such a thing.  I’ll be the obnoxious American at the end of the bar trying to buy everyone a Bud…the American/Dutch kind, NOT the Czech one.  LOL

But whatever you do, don’t try to talk “Twi” to me, because in the end…I hate to say it…it’s all Greek to me.

Written by turbotodd

February 17, 2010 at 7:10 am

IBM to Acquire Intelliden

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IBM announced today it has acquired Intelliden Inc., a leading provider of intelligent network automation software.

Intelliden is a privately held company  based in Menlo Park, Calif. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Intelliden provides network automation solutions, which are becoming essential for enterprises to automate the configuration of thousands of manually managed network devices like hubs, routers and switches from dozens of vendors.

These solutions also can automate an array of network services that are increasingly important to virtual and cloud-based applications.

Analysts estimate that more than 60 percent of network outages are caused by manual configuration errors.

By acquiring this automation technology, IBM aims to help clients improve network service availability, decrease risk through compliance reporting and improve staff efficiency.

Intelliden’s solutions have been proven at leading service providers and enterprises including Cbeyond, Scotia Capital, Telecom Italia and TELUS.

This acquisition is expected to further strengthen IBM’s service management portfolio by offering unmatched, comprehensive solutions for automation and optimization of digital and physical assets.

This includes full-service lifecycle management of network devices, IT, data center and physical assets as diverse as water mains, railway cars and even door locks.

Intelliden technology will be integrated into IBM Tivoli Software, which helps clients integrate service delivery across organizational boundaries – providing the visibility, control and automation to accelerate business growth.

The IBM Software Group has made more than 50 acquisitions since 2003.

This acquisition comes just a few days in advance of the IBM Pulse 2010 event in Las Vegas, Nevada, which will focus on service management and related topics.

You can learn more about this latest acquisition here.

Written by turbotodd

February 16, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Building a Smarter Infrastructure

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Though I’m attending a number of meetings throughout Europe this week, it’s not too early to start beating the drum for our IBM Pulse 2010 conference next week in Las Vegas.

Can you hear the drums all the way from here in Stuttgart!?  Dies ist gut!

Once again, I’ll be in Vegas for several days in a row to play some serious golf, finally take in that Cirques du Soleil show I’ve been putting off seeing, and try to qualify and become the first IBMer ever to win the World Series of Poker.

Uh, err, I mean, I’ll be on the scene in Vegas providing some social media air cover via this blog and the Twittersphere….no, really.

Since snow golf is out here in Stuttgart, I figured I would start setting the scene now.

If you’ve seen any of IBM’s smarter planet advertising, particularly the TV spots, you’ve probably seen them reference the idea of a more dynamic infrastructure.

What, exactly, do we mean by that?

Well, if you look at the three big ideas that help us build a smarter planet — instrument the world’s systems; interconnect them; and make them more intelligent — then you realize inherent in that instrumentation and interconnectivity is the need to know what’s going on with all those systems at all times, and to use their performance data to make actionable (and, hopefully, intelligent) business decisions.

That’s where service management for a dynamic infrastructure comes into play.

To put it more simply, think of your IT systems and infrastructure as the patient, and service management as the monitoring system.

You can’t the make patient better unless you can diagnose them and be able to understand what’s going on with them at any given moment.

A smarter infrastructure also means one that is dynamic, one that can respond quickly and dependably to changing conditions in the market and make the most use of your precious IT resources — but it must doing so while also being cognizant of and minimizing the costs to the environment (carbon footprint, electricity usage, etc.) and your organization (money spent on IT!).

By way of example, since 2006, IBM customer Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT), which runs the Roland Garros (French Open) tennis tournament annually, has seen a decrease of 40 percent in power consumption and of 48 percent of cooling load in its own IT infrastructure.

They’ve also created a “virtualized” infrastructure, one whereby they’ve minimized their server footprint from 60 to 6 over a three-year period.

Game, set, and match, right?

But a dynamic infrastructure doesn’t stop at the halls of IT, or courtside in Paris.

A smarter infrastructure is one that meets new requirements and opportunities: One that increases the accuracy of simulations and predictions by supporting more complex trending and analysis tools.  One that allows the integration of physical, chemical, biological, and even socioeconomic factors into modeling and analysis.

In other words, it’s not just about service levels anymore. Consumer expectations are higher than ever.

Take the world I live and breathe in, the wacky world of the Web, as an example: 33 percent of consumers shopping via a broadband connection will wait no more than four seconds for a Web page to render.

No pressure or anything.

So, the opportunity that a smarter and more dynamic infrastructure presents is simple: One that can help organizations meet both the risks and opportunities in an ever-more connected, collaborative electronic world.

That’s the wide shot.

In a future post, I’ll talk about the opportunity and avenues that organizations can pursue to take some initial steps towards building their own smarter infrastructure.

But for now, I have to get back to practicing my German.

At the Moevenpick

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It’s morning in Stuttgart.

As I just Tweeted, nothing beats a long, jetlagged, sleep-deprived night of slumber and a proper German breakfast.

It was snowing when I arrived in Stuttgart yesterday afternoon.  But that was nothing new: As I flew north from Austin, starting about Dallas and all the way to Chicago, the entire mid-west was a white cotton patch of snow.

I was last in Stuttgart the week that the financial crisis began in September 2008, so it’s nice to be here when circumstances aren’t quite so dire.  I still remember discovering Lehman was likely going south, along with the rest of the market, and anxiously moving money around in my 401K from equities to bonds.  I wish I had moved more!

Quick and easy Stuttgart travel tip: Stay in one of the two Moevenpick hotels, which you can walk to from the airport.

I was about to hail a taxi yesterday afternoon, when I asked the taxi driver how far it was to the Moevenpick — he pointed across the street.

Ah, that far.  I think I’ll walk!

On the technology front, the major news I saw emerge over the weekend were in the mobile space: Adobe is expecting to announce at today’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Adobe AIR for mobile devices, and will move the Flash runtime to mobile browsers with its 10.1 player update.

This will allow mobile developers to develop consistently across both the desktop and most mobile browsers — except, are you holding your breath? — that’s right, the iPhone.

TechCrunch blogs that this will be great for mobile video, and advertising, as the 10.1 player will provide custom skin and advertising opportunities, as well as consistent metrics capabilities (remembering also that Adobe last year bought Web metrics firm, Omniture).

I say it’s just that much more jet fuel on the mobile marketing fire, and once again we could start to see a major schism in the market: Adobe v. Apple.

Though competition in development tools is goodness, the platform schism isn’t, at least not in the North American market. The wireless telcos have already played the bad guy walled gardens — we don’t need another Java v. NET in the enterprise mobile market to create more variances when the industry is trying to build a broader market (and, dare I say it aloud, a new platform for marketing).

However, I’m not sure Apple can win this one.

Even with all the iPhones that have been sold, some 50M+, that’s an absurdly small number compared with all the other mobile handsets sold around the world.  If Flash even gets a good 50-60% share on those devices, game over.

As for me, I’ve got to grab my own mobile device, the original BlackBerry Bold, and run to the IBM offices in Stuttgart.


Written by turbotodd

February 15, 2010 at 8:35 am

Tough Start in Vancouver

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Greetings from the Austin airport.

Whoa, I had a sense of serious deja vu there for the moment.  I can’t imagine why!

Moi?  At an airport?  What up with that??

I’m off on a 12-day journey, first for some meetings in Stuttgart, Madrid, and Milan, and then from there straight back to Viva Las Vegas for this year’s IBM Pulse 2010, where I’ll be joining some of my Tivoli and greater IBM colleagues to help cover the event via this blog and the Twittersphere.

Since I’ll be out on the road, I’ll unfortunately miss out on much of the Winter Olympics coverage from beautiful Vancouver.

If you’ve never visited the area, you really should put it on your list.  It’s breathtakingly beautiful.

And in spite of yesterday’s admittedly horrific start to the games with the tragic death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, I thought the opening ceremony last night in Vancouver was stunning.

It was uniquely Canadian, celebrating that country’s great diversity and majesty, and it struck an elegant and delicate balance between being respectful of the circumstances while having the “show” go on.  The floor light show was something I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever seen before and it was magical.

IBM having once been a longtime sponsor of the Olympic games, I think I can safely speak for many of my colleagues when I extend our condolences and good wishes to the Olympics family and the country of Georgia and its brave athletes, who laid aside their grief and put their game faces on to honor the memory of Mr. Kumaritashvili.

That can’t have been easy for anyone, and I think they did it, respectfully and with appropriate acknowledgement to the tragedy.  Obviously, nobody wanted the games to start with such a sad beginning.

As I get ready to leave the U.S.A., know that I’ll very much look forward to following the action from overseas next week and I wish our own athletes the best of luck in their various competitions — especially our own “Flying Tomato,” Shawn White.

Dude, I can’t wait to see you taking some majestic air!

Written by turbotodd

February 13, 2010 at 6:17 pm

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