Turbotodd

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

Archive for September 2012

Lending A Helping Hand

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There are loads of conferences coming up.  In October, I’ll be attending and covering both the IBM InterConnect event in Singapore (October 9-11), and am currently preparing myself psychologically for the long plane ride.

Later in the month, from October 21-25, I’ll be covering the seventh Information on Demand event in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I’ll have more info on those soon, but in the meantime wanted to highlight another key event that will probably be flying a little under the radar, the Cúram International User Conference.

Entitled “Smarter Social Programs to Deliver Better Outcomes,” the Cúram event will be held starting tomorrow, October 1, through Thursday, October 4, at the Grand Hyatt Washington Hotel in Washington, D.C.

What’s notable about this particular event is its orientation towards helping people who help other people.

Social services organizations around the world find themselves in challenging times, with increasing demands for their resources and higher service expectations, at a time when tax revenues aren’t exactly peaking.

Many of those organizations have begun to leverage Cúram software to ensure they have the most fitting business and technology foundation to support those increasing demands.

At the Cúram event, attendees will learn about best practices from some of the more leading-edge social services practitioners, hear more about the latest social services trends, and network with their peers from around the globe.

They’ll also have the opportunity to see the latest Cúram solutions and technology in action, and meet Cúram integrators and partners.

You can learn more about the event here, and more about IBM Cúram software here.

A Ryder Cup 2012 Preview: Just Go For It!

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Well, the 2012 Ryder Cup is only 1 day and 11 hours away, as of this writing, and the first tee-time couldn’t come quickly enough.

After such a stellar 2012 golf season for the PGA Tour, and golf more broadly around the world, the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah in Chicago will be a fitting climax to the golf year, especially considering the caliber of players lined up on both the American and European sides.

I, like all golf fans, would love to see Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy paired against one another in the Sunday’s singles matches, but I, like everyone, including the captains, will have to just wait and see how the tournament plays out Friday and Saturday in the fourballs and foursomes.

As mentioned in a prior post, the Americans will be led by veteran Ryder Cuppers Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Tiger Woods, and Jim Furyk.

Newcomers to watch will include 2012 FedExCup winner Brandt Snedeker, as well as Webb Simpson and Jason Dufner.

On the European side, Rory McIlroy will be the defacto team leader because of his world number one ranking, but experience on the European side will fall to stalwarts like Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, and of course, Sergio Garcia.

As for pairings, we’re still eagerly awaiting those, but based on early readings, we can  expect to see Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker playing together through the weekend, along with Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.

Phil Mickelson is expected to take newcomer Keegan Bradley under his wings, and Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia are also likely pairings at some point.

In terms of projections, the Europeans certainly seem to have an advantage, having garnered more points than the Americans the last few Cups, and certainly coming into Medinah holding the Cup they won at Celtic Manor in 2010.

Then again, these are teams with players very fairly matched, and the top players in the world at that.  I think it will come down to that side whose players can keep their nerves at bay, and still have nerve enough to go at the long par 3s at Medinah when circumstances warrant.

That, and the putting.  Always the putting.

As for the renowned 15th hole at Medinah #3, which has been shortened to a 391-yard par four, we’ll see whether or not Bubba Watson can contain himself and not attempt to drive the green in his matches.

Phil Mickelson commented to Golf Week he thought it was an easy birdie lay-up hole, and one can see in a close match with one team behind why it would be awfully enticing to just go for it!

Written by turbotodd

September 27, 2012 at 1:04 am

IBM’s New Global Cloud Initiative: Delivering Simpler IT

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IBM has made a series of important cloud computing announcements this year, including advancements to the IBM SmartCloud portfolio, through which IBM now manages 1+ million enterprise application users, and over $100 billion commerce transactions per year. In today’s announcement, IBM is broadening its cloud reach by extending its solutions and services on IBM SmartCloud and PureSystems to Managed Service Providers (MSPs).

Some big cloud news has just hovered over the IBM horizon.

Big!  As in big, fluffy, floating cotton cumulus kinda clouds.

Only, we’re talking about the IT kind of cloud, not the real clouds.

Today, IBM announced a broad set of global initiatives to better position clients to take advantage of cloud opportunities.

Aimed at further expanding IBM’s cloud ecosystem, this effort is intended to enable organizations to develop solutions and services on IBM SmartCloud and PureSystems, built on open standards.

Managed Service Providers: Making The Cloud Real For Clients

As more clients embrace cloud computing, they are looking to local technology providers known as Managed Service Providers (MSP) to help them quickly develop cloud based services in a more simplistic, secure and economical way.

Managed service providers deliver a defined set of technology solutions or services to clients with a pay-as-you-go model. MSPs are largely leveraged by customers which want to take advantage of cloud technologies but lack the internal IT skills, resources and time.

As part of today’s news, IBM is taking its collaboration with MSPs and its global ecosystem one step further by enabling them to build innovative solutions and services on IBM’s advanced technologies such as SmartCloud, PureSystems, and analytics.

IBM will also provide MSPs access to IBM experts with deep technical skills at four new global centers of excellence; and offer an unmatched set of programs to support  MSP marketing efforts to help them build their brands, generate demand for their services, and grow their marketing skills.

Additionally, IBM will offer affordable financing options through IBM Global Financing to help MSPs acquire new technologies.

Here are some of the highlights from today’s announcement:

  • Access to  Global Centers of Excellence: IBM is launching new Global Centers of Excellence in Shanghai; Tokyo; Ehningen, Germany; and New York City to provide MSPs with access to IBM’s deep technical expertise to develop innovative cloud services and solutions on IBM’s open stack to address industry-specific client needs. This will enable MSPs to get hands-on technical expertise in building skills on technologies such as IBM SmartCloud, PureSystems, storage, security and collaboration. MSPs will also have access to IBM’s 40 IBM Innovation Centers in 33 countries for joint client engagements. In addition, IBM will launch a virtual briefing center that will provide an ongoing forum for MSPs to share ideas and knowledge around industry challenges clients are facing today. This community will enable ongoing engagement of MSPs as well as IBM experts to share best practices.
  • Dedicated Marketing and Sales Support: IBM will now offer an unmatched set of marketing and sales support initiatives tailored to MSPs. These initiatives are designed to help MSPs grow their businesses, build their brands and create demand for their capabilities. The new program will provide MSPs with solutions for building a complete marketing plan and a four-part education effort on how to effectively use social media to grow their businesses and better target their clients. Additionally, MSPs will gain access to IBM analytics capabilities to help them identify new customers and capture additional opportunities with their existing customers. As part of the program, MSPs will also receive dedicated support from IBM to guide them through the program and take advantage of the resources made available. A significant part of the $100 million IBM has invested annually in marketing efforts for its global ecosystem will now be made available to MSPs and their marketing efforts.
  • Seizing the Opportunity with PureSystems: PureSystems will provide a new, integrated, by-design platform for MSPs to tune hardware and software resources for data intensive workloads. The integration of the PureSystems platform, coupled with the patterns of expertise technology and the flexibility to configure an application for either an on-premise or hosted environment, makes the PureSystems platform a natural choice for MSPs.
  • Building on the Advanced Capabilities of IBM SmartCloud: MSPs can take advantage of IBM’s SmartCloud, including an option to integrate the offering as an IBM-backed solution or under their own brand in the market built on IBM SmartCloud Enterprise to expand the services they offer. IBM will also work with new MSPs to design and develop their data center strategies, leveraging IBM’s years of experience in data center best practices.
  • Financing Options through IBM Global Financing (IGF): MSPs can acquire new technology solutions and services to support their growth with flexible, affordable payment plans for IBM systems, software and services — including 12-month, 0% loans for IBM Systems, Storage and Software. A payment plan from IGF can provide MSPs with low monthly payment options while avoiding large, up-front cash payments, the ability to upgrade their systems mid-lease and improve IT asset management. MSPs that select PureSystems platforms may defer their first payment for 90 days.

Expanding the IBM Cloud Ecosystem, Addressing Cloud Security Concerns

Members of IBM’s ecosystem, which includes independent software vendors, systems integrators, value-added resellers, and MSPs are collaborating with IBM to take advantage of IBM’s higher value capabilities such as SmartCloud, PureSystems and analytics to build industry specific cloud services.

To date, IBM has built relationships with more than 1,400 MSPs, such as Perimeter, Symmetry, Velocity, CenterBeam, Oxford Networks, PEER 1 Hosting, Connectria, and others. These MSPs are focused on delivering industry specific capabilities such as helping a small healthcare provider manage digital records on the cloud securely, or helping a midsize bank enable their clients to securely conduct more and more of their daily transactions via smartphones.

Additionally, IBM Business Partner Perimeter E-Security, based in Milford, CT, is collaborating with IBM to address the increasing cost, complexity, and stringent compliance requirements associated with securing communications and infrastructure in information intensive businesses such as banking, healthcare, and government.

Solving today’s regulatory and security challenges has and continues to become more and more cost prohibitive. While smaller financial institutions face the same regulatory pressure and data security threats, they lack the resources larger banks have to secure their institution.

Cloud technology is now making it possible for smaller banks to address these issues cost effectively. This collaboration complements Perimeter’s capabilities with advanced technologies such as IBM SmartCloud, storage, and security capabilities, as well as expanding the MSP’s global presence in growth markets such as Africa.

The new offerings, which range from developing skills to gaining access to IBM’s R&D and Innovation Centers, are another proof point of IBM’s focus on providing the right capabilities and expertise to help MSPs fulfill the evolving needs of today’s clients and, in turn, help MSPs grow their own business.

Today’s news builds on IBM’s recently announced sponsorship of the new OpenStack Foundation, an independent entity, to promote the project and open source cloud computing. OpenStack will enhance IBM’s SmartCloud Foundation offerings, drive deeper industry collaboration and accelerate momentum for critical industry standards while also making it easier for MSPs to consume IBM’s offerings through the Cloud.

You can learn more about IBM cloud computing initiatives here, and follow Managed Service Provider communications from IBM on Twitter using the hashtag #ibmmsp.

IBM Board Elects Virginia Rometty As Chairman

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The IBM board of directors today elected Virginia M. Rometty chairman of the board, effective October 1, 2012.

Today, the IBM board of directors appointed Virginia M. Rometty chairman of the board, effective October 1, 2012. Rometty currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of IBM. Ms. Rometty was appointed to these positions effective January 1, 2012. Ms. Rometty began her career with IBM in 1981 in Detroit, Michigan. Since then she has held a series of leadership positions in IBM, most recently as Senior Vice President and Group Executive, IBM Sales, Marketing and Strategy. Ms. Rometty is a leader in diversity initiatives including IBM’s Women in Technology Council and the Women’s Leadership Council, and is one of the senior sponsors of the Women’s Executive Council. She is a frequent speaker at industry and business conferences, and has been named to Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for seven consecutive years, including most recently in 2011. Ms. Rometty serves on the Council on Foreign Relations; the Board of Trustees of Northwestern University; and the Board of Overseers and Board of Managers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree with high honors in computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern University.

Mrs. Rometty succeeds Samuel J. Palmisano, who is stepping down from the board effective October 1, 2012.

Mr. Palmisano will become Senior Adviser to the company until he retires on December 1, 2012.

As of October 1, 2012, Mrs. Rometty’s title will be IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer. Mrs. Rometty, 55, is currently IBM’s president and chief executive officer.

She succeeded Mr. Palmisano as IBM’s ninth CEO in January of this year, after holding senior leadership positions in IBM’s services, sales, strategy and marketing units.

Mrs. Rometty led the successful integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting — the largest acquisition in professional services history, building a team of more than 100,000 business consultants and services experts.

She became a director of IBM in January.

Mr. Palmisano, 61, became IBM chief executive officer in 2002 and chairman of the board in 2003.

During his tenure, IBM transformed its product and services portfolio, exiting commoditizing businesses, including PCs, printers and hard disk drives, and greatly increasing investments in analytics, cloud computing and other high-value businesses and technologies.

He has overseen the transformation of IBM from a multinational into a globally integrated enterprise. During Mr. Palmisano’s tenure as CEO, IBM created over $100 billion of total shareholder value.

Written by turbotodd

September 25, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Chatting To Connect

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I’ve been watching this whole Apple “Mapgate” discussion from the sidelines with some bemusement.

If you’d have told me a few weeks ago the emerging chatter about the iPhone 5 would come down to a map app’s dysfunction, I would have laughed, but such is the state of our technology polity.

On the one hand, the debate may seem filled with frivolity. On the other hand, it speaks to the seriousness with which users take their smartphones and their apps, particularly when it involves one that could be the very thing that comes between they and their next cup of java at Starbucks…assuming they can still find one!

Whether or not Apple will relent and offer a Google Maps app in the Apple App Store, says a story by Reuters and citing Google chairman Eric Schmidt, will be a decision made by Apple.

Me, I’m still trudging along just fine with my LG “dumb phone,” although I am keeping an open eye towards the looming iPad Mini.

I love my original iPad, but I think it needs one of those “Clean My PC” solutions reoriented for original iPads. It’s become more and more lethargic in terms of performance, and sometimes, when I’m in an application the thing will just reset and take me back to the home screen.  Not quite the equivalent of a Microsoft Windows “General Protection Fault” or blue screen of death, but coming close.

Speaking of finding my way, I wanted to remind folks that the IBM InterConnect event is only a short couple of weeks away in Singapore, October 9-11 at the Royal Sentosa Resort.

My airplane tickets have been bought, my hotel booked — now if I could just figure out a way to place myself in a state of somnolence as I board the plane for the longggg journey eastward.

If you’d like to learn more about the InterConnect event, IBM is hosting a Twitter Chat this Thursday, September 27, from 9-10 EST.

If you’ve never attended a Twitter Chat, now’s your chance. Our own social business guru, Sandy Carter, will be moderating the chat, fielding questions and relating details of the coming InterConnect event.

The hashtag for the chat is #IBMInterConnect, so simply log in to your TweetDeck or other Twitter app of choice, enter that hashtag, and be prepared for the discussion this Thursday evening.

If you don’t have a Twitter app, you can also log in to the following URL to follow the action:

http://tweetchat.com/room/ibminterconnect

A little background: IBM InterConnect 2012 is a new and unique event to provide you with opportunities to meet and collaborate with business and IT leaders in your region.

The IBM InterConnect conference will explore topics and key business imperatives, including unleashing innovations, managing the velocity of change and reinventing relationships and uncovering new markets.

IBM’s Scott Hebner and John Dunderdale provide some background on InterConnect in the video below:

Thinking Big @ Information On Demand 2012

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Nate Silver, author of the blog “FiveThirtyEight,” will be one of the featured keynote speakers at this year’s IBM Information On Demand 2012 event in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 21-25. Silver correctly predicted the results of the primaries and the U.S. presidential winner in 2008 in 49 states through his statistical analysis of polling data, and at IOD will explain how to distinguish real signals from noisy data as well as how predictive analytics is used in politics.

That annual festouche and gathering of all things data is just around the corner.

Yes, that’s right, it’s almost time for IBM Information on Demand 2012.

So in order to start the drumbeat, I wanted to take a few moments and point you to some useful resources as you prepare to make your way to the Bay of Mandalay, and to optimize your time on the ground in Vegas.

First, the new (and official) IBM Information on Demand blog, which you can find here.

The blog includes easy access to some of the social media channels that will be covering the event (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube).

Of course, never forget the official IOD hashtag, #ibmiod, where you’ll be able to follow the endless stream of tidings leading up to, during, and after the event.

The blog also has links off to the IOD 2012 registration engine, as well as to the IOD SmartSite so you can start thinking about your IOD calendar now (I do NOT advise waiting until the last minute…talk about information overload!)

We’ve got some exciting guest speakers this year, including Nate Silver, statistics blogging extraordinaire who first found fame with his “FiveThirtyEight” blog, which is now part of The New York Times family of media properties.

Silver analyzes politics the way most of us should be analyzing our business: Through data…and lots of it.

His analysis of political polling data is unparalleled, and in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Silver correctly predicted the results of the primaries and the presidential winner in 49 states.

His recent book, “The Signal and The Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t,” explores the world of prediction, “investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data.” Silver tackles some of the big questions about big data, so we’re very excited to have him join us in Vegas for IBM’s own big data marathon event.

At this year’s event, we’ll continue our trend of including tracks for specialized areas of interest, including forums for Information Management, Business Analytics, Business Leadership, and Enterprise Content Management.

And, of course, you’ll be able to find Scott Laningham and myself down in the EXPO center, where we’ll be talking to and interviewing many of the IBM and industry luminaries on the important data-related topics being discussed at the event.

Speaking of data, this will be my seventh IOD in a row, so I’m looking forward to seeing many of you once again.

Meanwhile, keep an eye here on the Turbo blog for future IOD-relevant posts.

PGA’s New Champion: Brandt Snedeker

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Tennessean Brandt Snedeker holds both the 2012 PGA TOUR Championship trophy, along with the 2012 FedExCup, after he held off the world’s best golfers the past four days at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. Snedeker’s personal triumph comes just a week before he represents the U.S. in the Ryder Cup at Medinah in Chicago. Snedeker made 61 out of 62 putts inside 10 feet for the week, demonstrating once again he’s got one of the PGA Tour’s hottest putters.

Well, it was a wild and wooly weekend at the PGA TOUR Championship at East Lake in Atlanta, Georgia, and also the culmination of the 2012 U.S. PGA golf season with the awarding of the FedExCup.

In the end, it was Brandt Snedeker’s opportunity to seize the moment, and seize it he did.

Starting with Jim Furyk’s 17th hole meltdown on Saturday with a drive into the water left, the field slowly but surely began to peel away like an onion, leaving Snedeker on the victor’s podium with his amazingly consistent putting stroke and nearly as consistent driving accuracy. (By way of proof, Snedeker made 61 out of 62 putts from inside ten feet!)

The long hitters ended up being eaten away by East Lake, with players like Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, and even to some degree Tiger Woods, unable to match the needed pinpoint accuracy to stay on East Lake’s tight fairways and greens.

Snedeker also demonstrated an emotional maturity beyond his years, playing the last round like it was just another day on the links, and his double-bogey at six that included a watery tee shot?…well, that was just a minor setback (As he would later learn, both Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy also found their way to agua on number six in the final round).

By the time he reached 17, Snedeker’s confidence seemed quite assured, and the chip-in from the off the green just solidified that confidence.

Even a missed tee shot into the back left grandstand on the final hole didn’t shake him up — he just laughed it off, chipped on to the green, and two putted for bogey to walk away with both the TOUR Championship and the FedExCup, and a payout of over $11 million.

Is Snedeker’s victory a prelude to the U.S.’ likely opportunity to reclaim the Ryder Cup from the Europeans next week in Medinah?

Not so fast. Rory McIlroy still continues to pace the golf world, and is backed by some other exemplary European players, including Justin Rose, who stayed close on Snedeker’s heels yesterday, and Sergio Garcia, a Ryder Cup veteran. Europe also has Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell, both of whom seem to wallow in Ryder Cup pressure, while the American side has a number of Ryder Cup newbies (including Snedeker).

I’m not about to try and call this one in advance.  I’ll just say it’s generally expected to be very close, and I’ll be watching every minute before my pro golf withdrawal and depression sets in.

As for the entirety of the 2012 PGA season, it’s likely to prove to be one that golf fans won’t soon forget.

Written by turbotodd

September 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm

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