Live From IBM Pulse 2013: Dr. Danny Sabbah — The Internet Is The Computer
Welcome to the world of the hybrid cloud and legacy application environment, a merger of the front office and the back, the nexus of the burgeoning mobile and social milieu (the “systems of engagement”) with the systems of record.
This was the key message delivered in the opening general session of IBM Pulse 2013 here at the almost packed MGM Grand Garden arena here in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The opening itself was another kind of hybrid, one that featured a number of skilled percussionists drumming in the key messages of the challenges and opportunities facing IT organizations around the globe.
Speed is a constant. Change is a constant. Declining budgets are a constant. What’s the variable?
The opportunity to create new kinds of value for the organization by better fusing business assets, facilities, infrastructure, and data into a seamless and holistic view of the entire operation, one whereby you help your organization better gain increased visibility, control, and automation.
In short, to move from being a cost center to a center of strategic business innovation, and to turn opportunities into outcomes.
Are you prepared to take on this new challenge?
IBM Tivoli marketing guru Scott Hebner entered the stage to set the stage for IBM Pulse 2013, explaining there were 8,000+ attendees from over 80 countries around the globe, and that the depth and breadth and diversity of experience in this room (and we’re talking about a pretty big room…like, as in, Carrie Underwood will be playing this room for Pulse this evening) was unprecedented.
Scott started his opening by asking a few key questions of the gathered infrastructure management faithful: Where does an infrastructure begin and where does it end? How do we make it become more interconnected and instrumented so we can garner more value from existing assets?
Scott explained that we’re all sitting on a staggering amount of operational data, both animate and inanimate — and not just in the traditional data center, either. In your tractors. Your warehouses. Your office buildings.
And this “operational big data” residing in all those assets is an enormous opportunity, one that allows us to better understand the “exact condition of everything in real-time.” Which means also extracting new value from those assets and, hence, being able to then provide better services to our organizations and users.
But the climbing of this new mountain of data has its challenges. For one, skills. IDC expects 7 million new cloud computing positions to come online, 6X that over the rest of IT employment. That means new skills, new training, new…students.
Which is one of the primary reasons we’re all gathered here in Lost Wages, to come together and learn from the experts and one another, to improve the economics of IT, and to uncover those growth opportunities.
Scott introduced a customer who flew all the way here from down under, in Melbourne, Australia, to share their experience in this new frontier of computing.
Neal Roberts, the CIO of Yarra Trams, is part of a team that oversees the largest tram network in the world, one with 250 kilometers of track and nearly 500 tram cars that travel some 185 million track miles per year!
First, Yarra’s values, which help drive both the team and the trams: Think like a passenger, do Zero harm, and provide Continuous Improvement.
The first two are pretty self-evident, but the third, continuous improvement, takes some concerted and coordinated effort and a lot of hard work.
That coordination increasingly takes place between the line of business and IT organizations. And Mr. Roberts explained that “We’re all facing the same challenges. Trying to manage the velocity of change, and to become centers of innovation while reinventing the customer relationship.”
For Yarra, that meant driving a symbiosis of asset management and location information, the so-called systems of record, with the real-time notification opportunities of social media data.
It goes a little something like this: The rains come, puts a tram out of service when it gets flooded, the operations center is notified, the operations center schedules a dispatch to fix the train, the schedule is altered, data is streamed to the public cloud (including a mobile app for tram users) to notify them automagically the train schedule has been disrupted/altered, the tram eventually gets fixed, all goes back to normal.
No problem, the trams are back to running on time.
Dr. Danny Sabbah, CTO and general manager of IBM Next Generation Platforms, picked it up from there.
Dr. Sabbah observed that we are truly at an inflection point, and that since last year, the key themes which emerged around securing the cloud, mobile, and embedded solutions, have only become more important, and that we’re now seeing this increased integration of public cloud data and the existing services.
That is again the important nexus to focus on, because it is from that nexus that we’ll see increasing value unlocked by organizations around the globe, and it’s a new stage in the evolution of technology and the importance of data.
Dr. Sabbah included a key example: Mobile devices are anticipated to account for 40% of access to all kinds of business applications in the next few years.
And as a result of this, big data is joining mobile and cloud as the next must have competency.
“Devices are becoming more intelligent and communicating even more data,” Sabbah continued, and we’re getting “smart buildings, smart grids, and smarter healthcare. None of these are operating in isolated silos.”
“The convergence of these technologies,” he explained, “is driving the Internet of things.”
And yet intelligent interconnection and instrumentation is making it increasingly hard to balance efficiency and innovation. Sabbah explained, “The drive for innovation drives a commensurate need for technology optimization” and that optimization is what helps free up finite IT resources for focusing on innovation.
That is also another reason IBM has put so much muscle behind its PureSystems line of technology, with the express intention of freeing up people, time, and money from mundane operational tasks of server administration, data routines, etc., so they can work on value added projects!
The new cloud and mobile-based “systems of engagement” spoken of earlier, along with the systems of record from the past 40 years of computing, aren’t going away, and in fact, the opportunity for these systems to interact and interoperate extracts new value. But that requires flexibility (read: openness) in their infrastructure design, because different workloads are coming together — some require new levels of optimization, others new levels of maintenance, and some towards speed of delivery.
But, ultimately, flexible architectures allow us to mash up new services, so that those organizations who build flexibility into their infrastructure DNA are those “most poised to win.”
Getting there will require rapid iteration and the continued “reduction of confused and conflicting infrastructure and software.”
“It’s not the network that’s the computer,” Sabbah wound down. “It’s the Internet that’s the computer.”