Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘business agility’ Category

IBM Opens Lab To Bring R&D To The CEO

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One of the things we heard about extensively during our time on the ground at SXSW Interactive 2013 in Austin over the past week was the importance of the customer experience.

Whether that be in applications in mobile devices, in customer service via the social media, the physical experience of a brand’s product or service…the customer experience rules!

And this anecdotal data is supported by IBM’s own research, including last year’s Global CEO Study, which queried 1,700 CEOs from 64 countries and 18 industries and found that CEOs are changing the nature of work by adding a powerful dose of openness, transparency, and employee empowerment to the command-and-control ethos that has characterized the modern corporation for more than a century.

The study revealed that the advantages of this fast-moving trend are clear: Companies that outperform their peers are 30 percent more likely to identify openness — often characterized by a greater use of social media as a key enabler of collaboration and innovation — as a key influence on their organization.

Those “outperformers” are also embracing new models of working that tap into the collective intelligence of an organization and its networks to devise new ideas and solutions for increased profitability and growth.

In order to forge those closer connections with customers, partners, and a new generation of employees in the future, CEOs plan to shift their focus from using e-mail and the phone as primary communication vehicles to using social networks as a new path for direct engagement. And while social media is the least utilized of all customer interaction methods today, it stands to become the number two organizational engagement method within the next five years, a close second to face-to-face interactions.

Big Data, Big Opportunity

Given the data explosion being witnessed by many organizations, CEOs also recognized the need for more sophisticated business analytics to mine the data being tracked online, on mobile phones and social media sites. The traditional approach to understanding customers better has been to consolidate and analyze transactions and activities from across the entire organization. However, to remain relevant, CEOs must piece together a more holistic view of the customer based on how he or she engages the rest of the world, not just their organization.

The ability to drive value from data is strongly correlated with performance. Outperforming organizations are twice as good as underperformers at accessing and drawing insights from data. Outperformers are also 84 percent better at translating those insights into real action.

From Theory to Action

To this end, IBM today announced the creation of the IBM Customer Experience Lab, dedicated to helping business leaders transform the way customers experience their products, services and brands through the use of mobile, social, cloud and advanced analytics technologies.

IBM Research scientists and business consultants will co-create with clients to deliver systems that learn and personalize the experiences of each individual customer, identify patterns, preferences and create context from Big Data, and drive scale economics.

The IBM Customer Experience Lab will provide CEOs, CMOs, CFOs, heads of sales and other C-suite executives direct access to a virtual team of 100 researchers, supported by the deep industry and domain expertise of thousands of IBM business consultants addressing the opportunities of the digital front office.

In the new age of Big Data and analytics, organizations are reassessing how to move from addressing mass audiences to personalized relationships. The same technologies allow enterprises to engage in new ways with their employees, allow government agencies to build new relationships with citizens, or enable new models of interaction among students and educational institutions.

IBM Research is developing technology assets and capabilities that can help deliver front office capabilities as a service from a cloud, design novel products to match customer preferences, and leverage math and psychological theories of personality to improve marketing effectiveness.
Client Engagements

The Lab focuses on innovation breakthroughs in three primary areas:

  • Customer insight. Applying advanced capabilities such as machine learning and visual analytics to predict differences in individual customer behavior across multiple channels.
  • Customer engagement. Using deep customer engagement to drive insight and continuously deliver value by personalizing engagement, versus transactional experiences.
  • Employee engagement. Embedding semantic, collaborative, and multimedia technologies to foster employee engagement and insight – in person and online.

Among the clients engaged with IBM on advancing their innovation process are Nationwide Building Society, the world’s largest building society serving 15 million members in the United Kingdom, and Banorte, one of the largest banks in Mexico with more than 20 million customers.

“Mobile and social technologies, and the ability to access information anytime, anywhere, is driving significant change in the way consumers bank and in the services they expect,” said Martin Boyle, Divisional Director of Transformation, Nationwide Building Society. “Our ability to innovate and anticipate, and not just respond, is what sets us apart from the competition and helps us to provide our customers with new and better ways to do business with us. By partnering with IBM, we can tap into its vast research and innovation expertise and facilities, which has already proved invaluable in our transformation program and will continue to be an important part in how we continue to innovate our service for customers.”

New Tools and Capabilities

The Lab provides IBM clients with an innovation process, assets and platform to give line of business leaders the exclusive ability to work side-by-side with IBM researchers and business consultants to analyze business challenges and jointly create solutions that integrate next-generation mobile, social, analytics and cloud technologies.

Co-creation with clients includes an innovation model called Innovation Discovery Workshops, which generate ideas, roadmaps, prototypes and solutions that draw on research assets, business consulting and IBM Software solutions in areas such as Smarter Commerce, Big Data, analytics, and Mobile First products.

The IBM Customer Experience Lab will be headquartered at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., supported by researchers at IBM’s 12 global labs including Africa, Brazil, California, China, India, Israel, Japan, Switzerland, and Texas.

The Lab brings together skills across disciplines including service science, industries research, mathematics and business optimization, social, mobile, Smarter Commerce, data mining, cloud computing, security and privacy, cognitive computing and systems management. IBM invests more than $6 billion annually on research and development and employs about 3,000 researchers worldwide. IBM Global Business Services deploys business consulting, applications and delivery expertise globally, including market-leading business analytics, Smarter Commerce, mobility and applications management practices.

Visit here for more information about the IBM Customer Experience Lab, and follow IBM’s innovation breakthroughs on Twitter at @IBMResearch.

Forbes Business Leadership Forum @ Impact 2012: Put The Customer At The Center Of Every Action

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Mike Rhodin explains to the IBM Forbes Business Leadership Forum at Impact 2012 Monday morning that the best companies moving forward will put the customer at the center of their every action.

After this morning’s keynote session, I went promptly over to the Forbes Business Leadership Forum to listen for a bit to Mike Perlis, Forbes president and CEO, and Mike Rhodin, IBM’s senior vice president for our Software Solutions group.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m a Forbes magazine subscriber — and apparently I’m hardly alone, even in this alleged age of digital media and publishing. In fact, Perlis took great pains to walk the gathered IBM Impact audience through the evolution of Forbes magazine and its transition into the digital era, as a kind of case study into how one unique traditional media publishing property didn’t succumb to the whims of history.

Perlis outlined some key objectives for Forbes, including keeping its print business on track as it built its digital business, and also by developing its brand extensions and becoming a great technology company.

These days, Forbes has some 100 freelancers, 100 staff editors and reporters, and over 300 posts per day on Forbes.com, the centerpiece of Forbes digital strategy.

But Forbes has also embraced the social media in a huge way, with an aggressive presence on all the major social media properties, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

As Perlis summarized, “it’s about the right mix of quality and quantity of information, driven by great technology.”

Perlis then handed the reins over to IBM senior vice president, Mike Rhodin, who leads our Software Solutions business.

Rhodin picked up the ball and reaffirmed that Forbes business journey was an evolution, and that we live in an “information age like none before, where the complexities are forcing us to take a new approach to technology.”

Rhodin noted that companies like Forbes that successfully navigate these uncharted waters must “deploy solutions that are intelligent, integrated by design, and built atop a tech infrastructure that is inherently more cognitive.”

Rhodin went on to cite some examples of the staggering amounts of data that must be dealt with: That there are 340 million Tweets now per day, that 80% of the new data growth are in images, videos and documents, that there are 5 million trading events occurring every second!

Such astronomical figures are creating some tough new challenges, not only for IT but for the mainstream of a business.  Forty-five percent of CFOs see a need to improve data integration and risk management, Rhodin explained, and 73 percent of CMOs see a need to invest in technology to manage new big data.

Business leaders aren’t just concerned with what product to buy, Rhodin explained, but are focused on garnering better business outcomes, how to improve the efficiency of their online marketing campaigns, how to improve cash flows…business problems needing business solutions enabled by technology.

Rhodin also explained that business leaders need to learn to think differently (a theme brought up time and again in Walter Isaacson’s keynote this morning) about analytics, explaining that a new pattern of automation is emerging that is being driven by the instrumentation of the world around us.

“We’re infusing intelligence into the fabric of the organization,” Rhodin continued, and that organizational leaders of the future will be distinguished by their “ability to make big and small, strategic and tactical, 360 degree-informed decisions.”

“This has become a 24/7 feedback loop where sellers and marketers constantly change roles,” Rhodin concluded, and those who put the consumer at the center of every action would be the new information age’s ultimate victors.

Fear And Loathing At The Venetian

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Well, I arrived in Vegas this morning just as quick as I could get here, my purpose being to cover the National District Attorneys Association’s Conference on Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs…oh, hold a minute…sorry, that was Hunter S. Thompson.

I’M here for the IBM Impact 2012 event being held at the Venetian Hotel and Casino (which is NOT to be confused with the Venice that’s located in Italy and which is slowly succumbing to the seas around it).  No, this Venetian doesn’t have that particular problem to worry about.

The next four to five days, depending on the length of your stay and the size of your bank account, is going to be entirely dedicated to technology-related topics: SOA, BPM, cloud computing, enterprise mobility…it’s a virtual technology funfest.

Oh, and let’s not forget the Goo Goo Dolls, who will be playing Tuesday night.

A few housekeeping details you might want to be cognizant of: First, check your bathroom for Bengali Tigers FIRST THING.

Look, you can never be too careful, particularly in the wilds of Las Vegas.

Second, go get your badge at registration.  Unlike “Blazing Saddles,” at Impact 2012, you’re going to need your stinkin’ badge. You can find them on Level One of the Venetian Convention area.

Third, plan your escape route NOW in the private confines of your hotel room.  Err, I meant to say, your conference itinerary.  I know, I know, most battle plans go out the window the moment you hit the battlefield, but it’s nice to have some general semblance of where you are and where you’re going to go next, even if it’s just a strawman.

Fourth, make room for serendipity.  No, that’s not the name of a dancer from Cirques Du Soleil.  That’s more along the lines of improvisation — as in, give yourself room for some. You never know who you meet just hanging around the canals of Venetian (but hey, don’t blame me if you fall in with the wrong crowd!  I told you to have  a plan, just in case!)

This year’s conference theme is “Change the Game: Innovate, Transform, Grow.”  So, what are you waiting for?  Get to it!

As for me, I’m going to finish writing up some interview questions for ImpactTV (which starts tomorrow at 5 PM PST, 8 PM EST — check it out at www.livestream.com/ibmsoftware), then I’m going to head on down to the Pai Gow Poker tables.  I’m feeling lucky!

If you’re feeling lost, or even unlucky, just follow the #IBMImpact hashtag on Twitter — you’re sure to find plenty of others who are feeling just like you.

And if you have a question for the event organizers, send that question on Twitter to the #AskImpact Twitter ID and surely someone will get you an answer and soon…ahem, it may not be the RIGHT answer, but social media operators ARE standing by.

And most importantly, smile and enjoy yourself…you’re in Vegas, bay-bey, NOTHING could go wrong now!

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???

Simplifying The IT Experience: Introducing IBM PureSystems

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I mentioned the coming announcement about our new expert integrated systems in my last post, and lo and behold, the details arrived overnight.

The new family of systems that come with built-in expertise based on IBM’s decades of experience running IT operations from tens of thousands of clients in 170 countries will be called, simply, “PureSystems.”

This effort is the result of $2 billion in research and development, along with acquisitions, over four years, and represents an unprecedented move by IBM to integrate all IT elements, physical and virtual.

This effort is also about a new offering.  This new systems family offers IBM customers an alternative to today’s enterprise computing model, where multiple and disparate systems require huge resources in set-up and ongoing maintenance.

The current economics and models have far too many focused too much on the small stuff. Companies worldwide spend an average of 70 percent or more of IT budgets on simple operations and maintenance, which leaves them precious little time to invest in innovation.

Furthermore, two-thirds of corporate IT projects are delivered over budget and behind schedule, according to a recent study by IBM.  That same said study also found that only one in five corporate IT departments are able to spend the majority of their IT budget on innovation.

The infographic details many of those IT headaches and challenges facing so many today.

The prime challenge facing companies worldwide is the need to spend 70 percent or more of IT budgets on simple operations and maintenance, leaving little to invest in innovation. Two-thirds of corporate IT projects are delivered over budget and behind schedule, according to a recent study by IBM which also found that only one in five corporate IT departments are able to spend the majority of their IT budget on innovation!

Introducing IBM PureSystems

In today’s unveiling of the new PureSystems family, IBM is revealing three major advances that point to this new era of computing technology designed to allow businesses to lower these costs and headaches:

  • “Scale-In” System Design: With PureSystems, IBM is introducing a new concept in system design that integrates the server, storage, and networking into a highly automated, simple-to-manage machine. Scale-in design provides for increased density – PureSystems can handle twice as many applications compared to some IBM systems, doubling the computing power per square foot of data center space.
  • Patterns of Expertise:  For the first time, IBM is embedding technology and industry expertise through first-of-a-kind software that allows the systems to automatically handle basic, time-consuming tasks such as configuration, upgrades, and application requirements.
  • Cloud Ready integration: Out of the box, all PureSystems family members are built for the cloud, enabling corporations to quickly create private, self-service cloud offerings that can scale up and down automatically.

“With its new scale-in design and built-in expertise, PureSystems represents an important advance in the evolution of computing,” said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive, software and systems, IBM.

“By tightening the connections between hardware and software, and adding incomparable software know-how, PureSystems is designed to help clients to free up time and money to focus on innovation that many businesses cannot address due to ever rising costs and staffing needs in the traditional data center.”

PureSystems Pricing and Availability

The first two models of the PureSystems family – PureFlex System and PureApplication System — start shipping to customers this quarter. PureSystems support POWER processors and Intel processors.

For more information visit the IBM expert integrated systems blog and be sure to follow the #puresystems Twitter hashtag to follow the emerging conversation around this breakthrough new approach to IT.

Live @ Lotusphere 2012: Day One Announcements – The Setup

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It’s become self-evident the profound effect social media and networking have had on society and culture: The Arab Spring, the Japanese earthquake, the World Cup, even the tragic sinking of Costa Concordia over the weekend.

What’s new, however, and has gone largely unnoticed, is how this shift is causing a ripple effect in the business world.  Though many companies are focused on building out their own in-house social networks, the real opportunity will be for those who can gain real-time intelligence on the data being generated within those communities and to use that information to be more competitive in their markets.

Here’s some facts:

  • With more than 800 million Facebook users and 200 Million Tweets a day, the growing popularity of social networking has also created a social savvy workforce.
  • IBM’s 2011 CIO Survey of 3,000 global leaders indicated that more than 55% of companies identified social networking as having a strategic significance to their company’s growth.
  • Forrester Research estimates that market opportunity for social software is expected to exceed $6 billion by 2016, an increase of 60% annually from 2010.

This shift of consumer to business networking, also known as “social business,” has become the next big challenge for organizations who are looking to more quickly adopt these skills into their businesses to better reach clients and suppliers, while swiftly gaining insight on the data being created in these networks.

The winners in this challenge will be able to react more swiftly to customer trends, and to out-innovate competitors.

IBM is unveiling this week new social business software and services that bring together the power of analytics and flexible delivery models such as cloud computing and mobile devices.

More to come very shortly…


From Farm To Plate: Using Analytics To Make Safer Foods

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I had a friend who was recently impacted by one of those contaminated cantaloupes.

Fortunately, she only got sick and didn’t perish from listeria, but 23 others were not so fortunate, and over 100 more also became very ill.

These type of outbreaks cost $152 billion a year in the U.S. alone, with 48 million food-related illnesses and 3,000 deaths a year. Governments around the world are now proposing more stringent regulations to better protect consumers from food borne illnesses.


A breakdown at any point in the food system on the farm-to-table spectrum can cause catastrophic harm to the health of consumers and great disruption and economic loss to the food industry.

More than six billion cases of fruits and vegetables alone travel across the U.S. each year. As this food travels through various points of the supply chain there are possibilities of this food being exposed to temperatures or other factors that could lead to its contamination.

In response to this challenge, IBM today announced that Cherry Central, a leading cooperative of  hundreds of growers of fruits and vegetables in the United States, is using IBM analytics technology to provide true visibility of food items as it travels from the farm to supermarket shelves or ingredient buyers locations.

Using analytics technology, the food producer and marketer has improved productivity by 50 percent.

Eat, and Track, Your Fruits And Vegetables

To ensure the safest food products reach the shelves of grocery stores and ingredient buyer locations, Cherry Central is collaborating with IBM and business partner N2N Global.

With IBM analytics technology, Cherry Central is tracking data from the time fruit is harvested, sorted or processed, sent to a distribution warehouse, and finally unloaded and placed on display counters at a grocery store or ingredient buyer location.

All of this activity data can now be collected, viewed, aggregated and analyzed in real time, all with a few clicks of a mouse.

Additionally, workers now can use mobile devices to record key information, such as date, time, location, temperature, and all aspects of quality and food safety compliance.

The information is uploaded to a centralized database, where it is stored and can be accessed and shared by their supply chain trading partners.

Each time the food moves or is handled by someone new, the data can be updated thorough mobile devices, recorded and aggregated instantaneously to provide a complete, accurate picture within its operations.

This, in turn, minimizes unnecessary administrative tasks and data entry, allowing management to focus more on business growth than data capturing.

Cherry Central can now more precisely record incoming fruit from growers, track the food items through their operations and monitor and report on all critical control points such as  refrigeration and processing temperatures, thus improving the overall traceability and visibility of the products they handle.  These new capabilities are helping Cherry Central track food from harvest to dinner table to avoid contamination pitfalls.

“Cherry Central and its trading partners are a microcosm of the entire food supply chain.  In working IBM and N2N Global, we are taking advantage of a solution that tears down the barriers and complexity of the food supply chain,” said Steve Eiseler, vice president of operations at Cherry Central Cooperative.

“This collaboration is helping us create a well-connected and visible food supply chain to make it easier and faster to track the food items we market while also allowing us to spot trends as they’re occurring real time.  This visibility is enabling is to take proactive measures to ensure food safety and ultimately protecting the consumer.”

Paper, Plastic, Or Analytics?

One of the major challenges for Cherry Central is to provide better transparency and usability of its data that is growing at the rate of 1.6 million records per month.

Many in the food industry still use paper-based solutions that produce paper checklists and questionnaires to perform audits and inspections on their fruits and vegetables and processing/packing systems .

As paper forms are returned to the office, they are “manually” entered into the computer leaving room for human error, generating mountains of paperwork and the possibility of misplacing files — making it more difficult to pinpoint the source of a possible contamination, causing costly and potentially critical delays.

Now, with analytics technology, Cherry Central is not only capturing this data, but using analytics to create real business outcomes from it. For example, processing data can be analyzed real time and decisions can be made immediately rather than waiting hours or days until the data is compiled.

In addition, all small businesses are impacted by federal regulations and government mandates. Small businesses operating in the food industry, however, have additional layers of regulations and mandates defined by federal and state agencies such as the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

The new Food Safety Modernization Act as well as industry trade association standards have added new and complex compliance demands to the landscape.

Cherry Central’s business analytics platform provides product traceability consisting of IBM DB2 Web Query running on Power System.  Its quality & food safety program runs on N2N Global’s Quality & Food Safety Manager solution running on IBM System x.

If you’d like to learn more about IBM’s Smarter Food initiatives, visit here.

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