Sandy Carter, Tom Rosamilia and Steve Mills led a press conference on their key announcements. IBM feels strongly that it has really got the experience you need for BPM and SOA. For their Dynamic Business Process and Models they have 5,000+ engagements and are #1 in BPM market share according to Gartner. They have research showing 8,000 SOA customers and #1 market share (an argument with Oracle who claim #1 also). Their new BPM in the cloud product – BlueWorks – has an online community for co-creation, modeling in the cloud and industry/pre-built BPM assets and the work done in BlueWorks can be exported to WebSphere. They have announced, as noted earlier, new industry frameworks in Retail Performance Analytics (merchandising, supply chain, store analytics) and Intelligent Transportation Systems (road user charging, multimodal fare collection etc based on Singapore). These add to 10 industry frameworks and 50+ industry solutions. CloudBurst, their appliance for WebSphere, is also a major focus. The new appliance does not make something new possible – everything it does can be done already – but it makes it easy and pluggable. Helping companies create a private cloud. The integration of ILOG into WebSphere is progressing, with WebSphere ILOG JRules v7.0 at the end of June as well as a new version of optimization. Continued support for multiple versions of the rules product is important and they made the point that the rules can be deployed in the Java environment as well as as COBOL using ILOG Rules for COBOL.
There was a great discussion of IBM’s recent announcement of its new Business Analytics and Optimization (BAO) service. Clearly CPLEX will be critical to the BAO offerings and the new group will subsume groups that are familiar with optimization. In addition, though, the ability to capture and process large numbers of events will also be key to many of the analytic scenarios being addressed by BAO. Working through the analysis of events and information you can see more patterns and the potential for applying process and decision automation to the problems. WebSphere helps to turn the analytics from the Information Management group into a closed improvement loop.
Another question focused on complex event processing (CEP) and it is pretty clear that, although IBM does not use the phrase much, that they regard their Business Events and Business Rules technology as allowing them to address the full range of problems that others describe as CEP problems. Personally, I agree with them as CEP overlaps a lot with other problem domains and what everyone calls them is less important than the problem definition and the ability to correlate events, do analytics and make decisions to solve those problems.
SOA is not dead, as far as IBM is concerned. Companies aren’t trying to add redundant IT assets – they are looking to reuse and integrate their assets. SOA let’s them do this and it does not matter if they call it SOA or something else. They do see companies moving from large service-enablement projects to a more practical, localized approach. Personally I think Decision Services are the best place to start, though I would agree that information delivery services are another good candidate.
From some discussions in and out of the press conference, there is still a lack of agreement on some of the cloud terminology – what makes a public or a private cloud. No doubt several different kinds of cloud will come to pass with different kinds of balance between in house and shared infrastructure, different applications, different hardware ownership patterns etc. Clearly different approaches will cause changes in what people spend money on – hardware, software, applications, transaction processing etc. Lots of change coming.
Beyond specific announcements, IBM feels that we have to make physical infrastructure and assets more valuable and useful. Can’t afford to replace them and the environment requires us to make significant changes to our usage patterns. Smarter systems that use new information sources about assets (cheap instrumentation and data communications) can improve the use of these assets and optimize the infrastructure. The use of IT to better exploit and use the physical infrastructure we have is key. Interesting extension of the idea that the information content of things is growing and can be exploited.
Here’s a link to the press kit.