Gerry Mooney – IBM’s point man for fiscal stimulus and economic recovery. He feels that the Smarter Planet initiative and the current economy/stimulus are closely linked, at least potentially. Stimulus money could be focused on managing the current crisis more effectively but it could also be used to build a 21st Century infrastructure. In addition, IBM feels the money should be spent on higher skilled jobs as these jobs have a multiplier effect. Combine the two and you get an investment in smarter infrastructure. The opportunity exists to tap new funding for healthcare IT, smart grid to develop smarter planet solutions. To develop transportation and information networks to reduce travel, reduce pollution and smooth out demand. To improve healthcare processes to exchange information and reduce overhead.
Carmen Suarez from Miami Dade came to talk about their work on enterprise architecture and SmartSOA. She had a great phrase – “dependable agility”. Miami Dade is one of Florida’s fastest growing areas. Face demands for more efficient services – less time in line, fewer paper forms and so on. Problems included confusion between departments and inefficient siloed processes. Used a portal-based solution on SOA and content management to rapidly deliver new cross-department processes. Improved internal processes around content management and allowed citizens to get access to everything in a single portal with personalization and subscription. SOA let’s them reuse things like their online payment engine and XML integration makes it easier to link their systems. The portal’s use has grown 50% in the last year, they have processed $468M online and had 8M visitors in the first four months of 2009. Check out http://miamidade.gov/wps/portal.
Bob Picciano GM of Lotus/WebSphere Portal came on to bash Microsoft Office and talk about collaboration. For the focus on Smart Work – part of the Smarter Planet initiative – collaboration is a key capability. When you are dealing with tacit knowledge, knowledge you can’t turn into business rules for instance, making it easy for people to share and collaborate maximizes the value of this know-how. Adding social networking capabilities, making it easy to bring lots of applications together in a common interface and more. New products extend the collaboration to cross-company environments and “Click to Cloud” to share stuff from your desktop to the cloud.
All this talk about people collaborating is great but if people are still plugged into the transactional decisions in their processes where will they find the time? You must automate the basics and the day to day to free your workers to collaborate – decision management is going to be essential if you want to have people with the time to use these great new collaboration tools.
Andy Warzecha from the Information Management group came up to add some discussion around making information more actionable and more useful. Smart Work depends on information and there is more and more information available but access and effective use of this information is actually getting harder. Need to get more proactive – from reporting to real-time access and action support not decision support. Andy made the point that trusted information as a service is critical. And not all the information, but the information that matters and matters most to the business. This information might come from inside or outside our enterprise and the boundary of our enterprise has expanded too with SaaS and outsourcing. Trusted means timely, accurate, integrated and more. It also means delivering relevant information in context – or focusing on trusted decisions as a service not just trusted information as a service. The hugely complex set of systems, range of data types and array data storage make this complex. IBM talks about an Information Agenda, focused on supporting the business and its strategy, that defines and manages all this information infrastructure. Andy maks the crucial point that this Information Agenda must be tied to company strategy and company differentiation (just as decision management should be). Andy pointed out some new announcements around DB2, support for business spaces on both FileNet and WebSphere, the new Business Analytics and Optimization service and some extended cloud support.
Jerry Cuomo the WebSphere CTO was next talking about infrastructure as a service but I have to go get ready to present.