After a great introductory session from Walter Isaacson (biographer of Einstein, Franklin and Jobs), we kicked off the main session at IBM’s largest IMPACT conference with over 8,500 attendees with a focus on re-thinking IT.
Marie Wieck started by discussing how core applications are changing. IBM claims that $5Trillion run on IBM hardware. These systems must be increasingly integrated with Billions of mobile devices – everything from smart phones to sensors like the Bodymedia armbands. This drives a need for cloud, for open APIs, for automated interactions (powered by decision management systems presumably). More of the transactions handled by IBM systems are being initiated using multiple channels, mobile devices and new forms of communication. Meanwhile more people have an impact on your business both business contacts and consumers, increasingly using social media of various forms. Cloud, mobile, social and more are creating an interconnected economy. To support this IBM believes you need an open, robust SOA that can handle the different kinds of workloads, transactions and interactions being driven by this change- new development patterns, new cloud deployments, new APIs and new Apps.
Whirlpool came up next – another 100 year old company with $19B in revenue across 170 countries. This drives them to create an IT platform focused on globally scalable value chain solutions. Consumer engagement is changing as the web channel moves from simply seeking information on a web page to a more interactive, social environment that involves e-commerce and can be mobile, global. Global transactions in the value chain are scaling in volume and the need to support a global supply chain makes for ever more complex transactions. These trends push Whirlpool to aim for a platform that is geared for real-time global engagement. Scale, reliability are critical – you can’t just chase the latest cool technology, you must deliver reliable real-time transactions.
Marie came back to talk about some of the requirements that customers have asked for that are driving IBM products:
- Faster release cycles (weeks or days not months or years) driving better visual tooling, smaller footprint and improved support for virtualization in the application server.
- Demand for mobile devices and a rich user experience on those devices is driving a new mobile foundation that supports Android, iOS and Windows with a single development platform and management server.
- The need to integrate BPM, decisions and analytics to support a complex logistics platform, for instance, has driven a new release of the BPM product with a new portal for collaborative work as well as support for cloud deployment and mobile integration.
- New releases in the SOA platform include updates to MQ and Message Broker focused on performance and broad integration with common industry standards. A Cast Iron Live makes creating and releasing APIs quicker and easier while providing stronger tracking of API usage for ongoing analysis.
Huntington Bank came up next, founded in 1866 with total assets of $50B (just big enough to be Fed regulated) and 11,000 employees (small enough to be nimble) with a very mid-west focus. To make progress in the current financial climate, Huntington has been somewhat contrarian with a focus on eliminating fees and making it easier for customers to avoid penalties. While this did hit their fee revenue per account, it has been more than offset with new business. To support the changing business, the IT department has refocused on skills-based ITIL shared services organization rather than silos. A focus on agile, on shared services and on information integration have been key. They have moved from a highly customized aging legacy platform to a new WebSphere platform. This is great but it’s more important as a platform for processes and decisions with the BPM and business rules products that will allow faster time to market and more business empowerment.
Marie returned to talk about challenges. With 25% of IT projects being over budget and 34% still being deployed behind schedule IBM is offering its new IBM PureSystems that combine built in expertise, integration and cloud readiness. At IBM IMPACT they are launching PureApplication and Jason McGee showed a high speed video of the 4 hours they claim it takes to install. All the software is pre-installed and power and network cables can be plugged in to connect it. A wizard links the system to the network and then the system initializes itself. A web configuration tool is then available to push new applications on to the server. Over 150 applications from IBM and partners are available for rapid install to the system, which handles all the configuration, workload management, monitoring and more for these applications. Failure management is built in (and was demonstrated by Jason pulling out a node live on stage). A new development kit and a cloud sandbox are being released to make it easy for companies to develop deployable patterns for PureSystems. These will allow a single code base to be deployed on to PureSystems in a data center or to a cloud deployment.