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IBM IMPACT Day 2 Keynotes


Johan Gerber of MasterCard kicked things off on day 2. MasterCard does not actually issue the cards with their logo on, they are a technology company that provides a network to link consumers, 32,000,000 businesses and 22,000 card issuers. The network is very high performance, handling 100 pieces of information and processing each transaction in less than 130 milliseconds and can handle 14B instructions in a second.  Security, back up, data management and volumes are all extreme. To build this network, MasterCard partner with IBM to provide Decision Management and message handling. They can now deploy new rules for a bank issuer in just a few hours using hot deployment of rules directly into the IBM platform within their network. Rules for regulatory requirements, to manage a fraud attack or to deliver new products and services deployed directly to the network more or less immediately. This immediacy drives opportunity for new product innovation, product differentiation and more.

After a very cool demo of some future thinking, Steve Mills came on to follow up. Steve’s focus is on transaction processing – how to manage transactions with certainty, with control and with suitable response to problems. Obviously IBM has a long history in managing transactions, helping manage the structure and execution of transactions in an ever more complex environment. With 800M+ payment card transactions a day, projections of 10B proximity transactions in 2016 and other scale and mobility challenges must intersect with transaction management capabilities to ensure that the infrastructure can support these transactions. Steve pointed at MasterCard’s network as well as Marriott’s that handles 1,500 transactions/second with sub-second response times, China Mobile’s 148M transactions/day from 600M customers. Support for these kinds of networks means handling process integrity and ensuring that a high percentage of transactions get through without errors or problems. This was hard enough with a single, coherent, integrated system. With the kind of distributed, heterogeneous environments common today this problem has just become more challenging.

This is what IBM is trying to deliver with its platform. IBM continues to invest in its transaction processing capabilities, making sure that companies can use SOA and get the kind of scalability and integrity they need while taking advantage of the modularity and agility of SOA. Steve sees a particular focus going forward on integrating mobile, handling big data and in-line analytics as well as cloud deployment and social media.

Katie Linendoll introduced the next customer story, The Ottawa Hospital. The critical challenge with hospitals and medical delivery generally is that the technology cannot disrupt the interactions between medical professionals and patients. Part of the solution to this is the use of mobile devices, so that medical professionals can use technology at the bedside. This builds on the general availability of an electronic medical record, a foundation or “step 0” capability. But you also need to manage the processes and decisions involved too. Ottawa Hospital is trying to manage the processes for consistency, completeness and to keep patients and medical professionals engaged in the care process. In particular they focus on the end to end process from check-in to check-out.

The use of mobile devices allows them to replace paging with a more interactive communication, allowing the “paged” doctor to access the record of the patient, confirm they are coming etc. The devices allow the doctor to show patients information and images particularly. The hospital is also managing the large numbers of people involved in care, both at the hospital and after discharge. The system will allow everyone involved to see and contact the rest of the people involved. Of course if you can add decision management to this you can do things like automatically manage discharge regulations and policies, identify dangerous drug interactions, check dosages and more.

Phil Gilbert, VP of BPM and Decision Management, came up next to show off his new release of Business Process Manager. Last year they announced release 7.5, the first integrated set of process capabilities post the Lombardi acquisition. Since then they have also merged the Business Events and Business Rules products into the new Operational Decision Management product. Both these products deliver visibility and governance at scale for businesses and Phil is clearly proud of how integrated and flexible these products are. Beyond this the team is continuing to integrate these products into z/OS, into Tivoli Security Management, the MDM product, the Advanced Case Management/ECM product and SAP. In each case the integration is beyond the execution level offered by SOA and includes design-level integration. The new platform, release 8, is in Phil’s view the first of a new class of platform that lets you truly integrate existing applications into a flexible process and decision platform.

With version 8 of BPM and Decision Management the focus is on real-time collaboration across the functionality. New features being demonstrated today include a new decision console, a global rules search, a new more social process portal, a designer for coaches, real-time task collaboration and in-line task completion. The existing decision console is web-based and less technical than the Eclipse editor for business rules but it is still pretty technical. The new interface is much more Blueworks-like with a nice look and feel with a social tone showing comment streams, supporting the following of rules, recent edits, collaboration etc. Users are taken directly to the right editor with a re-written editor as well as a new Facebook-like timeline and support for global search. A radically redesigned interface that is clearly aimed at business users working on business rules.

Similarly the BPM portal has been re-written to focus on a more social, task-oriented interface. This is also supported by a completely documented set of APIs so that customers can integrate their own elements. Redesigned coaches allow some nice forms for working the tasks and Phil was very bullish about the new designer for these, claiming it is dramatically easier to develop these interfaces. The task interface displays an information stream about the specific process instance including all those who have worked on it. The interface also uses analytics to predict who might be useful to add to the process instance based on their previous work. Real-time collaboration is possible with people in different locations working on the same task at the same time. Both task editing environments show what the other is doing in real-time. Finally Phil picked up his iPad and showed how you can access BlueWorksLive and Business Process Manager from the app complete with nice UI, photo attaching and more.

BodyMedia came up next to talk about their new tracking device and the associated decision management system. BodyMedia has a body sensing device that collects information about your activity, health and well being. They have conducted studies showing weight loss and health management being more successful when the body sensing technology is used. Whether it is managing weight, sleep or diabetes, the senor provides information both to the person being monitored and their care givers.

The solution involves an arm band with four embedded sensors reading 5000 data points a minute. This information is fed through machine learning algorithms and other decision management systems and the results are fed back to laptops, mobile devices etc. The armbands are getting smaller, cheaper and more capable. The software processes the data and displays usable results like quality of sleep, calories burned, amount of activity and more. The use of business rules to build a decision management system allows them to personalize and direct the advice and suggestions being made. In the future this could be combined with a smart home to make your home environment an active participant in managing your health.

Bob Suter came on to talk about mobile. 10 Bn mobile devices by 2020, 60% of CIOs put mobile as a priority and mobile apps can generate 45% improvements in productivity. Clearly he says mobile matters and is affecting every industry. To bring mobile to bear on problems you need to build the systems and connect the devices, you have to manage the devices and handle security and only then can you extend and transform your business using these mobile devices. To support all this IBM has released a new Mobile Foundation including an IBM version of Worklight (a recent acquisition), WebSphere Cast Iron and an endpoint manager for mobile devices. Plus IBM has launched some new services to help, including some quick start consulting packages.

And with that, I have to go get ready for my session.


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