Ford and IBM kicked off IBM IMPACT 2013 with a discussion of the amount of code (and the number of sensors) in a modern car to control everything from safety systems, self parking and more. This means that Ford has to get good at developing software, and software suitable for use in the car as well as outside, as well as engineering the physical car. IBM sees this more and more, companies having to extend their expertise to include software products and integrate these products into the physical product. Ford, for instance, has invested in an open platform that enables large number of information services providers to be connected along with the in-car and back-end systems at Ford. Going forward Ford sees drivers wanting to be able to (safely) so more from their car as well as the potential for connecting vehicles to other vehicles, systems in the cities the car is passing through and more.
Rob LeBlanc continued the keynote with a discussion of “business in motion”, this year’s focus. The world, he says, continues to change as massive amounts of data is created daily, billions of devices are connected and huge numbers of people are connected through social networks. Big Data, Internet of Things, Cloud, Social and Mobile are all having an impact on customers, employees and the rest of a company’s ecosystem. IBM talks about this driving a new class of systems – systems of engagement – to go with traditional systems of record. These systems are generating new services, new cloud-based value chains and new businesses. Critical to this, says IBM, is a focus on open standards and open cloud standards in particular.
Rob highlighted 5 key themes:
- Put Mobile first
- Reinvent your business design and processes
- Adopt a flexible and secure integration model
- Be insight and data-driven
- Build on open architectures
He went on to emphasize the importance of an end to end, customer-centric mobile strategy. This needs to build on existing systems and be driven by analytic insight. I also liked his focus on the need to
- change your business to really take advantage of the new technologies and capabilities – the value comes from the use of these technologies as a lever for change. Also an i
nteresting focus on mobile and the power of mobile to drive change. Personally I think that the need for true mobile applications also drives a need for decision management – if your back end systems can’t make decisions then your mobile applications are going to be too dumb to be useful.
Marie Wieck, GM of IBM WebSphere, came next and drilled down into these various elements
- Mobile has become a primary engagement vehicle for IBM’s customers, driving this focus on Mobile First. Interesting to see how much IBM is investing in making it easier to develop mobile apps
- Reinventing business design driving new releases for Blueworks Live, Business Process Manager and Operational Decision Manager. All of which she says will have more to say about developing mobile systems. More tomorrow apparently.
- On the topic of flexible and secure integration she introduced two folks from Target. Target’s focus recently has been to develop a cross-channel experience that includes mobile as well as web and in-store. The Target team use the Winchester Mystery House as an example of something with too many years, too many builders and not enough architects or blueprints. This is true of too many legacy systems also. But these can’t just be ripped out and replaced so Target has been exposing more of these systems as services, based on a common integration platform, and talks about being on a journey where they seek progress over perfection.
- The focus at IBM is on insight, analytics, not just data she says. All these new data sources are great but unless they can be turned into new knowledge, new insight, there’s no value. The Desert Research Institute is focused on environmental research and made a big investment in IBM Pure Systems for its data infrastructure (and it manages a lot of data for things like weather and fluid dynamics). Not much about analytics in this story but impressive use of data infrastructure appliances. IBM is announcing various new PureData Systems including one supporting Hadoop as well as the new BLU acceleration I covered recently.
- Finally she returned to the open architecture theme, emphasizing IBM’s support for Hadoop and various open standards from OASIS Tosca to HTML 5. Various new WebSphere products supporting these standards are coming as well as new API management tools.
Overall a quick run through the wide range of things IBM WebSphere does with mobile and open being the two most obviously recurring themes.