IOD '09: Day One: Nancy Pearson defines excellence as a moving target

Nancy Pearson, IBM® vice president of BPM, SOA, WebSphere®, and Industry Marketing, comments on the thinking behind the IOD conference, delivers some key A Smarter Planet initiative messages, and defines excellence as a moving target — from Day One at the IOD 2009 conference.


Scott Laningham (, developerWorks Podcast Editor, IBM developerWorks

Scott LaninghamScott Laningham, host of developerWorks podcasts, was previously editor of developerWorks newsletters. Prior to IBM, he was an award-winning reporter and director for news programming featured on Public Radio International, a freelance writer for the American Communications Foundation and CBS Radio, and a songwriter/musician.

28 October 2009

Also available in Portuguese

Pearson: We actually put a tremendous amount of thought into making sure that these events are really addressing what our customers are telling us that they need. So we get a lot of feedback from doing these conferences and we make sure that we build into the conference very specific executive opportunities for them to meet IBM executives, technical experts with the birds-of-a-feather-type sessions and technical, you know, more intimate type of environments where they can really get deep down into some of the technology.

Nancy Pearson explains how to avoid the status quo


There are opportunities for them to get education and certification which is critical to their needs and their future development of their profession, their skills, the services that they provide. So we try to build all of that into an environment that provides networking, provides up-to-date and the latest thought leadership, as well as technical education, and then do it in a fun, exciting, and interesting way.

So there's lots of different networking environments at night and during the day, as well as I think there's probably over 400 different sessions here that they can choose, pick and choose from, from a business perspective and from a technical perspective as well.

Guest: Nancy Pearson

Pearson has spent more than 24 years in IBM marketing and technical education development. In addition, she spent a number of years in IBM Systems Group marketing for iSeries and channel and ISV programs.

So at this event, you'll notice that there's probably a number of different IBM [A] Smarter Planet sessions. [A] Smarter Planet is a huge IBM initiative that you're probably familiar with and it really focuses on the impact that technology has on the way we live and work in our social environment as well as our business environment.

And so I'm here presenting and I'm here along with my peers presenting on the four different themes that are associated with [A] Smarter Planet:

  • Dynamic Infrastructure— [understanding your growing business via the use of a flexible IT infrastructure].
  • Green and Beyond— [how to take a systemic view of your organization's value chain, including workforce, manufacturing, supply chain, IT, transportation, customers, and facilities to remain sustainable].
  • New Intelligence (which is a lot about information which is what we're doing here) — [provides a likely view of what is in the future for your business via analytics and reporting tools which slice and dice data, crystallizing trends, patterns, and anomalies that yield invaluable business insights to help you drive smarter decision-making].
  • And then Smart Work (which is the session which I'll be offering) — and Smart Work is really a focus on business optimization and the use of business process management technology, collaboration, and smart SOA with information to improve the way we work, improve our processes, save money, reduce costs and then deliver better output and better business outcomes.

So it ties really well into this conference because process and information go together. You know, process is one lens throughout how we deliver and do the work today and then information is a really critical component of better decision-making, getting real-time access to expertise to be able to move and gain insight throughout the business process for better business outcomes, so ...

developerWorks: So what are you hearing from customers? How do you gauge the enthusiasm around all this right now?

Pearson: Well, it's really interesting because when we talk about working smarter to clients and we talk about the fact that in today's environment, especially this tough, economically challenged environment, they can't afford not to.

You know, this is the time for them to improve their business processes, to be able to work smarter, to infuse information, real-time information, collaboration technologies, and a flexible infrastructure and applications. They know they can't stay in a status quo.

developerWorks: So these are fundamental things. This isn't ... we're not talking about luxuries here, obviously.

Pearson: No, and in fact, we've been talking about some of these concepts for a while, especially business agility. And what we say to clients is excellence is a moving target. And if you're not constantly working on your business processes and creating a more agile environment that is able to change as the business needs change, you get stuck.

And you get in some of the situations that we see in the news today where they just can't, they can't grow, they can't move as the business environment changes.



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