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Recapping Innovate UK 2013: The IBM Technical Summit

I attended Innovate 2013: The IBM Technical Summit, held in London on November 7, 2013. The theme of the day was staying ahead through innovation and continuous delivery.

The first keynote was given by Neeraj Chandra, Vice President of Worldwide Strategy for IBM Rational. He discussed gaining the software edge through DevOps and that change is driven by business and technology. Neeraj gave a great example of an advertisement he saw, where Barclays was advertising based on having the best app rather than rates, services or giveaways.  I felt this was significant because technology is driving business.  Another key point from his presentation was moving from absolute quality to perceived quality.  Absolute quality would mean near-zero defects and extending the development lifecycle, whereas perceived quality means sufficiency to meet certain business goals.

The second keynote was given by Dave Sharrat, Senior Manager PLM of Product Creation for Jaguar Land Rover.  Dave discussed the fact that consumer electronics is becoming the number one selling point for new automobiles.  A premium Jaguar brand in 2013 had over 100 million lines of code, compared to the 6.5 million lines of code used in the 2007 Boeing 777.  An especially interesting aspect of Dave’s presentation was when he mentioned a joint development project between IBM and Dassault Systems for Jaguar Land Rover, because this truly symbolizes the openness and collaboration that are required in an innovative and continuous delivery model.

The third keynote of the morning was by Andreas Keis, Head of Systems Engineering Process and Platforms at Airbus.  Currently, they have over 1,000 different engineering tools.  Andreas stressed the importance of data integration being based on open standards, specifically Open Services for Lifecycle Management (OSLC).  Their proof of concept  was in aircraft doors, where they would leverage IBM Rational DOORS, IBM Rational Rhapsody Design Manager, IBM Rational Quality Manager (RQM) and IBM Rational  Collaborative Lifecycle Manager (RCLM). There were 15 engineers in the pilot and the response was positive, but working in a collaboration environment was a new challenge.

The last keynote of the session was Stephen King, Head of Middleware Development, GIS, Technology Services at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).  Stephen’s team was responsible for the Global Messaging Hub app that sent two million messages per day and handled transactions for 900 million pounds per week. By implementing IBM Rational Functional Tester (RFT) they were able to automate testing that had been done manually, as well as consolidating messaging apps to a single version.  The new continuous delivery process has resulted in 97 percent automated test coverage, decreased costs and increased new project completion by 95 percent from 2010 to 2012.

The first breakout session I attended was “DevOps on the cloud with IBM Solutions” by Steve Huntington, Cloud Offerings Product Manager for IBM Rational.  Steve presented a compelling chart showing cloud as the competitive advantage for business.  Only 18 percent of surveyed businesses are in the pace-setter category and are therefore able to respond to the market much faster that the competition.  He also gave an overview of IBM PureApplication System and SoftLayer, specifically how the solutions are going to be made available on SoftLayer.

The second breakout session was a panel discussion titled “Tackling Product and Systems Complexity: Experiences from Across Industries.”  The panel included Derek Price from National Rail, Ross McMurran from Jaguar Land Rover, Steve Rivkin from Sellafield Ltd and Michael Wilkinson from INCOSE. It was very intriguing to hear how continuous delivery was applicable to dealing with complexities in automotive, railways, defense systems and transport systems.  A key point was the difficulty in rolling out a new service while maintaining the existing service and customer. A second point was the importance of standards, not only internally to a given company, but also through the supply chain. The third key point from this discussion was the importance of selling the benefits at every level of the organization.

The final breakout session was by Dan Berg, titled “Release and Deployment: Getting Innovations to Customers Rapidly While Eliminating Waste.”  Dan discussed the importance of smaller and more frequent releases, which eliminates waste and allows you to move faster.  DevOps is the critical to the success of your business.  Dan also gave an introduction to IBM UrbanCode Deploy and IBM UrbanCode Release as the two new strategic applications for DevOps in IBM.

The closing session featured Austin Healy, a member of the World Cup winning England Rugby team in 2003. Austin provided an energetic, motivating and funny discussion around vision, leadership, teamwork and innovation.  It was a great way to wrap up a very full and eventful day at the Innovate conference.

This conference truly illustrated and reinforced that cloud is driving business and continuous delivery, and that the cloud can positively affect every industry.  I learned a lot about how IBM’s hardware, software and service capabilities are empowering a variety of industries to be more successful.  How will cloud and continuous delivery affect you?  Let’s continue the discussion in the comments below, or you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisRosen188.

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