March 28, 2017 | Written by: Ronan Dalton
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At this year’s InterConnect, I learned so much, met clients from across industries and geographies, and yet again left Las Vegas buzzing with excitement about IBM solutions and partnerships.
Throughout the week, clients told me they’re thrilled to see the IBM commitment to building a cloud that’s enterprise strong, puts data first and has cognitive at its core. They see their own ambitions in this strategy and are excited to work with a cloud services provider with a hybrid cloud strategy that spans platforms, industries and partners, putting client needs first.
As I reflect on the week, I thought I’d share five of my personal highlights, in no particular order:
1. David Kenny’s entrance
This wasn’t a tech, client or partner announcement, but it was a truly memorable entrance from the IBM senior vice president of IBM Watson and cloud platform. Though he entered to an exciting adventure theme, there was of course a serious message behind the fun: to show IBM clients just how far we’ll go to get them great pricing on cloud object storage. David shared the stage with Arvind Krishna, senior vice president of hybrid cloud and director of IBM Research, Monday morning as Indiegogo and Arrow Electronics announced a partnership to help bring new Internet of Things (IoT) ideas to life.
Monday’s opening event was also packed with announcements around leading technical innovation, such as the Cognitive Security Operations Centre, IBM Cloud Automation Manager, IBM Cloud for Financial Services and much more.
2. Ginni’s keynote
IBM CEO and Chairman Ginni Rometty took the stage Tuesday morning having returned from China the evening beforehand. She announced the IBM Cloud partnership with Wanda China Cloud and shared the stage with clients and partners such as AT&T, Everledger, H&R Block, Royal Bank of Canada and Salesforce.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff stood out as he expressed his excitement around the Einstein/Watson partnership and the insights already being made available to Salesforce clients worldwide.
Joining Ginni on stage to close Tuesday’s keynote was the inspirational Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code. Three Girls Who Code students also took the stage to share their stories of coding, equality and opportunity.
3. Partnership announcements
With hybrid at the heart of IBM cloud strategy, partnering to extend key capabilities that offer clients choice with consistency is key.
IBM announced strategic partnerships with Red Hat focused on hosted private cloud and Intel and HyTrust with a focus on security. As a Red Hat certified cloud and service provider, IBM Bluemix now delivers managed, private cloud at scale on the IBM Cloud infrastructure, available with the Red Hat OpenStack platform and Red Hat Ceph storage.
With Intel and HyTrust, IBM will offer the IBM Cloud Secure Virtualization Solution running on VMware Cloud Foundation on IBM Cloud. The Secure Virtualization solution safely and securely reduces the barriers to cloud adoption, spanning various vertical specific compliance standards, including the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
4. The concourse
As a regular InterConnect attendee over the years, I’ve seen the exhibition area grow in size and improve in quality year over year, and 2017 was no exception. At 350,000 square feet and renamed the concourse, 200-plus exhibitors from across IBM, business partners and the IBM Cloud ecosystem hosted stands manned by subject matter experts to share insight and experience with clients that were keen to learn.
Personal highlights included the Bluemix Garage presence, the Dev/Zone and of course, the cloud adoption leaders’ Cloud Confidence Center, where I spent much of my time.
5. The steps
You haven’t experienced IBM InterConnect if you haven’t clocked at least 15,000 steps on your pedometer each day. With the vast Mandalay Bay Conference Center taken over by IBM for InterConnect, the sheer extent of IBM InterConnect is an experience you won’t forget.
From the hands-on labs and certification hall on the third floor, to the various theatres and breakout rooms on the second floor, not to mention the concourse, exhibition centre and event arena on the ground floor, no trip to InterConnect is complete without a daily workout. Of course, the exercise tends to go unnoticed given the excitement and learning that takes place daily.
I’m writing this post as I travel from Las Vegas to Newark on the first leg of my journey home to Dublin, Ireland. As I recap the week that’s just passed, I’m making notes of clients that’ll be excited to learn more about InterConnect and the plethora of announcements and capabilities IBM just launched.
Feel free to contact me if you’d like to learn more about InterConnect 2017 and if you’re not already, start to make plans for InterConnect 2018 at Mandalay Bay, 18 to 22 March.