Observations from IBM InterConnect 2016

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The following is a guest post by Bernard Golden, one of’s 10 most influential people in cloud computing.

Last week I had the privilege of attending IBM’s InterConnect 2016 conference. I had never been to an IBM conference before, and I thought it would be useful to offer up the reactions of a first-time user.

First, the scale of the event: I heard that there were 25,000 attendees, which is a huge number of people to get from one place to another, feed at the appropriate times, and ensure they are able to attend the sessions they want to see. I have to say that IBM did a magnificent job, and this was by far the best-organized conference I have ever attended.

Second, the scope of the content was amazing, ranging from sessions on specific ways to use mainframes to how to develop microservices applications. No matter what topic an attendee was interested in, there was content relevant to that topic.

Third, IBM, unlike many established (sometimes referred to as legacy) vendors, is focused on delivering innovative offerings to its customers. Most people have heard about Watson, IBM’s AI offering, but IBM is doing interesting things in chips, cloud computing, and IoT. I came away impressed with IBM’s ambition to help its customers move to the future and its commitment to helping customers access industry-leading technology developments.

Fourth, one of the interesting things I heard from many of the attendees was the challenge of bringing innovative technology into organizations permeated with aging applications and infrastructure. In fact this last topic is one of the biggest challenges enterprise IT organizations face: how to free up enough budget and talent to work on forward-looking projects and avoid being bogged down in day-to-day responsibilities. IBM’s key role in this area will be to deliver guidance to IT organizations to help them restructure their IT practices in a way that frees up room to help their companies become digital enterprises.

From my experience, enterprise IT organizations are crying out for help in transforming the way they do business. There’s a real shortage of vendors with the scale and cutting-edge technology offerings to offer assistance. IBM is stepping forward to fulfill this role.

To learn more from our Commerce futurists, visit Also follow #NewWayToEngage on Twitter to hear more from Bernard Golden and other influencers as we tackle the future of commerce together.

About the author:

Bernard Golden

Named by as one of the ten most influential persons in cloud computing, Bernard Golden is CEO of Navica, a consulting firm focused on cloud computing and DevOps. He previously served as Vice President, Strategy for ActiveState Software, which was acquired by HP. Bernard also serves as the cloud computing advisor for CIO Magazine; his blog has been named to over a dozen “best of cloud computing” lists and is read by tens of thousands of persons each month. Bernard is the author or co-author of four books on virtualization and cloud computing, including his most recent book, Amazon Web Services for Dummies, published in Autumn 2013.

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