on my way to zurich right now, thought i would catch some sleep before tomorrow's meeting, but there is a baby two rows in front of me who has other ideas. not only am i awake, but we are over an hour late! aren't the swiss supposed to have a reputation for punctuality??? this makes me long for last week, when i was in beautiful.... nebraska!
i was there to meet with iti, a fiserv company and large isv who, with jack henry, dominates the community banking business in the u.s. it's fair to say success with iti's premiere core bank software is nothing short of incredible. what mark shearer, gm of iseries and i were fired up about was not the university of nebraska cornhuskers fall schedule, or august weather in lincoln, but rather the progress iti was making after shifting their business away from unisys to ibm's iseries server platform. in the first year of general availability, they have seen every single new banking customer select the ibm solution.... zero new accounts for unisys.... (too bad). why? a number of reasons; performance, price, and a strong partnership with ibm. batch processing time has been reduced ten-fold, prices for the new system are a fraction of the old and the teaming between ibm and iti is opening up new opportunities for both of us.
you know, by spending enough time with your customers and partners, it's amazing the things you learn as all kinds of new opportunities seem to pop up. not only does iti have hundreds and hundreds of banking customers with in-house systems, but they also have thousands that they host themselves. with the move to software as a service and the numbers of isvs we are engaged with in the subscription space, this could be a very big deal. my favorite little nugget though came at the end of our meeting. turns out as strong as premiere is, it's surrounded by wintel servers for other applications like crm, teller systems, atms, etc. well, i'll be darned if many bankers believe they are paying too much to our friends in the great state of washington! there is an alternative, the solution: embed db2 and get rid of ms sql server all together. beyond price, the benefits to the customer include performance and the ability to better integrate. it won't all happen overnight, but if the market wants a choice, open standards-based platforms will win every time (not too bad!).
you learn a lot connecting with your partners; listening, strategizing, but most importantly working together every day in the marketplace. when all is said and done, it's about adding value and driving more business together. we are fortunate to have great partners like iti. this is a strong relationship. it is a journey we are committed to for the long haul and together we are off to a great start . it's based on a solid premise, making our customers more successful......and if the bankers will do it........
General Manager, IBM ISV & Developer Relations
five- six years ago, many large public companies had active vc programs. in technology, if you weren't in the game funding the start-ups along with the private players, you weren't a player. fortunately, that is something ibm chose to pass on. in 2000, ibm had relationships with only a handful of venture firms. today, we work closely through our venture capital group with more than 100 vcs around the globe. are we placing bets of tens of millions of dollars in the top private funds? are we looking to take equity positions in their hottest portfolio companies? in fact, we have a very different approach. it's about identifying new companies we can partner with. it's about gaining better insight into the major trends in our industry. it's a lot more than just the return on invested capital.
over the past 18 months, ibm's partnerworld industry network program has attracted almost 4,000 software firms to join us in delivering open industry-based solutions to our mutual customers. interesting fact: 850 of these companies were introduced to us by our vc friends. companies like innerwireless (sevin rosen), intaact (hummer winblad), novarra (jk&b). this is the ultimate win-win-win. we help provide the portfolio company technical support and credible market access, in return, broadening our solution portfolio. they sell more and more of it on our platforms. finally, as their business grows, the value of the vc investment rises. not rocket science, but not a bad model. it's an extension of the partner strategy with isvs we have been on for more than five years now. what's new is - rather than solely focus on the large global players, we can extend the reach to thousands of start-up companies (some of whom will certainly be the big guys of tomorrow!)
on monday we announced a new venture advisory council. we will meet regularly to talk about industry trends like software as a service or new standards in emerging markets. we'll also talk about what more we can do together to generate business with our customers. we have this old fashion idea you see, that the more success our partners have, the better we will do. awfully hard work, but very big returns...........
earlier this summer, evans data reported that in the enterprise space, more development is now taking place on java than on .net. furthermore, java users are more likely to take advantage of open source. if i were a student today (or professional developer), i know where i would build my skills. the fastest growing operating system platform continues to be linux. even more importantly, open industry based standards are essential to tie together the hodgepodge of disparate technologies that businesses have acquired over the past decade. it has become all about integration ....driving better connections with customers, suppliers and a firm's own employees. the evidence for this is overwhelming. proprietary, lock-in software platforms will just not compete with what businesses are asking for today. It is true in india, china, brazil and it is true in the u-s-of-a!
let me give you an interesting case in point. in italy last month, i met with a large application sw firm focused on the mid-market. they have thousands of customers and have decided to make the move to linux. why? ....because microsoft was competing more and more against them with their navision and great plains offerings and more of their customers were asking for an open solution. now this, in and of itself, is not exactly news. i believe microsoft is putting its top partners in a corner in almost every country in the world. what was interesting here is the italian isv is going to move to linux, but keep their visual basic development environment. the objective was not to find new developers, but to have an alternative to microsoft.
enter mainsoft. mainsoft is a sw firm based in israel that supports a visual basic microsoft development environment, but helps these developers move to open source and java. they are seeing success with isvs and with large corporate customers. seems the momentum to linux and desire to get to j2ee is just too strong. if microsoft developers are heading that way, i guess the market place is really making a statement!
on thursday we will announce an offering to colleges and universities as an extension to the ibm academic initiative. the academic license program opens up technologies from ibm alphaWorks with extended licenses to students and professors to download innovative, new technologies directly from ibm research labs.
okay, nice, but does anybody care?
i confess i am getting hooked on the topic of i.t. education and its current perception....or lack there of. the u.s. department of labor released a study which shows there will be a shortfall of 1.5 million i.t. jobs in 2006. i am not a math major, but that isn't sometime in the distant future - it is next year!!! the study goes on to say, that to meet growing demand in this area, graduates in the information technology field must quadruple by 2008!
yet, schools from the big ones like the university of texas, to small prep schools like st. luke's school in new canaan, ct, will tell you that student enrollment in computer science courses is declining. as i talked about in an earlier blog, it is all about image: dot com meltdown, off-shoring, nerdy profession. you name it, they just aren't going there anymore.
the great irony is, that is where the jobs are - and they are growing at a rapid rate. skills in software engineering are in demand in this on demand world. whether you read government studies or just talk to customers - large and small - it is the same story. companies are trying to find technical skills that understand business issues. they are increasingly in short supply. the growth and demand of open source environments like linux and eclipse compared to proprietary offerings from microsoft, is what businesses are looking for. software engineers with skills based on open industry standards from rfid to risk and compliance are hot. they are hot because businesses are trying to connect and integrate their systems and processes to give them a competitive edge over the guy next door or the company half-way around the world!
we need to get the message out and change this crazy perception back to reality. if not, innovation and arguably our overall competitiveness may be at risk. investing in courseware and skills to help professors build new, more relevant curriculum is a big first step. identifying new areas or drivers for future jobs like services science - where one out of every two u.s. workers will be employed - is important. opening up technology that is found deep in the world's best research labs to students will make a difference.
IBM's approach with the academic license program is unique in that we are allowing the academic community to use some of our intellectual property before it becomes an actual product. By allowing students to be involved at such an early stage of the development process, it gives them the opportunity to become more familiar with emerging technologies and understand how they apply and can become integrated into the core of today's and tomorrow's businesses. Perhaps even more importantly, it is just cool to work with alpha technologies like aDesigner, CodeRuler, or CodeRally.
in the end, do we really care if there is a huge skills mismatch? a decade or two from now - i know i will. my kids need good jobs. how else are they going to support my golf, fishing and mets season tickets habits? :-[Read More]
Buell 110000QTMG 239 Visits
25 years ago the u.s. olympic hockey team defeated the soviet union. it was a miracle for sure and perhaps the sporting event of the century. this week i was in lake placid, ny, watching my 9 year old son at hockey camp in the same olympic arena, on the same ice. now, i am a proud dad and confess my son is just learning to play hockey, but none the less - it was a magical week.
a lot has changed in the last 25 years. the nhl has been on strike for over a year. heck, my 4 children weren't even born in 1980. ibm is not the singularly dominant force it was in the industry then. we are however, a company that has adapted to change - a company that focuses first on our customers' needs, and once again is an industry leader. i'd argue there were two key strategic decisions that have positioned ibm for success today and long into the future.
first, not only did we embrace open standards, but today we are the leader in the open standards movement. one thing is crystal clear, customers don't want to be boxed in by proprietary monopolies that lock them in and hold all the cards in the pricing game. they want choice - the choice to select the best products and the flexibility to change when it makes sense. to integrate the many technologies and platforms found in small and medium businesses to large enterprises, requires standards-based technologies. without standards - business processes don't connect. without standards - customers give up choice. ibm has embraced java, linux, eclipse and open source. we now share patents with the open communities. we believe that if it is good for customers, it will be good for our business. open standards based technology versus proprietary - not exactly the ibm of 25 years ago!
second, whether with isvs, value added resellers and yes, even global and regional systems integrators, ibm has become the partnering company. we are able to extend our reach to new solution areas. wrapping our technology and services capabilities around the assets and skills of thousands of partners makes us a far stronger company than we could ever be alone. we can respond to the needs of our customers more effectively. we can address a much larger market in terms of the value we deliver. it is not your fathers blue suit anymore!
a lot has changed in 25 years. certainly our business has and will continue to be driven by the market. we will continue to focus first and foremost on listening to our customers. it is about partnering and customer flexibility through standards. not exactly the ibm of old. change is good. it is necessary. hockey will be back. i'll still be the one on the sideline cheering for my kids......[Read More]
i was in texas this week. big place, lots of technology companies, lots of great colleges but not many people taking computer anymore. over the past few years there has been a noticeable decline in students enrolling in computer science courses, especially among women. i met with professors from the university of texas, texas a&m, st. edwards and utep. just like rutgers, stanford and mit, they have all seen a decline in students majoring in comsci. yet, according to the u.s. department of labor statistics, software engineering will be among the fastest growing occupations between now and 2012. go figure.......
well, here is how i see it. you would say, buell, it is a result of all those smart young folks that lost their jobs during the dot com meltdown. maybe you would tell me it is because every single job in america is moving to india. maybe it is because, if you are a computer science geek, you have to live in a cubicle. i found the real answer. turns out the future is not plastics... it is working in a pharmacy!! mary ann rankin, dean of the college of natural sciences at the university of texas at austin, said the decline in students majoring in computer curriculum is offset by significant increases in areas like pharmacy.
all kidding aside - i.t. has a major image problem. if it is not addressed, it will have profound consequences. the perception of studying for a degree which builds deep i.t. skills is lousy. see any shows on television lately about sexy programmers? on the other hand, popular shows like csi have young students by the droves signing up for biomed and lifesciences. medical forensics is hot, but how many jobs will really be there?
companies today are re-engineering their business processes to gain a competitive advantage. they are looking for people who understand technology and the connection to real business. strong java and open standards skills are in enormous demand. yet those words are far from exciting, if they mean anything, to high school students and their parents.
through the ibm academic initiative we are working with colleges and universities to build course curriculum around life cycle software development. not simply coding and testing. through meaningful partnerships with universities, with our customers and partners - we are making progress. "in demand skills for an on demand world" will help students find better jobs, attract more skilled professionals and help close a dangerous gap that ultimately can affect u.s. innovation and competitiveness.
we've got to change the image. it is software engineering - not computer science. all of us can play a role here. start by going to texas and telling your kids not to believe everything they see on tv![Read More]
Buell 110000QTMG 262 Visits
Seems like yesterday I was in Nashville, worrying about my college final exams. I had an opportunity to interview with IBM as a sales new-hire and figured why not give it a try. Just two months later I was off to my first training class in Atlanta. My roommate was a fellow from upstate New York and a recent Notre Dame MBA grad-Jim Corgel. Last Friday, Jim and I met for drinks and dinner to celebrate our thirty years with this great company!
You can imagine that a few things have changed over the past three decades (not to mention the color of my hair!). When I joined IBM in 1975, as a naive 21 year old (I am still naive and often accused of behaving as if I were STILL in college), little did I appreciate the strength of IBM as a leader; not just in the IT industry, but in business in general. Since then, as we all know, there have been ups and downs. What has been consistent through it all though is the quality of IBMers like Jim, who make this such an incredibly special place to work. It really isn't about the technology at all, but the values of the people that define a great company.
Sam Palmisano was a young salesman thirty years ago. He understood and appreciated the impact individuals have on defining the quality of a company. Today, we are working hard to deliver that sense of value-integrity, teamwork, innovation, through IBMers and our business partners to our customers and the communities in which we live. The technology industry is far more complex and competitive today than when I started. It will continue to change and transform, just as we will need to as a business. Listening to our customers, delivering value and being personally accountable will make the difference - no matter how the market evolves.
Change is a good thing as long as it is anchored in a set of values. Heck, I used to be a Braves fan- Niekro and Murphy, now I am nuts about the Mets - Pedro and Reyes! I have been very fortunate. I honestly believe I may have the best job in the entire industry, but then I've felt that way in virtually every assignment I've had. After all, its the people that make the difference. This is a very special place. To all the IBMers over the past 30 years and the ones that came before.......here is a toast for you!!![Read More]
Buell 110000QTMG 244 Visits
There is something happening in the technology world with software application providers. There's an obvious change afoot. To succeed today you have to have much more than hot technology. Technology for technology's sake may be interesting, but its not what customers are looking for. They are looking for IT solutions that address real business problems. At last weeks Israel Hi-Tech Conference in Tel Aviv, the message to entrepreneurs was clear. What both small and medium sized companies, as well as large global enterprises like Ford Motor Company want, is value -- not flash. Now, for the thousands of technology firms based in Israel (numbers which may be second only to the United States), that means their technology, as good as it may be, isn't good enough by itself.
What is the secret sauce then? I'd argue it's finding the right partner that genuinely shares your interest and is willing to commit to your success. ISVs want to connect with companies that not only help them build technology and support it, but also reach new markets. Its all about the go to market!! It's partners who can help companies with technology created on one side of the world more effectively reach customers 12 time zones away.
IBM's ISV and Developer Relations, Global Technology Unit (GTU) does just that. They have established relationships with hundreds of Israeli-based technology companies. The GTU brings world class technical support to these businesses locally, including deep expertise from our Haifa Research Lab. More importantly though, they work to connect these companies to IBM customers around the world, linking start-ups and more established ISVs with IBMers and business partners who can help them not just sell but sell more than they or we could by ourselves. Firms like Aduva, Idit and Mainsoft can team with IBM and bring real solutions to customers from Stuttgart to St. Louis.
An IT solution addresses more than just technology. Putting together a solution and reaching your market takes more than just one company. Its about partnership with someone who believes your success is their success![Read More]
Buell 110000QTMG 313 Visits
but before i do that, i need to understand why it is that every time i come to this town i end up leaving a cash deposit at the local blackjack table? oh well, fun sitting there, playing cards and talking to tourists --if not a good financial investment. now on to my impressions of the solution center.... absolutely incredible!
as a big believer in the importance of marketing to drive demand and generate leads, i have always been intrigued by the lure of trade show participation. does it really drive new business or is it just about showing a company's logo? well, the consensus from those i spoke with last night and today is that real business is brewing at the rational solution center.
the breadth of companies participating at this years show is impressive. large firms like intel and unisys were meeting with customers. start ups like electric cloud who sell a software build accelerator were showing their wares. scores of other companies with sw and services offerings were busy talking to developers and prospects.
i was really taken with the crowd at the spotlight theater presentation by dr. ivar jacobson and the demo of WayPointer. standing room only and it wasn't even lunch time!
one attendee said it was a great environment; business happening, skills building and an energy that felt like a job fair. maybe it was.......
of course as you might expect, my favorites were the cool solutions on display at the alphaWorks booth. if you haven't seen it yet, check out veggie vision and the other technologies direct from ibm research.
let me know what YOU think about the value of the solutions center this year.
like the rest of the conference (except for my gambling prowess and the mets 2 game losing streak) i think its pretty darn impressive.....
great turnout at the main tent this morning. mike devlin who helped build this business is moving on to the good life of hunting and fishing in alaska. danny sabbah will be super.... his background in research, leading websphere development and cto for ibm's overall sw business makes him the ideal candidate to lead this strong team.
i am impressed with the progress rational has made delivering new products and the clear vision of where they are headed....especially in the area of IT lifecycle mgmt.
one of the highlights of the day for me happened walking to an analyst meeting when i saw rob ross, vp bus dev at zero g (multi-platform installation and configuration management solutions). i asked him how his business was and he said, "stronger than ever, since he connected with ibm".
more and more, we are getting feedback that the combination of world class products like rational sdp, our support of open industry standards and the investments ibm is making in sales and go to market support of our partners is having an impact.
its an exciting time. its about building world class offerings so you can build better sw. its about supporting customers and partners better than the competition. its a long journey that should never end.....we are headed in the right direction.
baseball note: mets lose :-(
time for beer :-)[Read More]
traveled from the wet,cold northeast to the hot las vegas desert. i left the crowded jet blue flight in despair after watching my mets lose the 2nd out of three games to the new york yankees this weekend.
first stop at the rational conference was the business partner session at the mandalay convention center. meeting with isv's and si partners, we had a great discussion about opportunities to work together, especially with the new ready for rational validation program and partnerworld industry networks sales benefits. ibm is unique in our commitment to partner with isv's rather than compete...microsoft and oracle seem to think
going head to head with their partners makes more sense?????
big day in the morning. over 2500 expected to attend the main tent session. the rational conference will be a hot one in las vegas......