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Tony Pearson is a Master Inventor, Senior IT Architect and Event Content Manager for [IBM Systems for IBM Systems Technical University] events. With over 30 years with IBM Systems, Tony is frequent traveler, speaking to clients at events throughout the world.
Lloyd Dean is an IBM Senior Certified Executive IT Architect in Infrastructure Architecture. Lloyd has held numerous senior technical roles at IBM during his 19 plus years at IBM. Lloyd most recently has been leading efforts across the Communication/CSI Market as a senior Storage Solution Architect/CTS covering the Kansas City territory. In prior years Lloyd supported the industry accounts as a Storage Solution architect and prior to that as a Storage Software Solutions specialist during his time in the ATS organization.
Lloyd currently supports North America storage sales teams in his Storage Software Solution Architecture SME role in the Washington Systems Center team. His current focus is with IBM Cloud Private and he will be delivering and supporting sessions at Think2019, and Storage Technical University on the Value of IBM storage in this high value IBM solution a part of the IBM Cloud strategy. Lloyd maintains a Subject Matter Expert status across the IBM Spectrum Storage Software solutions. You can follow Lloyd on Twitter @ldean0558 and LinkedIn Lloyd Dean.
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An exciting new addition to the IBM storage line, the Storwize V7000 is a very versatile and solid choice as a midrange storage device. This session will cover a technical overview of the controller as well as its positioning within the overall IBM storage line.
xST04 - XIV Implementation, Migration and Optimization
Attend this session to learn how to integrate the IBM XIV Storage System in your IT environment. After this session, you should understand where the IBM XIV Storage system fits, and understand how to take full advantage of the performance capabilities of XIV Storage by using the massive parallelism of its grid architecture. You will learn how to migrate data onto the XIV and hear about real world client experiences.
xST05 - IBM's Storage Strategy in the Smarter Computing Era
Want to understand IBM's storage strategy better? This session will cover the three key themes of IBM's Smarter Computing initiative: Big Data, Optimized Systems, and Cloud. IBM System Storage strategy has been aligned to meet the storage efficiency, data protection and retention required to meet these challenges.
IBM offers encryption in a variety of ways. Data can be encrypted on the server, in the SAN switch, or on the disk or tape drive. This session will explain how encryption works, and explain the pros and cons with each encryption option.
sAC01 - IBM Information Archive for email, Files and eDiscovery
IBM has focused on data protection and retention, and the IBM Information Archive is the ideal product to achieve it. Come to this session to discuss archive solutions, compliance regulations, and support for full-text indexing and eDiscovery to support litigation.
sGE04 - IBM's Storage Strategy in the Smarter Computing Era
Want to understand IBM's storage strategy better? This session will cover the three key themes of IBM's Smarter Computing initiative: Big Data, Optimized Systems, and Cloud. IBM System Storage strategy has been aligned to meet the storage efficiency, data protection and retention required to meet these challenges.
sSM03 - IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center – Overview and Update
IBM's latest release of IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center is v4.2.2, a storage resource management tool that manages both IBM and non-IBM storage devices, including disk systems, tape libraries, and SAN switches. This session will give an overview of the various components of Tivoli Storage Productivity Center and provide an update on what's new in this product.
sSN06 - SONAS and the Smart Business Storage Cloud (SBSC)
Confused over IBM's Cloud strategy? Trying to figure out how IBM Storage plays in private, hybrid or public cloud offerings? This session will cover both the SONAS integrated appliance and the Smart Business Storage Cloud customized solution, and will review available storage services on the IBM Cloud.
sTA01 - Tape Storage Reinvented: What's New and Exciting in the Tape World?
This very informative session will keep you up to date with the latest tape developments. These include the TS3500 tape library connector Model SC1 (Shuttle). The shuttle enables extreme scalability of over 300,000 tape cartridges in a single library image by interconnecting multiple tape libraries with a unique, high speed transport system. The world's fastest tape drive, the TS1140 3592-E07, will also be presented. The performance and functionality of the new TS1140 as well as the new 4TB tape media will be discussed. Also, the IBM System Storage Linear Tape File System (LTFS), including the Library Edition, will be presented. LTFS allows a disk-like, drag-and-drop interface for tape. This is a not-to-be-missed session for all you tape lovers out there!
In December, I will be going to Gartner's Data Center Conference in Las Vegas, but the agenda has not been finalized, so I will save that for another post.
The Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) is focused on bringing businesses and jobs into the Metro Atalanta area, and to help its members connect with other companies that can help them thrive. The MAC cover the Metropolitan region of Atlanta (5.8 million people) and 28 counties in Georgia.
The event was called "Technology Thursday", where the MAC holds a meeting on the third Thursday of every month, to discuss technology issues. The audience was a mix of business owners, sales executives, and managers. The event allowed for people to network with each other, as well as learn something new from a subject matter expert. This was the last one for 2011, to avoid conflicts with upcoming holidays in November and December.
Last year, I presented "The Future of Storage" in seven cities across Australia and New Zealand. Then, back in August, I presented "The Future of IT Storage" as an [InfoBoom Webinar] from Calgary in Canada.
This was a big success, and triggered the idea from our mid-market events team to have me travel across United States and meet with clients face-to-face in an informal setting. This started with a [Lunch-and-Learn at Indianapolis].
Next week, I will be in Atlanta. I will be presenting "The Future of IT Storage" at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce [Technology Thursday].
Here are the details:
Oct. 20, 2011
3:00 - 4:30pm
Metro Atlanta Chamber
235 Andrew Young International Blvd
Atlanta, GA 30303
Contact Catherine Pearson (no relation) at (404)586-8429 if you want to register!
IBM had over a dozen storage-related announcements this week. This is my third and final part in my series to provide a quick overview of the announcements.
IBM Tivoli® Storage Manager v6.3
IBM Tivoli Storage Manager is market-leading software that provides not just backup, but also HSM and archive capabilities across a wide variety of operating systems. Originally developed in the IBM Almaden Research Center, it then moved about 15 years ago to Tucson to become a commercial product.
The new TSM v6.3 introduces site-to-site hot-standby disaster recovery feature that replicates the TSM meta data and data for fast recovery. The maximum number of objects supported has doubled to four billion. Reporting has been enhanced using technologies borrowed from IBM Cognos. Lastly, a feature on Tivoli Storage Productivity Center has been carried forward to deploy and update agents on the various clients.
IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager coordinates application-aware backups through the use of point-in-time copy services such as FlashCopy or Snapshot on various IBM and non-IBM disk systems. The versions can remain on disk, or optionally processed by Tivoli Storage Manager to move them to external storage such as tape for added protection.
There will always be a spot in my heart for this product, as the method to use FlashCopy for application-aware backups on the mainframe was my 19th patent, and subsequently delivered as a series of enhancements to DFSMS over the past decade on the z/OS operating system. It is good to see this innovation has "jumped over" to distributed systems.
The new FlashCopy Manager v3.1 adds support for HP-UX and VMware, expands support for IBM DB2 and Oraqcle databases, and introduces an interface for custom business applications.
IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for Virtual Environments v6.3
TSM for VE is a new addition to the TSM family, focused on being able to coordinate hypervisor-aware data protection. Initially it supports VMware, but IBM has plans to support a variety of other server virtualization hypervisors as well, as over 40 percent of companies run two or more hypervisors in their data center.
The new TSM for VE v6.3 adds a VMware vCenter plug-in, and support for hardware-based disk snapshots.
IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center v4.2.2
A long time ago, I was the chief architect IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center v1, now we are already up to v4.2.2 release!
IBM has added enhanced reporting based on IBM Cognos technology, including storage tiering analysis reports (STAR). Few companies keep all of their storage tiers in a single disk system. Rather, they have different boxes, and often from different vendors. IBM's Productivity Center can report on both IBM and non-IBM disk systems. New this release is support for the internal disks of the Storwize V7000 midrange disk system.
Productivity Center's "SAN Planner" has been enhanced to consider XIV replication criteria. This SAN Planner helps clients decide where to carve LUNs, and to make sure they pick the right place given all of the criteria such as remote copy replications.
Last year, we introduced Productivity Center for Disk Midrange Edition (MRE) which to offer lower price when you are only managing midrange disk systems DS5000, DS3000, Storwize V7000 and SVC managing these. This was so successful, that we now have TPC Select, which is basically Productivity Center Standard Edition (SE) for these midrange disk systems.
Whew! I have already heard from some of my readers to slow down, that this is too much information to deal with all at once. IBM has tried everything from having just a few announcements nearly every Tuesday, to having huge launches every two to three years, and settled in the middle with announcements about four to five times per year.
This week, IBM made over a dozen announcements related to IBM storage products. Here is part 2 of my overview:
IBM System Storage® DS8000 series microcode
One of the advantages of acquiring XIV as IBM's other high-end disk system, is that it allows the DS8000 team to focus on the IBM i and z/OS operating systems. As a result, IBM DS8000 has over half the mainframe-attach market share.
For both the DS8700 and DS8800 models, IBM Easy Tier now support sub-LUN automated tiering across three storage tiers: Solid-State Drives, high-performance spinning disk drives (15K and 10K RPM), and high-capacity disk drives (7200 RPM).
For System z customers, the latest DS8000 microcode has synergy with z/OS and GDPS, now supporting 4x larger EAV volumes, faster high-performance FICON (zHPF), and Workload Manager (WLM) integration with the I/O Priority Manager. IBM has a world record SAP performance of 59 million account postings per hour. DB2 v10 for z/OS queries were measured at 11x faster using the new zHPF feature.
IBM System Storage® DS8800 systems
On the hardware side, the DS8800 now supports a fourth frame to hold a total over 1,500 disk drives. Yes, we have customers that three frames wasn't enough, and they wanted more.
IBM is now also offering new drive options. Small Form Factor (2.5 inch) drives now include 300GB 15K RPM drives, and a 900GB 10K RPM drives. But wait! There's more! The DS8800 is no longer a SFF-only box, it now allows for mixing in Large form factor (3.5 inch) drives, starting with the 3TB NL-SAS 7200 RPM drive.
IBM XIV® Storage System Gen3
We announced the XIV Gen3 already, but we have two enhancements.
First, we now offer a model based entirely on 3TB NL-SAS drives. If you are thinking, what IBM is going to put 3TB drives into everything? Yup. Once we go through all the pain and suffering of qualifying a drive, we make sure we get our money's worth!
Secondly, we have now an iPad application to manage the XIV. This has nothing to do with Apple CEO Steve Jobs passing away last week, it was merely coincidence.
IBM Real-time Compression Appliances™ STN6500 and STN6800 V3.8
The latest software for RtCA now supports Microsoft SMB v2, and enhanced reporting so that storage admins know exactly the benefits of the compression ratios of different file extensions.
IBM System Storage EXP2500 Express®
The EXP2500 is for direct-attach situations, like the IBM BladeCenter. IBM adds LFF 3.5-inch 3TB NL-SAS drives, SFF 2.5-inch 300GB 15K RPM SAS drives, and 900GB 7200 RPM NL-SAS drives.
My colleague Curtis Neal refers to these as "B.F.D" announcements, which of course stands for Bigger, Faster, Denser!
This post concludes my series of posts on Oracle OpenWorld 2011 conference. Here are some pictures from Wednesday and Thursday.
IBM as the yardstick by which everyone measures against
Our friends at Violin Memory systems mentioned our joint-venture success results with IBM GPFS, scanning 10 billion files in less than an hour. (Their booth must have been slow, because members of their team spent a lot of time in our IBM booth!)
In fact, it seemed every company compared themselves to IBM in one fashion or another. Larry said that "IBM is a great company" and mentioned the IBM systems several times in comparisons to Oracle's newly announced hardware offerings.
Larry's Sailing Vessel
When things slowed down, I took a walk to see the other parts of the exhibition area. In the Moscone West building was Larry's catamaran that won [last year's America's Cup].
I used to sail myself, and have been part of crews in sailing races in both Japan and Australia. A few years ago, I watched the America's Cup time trials in New Zealand.
On the Streets of San Francisco
On the streets, IBM had advertised some of its products in a manner that thousands of attendees would see every day. Here we have some factoids related to IBM Netezza and DB2 database on POWER servers. We were very careful not to mention either product in the IBM Booth itself, as we all understand that IBM is a guest in Oracle's house this week. We certainly don't want to do anything to upset Larry in any way to make him treat IBM like he treated HP last year, or Salesforce.com this year.
Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs, 1955-2011
On Wednesday evening at Oracle OpenWorld, we were tearing down the booth when we heard that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had passed away. This is truly a loss for the entire IT industry. I never met Steve in person, nor have I been to any Apple conferences like MacWorld that he spoke at.
At various keynote sessions, Larry Ellison compared his Oracle products to those of Apple, Inc., suggesting that Oracle is the "Apple for the Enterprise".
On our way back to the Hilton hotel on O'Farrell, there was a candle vigil at the Apple Store near Union Square. People left sticky notes on the glass window.
There were a lot of tributes to Steve Jobs, but I liked this 15-minute video of his 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford University titled [How to Live before you Die.
This will be one of those moments where years later, many people will remember exactly where they were, and what they were doing, when they heard the news. For many, that news came as tweets or text messages on the very iPhones and iPads he helped design.
Rock Concert - Wednesday night
On Wednesday evening, I joined thousands of other attendees on Treasure Island to hear and watch Sting, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and the English Beat in concert. It was cold and dark, but we all had a good time. Needless to say, I didn't make it to Marc Benioff's 8:00am Thursday morning session!
A word of advice: If you go to an evening rock concert at Treasure Island, dress warmly!
Despite the sad news about Steve Jobs, I had a great time at this conference. I learned a lot about what other IT vendors are doing, talked to dozens of IBM clients at the booth, and got to make some new friends that work in other parts of IBM.
(FTC Disclosure: I work for IBM. IBM and Apple are technology partners. I proudly own an Apple iPod, several Mac Mini computers and shares of stock in both IBM and Apple, Inc.)
I took over a hundred pictures at this event. Here are a few of my favorites from Monday and Tuesday.
The IBM Booth #1111 Moscone South
I spent most of my time at the booth in the exhibition area. It was a huge booth, covering various software offerings in the front, and servers and storage systems in the back. Here I am next to the "IBM Watson" simulator, allowing people to play Jeopardy! game against Watson.
In the front was "EoS" which stands for "Exchanging Opinions for Solutions" -- an interactive screen developed by Somnio that allows people to enter questions and opinions and get crowd-sourced answers from people following the Twitter stream. The EoS was connected to the [IBM Mobile App] so people could follow the conversation.
IBM Customer Appreciation Events
On Monday evening we had some customer appreciation events. First was for IBM customers of "JD Edwards", which runs on "IBM i" operating system on POWER servers. This was an elegant affair at the [Weinstein Gallery] surrounded by works of art by Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall. One customer expressed concern that Oracle would functionally stabilize JD Edwards "World" software and force everyone to move over to "Enterprise One". I told him that I had seen the roadmap for "World" and there are three healthy releases planned for its future. He should have nothing to worry about. IBM and Oracle will work together to make sure our mutual customers get the solutions they need.
Later, we went to the "Infusion" bar for another "IBM appreciation" event with a live band. Here's a Polaroid photo taken of me in the crowd.
Titan Gala Award Reception
On Tuesday night, Oracle gave out awards in 29 categories. IBM won three this year. I took a photo with the ladies from Beach Blanket Babylon, and a mermaid! Joining me to celebrate the awards were IBMers Carolann Kohler, Boyd Fenton, Sue Haad, and Susan Adomovich.
This is my first time attending Oracle OpenWorld, so naively I asked why there were only 29 categories and not an even 30. The IBMers joked that the 30th might as well have been "Best Server/Storage Platform for Integer Math" which Larry Ellison conceded that IBM's POWER 795 server wins over Oracle's new SPARC T4 Supercluster. As Larry said during his keynote "We still have some work to do to beat IBM!"
The event was held at the San Francisco City Hall, I got to walk on the red carpet, with lavish food and drink. I was even given a hand-rolled cigar! Thank you Oracle! We are proud to be your "Diamond Partner" helping our mutual customers get the most out of our solutions.
The "Booth Babes" Controversy
At the EMC booth, these three lovely ladies, Jennifer, Tamara and Manuela, were just a few of the dozen so-called booth babes EMC hired from a local agency. Attendees with technical questions were directed to the EMC guys in the back of the booth, behind the wall.
IBM stopped using "booth babes" a long while ago. At IBM Booth #1111, we had a healthy balance of real men and women executives, technical experts, and support staff at the IBM booth.
A guy from EMC came over to our booth later to explain that EMC is at two other events this same week, and their technical staff is spread thin. EMC is a small company, and skilled technical people are in short supply. We get it. Not every IT vendor has an army of experts in every category like IBM.
I want to thank the IBM-Oracle Alliance team, especially Nancy Spurry and Carolann Kohler for having me involved in these events.
The last keynote session of the [Oracle OpenWorld 2011] conference was Oracle making a few major announcements.
Steve Miranda, Senior VP for Oracle Applications, explained the new "Fusion 11g Apps" which are now generally available. Basically, they took all the scattered applications they have from acquisitions of PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel and so on, and re-wrote them to industry-standard Java so that they would all run either on-premise or in the Cloud. The Enterprise Apps come in seven categories: Financials like General Ledger and Payroll; Human Capital Management (HCM) formerly known as Human Resources; Supply Chain Management (SCM); Customer Relationship Management (CRM); Governance Risk and Compliance (GRC); Procurement; and Project/Portfolio Management (PPM). Oracle also has "Industry Apps" for specific verticals.
All of these apps have "embedded BI" (business intelligence), such as dashboards, multi-dimensional calculations, decision support, and real-time optimization. This is intended to help the end-user answer four questions:
What do you need to do today?
How to get it done?
What you need to know today?
Who can help you?
Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO, said that it took six years to rewrite all the Fusion Apps. They used an "agile" development model with over 200 early adopters to ensure that these applications were successful. They were under a "controlled release program" but now that is over, and the applications are generally available. Larry indicates that these applications were developed under the concepts of Service Oriented Architecture [SOA], which neither Salesforce.com nor SAP R3 have.
(This made me chuckle. SOA was initially developed by IBM and Microsoft, but is now industry standard. There is no reason not to develop software that isn't SOA.)
Following the IBM model, Oracle has built-in the security at the OS, Database and Middleware layer, rather than in each application. As IBM has understood for several decades, a secure infrastructure is the way to go so that all applications are secure.
With all these Fusion Apps now re-written so that they work on industry-standard Java (J2EE, actually), allowing them to run either on-premise or out on the Cloud, Larry Ellison said "I guess we need a Cloud!" This started his announcement of the "Oracle Public Cloud" [OPC]. OPC has both PaaS and SaaS. The PaaS would offer VM instances with support for database and Java services. The SaaS would be all the Fusion Apps rented on the "as-a-service" model. Rather than force everyone to Oracle 11g, you can run any Oracle database on OPC, and you can run any Java or J2EE application on the OPC.
Your data is portable. Larry is pro-choice, and wants people to be able to move from any cloud to any cloud. Since it's based on industry-standard Java, applications can move seamlessly between OPC, Amazon EC2 and IBM SmartCloud. IBM has been a major force behind [Open Cloud Standards], so it is always good that other major vendors follow suit.
He quoted [someone as saying "Beware of False Clouds"] This was Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff's attack against all "Private Cloud" IT vendors. Larry twisted this to say he agrees, "True Clouds" are based on open industry standards, and "False Clouds" are vendor-lockin. OPC is based on Java, J2EE, XML, BPEL and Ruby on Rails, whereas Salesforce.com is based on proprietary Heroku and APEX. He called Salesforce.com the "Roach Motel of Cloud Computing" .. you can check in, but you can't check out.
OPC plans to offer some "data sources", including Dun&Bradstreet news feed, Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. It is based on a monthly subscription using a self-service portal. The resources are elastic, with capacity delivered on demand. He claims that Salesforce.com is rate-limited, and cancels long-running jobs if they are consuming too many resources. Larry said OPC would never do that.
Larry said that there are private-only offerings like SAP R3, and public-only offerings like Salesforce.com, Workday, and Taleo, but Oracle instead has adopted the IBM model of supporting choice between private, public and hybrid clouds.
Larry then attacked "Multi-tenancy", specifically, the idea that SaaS providers often use a single database instance, but then create a column to identify which records belong to which tenants. He said this was state-of-the-art 15 years ago, but is a bad idea now. Too risky. Instead, Larry's OPC has unique database instances for each tenant through virtualization.
Larry also announced the Oracle Social Network (OSN). This is a corporate-version of Facebook, that supports collaboration and file-sharing, similar to IBM [LotusLive], Google Docs, or Microsoft Office365. All of the Fusion Apps are written to interface directly with the OSN or any of these other social networks through APIs. This includes navigation and integrated social networking. He also indicated that all Fusion Apps run on mobile devices. He showed the SAP R3 GUI, and said it reminded him of "the fins on a 1968 Cadillac!"
Larry said that other CRM SaaS focus on helping sales managers track their employees, but Oracle's CRM helps sellers sell more.
He then gave an example of a mythical sales manager Bob, and his sales employee Julian, selling two Exadata boxes for $4.8 Million USD. A "safe harbor" statement was shown at the beginning of this keynote, to make sure nobody asks to buy Exadata boxes this cheap.
Wednesday afternoon at the [Oracle OpenWorld 2011] conference started with another keynote session.
In a last minute substitution, Oracle OpenWorld rescheduled Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff's keynote from Wednesday to a Thursday 8:00am morning general session, to make room for S. D. Shibulal, CEO of InfoSys Consulting.
(Forbes Magazine considers InfoSys the #15 [most innovative company]. To give this some context, Salesforce.com and Amazon.com are #1 and #2, Google and Apple are in the top 10, and Oracle is #77.
S.D. started out saying that "Today is October 4, a very important day in history!" This was October 6, so everybody was a bit confused, checking their watches and tablets to confirm what day it was. What he was referring to was the first trans-pacific flight that happened October 4 exactly 80 years ago, the pilots were awarded medals and accolades for this tremendous achievement. This year, trans-pacific flights happen every day, and nobody raises an eyebrow. I looked this up, and the first trans-pacific flight happened [June 9, 1928] from California to Australia involved stops in Hawaii and Fiji, but [Clyde Edward Pangborn] is remembered for his October 4, 1931 flight as the first non-stop flight, from Japan to Seattle, Washington. His point, however, is that innovation has a lot of "firsts" that people don't realize until things are commonplace.
If you look at the 1991 list of Fortune 500 companies, only 25 percent of these still are in operation today (IBM is one of them!) The rest failed to stay relevant, to reach and scale as needed for market transitions. He gave examples of travel agencies and the Encyclopedia Brittanica that failed to adapt in the face of [disintermediation]. Success in today's marketplace requires three things:
Predicting and sensing tomorrow's demand
Influencing tomorrow's demand
Fulfilling tomorrow's demand
Ming Tsai, Managing Director and Chief Client Office of InfoSys, asked a series of questions:
"Is Market Research dead?" In 2010, over 4 EB of data were generated. Marketeers do not need to conduct surveys to generate more data, they are drowning in data that is all around them. 80 percent of profits come from 20 percent of your clients.
"Who controls the message?" This was perhaps a tip of the hat to ousted Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com for being able to organize his own last-minute keynote at the St. Regis hotel using twitter and other social media. I was not there, but apparently the place was packed with a line around the building to hear Marc talk.
"Is Product Development backwards? This is referring to the standard waterfall approach of designing a product, shipping a product, with the first interaction with the end customer being the last stage. In new "agile" development models, customers are engaged up front, with highly iterative deployments, to ensure that the final product meets customer requirements.
He showed a product called "Social Edge" from InfoSys that determines "sentiment analysis". Users can co-create their own user experience.
Paul Gottsegen, InfoSys, explained how "Mobility" is challenging existing business models. Their latest product "mConnect" offers to link web applications to any mobile device. This includes healthcare monitoring, cash for the 50 percent of the world that are "unbanked", and even Cable TV on an iPad. He brought on stage Bill Tucker, VP of IT at Nordstrom, a retail outlet of fine clothing.
(I have a collection of Nordstrom jackets that I had bought in San Francisco Union Square throughout the years. Every time that I fly from Tucson to San Francisco, especially in the summer, it is freezing cold, and I need to buy a jacket. This time I was prepared, and brought several of me jackets with me.)
Bill explained that people are not comparing their end-user experience at Nordstrom's with direct competitors like Macy's, but rather with all of their other end-user experiences like that at Starbuck's coffee, or the Apple store. This raises the bar in customer expectations. Nordstrom has been force to make drastic improvements to keep up with these expectations.
Prasad Thirkutam, InfoSys, asked if supply chains are agile and adaptive enough. He mentioned that 40 percent of Flash memory and 60 percent of circuit boards are made in Japan that were recently hit by an earthquake and tsunami. He explained product "Demand-to-Deliver" solution from InfoSys that provides multi-level inventory, identifying the safety stock levels based on various analytics. This reduces waste by 7 percent, and shortens cash from 60 days to 40 days.
Prasad introduced Vin Melvin, CIO of Arrow Electronics. His focus is to get data "correct". To increase end-to-end speed to handle order changes and cancelations, and to optimize and re-balance supply chain as needed.
(FTC Disclosure: Arrow is a distributor of IBM equipment. I have worked with Arrow many years.)