Ascendant is a premier IBM business partner and an end to end solution provider and software reseller dedicated to our IBM technology specializing in web-based solutions.
I spoke to Jim Deters, Ascendant's President on our partnership and for a preview on the exciting announcements coming up at IBM Impact in Vegas next month.
Sandy: Ascendant has been a key provider of solutions based on IBM offerings for some time now, can you share with us why this partnership has worked? Jim: The partnership between Atech and IBM works because IBM is producing and delivering world-class and innovative technology that resonates in the marketplace. We in turn take this technology and create solutions and offerings for our customers that help them innovate and drive their business and, in turn, the planet forward. We often call ourselves IBM’s muse. Additionally, the partnership is successful because both Atech and IBM understand how to partner and share common values centered on the customer’s success. In many engagements, we have worked as an extension of one another’s teams, creating the optimal mix of talent and assets from our globally integrated organizations, to deliver for our collective customer.
Sandy: What types of solutions are your customers asking for in light of these challenging economic times? Jim: First, and the most obvious, solutions customers’ are requesting are those that reduce costs. Everyone has to do more with less and this is especially true when it comes to existing IT infrastructure investments – the applications and environments already running. Having deep experience in large, sophisticated WebSphere environments, we created an automation and configuration framework dubbed WICA. WICA is an acronym for WebSphere Installation and Configuration Automation. We were recognized with the SOA Innovation award at last year’s Impact for WICA. In short, it is a framework for reducing costs in SOA and WebSphere environments by automating the management and configuration of the WebSphere Infrastructure. IBM is now OEM’ing the asset and it will be launched as an IBM Rational product at this year’s event.
With WICA in place, we then focus on driving more throughput from the environment – further rationalization of the IT investment by consolidating or extending applications. We are working with many of our WebSphere Portal customers to do just that. We have used WICA to automate and manage the WebSphere Portal infrastructure and are now consolidating legacy and other customer applications onto WebSphere Portal.
After automation and software rationalization, our customers are selectively investing in new initiatives that are strategic to adapting their business to their industry’s changing landscape. We are working heavily in the health care space, both payors and providers. Additionally, we are currently engaged with several Blue Cross Blue Shields across the country to optimize their member portals and create more agile, online business processes. We have created and combined a unique set of capabilities for our customers. By combining user experience architecture, requirements engineering, and business value measurement with an SOA execution, we are helping health care payors align key business metrics to the user’s experience and then ensure end-to-end execution of the solution. The technical solution often encompasses many parts of the IBM platform, including WebSphere Portal, Process Server, Lotus Connection, DataPower, Rational Team Concert and Build Forge.
We are also helping customers across a variety of industries adopt and execute social computing strategies. We are currently working on many corporate communication and collaboration strategies and are creating “internal Facebook-like” solutions, extending online communities to partner communities. Working with a variety of large brands to improve their online shopping experience, we are stressing the importance of “social commerce” applications and strategies in the shopping experience. Commerce is everywhere and the impetus of the “shopping inspiration” usually doesn’t occur on the vendor’s e-commerce site. We are helping customers develop strategies to leverage Facebook, iGoogle widgets, ratings and reviews, and online communities within their WebSphere Commerce implementation.
Sandy: In spite of these challenges, I know that it is a very exciting time right now with the Impact 2009 show almost upon us, Without giving away any big surprises, can you share with us some of the excitement that Ascendant is preparing for the event?
Special note - check out Jim's Video!
Jim: We have a ton in store for Impact that align to the comments above and we are happy to have you get the word out!
First, on the social commerce track, we are doing making several exciting announcements. We will be running a VIP suite (check www.atech.com/IMPACT in coming weeks for the official schedule) to provide an intimate setting to meet and ask a variety of industry, Atech and IBM experts questions. Topics will include.
We have created a strategic partnership with Pluck, a valued IBM partner, and we will be showcasing WebSphere commerce integration through iRise simulations. iRise and Atech are strategically taking to market and entire suite of simulations for IBM software customers. At Lotusphere 2009, we launched a simulation starter for Lotus Connections. At Impact, we are focused on WebSphere Commerce, and specifically WCS and Pluck and a killer “social commerce start store.” Be sure to check out our South Park parody, to be released April 20th! It will be posted to www.atech.com/IMPACT
Industry aligned session for Health Care Payors. We are going to be highlighting our end-to-end capabilities through the eyes of a health care payor. The presentation will start from the very beginning of strategy definition & value measurement, user experience, requirements and process engineering through the technical solution architecture.
The launch of a new asset – the DataPower Automation Framework. Following the patterns of WICA, we have automated Data Power for the management across proxies and as part of an SOA strategy by streamlining the management of a Datapower infrastructure.
Lastly, we will be launching Enterprise Blue ™. Enterprise Blue is our suite of fully-managed, cloud based solutions. Atech and IBM are working closely with Amazon Web Services to help customers get the best of both worlds – all the power of IBM’s enterprise software with the flexibility and low-cost of leveraging Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).
Jim, thanks for visiting with me on my blog and I can't wait to hear more about Ascendant at IMPACT.
IMPACT is less than two weeks away. Don't miss it.
Sign up here![Read More]
Sandy Carter: Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) -- Off the Record
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We have just launched a promotion to help your Business Partners save money on their Technical Sales Mastery tests. All they need to do is go to an Authorized Prometric Center use the code 20free4me and they will save 20% on any Technical Sales Mastery test they take. This offers expires on September 30, so make sure they get started soon.
For more details, please checkout following website:
Check here for the details![Read More]
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It was a pleasure to meet Peter Segdwick at IMPACT from Primeur! Primeur is a Silver Sponsor at IMPACT 2009! I took a few minutes to chat about how Primeur tools compliment the WS software offerings.
Sandy: Do you offer tools for WMQ file transfer--that work with the new version of WebSphere MQ? Peter: Yes we do. We have had the ability, in our Spazio product, to transfer files over WMQ for a number of years. Now that IBM has introduced WMQ File Transfer Edition, we fully support WMQ FTE as the product of choice for file transfer for WMQ users. We are very excited by WMQ FTE as we see this as a tremendous opportunity for IBM customers to further improve their RoI in their ESB/SOA infrastructure by implementing File Transfer alongside their message based services and applications. Overall, WMQ v7 really has opened up new benefits with its extended Pub/Sub and Managed File Transfer.
Sandy: How are users responding to the offer of your Security toolkit download? In the current economy, do you find that security is still something people are investing in as a primary need for their business?Peter:We have been very encouraged by the increasing interest in Security, both for our toolkit download and for our full function offerings. For a long time, companies have considered that link level security (SSL) is adequate, particularly for internal networks. We are now beginning to see interest in securing data at rest for both messages and files as companies now realise the threat of highly confidential data being compromised even when stored temporarily in queues. Securing data at rest is just one of the functions of End-to-End solutions, along with authentication and digital signatures.
Sandy: Can you tell us a little about the File extensions you've developed for WebSphere? How do your utilities enhance the value of the IBM software?Peter:We at Primeur have developed three extensions for WMQ File Transfer Edition. Our Spazio File Services Governance (Spazio FSG) provides monitoring, audit and reporting not only for FTE but also for all the commonly found Internet (e.g. FTP) and proprietary (e.g. Connect:Direct) file transfer protocols. This means that users can get a single and complete view of all their file transfer flows regardless of the protocols they are using. In capturing the information needed to do this, Spazio FSG also enables users to make productivity improvements of at least 18::1 in converting and modernising from, say, Connect:Direct to FTE. Our Spazio File Services Security Suite provides end-to-end security for messages and files in a WMQ infrastructure, and Spazio MFTS can seamlessly interface an internal FTE network to the outside world using Internet or Proprietary protocols. We will be explaining and demonstrating all of the above at our stand, S1, and also in Session 2287A on Wednesday afternoon where we are jointly presenting with Ben Mann, IBM’s WMQ and WMQ FTE Product Manager.[Read More]
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I have now talked to about 130+ partners! (Thanks for your time and honesty!)
A big request was how partners participate in Smarter Planet references! So IBM has now announced The IBM Smarter Planet Midmarket Business Partner reference selling guide.
This interactive PDF is a great resource for Business Partner references by industry, delivering real-life examples to help you communicate value and accelerate sales. This new guide is easy to use and will be updated quarterly with the most recent Business Partner references to help you talk to your clients and share information about Smarter Planet successes. Here's the link ( You must have your PartnerWorld Id)[Read More]
Big news! First the backdrop, our IBM Payments Framework provides industry specifics with accelerators and best practices, for deploying payments solutions offered by IBM and our business partners.
A new redpaper is now available on ibm.com that describes a business pattern for deploying a Corporate Payments solution using the Payments framework. The paper focuses on corporate treasury operations and how organizations can use SOA to construct solutions for corporate customers. It discusses the issues from both the bank’s and corporate client’s point of view.
It is very good! Check it out!
The REDBOOK! Get it here![Read More]
I had the great pleasure to attend BlogHer for the first time this year. How did I get to attend? A perfect storm really. 3 things happened that allowed me to attend: first, a customer had asked me to support them in their session and to talk about how my book on social media helped them with their strategy, second, I spoke with Charlene Li at the WITI conference and she knew the founders and secured me a ticket and then finally, I was asked to speak on how to leverage social media as the only real IBM presence at the conference.
So what is BlogHer? I pulled this from the BlogHer site. It was founded in February 2005 by Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone. BlogHer’s mission is to create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment. BlogHer is the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online and creates opportunities for its members via a community hub (http://blogher.com), annual conferences and a publishing network of more than 2,500 qualified, contextually targeted blog affiliates. BlogHer provides the highest quality content on a range of topics, with all blogs continually edited to meet strict editorial standards, including content quality, category relevance and blog frequency
The Top 10 Ah Ha's 1. The Business BlogHer had a lot of great case studies. While not sold out on the business side, I found the case studies innovative and best practices. I have blogged on the specific case studies that I heard ... Allstate, Tropicana, Pepsi, Sprint, Coach and many others (THE Social Media Blog!.
2. Lots of Geek Labs - Hands on! I love the hands on labs. You could set up a new blog here with step by step instructions to learning HTML and PHP.
3. Networking The conference was setup to network. They did speeddating in a new and innovative way, and arranged the sessions and breaks to stimulate discussion.
4. Community keynote I attend a lot of corporate events and shows. Usually the keynoter is the CEO or GM in charge of the work. While powerful, I have not experienced a more moving and powerful keynote that BlogHer did on Friday night. It was a community keynote where bloggers were selected to read their blog entries. It was amazing. I am glad someone who had been here before told me to make sure I didn't miss it!
5. Swag. Again, going to CeBit or GiTex is an experience and everyone gives away their toys. But I have never seen the swag that was at BlogHer. From products, to free services on site, to designer scarfs, and vendors printers, servers, and phones. If you come, be prepared. This shows me that the vendors view this show as an important way to reach the tippers. One of our competitors was here for Small Business and I saw the bump in blogs on their products in the GB space go up 3x over the last 3 days.
6. Panels. Most of the sessions here were in a set of tracks on Geek Labs, Business, Leadership, Room of your own, Identity and Passions. But most of the sessions were panels. If you don't learn this way, it may not be the way for you!
7. Q&A's are LONG! Another culture here at BlogHer is to learn from a Q&A session. The sessions here are meant for learning not gaining exposure. I would say that in the sessions over 1/2 the time was spent answering questions from the audience.
8. Amazing Women in New Media. The BlogHer team brought out the stars. From Lisa Stone to GM of CBS, to Donna Bryne, etc. This is the place for the new adventurers in the social media world!
9. Purpose I was truly impressed by the purpose that I felt from all these women and men. These guys, while looking to monetize, are truly dedicated to their mission. I heard about blogs on the homeless, soberity, raising disabled kids, traveling, shyness, and the list goes on. Everyone I met loved what they blogged on. A great lesson in you do more of what you love -- for employers getting people into the right roles.
10. Fun I loved it. It was energeric, and fun. It energized me and showed me that one with a purpose can accomplish more than you can imagine! There were over 1999 parties. That's right.. suites to teach photography, small busines skills, word of mouth marketing, silk screening, etc.
Next Year: Next year the conference will be in NYC in August. Will I go? Absolutely.
The Future - Generation C This is the future. Everything is going online. 53% of women WW are online. Generation C -- which I have defined as the next generation who wants to co create, collaboration, and use their creavitiy. They are going to be around for a while. Join the exploration and see what works for you![Read More]
Gang, The PartnerWorld Smarter Planet home page now has been packed full of great deliverables for you on smarter planet! Smarter Planet for our Partners!
In particular an overview deck of the announcement for BPs plus a "why IBM?" brochure which highlights the role of business partners. There are also assets on Campaign Designer plus some of this content is available for content syndication.
Check it out and tell me what else you need!!![Read More]
Here is a whole set of things around Governments becoming more effective that I just learned and wanted to share!!!
IBM has helped the DVLA to become the largest provider of electronic services in the UK public sector and one of Britain's top 10 online retailers. More than 40% of UK motorists now buy their car tax discs online or over the telephone.
IBM leads the International Technology Alliance (ITA) a collaboration with the UK’s MoD and the US Department of Defense/US Army Research Laboratory that is tackling some of the most difficult fundamental science and technology challenges facing our armed forces. ITA in the UK is led by the IBM Emerging Technologies Laboratory in Hursley.
From the middle of 2009, the UK weather forecasts from the Met Office that you hear on the radio and see on your television will be brought to you from an IBM supercomputer. The supercomputer is supported by a new IBM data archive system which holds several petabytes of data and is one of the largest data repositories in the world - that's several million, million megabytes (or if you prefer several million, million, million bytes).
This is the first time in meteorological history that both of Europe's foremost weather forecasting centres - the Met Office and the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) - have selected the same supplier . Once operational, they will be the two most powerful systems in the UK and are expected to bring a socioeconomic benefit of hundreds of millions of pounds over the next few years from better forecasting and climate research.
Southwest One, the first shared services joint venture in the country that includes both Police and local authorities, is on target to save the tax payers of Somerset County Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council, £200 million over 10 years and help the Avon and Somerset Police Authority protect and improve front-line policing.
At the UK Border Agency, IBM’s Semaphore system has tracked over 78 million passenger journeys through UK airports since 2005, and has issued over 33,500 alerts to the law enforcement authorities leading to more than 2,700 arrests.
IBM helps to keep the RAF fleet of over 500 aircraft in the air by tracking and controlling over 700,000 repairable assets and confirming that aircraft are serviceable for flight. Since 2004, IBM has helped the RAF protect UK Air Space through a real-time command and control system that at any moment in the day tracks the thousands of commercial and military aircraft in the skies above us, and enables the RAF to intercept any aircraft identified as potentially hostile or posing a terrorist threat.
Every month almost 100,000 MoD civil servants are paid through a system designed, built and supported by IBM. Every year, the Aeronautical Rescue Co-ordination Centre (ARCC) based at RAF Kinloss responds to more than 1,800 Search and Rescue incidents , saving lives through efficient co-ordination of information and assets through IBM Rescue Co-ordination System.
By the middle of 2009, four of the five worldwide top 100 supercomputers operating in the UK will be from IBM. They are at: the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF), the Met Office, a public sector organisation and Bristol University . The only worldwide top 100 supercomputer in the UK not from IBM, and in third position, is at Edinburgh University.
The Institute of Life Science (ILS) at Swansea University’s School of Medicine is using its IBM supercomputer, Blue C, to unlock unexpected insights from unstructured data - 20 new high quality research papers have been published in just over a year.
Cheshire County Council has achieved a 20% reduction in the time and cost required to perform in-home senior visits , and improved its ability to proactively manage the course of health and social care for senior citizens using a system designed and hosted by IBM.[Read More]
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While in Costa Rica, I had the pleasure of meeting with an innovative team for IT at Credomatic. Their leader & CTO, Alfonso Salvo, approaches the business with a focus on value.
Who is Credomatic? The company is a leader in Central America. Credomatic began its operations in Nicaragua in 1971. Subsequently, it expanded throughout Central America as the pioneer in the bankcard industry, forming Grupo Credomatic, a network of service providers of integrated credit card issuing and merchant acquiring services. The development of financial products and services combined with quality, state-of-the-art technology and experience has given Grupo Credomatic a leadership position in the Central American financial market. As one of the signature brands within the BAC Financial Network, Grupo Credomatic has been able to successfully adapt to changes in the competitive environment, thereby consolidating its leadership position in the payment systems industry in Central America. Grupo Credomatic has an extensive network of financial institutions across Central America, the Caribbean and Miami.
A wow team! What impressed me most about the team is their focus on the business. Their projects include Business Process Management. And a new exploration of Social Media. Watch this company for some best practices and leading IT practices!
Meet the team! [Read More]
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IBM, also known as Big Blue, is as big and distributed as any company in the IT industry. In fact, you could say IBM is the New York City of technology companies. Huge. Diverse. Proud to call itself No. 1, though not everyone may agree. And just as the Big Apple often sets trends for the rest of the country, Big Blue has a history of calling plays for the tech market. These days, IBM is heavily promoting its Smarter Planet initiative to add a layer of intelligence to the basic processes that run today’s world, including roads, water and power. It’s just the latest milestone for the 98-year-old company. Here is a list of things you just might not know about IBM.
A nice list of IBM's achievements: Check to read full article from eweek here![Read More]
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IBM Receives the 2009 ACORD Innovation Implementation Award & ACORD Infrastructure Platform/Middleware Award
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YEA! IBM Receives the 2009 ACORD Innovation Implementation Award & ACORD Infrastructure Platform/Middleware Award
The yearly ACORD award recognizes organizations that are implementing XML standards in unique and exceptional ways and organizations that enhance the utilization of ACORD Standards. The IBM team continued the 2008 award winning tradition with a Proof of Technology and Redbook that demonstrate implementation best practices for Insurance companies. With these best practices, IBM customers can deploy end to end SOA Solutions based on Industry Standards in ACORD and the IBM Insurance Process Acceleration Framework.
Smart Work is about transforming companies to make informed decisions, build deeper relationships and work with more agile business processes. The Strategy & Technology team has established SOA as the state of the art for Smart Insurance at ACORD. With our customers, we continue to raise the bar on ACORD implementations and Smart Work.
What should you do?
First, Download this redbook !
Second, see the great Showcase!!!
Finally, I'd like to thank Donald Buddenbaum, Brian Bokor, Qiang Wang, Bruce Wallman Ph.D., Stephanie Fetzerand Rufus Credle who made this valueable work possible![Read More]
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I am here in Costa Rica meeting with our Partner GBM and customers and had the honor of being able to meet the President of Costa Rica -- Oscar Arias Sanchez. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his efforts to end civil wars in Central American countries. He is an amazing man well versed in IT.
Along with Gabriela Llobet, they gave us an overview of IT in Costa Rica. There are over 700 software companies here with over 10.6% of the country's GDP coming from ICT. Given they do not fund an army they invest in training and technology. They are the #1 high technology exporter in Latin American and the 4th largest in the world. They receive about $1.9B foreign investment in IT -- more than China, Brazil or Mexico.
They are super creative and technology focused. I was very impressed with the customers and partner I met here. In addition, I sat with Dr Roberto Sasso. He has helped Costa Rica with a digital strategy.Check it out!http://www.clubdeinvestigacion.com/
And their Minister of Foreign Trade is on twitter! That's right! Social Media insight abounds! Follow Marco Vinicio Ruiz at twitter.com/maviru.
I will blog and post pictures for my next post on Costa Rica...not at midnight![Read More]
Diamond Sponsor, Miracle Software talks about their decision to participate at IBM IMPACT and why SOA is more important to adapt to business change in today's economy.
Miracle is our Diamond Sponsor this year for IMPACT 2009! This will be their 3rd year of sponsorship! I had the pleasure of speaking with Johnny Chandra, VP at Miracle on his thoughts on the upcoming conference!----------------------------Sandy: What are you seeing in the marketplace around SOA and BPM?Johnny: Business change happens rapidly. The first to reach customers and clients with emerging technologies gain a competitive advantage. Integrating existing business assets with the intelligent and interconnected technologies can lead to efficiency, reusability and profitability for a smarter planet. Some clients are quiet mature in driving BPM while many are in an early adoption phase of SOA and deciding between a Message Vs. Process driven architecture. Miracle will be hosting Birds of a Feather Session #3221 at Impact addressing the same. The smarter SOA standards and patterns will ultimately enable SOA Driven BPM.
Sandy: Why did you decide to sponsor IMPACT again?Johnny: I believe that was a smart decision. Near term, the economy discouraged any action, but strategically we have been seeing the way IMPACT was morphing from a SOA to a SMART SOA and now to a SMARTER summit of choice for the smarter CIO & business leaders. This is an event where business & IT leaders are gathering in an impressive number in search of processes and technology for improving service delivery, while mitigating risk and a dramatic reduction in costs to meet the challenges of this New Economy. There could not have been a better platform in showcasing some of Miracle Software’s SMART SOA Accelerator Frameworks built on top of IBM’s dynamic infrastructure and middleware. In addition, this was an opportunity to hear what new challenges the industry leaders were facing and how some of them have succeeded in overcoming obstacles in their SOA enabled BPM.
Sandy: What do you see as your top value to clients in this market? Johnny: The top value that we see for our clients “in this market” is protecting existing IT investments, reducing costs through reuse, accelerating time to market via rapid SOA deployment. In addition Miracle’s deep expertise and repeatable assets made available to clients, enable SOA accelerated BPM. The Reality Show Miracle is presenting as an Impact Breakout session #3234 showcases this capability utilizing IBM’s Websphere Process Server. Sandy: Anything else you'd like to add?Johnny: Yes. SOA has been lately extending via web 2.0 into the field of Social Computing often referred to as Social Networking. Clients would like to see how it fits into their environment and how they can leverage this technology within the Enterprise. Miracle is doing a Birds of a Feather Session #3222 where participants can learn from how “Thought Leaders” (built much like Facebook & LinkedIn, but geared towards the corporate enterprise) can leveraging the power of social Networks by providing Social software as a service which encompasses all the day to day activities like collaboration, work assignments, communication, group discussion to resolve issues, follow up on targets, monitor progress and many more...all achieved through one single secure environment. Last but not least, security of the SOA environment is a grave concern and Miracle is showcasing a case study “Secure Smart Grid using IBM’s DataPower SOA Appliance” in Impact Session #3235.
Thank you, Johnny and I am looking forward to seeing you at IBM Impact 2009 in Vegas next month. Do visit Miracle at www.miraclesoft.com or at the Impact Solution Center floor either at location or virtually at IBM’s Impact site http://www-01.ibm.com/software/websphere/events/impact2009/
Rocket Software is focused on developing and delivering software solutions to IBM mainframe customers deploying IBM DB2. In the first five years all of Rocket's products were rebranded and licensed to enterprises through IBM's worldwide sales channel. Rocket Software will be at IBM IMPACT 2009 and Sam Elias provides a preview about the benefits of SOA and IBM's Destination z community.
Sandy Carter: Seagull Software – now a Rocket Software brand – offers some exciting SOA solutions in the marketplace. Tell me how Rocket Software has helped customers realize the benefits of SOA to meet their needs to reuse and extend existing applications.Sam Elias:. SOA matches up with what our customers are looking for. We have a history of helping our customers at any point in their SOA adoption lifecycle. What’s attractive to our customers is that we allow their existing business applications to participate in whatever their SOA strategy is — in a non-invasive, cost-effective, and timely way. Our LegaSuite software [now a Rocket Software product] allows organizations to generate scalable solutions, such as new user interfaces and Web services, from their portfolio of existing business applications. This delivers many benefits to customers in all types of industries, from improving call center productivity to enabling customer self-service to integrating business applications both inside and outside the enterprise.
Sandy: As part of IBM's focus on Solutions for a Smart Planet, can you explain how Rocket’s LegaSuite software delivers smart solutions for customers requiring a dynamic infrastructure.
Sam:. Regardless of the size and breadth of the organization, integrating critical business infrastructure in a flexible, secure and seamless way is a challenge that all customers face. One example of this is in the financial sector with our banking customers. As banks are acquired and merged together, there are a common set of services that are used as part of the core application infrastructure. In conjunction with infrastructure platforms such as IBM WebSphere, Rocket’s LegaSuite software provides a cost-effective solution that allows customers to transition these changing (or dynamic) infrastructures seamlessly as application portfolio requirements change. We've used this SOA approach to help several banking customers avoid downtime as they transition to online banking services with limited to no disruption of service.
Sandy: Rocket Software is a longstanding member of IBM's Destination z community. Can you explain why this is important to Rocket?
Sam:. System z is key to many of Rocket's solutions, including LegaSuite. As a founding member of Destination z and a leading provider of System z solutions for the marketplace, it is imperative for us to play a leadership role in strengthening the market awareness of System z and the ecosystem of solutions available for this enterprise platform. Our customers benefit from the community and network of resources available through the Destination z programs, and the better we are connected through the IBM and partner channels the better we can serve and provide solutions for our customers' requirements.
Sandy: IBM recently made a preview announcement for CICS TS V4.1 and there will be further announcements at Impact. Why is this exciting news for Rocket and your customers?
Sam: We’re really excited about CICS 4.1, and it shows that IBM continues to "hit the mark" by being at the forefront of the latest technologies. CICS 4.1 is important for all of our enterprise customers because it continues to show that CICS is the state-of-the-art deployment platform for their mission critical applications. This is a constant challenge for the CICS architecture teams in many organizations as they continually compete with other platforms to remain strategic for the organization. From a solution perspective, Rocket Software has solutions in our portfolio that customers will be able to leverage from day one to take advantage of the new features of CICS 4.1. The new enhancements around Web 2.0 and event-driven architecture give customers greater flexibility and insight around their core business applications or ‘services’ that they rely on to run their business.
Great insights! Thank you, Sam. I am looking forward to meeting you at IBM Impact 2009 in Vegas next month.
Check out Rocket Software at the IMPACT Solution Center, E16 or virtually at IBM's IMPACT site http://www-01.ibm.com/software/websphere/events/impact2009/
Our customers are really cool and I have had the privilege of working with them and learning from their success stories. Miami Dade County is a great example of working smarter with SOA.
Carmen Suarez, Acting Division Director for Enterprise Architecture Services joins me on the Day 3 keynote to discuss the Smarts of the Miami Dade Solution. Carmen is an amazing woman and I have met her several times now and never fail to be impressed by her talent!
I caught up with her at IMPACT for a quick view interview! Check it out!
Sandy: For the services your provide you county constituents, how do you see the roll of SOA and the emergence of Cloud computing working in concert to meet your business needs?Carmen: These days our “consumers” are constituents, businesses, other governments, travelers, investors. SOA, cloud computing and other enabling technology is just that, it enables us to bring service to the consumers faster and by reusing components via multiple channels like kiosks, pervasive devices, the Internet.
Sandy: What knowledge or experience is your #1 priority to take home from Impact 2009?Carmen: All the things that DataPower can do for me. Like AmberPoint's recently announced integration with WebSphere DataPower SOA Appliance since we have been AmberPoint users for a few years now. And we have integrated the AmberPoint toolset with the WAS UDDI. Next step is to include WSRR (WebSphere Registry & Repository).
Sandy: How has the agility afforded by SOA empowered your vision to change around what services and offerings you can create to empower the people you interact with to Work Smarter?Carmen: Our SOA vision and current roll out has breathed new life in to legacy applications by extending them to the Internet as self-service features. Additionally it has made our developers Countywide more efficient and given them whole new channels upon which they can deploy new functionality. Our eCommerce initiative alone has grown from $151 million in 2005 to over $468 million in 2008.,
Carmen, thank you for agreeing to do this interview! Great to hear from innovative customers like Miami Dade on how SOA done right = SOA Success.
Folks, if you are at IMPACT, don't miss the day 3 keynote coming up tomorrow[Read More]
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DataDirect Technologies is an IBM partner and provides data connectivity and mainframe integration software for corporate enterprises and independent software vendors. DataDirect Shadow is mainframe middleware software that accelerates the participation of mainframe systems with Service Oriented Architectures (SOA), data access or business intelligence (BI) initiatives, and/or composite application development- all with unique capabilities to dramatically lower mainframe TCO through specialty engine exploitation.
I had a great discussion with Gregg Willhoitt, the Chief Software Architect at Data Direct about lowering mainframe TCO and their views on IBM IMPACT kicking of in Vegas next week.
Sandy DataDirect offers some excellent cost saving strategies. What are some of the messages you'll be sharing to help customers thrive in today's economy? (One of their Session Titles is 'From SQL to SOAP to Events - with zIIP: Cost Effective SOA Solutions for CICS TS V4.1) Gregg: I think it is very important that mainframe customers understand the tremendous opportunity that exist for lowering mainframe TCO while still growing their SOA initiatives. Sounds too good to be true, but this is what happens with innovation. The catalyst for this was the introduction of specialty engines for handling specialized workloads on the mainframe. This allowed processing that would normally be handled by the General Purpose Processor to be diverted to the specialty engine, where it could run without incurring a charge against contracted mainframe MIPS capacity. Initially the benefit was isolated to DB2, Java or Linux workloads – but not anymore. DataDirect has introduced patent-pending technology to more fully exploit specialty engines, expanding the range of environments that can use the zIIP engine to reduce mainframe TCO. With Shadow, DataDirect’s mainframe middleware, customers can offload up to 99% of their SOA-related integration processing to the zIIP specialty engine. For CICS customers, this means more control over costs and the ability to aggressively pursue their SOA initiatives. But the benefit doesn’t stop at CICS. We know the heterogeneous nature of most enterprises, so with Shadow you can leverage the zIIP specialty engine for Web services, SQL or Event processing across a wide range of environments, including Adabas, DB2, IMS, IDMS, VSAM, and Natural. The end result is extra mainframe capacity - a dividend if you will – to support the development of new business services, and in this economy, doing more with less is definitely a strategy for success. Sandy: How does the Impact 2009 SOA Conference help DataDirect, a provider of world class solutions in Data Connectivity and Mainframe Integration, reach new customers and maintain your expertise in today's marketplace? Gregg: To be honest, industry trade events have not fared very well in this down economy; however SOA Impact has been the rare exception. The event has grown to become an excellent forum for all things SOA, providing business and IT management, as well as application developers and systems programmers a great educational resource for examining the practical aspects of how to align SOA capabilities with business goals. Taking part in the technology exhibition is a great way to meet prospective customers, get a better understanding of their integration requirements and provide them with an up-close product test drive. This year, I am sure the focus will be on CICS TS v4.1 and how Shadow complements and extends the product with mainframe Web services, real-time event capture or SQL access. The education outreach this event provides is the perfect context for DataDirect to explain our product’s value proposition for accelerating mainframe SOA enablement. In addition, our technical staff always looks forward to this event for technical presentations and demonstration of the latest IBM SOA products. Sandy: DataDirect is an official sponsor of the Impact 2009 zZone which showcases SOA solutions for System z audience. In fact, this is the second year; you've been an Impact zZone sponsor. What's so special about the zZone? Gregg: The zZone makes all the sense in the world to us given as a product, DataDirect Shadow is singularly focused on the mainframe. Our goal for customers is to reduce the cost and complexity of integrating mainframe data and applications with Service Oriented Architectures, data-centric initiatives like Business Intelligence and Data warehousing, and new application development initiatives that rely on .NET or Java application frameworks. The zZone brings together an elite group of System z partners to complement the IBM System z experts and technology on-hand. It makes quite an impression to customers to see that big z10 mainframe sitting in amongst the exhibit booths. It is here, for example, where a customer can drill down into a technical discussion on zIIP offload or take a tour of our new mainframe TCO calculator for modeling MIPS savings, because it is the right context for that type of discourse. Also, the zZone is a destination for mainframe interests within a larger SOA context. Where else would you expect to find new strategies for redefining the economics of mainframe SOA? Last year, DataDirect was one of the founding members of the zZone at SOA Impact. It was then and still is an ideal setting for demonstrating how new technologies, like Shadow, can help accelerate the mainframe’s role within SOA. The new twist this year is how to make SOA cost-effective for the mainframe. In short, it is all about lowering mainframe TCO. Any mainframe customer looking for technologies to lower SOA-related integration costs will find it at the zZone at SOA Impact.
Great talking to you, Gregg! Don't forget to check out Data Direct at the Impact 2009 zZone.
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Quite excited today to be sharing my conversation with James Governor, a good friend and co founder of RedMonk, the first open source analysis firm. James is an opinion leader in the enterprise middleware space and green technology. His blog Monkchips !Click Here! was recently names one of the top three industry analyst blogs.
Be sure to check it out!
Sandy: James, this will be your third time at IMPACT, the largest SOA conference in the world. What are your favorite things about the conference?James: The people, the people, and uh, the people
Sandy: Why do you think SOA has been so successful in the marketplace today and give 1-2 examples of that success.James: SOA is a 25 year overnight success. The principles have been around a long time, and this time they have been implemented with enough standards to make the approach useful. The need for more integration flexibility never lessens. It is very hard to isolate example of SOA success now- the Fortune 500 are all using the approach. One of my favourite SOA examples right now is not a traditional high endian, WS-* SOA at all: Amee.cc is a web startup that provides back end carbon calculator services for B2B and web companies. Its simple but effective- a web service that can improve the world. It’s simple and effective. [disclosure: AMEE is a client]
Sandy: I know that you are leading a number of Green and Sustainability sessions. Can you overview your major take aways?James: Sustainability and SOA go hand in glove. The key to successful SOA is helping employees and other stakeholders understand opportunities and responsibilities.
Sandy: What is the connection you see between Green and SOA? James: That would be telling ;-) Suffice to say that Sustainability is the latest –ility to join reliability, scalability, availability and so on. Organisations increasingly need to be able to pivot around green issues for strategic planning. Rather than requiring an organisation to rewrite code every time circumstances or plans change, with SOA this can potentially be achieved via configuration.
Sandy: Do you think issues of Green & Sustainability will remain as hot as they were with the economic recession?James: Sure – sustainability now means something it didn’t before. The concept carries ideas of survivability to major shocks, economics or otherwise. Sustainability is CSR taken out of the PR department and made into a stragetic, truly board-level concern. Six months ago I was worried sustainability and greening would drop off of the agenda, but I am a lot more comfortable now that won’t happen. Look at IBM- its agenda at the moment with Smart Planet is all about sustainability- and unless I am very much mistaken IBM looks a lot like the best run company in America right now – so far it has avoided major revenue shortfalls in the recession.
Sandy: Anything that you want to add?James: I am excited about this being the first Impact under the IBM Smart Planet agenda, which is the most interesting umbrella strategy I have seen at IBM in the 14 years I have watched the firm. We all need to get smarter, better instrumented, make more effective use of data, whether at home or in business. An IBMer called Andy Piper describes it beautifully here: To bring this Q&A full circle, Andy is one of the guys IBM looking forward to hanging out with in Las Vegas at Impact. People, people, people.
Awesome, James, thank you for taking the time to chat!
Folks, come hear James Governor talk about going green, soa and sustainability on Wednesday, May 6th at IBM IMPACT 2009.
Follow him on Twitter @monkchips for his latest updates from IMPACT. Don't miss out[Read More]
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IBM's channel initiatives made CRN's top 10 stories of the year (so far). What's really impactful to me is that we are the only vendor who is called out as making strides in helping channel partners in tough economic times with new programs, education and training opportunities.
The full list can be viewed at Click Here![Read More]
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I had the pleasure of chatting with Audrey at IMPACT 2009! We discussed the benefits of using WebSphere instead of open source. Check out the work they have done!
Sandy:Tell me something about Summa and the solutions you have been involved in?Audrey:Summa has been an IBM Premier Business Partner since 2003 providing mission critical IT consulting and system integration services and solutions to clients in many industries, including financial services, manufacturing, and education. One of our key solution areas is around application modernization where we help clients develop and implement incremental solutions for modernizing their legacy applications, often incorporating modern SOA frameworks utilizing IBM technology to drive agility and incremental business value. In the current environment, many customers are seeking ways to reduce their IT costs, and another solution area that we’ve been working with them on is to conduct open source viability assessments – helping IT and business leaders to evaluate the real total cost of ownership and manageability of open source software.
Sandy: Can you tell us more about Summa’s perspective on TCO as it relates to open source software?Audrey - Summa, like IBM are proponents of OSS, and often recommend and implement open source components for our customers. As companies are increasingly considering open source software solutions, we advise them to consider architecture and TCO trade offs beyond the initial licensing terms which appear attractive on the surface. Some of these factors include their level of risk tolerance, operational ease of use and required hardware costs, the specific OSS vendors track record of delivering updates and defect fixes, etc..
Sandy: What is involved in a TCO assessment on open source viability? Audrey: We start by talking to customers about their environment, including number and types of servers, and number and size of applications. The deliverable for the assessment includes a customized report that incorporates financial modeling that can be used to help the customer make informed buying decisions. The results can be eye opening, providing a perspective on the “real” costs that are often overlooked by development teams. We are here discussing the TCO process this week at the Impact conference with IBM customers, and the level of interest in our assessment process and methodology has been very high.
Hostbridge Technology focuses on the development and delivery of software products that integrate existing and emerging technologies within large organizations. I chatted with Russ Teubner, Hostbridge CEO about their CICS campaign and their presence at IBM IMPACT 2009.
Sandy: HostBridge regularly consults and collaborates with the CICS Group at IBM Hursley. Why is the recent preview announcement for CICS TS V4.1 exciting news for HostBridge and your customers?
Russ: The CICS TS v4.1 announcement is great news for everybody involved with CICS. CICS still runs tremendous volumes of business transactions for many large companies, and like everyone these days, they’re looking for ways to do more with their existing resources. CICS TS v4.1 and HostBridge v6, whose releases will coincide, will help them better manage operations, control costs, and compete in a tightening marketplace.
As we have since day one, HostBridge continues to support and exploit new CICS features. We’re particularly keen on Events Processing and Web 2.0 technologies since they align with the lightweight services approach so many of our customers are adopting. They can be coupled, for example, to enable businesses to respond fast to changing situations. Let’s say a stock price rises to some predetermined level – $85 a share. CICS can now capture this event and immediately publish a series of responses via HostBridge services, mashing up relevant data feeds to traders or end-customers or issuing specific sell orders.
We think CICS TS v4.1 offers enterprises a tremendous opportunity to get more out of high-value resources.
Sandy: HostBridge is currently running a terrific “Do MORE with CICS” campaign. What are the key elements? What can we expect to see at Impact and throughout the year?
Russ: Our “Do More with CICS” theme is a direct outgrowth of conversations with customers, who feel tremendous pressure to do more with the resources they have. In the CICS world, that means finding new ways to use core data and achieve higher returns on mainframe investments. Services-based integration is a great way to do that – especially with lightweight/Web 2.0 approaches like RESTful services.
The face of the campaign is a series of ads in Mainframe Executive magazine and the CICS Spotlight e-newsletter.
We drill into the practical side of the theme in our series of joint webcasts with the CICS Group at IBM Hursley, which started in March and are planned to continue through the summer. We also continue to give talks and publish articles and white papers on the value of integrating CICS using lightweight services.
At Impact, I’ll be updating our “SOA... Give It a REST!” talk with the help of Jerry Hermes, CIO of Navy Federal Credit Union (Session 3197 for you attendees out there). The talk is designed to help IT people look at their integration needs and determine whether a formal SOAP/WSDL approach or an informal RESTful approach is right for their situation. Jerry will share how Navy Federal – the largest credit union in the world – uses lightweight services to web-enable CICS transactions for 3 million members and thousands of service employees.
Sandy: HostBridge is an active partner in IBM Destination z and an SOA Specialty partner as well. How do these associations help you establish your leadership in the marketplace and better serve your customers?
Russ: Our number one goal is to support our customers. Since they belong to the mainframe community, and Destination z is a trusted place to go for insight and information, the fit is perfect for us. Mainframe integration isn’t a cake-walk, and we stake our reputation on giving customers the straight story and doing the hard stuff. Destination z helps us do that.
That same sense of trust and confidence is what the SOA Specialty is all about. As long as businesses rely on System z and CICS, they’ll need integrate to extend the value of these core systems. HostBridge is an SOA Specialty Partner because services-based integration is one of the clearest paths to the future of enterprise computing, and CICS Web services is what we do.
Sandy: We're anticipating strong participation from the System z community at Impact 2009. As a zZone sponsor at this year's conference, what can conference attendees discover by visiting Hostbridge in the zZone?
Russ: HostBridge is sponsoring the zZone at Impact 2009 because we serve and support the System z community. Attendees visiting HostBridge will have an opportunity to learn about our very practical approach to services. One size definitely does not fit all. In complex environments or when industry requirements warrant a formal approach, we do SOAP/WSDL services. Where situations are less complex or for intra-enterprise integration, we champion informal RESTful services. In our experience in the trenches with real customers, the informal approach is often faster, easier, less costly, and just as effective.
Russ, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I am looking forward to meeting you next month in Vegas at IBM IMPACT! http://www-01.ibm.com/software/websphere/events/impact2009/
Don't forget to stop by at the IMPACT Solution Center and talk to Hostbridge.[Read More]
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Great news! The organization has received 5 Hermes Awards! This is me celebrating in our crazy hat day!
Platinum Awards:Impact 2008 (Event Marketing category)Smart SOA Widget (Electronic Media/Other category)IBM Smart SOA Newsletter (E-Newsletter category)
Gold Awards:Smart SOA World Tour (Integrated Marketing/Other)World Tour "Get Smart" Videos (Viral Marketing category)
Hermes Creative Awards is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. The international organization consists of several thousand marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, media production, web and free-lance professionals. The Association oversees awards and recognition programs, provides judges and sets standards for excellence.
The home page for Hermes Creative Awards links to the winners' list. Awards are here![Read More]
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Silver Sponsor, Phurnace Software, Inc. talks about SOA, IMPACT and the Cloud Computing buzz. This will be Phurnace’s second year of participation at IMPACT demonstrating their WebSphere and WebSphere Portal application deployment tool.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Larry Warnock, CEO of Phurnace Software.
Sandy: Larry, to start off, please tell me how Phurnace applies to SmartSOA implementations?Larry: Sandy, thank you for spending time with me and I want to say that we are really looking forward to IMPACT 2009. To answer your question, Phurnace automates the deployment of applications into the WebSphere container or Portal environments automatically. As SOA becomes more of a reality in large IT organizations, it is often coupled with agile development practices -- which means frequent updates, releases and patches to mission-critical applications. This has put a stress on the configuration management of WebSphere and Portal instances. The Phurnace deployment tool makes it possible for applications to move into production much more quickly, therefore, realizing the promise of SOA. Sandy: Larry, that is interesting and makes a lot of sense, how do WebSphere and Portal customers handle those deployment issues today?Larry: Quite frankly, hand crafted…often thrown together…for sure always out of date, scripts. Customers turn to scripting for the last mile in deploying their applications and portlets. This often takes an army of highly skilled people, that in my opinion, should be working on more value-added projects. The days of scripting or “hobbled-together” script frameworks has past. I often say, why do you have your brightest java engineers building scaffolding vs. working on the building itself?
Sandy: We are hearing from IT Managers and Executives that rapid ROI is a must-have. What kind of ROI can customers expect from Phurnace?Larry: The new bar for investments appears to be less than 120 days meaning that IT must see a return on investment in 4 months to justify any purchase decision in this cost-constrained economy. Phurnace customers are seeing ROI often in half that time. That is possible because customers can immediately eliminate the costs associated with scripting and script maintenance. Believe it or not, we have found companies that actually spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on deployment scripts. The challenge is that the costs are usually hidden or unseen but once you shine a light on them, it is an ROI “no-brainer”. Sandy: The SMB (Small Medium Business) market seems to be quite interested in SOA and cloud computing, specifically, the recent announcement by Amazon (Amazon Web Services) and IBM around running images of WebSphere and Portal. It’s creating buzz….what are you hearing?Larry: The recent announcement by IBM and Amazon creates a viable cloud computing option for many businesses. However, the state of the “on-ramp tools” market to move applications and Portals into the cloud is still very young. While the set up of WebSphere and WebSphere Portal in Amazon Web Services is now quite easy, it is still very complex to actually deploy production-ready applications onto those images. So while the buzz is creating awareness, customers will still need deployment tools like Phurnace to actually use the cloud to run business applications. We hear from customers that there is a lot of development users and experimentation going on in the cloud, but not yet application deployments from the data center. I strongly believe that one day it will happen, especially for SMB, but the tools market to enable IT Operations still has some maturing to do.
Thank you for sharing your insights and I look forward to seeing you at IBM IMPACT 2009 in Vegas next month. For more information on Phurnace, please visit them at booth S2 at the IMPACT Solution Center or http://www.phurnace.com [Read More]
Mobitel chose IBM and BPM powered by SOA to better align business and IT. Meet this IBM IMPACT speaker in Vegas next month to learn more about their SOA and BPM journey!
I had the pleasure of talking to our customer, Boštjan Robežnik, Director of IT at Mobitel and gleaning some great insights on their BPM and SOA journey. Mobitel is a mid-sized company which develops its own innovative mobile solutions in accordance with the needs of the Slovenian market and users’ demands. http://www.mobitel.si/english.aspx
Sandy: Why did you choose IBM software? Boštjan Robežnik: I think IBM was actually a little bit different compared to other vendors. We did quite a deep analysis of the market at that time. So the conclusion was that IBM offers--could offer to us the solution which would really help us to achieve the goals, yeah? One of the big differentiator was Telco Industry Content Pack and WebSphere Business Service Fabric. This was really something not found by other vendors. One of the goals of SOA project was the fast rollout of the standardized--industry standard business processes and data objects, and this is something which is a part of the Telco Industry Content Pack. And this is also something which is not found by other vendors as such. And WebSphere Business Services Fabric gives us a possibility to dynamically select the service based on the policy. This is also a unique feature.
Sandy: Why did you chose the Smart SOA path? Boštjan Robežnik: SOA is a clear must in the future. Also, based on the research--resources of Gartner, for example, this is something which is not hype anymore. This is something you have to adopt in order to have a clean IT. For me it means that I have a really good way how to orchestrate the whole IT landscape, all the application into the single business support system. It gives me a lot of flexibility. So I think that it is really a right decision for IBM. And for me, in the moment, IBM is really a top provider of SOA.
Sandy: How has BPM powered by Smart SOA helped you better align business and IT?
Boštjan Robežnik: Typically business and IT, of course, are quite two different worlds and SOA and Telco Industry Content Pack and WebSphere Business Service Fabric, it really gives a good bridge between those two different worlds. So business typically--of course, they know very well the business processes, they know how they would optimize them. IT, of course, they should have a capability to fulfill the needs of the business people and of the market as such. So by introducing WebSphere Business Modeler to the business people, we actually introduce a bridge between those two different worlds. So by using the Modeler, the business people have actually a communication way with IT how to communicate with IT varied ideas how the business processes should look like. So this is, for me, one of the really important tools. It is definitely a bridge between those two different worlds. On the other hand, we introduced with WebSphere Business Monitor to the business people a tool which could be used by them to improve agility of the company, because now they can measure our human tasks, they can measure our different KPIs. And, of course, this is then bidirectional communication between IT and business units, and it really gives us a better agility on the market.
Sandy: How does "the business" benefit from BPM powered by Smart SOA and the Telco Industry Content Pack? Boštjan Robežnik: Business organization sees different benefits. Of course, one of the major benefits is the possibility to monitor in the production environment the whole business process, to measure the KPIs, to have a chance to modify the business processes. And on the other hand, they see a better agility of the IT systems as such, because IT is responsible to deliver products, it's responsible to deliver new services. This architecture is cleaner, it's easier than to maintain, the governance was introduced, and everything together gives the benefits to business units, to company as such.
Sandy: What has been your experience working with IBM? Boštjan Robežnik: With IBM, since start of the project, we worked hand in hand and it was a kind of joint cooperation, and both parties--we had the full commitment to succeed with that project. Since the start of the project, IBM actually invested a lot into Mobitel with their valuable knowledge, with their experts which helped us onsite, and that was actually crucial for the success of the project, and also for the project completion.
Sandy: We are thrilled that you will be speaking next month at IMPACT 2009 in Vegas . Anything you would like to share? Boštjan Robežnik: I am really excited and looking forward to sharing our experience with you and other IT experts. For me, it will definitely be the most thrilling event ever.
Thank you for sharing your insights and I am looking forward to seeing you at IBM Impact 2009 in Vegas next month. For more information on Mobitel, please do visit http://www.mobitel.si/english.aspx[Read More]