Welcome to the new IBM Software for a Smarter Planet� blog. A team of IBMers from various disciplines will use this blog to share news, solicit feedback, and generate thought-provoking conversations around the future of software in building a smarter planet. Stay tuned.
I am Tiffany Winman, IBM Software social media strategist, and mainly write about social networking, community heroes, and conversations around software in social networking environments. I'm always looking for ways to improve the value IBM brings to communities of interest around software. From time to time, you'll see me ask you specific questions to inform new innovations and directions that IBM should consider around social networking. For now, If you have any interesting ideas or would like to share your thoughts on how IBM can make a difference to you or your network, please let me know.
In the meanwhile, below are ways for you to connect with professionals discussing and networking around IBM Software topics.
IBM Software community on ibm.com
� Find IBM experts on software, discover trends, share links, comment on thought-provoking blogs, and more.
� Follow IBM Software community news. Use the #ibmsoftware hashtag to see what others are sharing and thinking.
IBM Software on LinkedIn
� Network with a variety of software professionals across companies and industries, participate in discussions and polls, ask questions, get answers.
IBM Software on YouTube
� Continue the conversation on the latest IBM Software videos with IBM experts, customers, and Business Partners.
In case you missed it last week, IBM announced its plans to acquire Unica, the marketing software automation company. The topic lit up the social media universe with chatter. As Joe Chernov, with Eloqua, put it, "everyone has an opinion" about it too.
I'm not saying she's "right," but one of my favorite reads was a blog by Cristene Gonzalez-Wertz, (@hermione1 on Twitter) with Covalent Marketing. Why? She does a great job hypothesizing how Unica will work across the IBM portfolio, explores opportunities for new delivery models such as Cloud, and even ties it all back to a potential Smarter Planet idea:
� "This even gets to a smarter planet approach, my friends.� What happens when sensors detect that a power grid is likely to be reaching brownout stages?� Is there a way to alert those affected via SMS, TV messaging, phone call, email?� � Now, there is�"
I found the #ibmunica hashtag most useful for following the buzz around the acquisition. Let me know if you find better ones.
I discovered a pretty nifty eWeek slide show titled, IBM Business Analytics: 20 Ways Big Blue Rules, today. The presentation explains how businesses have new opportunities to use business analytics to predict business outcomes, optimize old systems and spot trends before they turn into a reality. It's chock full of interesting facts such as:
Prediction: Business analytics will be a $16B business by 2015.
IBM is investing heavily in business analytics, with $11B in 19 acquisitions over the last 5 years.
IBM's business analytics strategy is supported by the opening of 8 analytic centers worldwide with 6K consultants and 10K+ technical consultants in 80 research and development labs and 40 innovation centers worldwide.
Over 250K clients worldwide use IBM business analytics in industries such as health care, policing, government, transportation, oil and utilities, and education.
Beyond what IBM is doing in this space, I find the presentation interesting because it tips its hat to what's hot in the industry at the moment or in the near future: Predictive analytics and intelligence, social media, livestreaming, mobility, and interconnected and intelligent smarter systems.
If you're interested in learning more about IBM in the business analytics space, here are my top viewing picks:
Today, the IBM X-Force Research and Development team released its 2010 Mid-Year Trend and Risk Report. The report shows that vulnerability disclosures are increasing dramatically and have reached record levels. It focuses on areas rife with vulnerabilities, such as:
The report also covers some key security trends to watch for the future: cloud computing and virtualization. At theIBM Pulse conferencein Las Vegas this year, these were huge topics in the breakout sessions.� I recorded a podcast interview with a customer panel on Cloud and Security during the conference (see below). The panel touches on some of the very topics surfaced as future trends in the X-Force report and discussesIBM security solutionsmaking a difference in this space today .
Podcast: Security and cloud panel at IBM Pulse 2010
Side note: The item on smarter security relates to the BigFix acquisition news I mention on the IBM Tivoli Software blog.
I'd recommend paying close attention to another big news item not on this list: New survey shows IBM Business Partners expect social media to drive sales. A recent IBM survey with over 1000 Business Partners found that while 45% of IBM Business Partners are experimenting with social media, 74% are seeking out education on social media for business. See the video with IBM VP Sandy Carter below for more details.� You can expect to see big things in this space in months ahead, and I'm excited to be part of that effort!--more on that later.
Thinking that your training budget might be an easy and relatively safe place to cut IT costs? Maybe not. �The Impact of Training on Project Success,� an IDC report based on 2 years of research, finds that training and project success go hand-in-hand � and that IT organizations that cut back on training do so at their own significant risk.
The impact cuts across all IT disciplines. For example, compared to undertrained teams, well-trained teams are:
60% more likely to complete backups successfully
More than twice as likely to meet compliance and legal regulatory requirements for archiving email and content
More than twice as likely to automatically detect and repair virus, spyware and adware infections
This is just a small sample of the findings. Read the full report (PDF, 140KB, no registration required).
Another reason to do more training: You can receive a complimentary Lenovo netbook when you register for an eligible IBM Software class by October 29 2010, and complete the class by December 17, 2010. Get the details.
�The upcoming September 2010 issue of the IBM Software Newsletter includes three very favorable (and very popular) reports from independent analysts:
Forrester Wave catapults IBM WebSphere BPM to preeminent market position. The Forrester Wave: Business Process Management Suites, Q3 2010 positions IBM WebSphere BPM in its Leaders quadrant, and cites IBM WebSphere Dynamic Process Edition as #1 in market presence. But this report is also worth reading for its updated picture of the BPM market - and for its guidelines for choosing the right BPM suite for your specific BPM implementation.
Nucleus Research: IBM adopts SPSS Predictive Modeling internally, nets a 249% ROI in 5 months.�A Nucleus Research report documents the IBM demand generation team's switch from SAS to SPSS predictive modeling. The team got an easier-to-learn, easier-to-use solution that enabled more users to perform analysis � plus they dramatically lowered associated licensing and training costs.
It was a food fest of social conversations and activity around IBM and Smarter Planet this week! It's times like these when I want to leave my day job and spend the whole time participating in conversations and activities on how to make the world a better place. Fortunately, I work at a company that gives me lots of opportunities to do just that even during my day job. While I'm on this topic, and before I get to the business at hand, quick shout out to the IBM launch of People for a Smarter Planet on Facebook this month.
According to Twazzup, the top six links shared around "ibmsoftware" in social media circles today revolve around:
The links above give you a hint of how busy next week is going to be! While all the topics are excellent, the one that will consume my passion and attention the most is the IBM Summit at Start online activity. Start is a United Kingdom initiative by The Prince's Charities Foundation to promote and celebrate sustainable living.
From September 8-16, IBM is sponsoring a nine-day summit at Start in London to convene business, industry, and academic thought leaders to discuss challenges and next steps to enable economic, environmental and societal sustainability. If true change is going to happen, it's going to take groups like this and YOU and me, of course, to make it so. Below are some of the videos and photos at the event and a few other links if you'd like to follow the online conversation.
zEnterprise multimedia resource library. Analysts, reporters and customers can�t stop talking about the new IBM zEnterprise System � so we�ve put everything they have to say on one page packed with links to videos, podcasts, demos, reports, papers and more. Take a look.
The CityOne �serious game� is ready to play! Since it was announced in April at Impact 2010, the CityOne city-sim game has been eagerly anticipated by analysts, customers and journalists alike � in fact nearly 8,000 people registered to be notified when the game went live. Play CityOne to learn how you can make cities and industries smarter by applying IBM technologies � BPM, SOA, collaboration, cloud computing � in innovative ways. Or play just tell people you played an online game featuring content from the EPA. Register and start playing.
Over the years I�ve read hundreds of white papers (no, I�m not looking for your pity). I�ve written dozens. But it�s only once every 10 years or so that I read a paper I wish I wrote myself � one with an opening paragraph like this one:
Imagine that you go to your doctor for your annual physical. You get the usual advice: lose weight, exercise more, and watch your diet. You respond in the usual way: go home and plop down on the couch with the remote control in one hand and a family-sized bag of chips in the other. But...what if that good advice was accompanied by a sophisticated analysis of your test results and other tangible data indicating an 80% chance that you'd have a heart attack in the next two years? Being confronted with facts like those would make most people put down the pastry and pick up the organic bran muffin. Welcome to the world of predictive analytics.
Thus begins �IBM Predicts the Future,� a paper from Gabriel Consulting Group that explains why predictive analytics is the �next big thing� in computing � the third really �big thing� in computing since 300 BC � and why IBM is truly the only vendor, to date, to embrace the trend. The paper is great reading for anyone interested in information management. It�s timely reading on the eve of Information on Demand 2010 and the Business Analytics Forum. And, in my humble opinion, it should be required reading for anyone planning to write or publish a white paper in the near or distant future.
Connectors: people with a special knack for bringing the world together and who can span many different worlds.
Mavens: the information specialists we rely on to connect us with new information. Mavens are really information brokers, sharing and trading what they know.
Salesmen: these are the persuaders: charismatic people with powerful negotiation skills.
Gladwell cites Paul Revere's ride and the overnight popularity of Hush Puppies as examples. But it's also a great way to think about your business analytics deployment � because your deployment needs to demonstrate all three attributes to become pervasive.
Think about it this way:
Your Connectors are the people who can cross the IT-Business or the IT-Finance divide. They are comfortable in each others' worlds, they understand the goals and cultures of both sides and can act as mediator between them. Wayne Eckerson calls them �Purple People.�
Mavens make up your core BI team. These are your professional authors, analysts, data stewards and architects who configure your deployment to serve up insights into your business.
Salesmen are your early adopters and visionaries who see the project's potential and who can convince others of it too when there may very little to go on. Very few deployments get beyond their early stages without these folks.
So. When you look at the people on your team, who do you see? More importantly � who do you not see? Mavens without Connectors have no one to share information with. Connectors without Mavens have nothing to share. With neither of these in place, Salesmen will simply find something else to sell.
It doesn't stop there. Gladwell develops his theory further with three more important dynamics. Let's look at how they can � and should � play out in your deployments.
The Law of the Few states that a tiny proportion of people do the majority of the work. These people find out about something and through social connections and energy and enthusiasm spread the word. You need people who are willing to put in the time to spread the word about their insights.
The Stickiness Factor states that there are relatively simple changes in the presentation and structuring of information that can make a difference in how much of an impact it makes. You need to ensure that the insights you provide immediately convey the right message. Matching the data with the right display is a crucial first step to keep people coming back to your reports.
The Power of Context says that the key to getting people to change their behavior...sometimes lies with the smallest details of their immediate situation. Deployments take hold when you show people how the data you're providing make their daily tasks easier and make them more productive. Find the report or dashboard or plan they use every day. Make it better for them and then they'll actually use it.
Gladwell views The Tipping Point as a way of making sense of the world. �Changes that happen really suddenly, on the strength of the most minor of input, can be deeply confusing,� he says. People who understand it have a way of decoding the world around them.
In business it's no different. We are in a time of tremendous economic upheaval but also of tremendous opportunity. And just as Gladwell sees hope in the message of The Tipping Point, over the next four days you will see how organizations use business analytics to decode the disruptions around them and move forward with confidence.
These are exciting times for business analytics and Business Analytics Forum is an exciting place to be. I'm looking forward to making the most of it. Whatever your goals over the next week, I hope you are able to do the same and I know we're here to help.
Today information pours in faster than we can make sense it. It�s being authored by billions of people � and flowing from a trillion intelligent devices, sensors and all manner of instrumented objects. And with 80 percent of new data growth existing unstructured content � from music files to 3D images to medical records to email keystrokes -- the challenge is trying to pull it all together and make sense of it.
But what if you could tap into this information to uncover lucrative business opportunities? What if you had the �inside information� you needed to retain customers or improve research? What if you could inject certainty and predictability into the decision-making process?
Participants at this week's Information On Demand 2010 forum in Las Vegas are asking these questions, and they�re finding highly intelligent and profitable answers in clever analytics software that can organize, store and mine all of the information scattered throughout their organization and provide customized intelligence to gain faster insight from this information.
After the conference, you can find archived content here:
http://www.livestream.com/ibmsoftware/folder?dirId=add716e6-047a-4e49-a94f-adc1148de8c8 Video on Demand from Information On Demand 2010
View all of our video content, at your leisure. Videos updated daily. http://youtube.com/iodgc�
And, more than 150 tweets tagged with #cognos10 went through the ether, and now, six hours later, the conversation is still going on.
The launch had it all � a glimpse backstage just moments before the main event, explosions, a 15-foot-tall 10 and beta customers Boeing, who are already using the product in a production environment.
Yep. I'd say that's a big story.
And really, today was on only the beginning. Now that Cognos 10 is literally out of the box, we're taking it on the road to more than 100 live and virtual events around the world. You'll have the chance to get up-close and personal with this revolutionary new release. Tomorrow I'll be doing the same and reporting on what I see � I've crammed as many Cognos 10 sessions into my agenda as feasible.
Possibly the only story bigger was the complete vision for Information and Analytics we saw this morning during the official conference opening in the Mandalay Bay's Event Center. In addition to Rob Ashe, on stage throughout the session were:
Arvind Krishna, GM, Information Management Software
Craig Hayman, GM, Industry Solutions
Robert LeBlanc, SVP, Middleware Software
Fred Balboni, WW Leader for Business Analytics & Optimization (BAO)
That each presented an in-depth exploration of their respective domains of the IBM solution was impressive on its own. That in doing so each one built on the value of the predecessor was impressive on a much, much higher scale � what we saw today was a complete, integrated, innovative solution to the challenges of data overload and its continuing and dramatic impact on business outcomes.
Seriously, folks, there's nowhere you can point to in your information and anlaytics challenges that IBM can't help you solve. And given that nearly half the attendees here were first-timers I'd say they're ready to get started.
Attendees to today's opening session of Information On Demand and Business Analytics Forum saw a through line drawn by a succession of presenters, from battlefield surgeons back to the increasing � and increasingly unavoidable - issue of big data.
In an eloquent opening address that from the first unvarnished image held the audience in rapt attention, guest speaker Dr. Atul Gawande explored how data-driven insights have rewritten the rules of the battlefield surgeon and dramatically reduced casualties in the continuing military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But first, the data.
Big data is a big story
Steve Mills, IBM Software Group Senior VP and Group Executive, welcomed attendees with an exploration of data. Big data. Complex data. Fast-moving data that comes at organizations from every direction. Example? The thousands of tweets flying around this very conference made up the 7 terabytes of data that Twitter processes every day. To help organizations address the challenge Mills explained the �method to the madness� in the ongoing string of IBM acquisitions by grouping them into three connected categories: core data management capabilities, data integration, and finally, business analytics. Turbo also blogged about Mills' session in much more detail than I've done here.
Turning big data into business outcomes
Mills was followed by Frank Kern, Senior VP and Managing Partner of IBM Global Business Services, outlined the various ways that IBM solutions are helping clients improve performance outcomes across various industries. Kern drew extensively from this year's IBM Global CEO Survey and stressed the importance of innovation and creativity as the way forward in our challenging times. CEOs around the world are struggling to understand the accelerating complexity of our economy, Kern said. To respond, they must rely not on increasing operational rigor, but on increasing their creativity at all levels. �We must innovate our way through this,� he said. Kern also outlined that those organizations doing well in our current climate view technology as an essential element in their approach. Driven by �the pressure to be right,� top-performing organizations are five times more likely to use analytics over intuition to drive their decision-making and three times more likely to outperform their peers, Kern said.
Improving business outcomesdemands new skills
In the customer panel discussion that followed, representatives from Best Buy, Countrywide Insurance, Nestle and Gwinnett County Public Schools discussed the softer side of the equation by focusing on the new skills that successful organizations rely on, particularly the ability to connect and collaborate across organizational boundaries, and individual empowerment driven by pervasive insights. In addition, each stressed the importance of curiosity and patience in what is often a long journey
Putting it all together on the battlefield
The combination of data, outcomes and new skills came together in Dr. Gawande's vivid address. Dr. Gawande explored the relationship between data and progress from an unexpected source � a chart of war fatalities dating from the American Revolution to the current conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. (When you're done reading this post, check out Turbo's post as well.)
His question was simple: How do you save people in war? Since the 1950s, Dr. Gawande explained, advances in military technology and battlefield surgery had reached a sort of stalemate � with casualty mortality rates staying stable at about 24 percent up until the Persian Gulf War. In the current conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, however, casualty rates have dropped to 10 percent, despite no substantial advances in surgical techniques.
Why the drop?
Surgeons, said Dr. Gawande, began paying attention to the data. They had discovered that mortality rates improved dramatically the closer they were to the hospital. But with modern soliders moving further into the field, the solution wasn't to transport them back to the hospital more quickly, but to transport the hospital with the soldiers. Now, rolling hospitals travel with battlefield units. Within three hours surgeons can create a fully functional hospital. Further, surgeons turned to performing only the most necessary parts of a procedure to enable the wounded solider to be transported to one of several hospitals farther away. This, said Dr. Gawande, ran counter to a surgeon's training. Yet in a hostile environment lacking xrays and other amenities it resulted in a dramatic reduction in fatalities.
People make only two kinds of mistakes, Dr. Gawande said. Mistakes of ignorance happen when people lack the information they need to make good decisions. Mistakes of ineptitude happen when people don't know how to use the information in the right way.
If data driven insights can result in such dramatic transformations as to save actual lives, imagine what they can do for your business. Our challenge, said Dr. Gawande, is to cope with complexity and execute properly on the knowledge that does exist. It's going to require new teams, new kinds of people and, in his words, �could not be more fascinating.�
One more wrap-up post to write, but before I dive into my notes on that one, I thought I'd get this one up, pronto. Here, without further delay, are 10 ways to discover all that is IBM Cognos 10. Feel free to indulge in any or all of them to unleash intelligence in your own organization.
1. Give us a call. If you've already seen the simulcast, watched the demo and read the white paper, this is the next logical step. It's also the next logical step if you don't want to do any of those things and just get down to business. Our proverbial representatives are standing by to assess your analytics needs and suggest the best starting point. Our North American toll-free number is 1-866-601-1934 and you can find a full list of contact numbers here.
2. Watch the new features demo. You'll see the new unified BI workspace, collaborative capabilities and mobile BI. You'll also see how other new features drive better business outcomes for a range of user types across your organization. See it now.
3. Download our new Cognos 10 White Paper. You'll discover why insights and agility are two essential attributes of successful organizations and how IBM Cognos 10 enables both of these for individual contributors and for organizations as a whole. Get it now.
4. Download our new Business Analytics White Paper, too. You'll read how IBM Business Analytics is building �analytics-driven� organizations that overcome data silos, rigid structures, fragemented perspectives and other barriers to better business outcomes. Download.
5. Download our new book,Business Intelligence Strategy: A Practical Guide for Achieving BI Excellence. Representatives from The Nielsen Company, Johnson & Johnson, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and The Boeing Company discuss proven, real-world techniques to build your business case, demonstrate value and drive user adoption. Get the book.
6. Sign up for one of 100 live worldwide events. Now that Cognos 10 is quite literally out of the box, we're taking it on the road and around the world. If you couldn't make it to Business Analtyics Forum in person, these events are your best chance to get up-close and personal with Intelligence Unleashed. Find your event.
7. Sign up for one of our virtual events in North America or EMEA. IBM Cognos 10 can also come to you. These interactive sessions feature a keynote presentation by our own Harriet Fryman and breakout sessions that let you interact with our product experts. North American audiences can click here. Audiences in EMEA can click here.
8. Bookmark our Cognos 10 Microsite. You'll find detailed information on how IBM Cognos 10 provides you the freedom to think, connect with others and simply do. Plus, learn about the innovative new features in the IBM Cognos platform and go deep into any capability you choose. Go there now.
9. Watch the replay of the launch event, complete with countdown, explosions and business analytics on the iPad. Watch now.
Take a closer look at any large city today and you'll find another city pulsating within it, made up of interconnected systems of many different functions and activities.
Similarly, educational curriculums are being redesigned to provide students from all disciplines with the tools they need to thrive in this technology-rich, dynamically networked world � and make a difference in our cities.
For example, analytics is no longer the domain of just mathematicians or statisticians. Employers are looking for graduates who are well-rounded and adaptable in many areas, for example using analytics to help modernize health care systems, making older buildings more energy-efficient, and designing public transportation systems that run better.
IBM knows that in order to help cities tackle thorny challenges � from traffic congestion, to energy use, to the building of sustainable communities � a new set of skills is required. IBM is partnering with colleges and universities to give students access to the technologies and training needed to learn new skills and put them to work in our cities.
In Chicago, IBM and DePaul University recently opened a data mining and analytics center to train students in predictive analytics, a skill increasingly in demand by employers in cities around the globe.
And at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, a new Smarter Infrastructure Lab will be a place for IBM researchers and students from the engineering, architecture, public policy, and business schools to come up with ideas for building smarter cities.
Non-profits also play important roles in education innovations of all kinds. IBM recently announced a series of software, services and consulting grants to help local nonprofit groups better connect with communities and students in need. These Trailblazer grants are already making a difference in improving education systems in cities around the U.S. � from Philadelphia, to Milwaukee, to Boston.
Cities are vibrant, living systems that thrive on human and economic diversity, creative thinking, and new forms of commerce, culture, science and society. And to make them truly smarter, students need to have keen eyes for they way cities work.