Delivering quality software on-time and on-target isn't easy. A large chunk of time is often spent troubleshooting application issues in test and production. And the resulting bottlenecks can stifle progress and innovation.
But now there's a new approach to software development called DevOps that puts the development shop closer to operations to identify potential problems and bring software to production more quickly. And IBM is there to help with new tools and resources to help businesses simplify and speed the software development process, particularly for cloud and mobile applications.
Guest post by Claus T. Jensen, IBM STSM and SOA Foundation Chief Architect.
These days people invariably mention mobile, social, cloud or big data as "the next cool thing." But when talking about "the next cool thing," we should really ask ourselves, why is that important? New business initiatives do not come out of thin air; they are important to the business for a reason. Mobile, social, cloud and big data are all related to the challenge of becoming an engaging enterprise, a concern that has risen to the top of the priority list for most businesses in today's connected and collaborative business environment.
An engaging enterprise is one that has transformed itself from being transaction-centric to being interaction-centric. A business interaction is relevant to the business and happens (as it occurs) between two or more participants in an enterprise network through systems of engagement that often are not fully under the control of the enterprise. Participants in the interaction range across IT systems, devices and people and can be mobile, on premises or in the cloud; often simultaneously interacting over many channels. Many interactions are not transactional in nature, and they do not represent any kind of contract of commitment. Finally the enterprise itself need not necessarily be a part in all business interactions of interest. For instance, it is important for many enterprises to know and understand what is being said about them in social media, yet that need does not make the enterprise a part in such interactions, but merely an interested observer.
Bottom line, becoming an engaging enterprise is not just about innovating internally with developers on staff. You must find ways to profit from the innovation that exists within external communities-communities that you do not directly control and can only influence. You need to mediate loosely coupled participants, provide location and time transparency and transform unplanned interactions into structured conversation and business insight, thereby supporting the dynamic evolution of smart transactions.
And, therein lies the challenge of this new business agenda. How do we gather and maintain the continuous insight that allows us to always take the right actions at the right time and for the right reasons?
Controlling the Edge as a source of insight
In this new world, we cannot control the development environment as apps will be developed in many ways and by many parties (e.g., agencies and API consumers). Nor can we any longer control the end-to-end execution environment as significant parts of it lie outside the enterprise (e.g, cloud and social). So what can we control? We can control the Edge, the boundary between the systems of engagement outside the enterprise and the systems of record inside the enterprise. And by controlling the Edge, we give ourselves an invaluable source of insight if we know how to leverage it.
From an engaging enterprise perspective what you most likely want to engineer and control are the interactions that are deemed important to the business. One very effective way of doing that is to apply the design principles of service oriented architecture (SOA).
Service orientation is all about is providing well-defined interfaces (services) with clear business semantics and runtime enforced security and workload policies. Whether we call these well defined interfaces services or business API's mainly depends on context and audience - both are derived from the principles of service orientation, and both need to be integrated with the systems of record of the enterprise.
The Edge becomes the control point for integration
It is tempting to simply say "of course you need to integrate with back-end systems, what else are services about?" But what exactly is the extent of what needs to be integrated, and how do you control that integration when you are not in control of the way the service consumer is being developed? In the world of the engaging enterprise, the control point is not a user interface framework, rather it is the edge of the enterprise - the point where the uncontrolled meets the somewhat controlled.
The notion of an edge gateway to control the perimeter of the enterprise is of course not new from a security and access control point, but edge gateways in an engaging enterprise need to do much more.
Workload needs to be controlled, including monitoring and enforcement of business service level agreements (SLA's) with partners and consumers.
Accounting on the edge is new; not only do SLA's need to be enforced but, in many cases, consumers of a service or API also need to pay for that use as part of an indirect business model.
Finally, analytics on the edge are important - the engaging enterprise needs to understand, analyze and learn from the totality of its business interactions, many of which are only visible at the edge given that intrusive changes in all back-end systems are usually not practical.
Big data for continuous insight
Continuous insight is the notion that, based on all available information, an engaging enterprise can maintain a sufficiently rich state of the world so that true business insight can be gained and relevant action taken.
So how do you actually get access to a plethora of disparate information sources?
How do you provide business insight in a consumable fashion that can be composed for higher level applications?
Not to mention, how do you collect and process insight from all the interactions of interest for an engaging enterprise?
Those are just three of the questions that highlight the close relationship between big data and continuous insight.
Let us begin by considering the third of the questions, how do you tap into the data already flowing through the business? How do you instrument applications to provide a "stream of consciousness" in a non-intrusive fashion as, after all, many of those applications are developed outside your control? One obvious answer is that you tap into data already flowing through the business simply by instrumenting the enterprise service bus (ESB) middleware that carries all interactions between systems of engagement and systems of record, siphoning off information from any interaction that includes an end point inside the enterprise.
While this does not cover all relevant information (e.g., everything happening in a social community) it does address the major part of the visibility challenge. It results in a big data challenge. There will be a lot of data coming off the instrumentation of the ESB, and you will likely want to use it in many different ways, such as to:
Know your client better - know their location, reach them now, use authoritative information as part of any interaction. Customers expect you to know who and where they are (have you ever had to repeat the information on who you are and why you are calling?).
Determine next best action - determine the right thing to do here and now, leverage strategic insight from information collected over time. Customers expect you to be smart about what you suggest as the next interaction, or they won't give you the time of day (have you ever had someone propose a solution that you rejected last week?).
Adapt now - make deployed solutions adaptive, instrument processes to react to current situation and location. Customers have no patience with processes that were clearly not created with their circumstances in mind (have you ever been on the phone with someone who is following a script that includes five steps you have already been through?).
Have better compliance - check qualifications and policies on the fly, handle exceptions in a structured fashion, apply risk management to the information collected. Authorities, internal as well as external, expect you to comply with policies and regulations at all times and be able to prove it (have you ever been in a situation where you were not able to prove with documented certainty that you were in compliance with the relevant legislation?).
A common thread through all of these is the desire to become progressively more predictive, which in turn requires giving up the notion of certain truth.
An engaging enterprise will have to deal in probability and risk as part of doing business. Furthermore, an engaging enterprise will have to deal with the four V's of big data (which is more than just big):
Handling the 4 V's of big data
Volume - the amount of information to process is growing exponentially due to the internet of things (e.g., sensors, mobile devices, appliances and cars)
Velocity - much of the information of interest is never persisted in data stores, in fact it would be practically impossible to do so, hence it has to be processed on the fly (e.g., RFID sensors telling you that a very important customer has walked into the store, or information from the Big Hadron Collider searching for the most elusive of atomic particles within a millionth of a second)
Variety - information of interest rarely conforms to a centrally defined model, in fact as much of 80 percent of the world's data is unstructured with no predefined schema (e.g., emails, social interactions, historical journals)
Veracity - not all information can be equally trusted; trustworthiness must be quantified by source and type of information (e.g., opinions on a blog, tweets, information from partners with their own agenda)
So how do you access and control those disparate information sources? And how do you compose different kinds of insight for strategic advantage? Once again you apply the good design principles of SOA.
Big data must partner with SOA
By exposing both information streams and analytical capabilities as well defined services, you create desirable loose couplings between the information source, the analytical engine and the business application needing the business insight. So look for technology capabilities that mix big data and SOA, rather than always relying on traditional data warehouse approaches.
As an engaging enterprise moves from connecting and mediating in an IT transaction context to connecting and mediating people and devices, so does that same enterprise in an information context move from focusing on transactional payload to focusing on deriving and leveraging business insight.
SOA does not create insight, but SOA does help apply insight in the right way, at the right time and in the right place. SOA also helps collect evidence on what is going on in the operational environment and can help capture business outcomes. In addition to what can be supplied by SOA, most business analytics use cases need the ability to collate and reconcile information, an ability provided by Master Data Management solutions. Beyond Master Data Management, the most advanced business insight solutions may even need specialist information providers; an analysis is only as good as the information that it is based upon. SOA is not a substitute for information management capabilities, rather it is the blend of SOA and information management that unlocks the full potential of insight at the Edge.
The IBM InterConnect 2012 Conference just ended yesterday, and Mobile was on everyone's lips here in Singapore. The conference was a huge success with over 2500 attendees from 50 different countries. You can find videos of much of the conference in three primary places:
Hot topic session: "Speeding innovation and extending reach with Mobile Enterprise"
During the main Mobile hot topic session "Speeding innovation and extending reach with Mobile Enterprise, " IBM General Manager Marie Wieck covered how Mobile Enterprise is a key game changer in the industry today, giving examples in health care, construction, government, banking, and transportation. She discussed some of the top issues in a Mobile first strategy in the enterprise:
Fragmentation of devices and platforms
Speed and frequent iteration of mobile lifecycle
Security to protect corporate data
Connectivitiy to back-end systems and cloud
Mobile context taking advantage of unique capabilities such as geo-location
Marie illustrated some of her key points with the following videos:
Then, IBM Mobile Foundation specialist, Miku Jha, took us through some of the unique IBM Mobile offering solutions that help with some of the issues above and discussed some of the most recent IBM announcements in Mobile Solutions and Services such as IBM Security Access Manager (ISAM) forCloud and Mobile,IBM Mobile Development LifecycleSolution, and new offerings inIBM Mobile Enterprise Services.
John Capriotti, with TBC, shared his company's unique approach to defining and implementing a Mobile strategy. I loved the holistic, ethnographic approach he took with a research design team. His talk was so fascinating, I made sure we captured an interview with him on our Livestream stage in the InterConnect expo. You can also get a glimpse of his story in this TBC video.
Mobile Enterprise Exchange session
The Mobile Enterprise exchange session at the conference was excellent, During the session, Kevin Custis, Global leader for Social Business and Mobile Services for IBM GBS, led approximately 50 attendees in a highly engaging, open discussion on the most pressing challenges in implementing Mobile Enterprise solutions. Topics ranged from user experience, security, debates about devices and development platforms, and the evolution of mobile strategies. 32% of respondents said that "Optimizing user experience" is their biggest concern in application development. One customer commented, "It's increasingly more easy to deliver an experience, but it's the nuance of the experience that will differentiate a company."
When asked, What have been your most significant challenges with connecting/integrating mobile into the rest of your IT environment?," 52% of respondents said "We have not developed our approach yet, and are still evaluating our challenges." Generally, the group felt that they ranked alongside competition since much of the industry has not evolved this space yet.
Photos of IBM Mobile activities at InterConnect
While roaming around the conference, I took a few pictures of Mobile sessions and experts. Enjoy!
My next stop in covering IBM Mobile Enterprise is an exciting trip to the Information on Demand Conference in Las Vegas, October 21-25, 2012. The main themes in Mobile will cover big data, analytics, information management, enterprise content management, data services, and more. As always, I'm looking forward to learning more and meeting new experts in this space.
Stay current on and connected with IBM Mobile news and experts in the following ways:
How many times did you use CICS Transaction Server this year? This week? Today? Unless you're already familiar with IBM's 43 year-old transaction server, you might be scratching your head and thinking �I've never used it!�.
Have you had lunch yet? If so, did you pay with a debit or credit card? Then you've used CICS. Did you pay for lunch with cash instead? CICS entered your life then too � when you went to the ATM to withdraw the money.
And you're not alone. CICS Transaction Server handles a dizzying number of transactions every day. More than 30 billion transactions a day in fact (and at least three CICS customers are exceeding one billion transactions a day each). In the course of a week, those transactions are valued at over $1,000,000,000,000 (that's one trillion dollars). Every single week.
Almost every commercial electronic transaction that you make is processed by CICS. Consider the transactions involved in taking a business trip by train. You'll search for available travel times, book a train ticket, purchase travel insurance, and check in to a hotel room. Each one of those transactions needs to be completed quickly, securely, and reliably, and it's CICS Transaction Server that's behind them all.
CICS and System z: perfect partners
So what is CICS, and how is it still so relevant after 43 years? It's a transaction server that runs primarily on the IBM System z mainframe. System z is well known for its high availability, averaging about 5 minutes of downtime per year (by combining System z mainframes, that downtime is reduced to almost zero). Of the world's 25 biggest banks, all 25 use System z. A single System z mainframe is highly scalable � it can comfortably run over a thousand virtual Linux images on a single box. CICS Transaction Server is designed to take full advantage of the System z platform, controlling the interactions between applications and users.
CICS provides applications with an extensive range of system services, such as security and transactional integrity. Application programs written for CICS use an application programming interface (API) to request these CICS services. The CICS API is provided in multiple languages, from COBOL to Java. There are APIs for presentation services (for user interfaces), data services (for retrieving and updating data), and business services (for manipulating data).
Out with the old, in with the new
The real beauty of CICS � and a reason it is still going strongly today � is the ability to separate and reuse business logic. CICS applications that were designed to work with a green screen 3270 terminal 20 years ago can be modernized to support web services today, without making changes to the original business logic of the application. CICS has remained current with changing middleware technologies: CICS has embraced HTTP web servers, Enterprise JavaBeans, Java adapters, and SOAP web services in recent years.
CICS and cloud computing
Today IBM announced a new version - CICS Transaction Server V5.1. This new release addresses over 100 customer requirements � a record for a new CICS release.
One of the improvements continues the CICS tradition of adopting emerging technologies with support for cloud computing. CICS provides operation efficiency and service agility with cloud enablement.
Adopting CICS into your architecture
To learn more about CICS Transaction Server, and how application architects can incorporate the value of CICS into their business, take a look at the newly published IBM Redbooks publication Architects Guide to CICS on System z.
Martin Keenis an IBM Redbooks Project Leader. He leads publications on many areas of IBM software, including WebSphere, Messaging, and Business Process Management. Follow Martin on Twitter at @MartinRTP.
IBM officially invites you to InterConnect 2012 from October 9-11 in Singapore, where business and IT leaders partner to turn opportunities into outcomes.
In the video below, IBM Vice Presidents Scott Hebner and John Dunderdale explain how, on today's increasingly smarter planet--where everything is becoming more
interconnected, instrumented, and intelligent--a new type of business leadership is emerging as technology dramatically impacts the success of businesses.
To win in this new era of interconnected industries, businesses and consumers, business and IT leaders have to connect with the people who can help turn
opportunities into outcomes. They need to:
Unleash innovation with a new approach to the economics of IT.
Manage to the velocity of today's rapidly changing markets and businesses.
Better leverage the volume, variety, and velocity of information to fundamentally reinvent relationships with your individual clients, employees and business partners.
InterConnect 2012 is the only conference where you can connect with an international network of peers in exchange sessions based on your areas of interest. It also helps you
connect to the issues and �hot topics� such as Cloud Computing, Mobility, Big Data, and Security that are changing the shape of your world and business and IT today and
To learn more about what we can expect to see around Mobile Enterprise at IBM InterConnect 2012, I interviewed Tracy Clark, IBM Mobile Marketing Manager.
What will be the key focus on Mobile Enterprise at IBM InterConnect this year?
IBM InterConnect will highlight speeding Innovation and extending reach securely with Mobile Enterprise - In a world where everyone is connected to everything, your organization�s infrastructure has no boundaries. Successful companies are doing business in motion. The challenge is managing and securing an infrastructure that connects an endless array of intelligent devices and sensors that are outside your control.
IBM InterConnect will examine how to transform your organization to a Mobile Enterprise -- fundamentally changing and creating new value for customer, supplier and employee interaction. It will explore how new data and transactions and analytics workloads can provide value and insight with the peace of mind that the security and management discipline required are future ready.
Why is this topic important right now?
Mobile is no longer a luxury or �want-to-have� � it�s a mandatory transformation organizations must go through today. Successful enterprises must be mobile. Employees, partners and customers are all mobile; they expect and demand it.
Smart mobile devices have now passed PCs in the marketplace, and there are expected to be 10 billion devices in market by 2020. Think of nearly any profession. Chances are they can do their job, even better, with use of mobile technologies. Mobile removes the boundaries of an office, a hard-wired IT system, and it brings data and decision making to the forefront.
There is real value in mobile. Both in terms of business efficiency � one study noted a 45% increase in productivity through the use of mobile apps and in terms of employee, partner and customer satisfaction and loyalty. Mobile is a critical part of the fabric of today�s enterprise. And CIOs recognize it and are prioritizing mobile in their strategy and plans.
Successful mobile enterprises are transforming the way they do business with redesigned processes and user experiences. In doing so, they are creating ever increasing data and transactions and new analytics workloads to derive value and insight. They are fundamentally changing and creating new value in the forms of employee, partner and customer engagement.
What type of Mobile content can we can expect to see at InterConnect 2012?
Conference attendees can join the hot topic session dedicated to �Speeding Innovation and Extending Reach with Mobile Enterprise� to interact with IBM mobile subject matter experts, hear customer stories from various industries, and see hands-on demonstrations of new capabilities from IBM that can help companies take the next steps to make mobile integral to their enterprises.
IBM executives, including Marie Wieck, General Manager of Application and Integration Middleware, will speak on the market context of mobile, IBM�s mobile point of view, and IBM�s mobile strategy going forward.
IBM Business Partners and customers will discuss how they are leveraging IBM Mobile products to extend and transform their business.
IBM Worklight and other IBM Mobile demos showing distinct value, benefits and solving real problems for customers through our IBM product capabilities will be available.
And IBM executives will be sharing some pretty big announcements around IBM�s new innovations and commitment in the Mobile space.
How can others stay connected with IBM Mobile news and information?
I suggest the following options:
This week you're bound to hear a lot of buzz around Analytics & Big Data, Mobile Platform and Solutions, Cloud, Security, Agility Commerce, and Social Business due the IBM TechForum in Bangalore, India on August 9.
If you'd like to tune into the conversations, you can follow #IBMTechForum on Twitter or the official IBM Twitter account, @IBMTechForum.
You can also watch the Opening General Session live from 9:00-11:00 am India Standard time (which is August 8, 11:30 pm-1:30 am Eastern Daylight Savings Time).
Each year, the IBM Beacon Awards recognize the most innovative solutions from IBM Business Partners. Spanning a wide range of solutions and markets in support of Smarter Planet, winning solutions consistently demonstrate exemplary value by solving real business issues for clients.
In addition to providing IBM Business Partners with recognition for their achievements over the past year, the Beacon Awards also give winners an opportunity to gain greater visibility across the industry and within IBM through press and analyst support, PartnerWorld web recognition, as well as video testimonials. Winning Business Partners will also receive a crystal trophy, use of the IBM Beacon Award mark for one year, and complimentary registration to the event at which award winners will be announced.
This year, Business Partners will be recognized in the following categories:
For an overview of the IBM Beacon Awards, as well as a look at last year's winners, check out this video from the 2011PartnerWorld Leadership Conference, courtesy of the IBM PartnerWorld Livestream Channel:
Nominations for the 2012 IBM Beacon Awards are due on November 1, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. IBM Business Partners can visit PartnerWorld to get a better understanding of eligibility criteria for the IBM Beacon Awards, as well as answers to some of the most frequently asked questions related to the awards.
We're looking to hear what you feel are the major drivers and motivators in the tech industry right now.
In the 2010 IBM Tech Trends Survey, more than 50% of the respondents told us mobile application development will overtake other types of development by 2015. And nearly 70% felt cloud computing will become the primary way organizations will acquire IT in the next five years.
The survey garnered press coverage across the globe, allowing IBM to highlight its offerings for the top trends identified. The PR success of the 2010 survey has prompted us to make this an annual survey and expand the subjects we can cover.
For 2011, we set out to go deeper with the 2011 IBM Tech Trends Survey. We will reveal the motivators that drive these trends, identify adoption challenges and concerns, and explore other growth areas such as cloud development, social business and business analytics.
This blog is written by Mauricio Godoy, IBM Analyst Relations.
IBM�s Cloud Forum in San Francisco introduces Quora into the IBM SWG Analyst Relations program.� Quora�s interactive Q&A features provide cloud computing executives with a social platform to exchange questions and answers with their analyst audience.
The goal of using Quora at IBM�s Cloud Forum is to provide analysts with access to executives and valuable knowledge about how clients are benefiting from IBM�s cloud computing services.� Quora is growing, and its ability to unite analysts with tailored information is a valuable opportunity for events.�
Analysts can publish their questions; executives can publish their answers.
Executive participation plays a major role in Quora�s success at this event. Their participation is appreciated and their expertise is valued. The following IBM Cloud Computing executives are now participating on Quora�s IBM Cloud Forum Topic:
Lauren States - Vice President, Technology Strategy, Growth Initiatives, IBM
Jim Comfort - Vice President, Portfolio & SO Offering Management, IBM GTS
Angel Diaz - Vice President, Software Standards, IBM Software Group
Knowing which analysts are on Quora is key. Informing them a topic has been created so they may participate, and including a link to the topic in an email is helpful.
Your ideas or suggestions are welcomed in the comments.
�In case you missed the press conference livestreamed from the IBM Impact conference yesterday, see the replay below. It covers some of the great announcements around Smarter Commerce, business process management, cloud computing, mobility and more in the Impact press kit.
You can watch live portions of the IBM Impact Conference in Las Vegas remotely from the IBM ImpactTV Livestream channel. The keynote general opening session begins at 8:15 am Pacific Time on Monday, April 10. General sessions will also take place at 8:30 am Pacific Time Tuesday and Wednesday next week.
With already 20 million end-user clients using its Cloud software and services, making it one of the world's largest providers of software-as-a-service, IBM expects to drive $7 billion in revenue by 2015. IBM differentiates itself with extensive research and experience in developing and implementing Cloud solutions across different business models. Steve Mills, Senior Vice President and Group Executive - IBM Software & Systems, sums up IBM's perspective well with, �We have a track record of helping clients safely embrace and accelerate enterprise adoption of new models and technologies � from e-business to Linux and open source � and we're doing it now for Cloud.�� IBM demonstrates its Cloud commitment as a member of Cloud Standards Customer Council, "joining with 40 of world�s leading enterprises to help advance cloud adoption prioritizing key interoperability issues such as management, reference architectures, hybrid cloud, as well as security and compliance."
Today, IBM is announcing that, "For the first time, enterprise clients will be able to select key characteristics of a public, private and hybrid cloud to match workload requirements from simple Web infrastructure to complex business processes, along five dimensions," including:�
Security and isolation
Availability and performance
Management Support and Deployment
Payment and Billing�
IBM Software plays a very important role in these announcements with solution offerings such as:
As a social business strategist, one of the areas I'm particularly interested in around these announcements is how clients, like educational institutions, use our social business Cloud offerings. A great example, in the video below, is how the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising uses LotusLive for its social collaboration needs.
As I mentioned before, keep your eye on the #ibmcloud tag in Twitter this week. And stay in touch with these networks to follow the IBM Cloud conversation:
Keep your eye on the #ibmcloud tag in Twitter this week. IBM is hosting an IBM Cloud Forum tomorrow (April 7) with more than 150 C-level executives and direct reports in San Francisco to discuss Cloud in the enterprise and will be making quite a few IBM Cloud announcements.
The forum will cover:
Cloud insights based on thousands of IBM client engagements
Opportunities cloud presents to clients to transform their IT and business operations
The unique role IBM will play in this transformation
For more information, try the following social networks:
For now, I'll leave you with an interview Scott Laningham did with one of our IBM Cloud Computing executives, Jose Spagnuolo, at the IBM Pulse conference. They discuss some of the questions our customers are asking about Cloud today.
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