Todd "Turbo" Watson -- IBM Corporation
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  cio information_management media ibm_software 7 Comments 4,104 Views
The feature on this week's ibm.com home page is "The Future of Sports," and as I read through drafts of some of the story's components -- including listening to the excellent future of sports podcast - it dawned on me that there may have never been a better time to be an athlete or a sports fan.
Full disclosure: My name is Todd, and I'm a sportsaholic. I grew up in north Texas, near Dallas, where football was as close to a religion as one could get without going to church, and where Little League baseball diamonds were a fixture permanently etched into the landscape. In my adolescence, I played both baseball and football, and also dabbled in soccer, basketball, cross country, golf, and even rodeo (yes, we do consider rodeo to be a sport...same with NASCAR...but more on that later).
I was never a star player, particularly in team sports, but I relished the opportunity and experience of playing both organized team and individual sports, and my participation taught me no end of lessons: teamwork, collaboration, cooperation, sacrifice, perserverance, how to throw my golf putter into a lake with style and finesse but also with the appropriate amount of anger...all qualities that I would inevitably call upon in later years for my business life.
Sporting Solutions for a Small Planet
In my travels for and work experiences on behalf of IBM, I've been most fortunate to have escaped the boundaries of my own geography and culture, and witnessed what sports means around the world, both virtually and up close.
Instant replay: On one of my international business trips, to Munich, I watched in fascination at the complete preoccupation of my European colleagues with the 1998 World Cup, and realized that no matter where in the world you are, football is football...except in Europe, where soccer is football, which my European colleagues were quick to point out...but my real point in mentioning it was this: sport is sport around the globe, certainly even as one man's sport is another man's bore.
I also learned that sport, like politics, is mostly local, even as it plays a crucial and necessary role in shaping national and even state identity...but it's mostly local. My tribe...err, I mean my team, is always better than your team, except when my team loses, in which case it's time to elect a new president...err, I mean hire a new coach.
Yet with the dramatic changes in technology over the past decade, what was once local has become instantaneously global.
Just this past weekend, by way of example, I watched as Tiger Woods played (and eventually won) the Dubai Desert Classic, a golf tournament halfway around the world -- sometimes in real-time and at others in instant replay. I had no end of options to read about or follow it closely, including the IBM-sponsored PGATour.Com But the best part was that I had any option at all, something avid sports fans didn't have when growing up with Jim McKay and ABC's "The Wide World of Sports."
The agony of victory and thrill of defeat was all well and good in the wide world of sports, up until about the time the shackles of broadcast commercial TV delayed replays or blackouts and forced you to miss the one game you really wanted to see in that not-very-wide-world-after-all. Call it the agony of oligopoly, where the channels of opportunity were limited by the scarcity of broadcast spectrum and, in turn, the limited number of sports media outlets. The endless capacity of the Internet precludes that from being an issue for the virtual world of sports.
IBM: Helping Fans Get Closer to the Action
Sport has always been very much an "on demand"-oriented endeavor, especially in terms of the need for instantaneous information and results. Thus, the global and individual accessibility of the Internet pairs nicely with the required immediacy of sports.
IBM's innovation in bringing technology to sports occurred early on in the Internet game, beginning with our early IT sponsorships of the U.S. Open, the Masters and PGA Tour, the Olympics, and others. In those experiences, we learned a great deal about the utility and applicability of our technology and the unique power of the Internet to address some very time-sensitive business problems, the lessons of which informed and shaped our product development.
These efforts helped us more effectively address other customers' problems through the lessons we learned from these sports sponsorships, some harder than others. Like the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, when IBM stumbled onto the javelin after being unable to deliver a critical scoring results feed to the news media, who were using the timely information in that feed to inform the rest of the planet. Lesson learned.
That very same year, IBM delivered live results of Tiger Woods' historic and relentless march up the fairways of Augusta to take his first green jacket. The Java-based Internet scorecard developed expressly for the Masters was the first of many innovations in our sports coverage efforts (read my account of a more recent one about the "Point Tracker" from last September's U.S. Open).
And from what I can surmise as I scan the fast-changing digital media landscape, this game is just getting rolling. IP-based digital media online is probably the most recent and important evolution for sports coverage in recent years, and is opening up whole new opportunities for athlete and fan interaction. You've also got fantasy sports leagues, online and console gaming, IPTV...all putting fans closer and closer to the action, and sometimes even directly into the driver's seat.
Gentlemen, Turn On Your Remotes
Take NASCAR, as an example. Just recently, Time Warner Cable sent me an invitation to subscribe to its new "NASCAR In Car" digital cable offering, which will allow me to watch "6 drivers on 6 in-car camera channels with live team audio and real-time in car-data." Does that mean I also get to experience driving into the wall of the Texas Motor Speedway at 180 MPH??? (Read a recent story in CIO magazine to learn how technology is changing NASCAR and helping it build its booming business.) Without the ability to provide multiple feeds through an IP-based broadband pipe, such a feat would have been impossible even just a few short years ago.
The point is this: Moving forward, no matter where in the world you may be, technology is going to allow you to follow your favorite team or athlete no matter where in the world they may be at the moment of, at - and even after -- the event, and increasingly via the device of your choice (Anyone see those ESPN Mobile TV ads in the Super Bowl last night? You thought people talking on the phone at the movies or restaurants was an etiquette issue? Just you wait until you can watch them jump up and down cheering at your cousin's wedding when the Steelers go for two and make it.)
People's behavior and the technology opportunity will certainly have to catch up with one another and make some adjustments, but the best news of all is that fans are going to be able to become a more integral partner in the experience, making the convergence of technology and sports the new team to watch.
I'm personally very much looking forward to the day when I can play in a virtual 3-D foresome with Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger. Until that time, I'll keep practicing my course management on the X-Box.[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  infoondemandconf2006 information_management 3 Comments 4,749 Views
Though I missed out on the Gladys Knight concert last evening here in Anaheim, I'm told it was a rocking show and a good time was had by all.
Me, I chilled in the hotel crib and watched in amazement as the Chicago Bears made an unfathomable comeback to beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 24-23. Ouch.
This morning, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and headed over to the Hilton to listen in on how the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) is becoming a "paperless agency."
IBM and the SSA have an enduring partnership. As longtime Social Security Administration veteran Thomas Grzymski explained in the session, IBM has been working with the SSA since its founding in 1935.
From punch cards to the installation of its first IBM computer in 1956 (the IBM 705), since the first Social Security payments went out in 1940 Big Blue has helped the SSA keep up with the changing times.
In the 1980s, IBM worked with the SSA to spare some trees through the establishment of online processing of claims and, later, through its Paperless Program Service Center project, where more data was retained electronically and all incoming mail was scanned to enable more digital workflow.
This resulted in less friction and quickened response times. Or, in other words, your check's in the mail that much faster.
Most recently, IBM worked with the SSA to streamline the distribution of checks for its disability program. Called the "Electronic Disability Process" (or "eDibs", for short), the new system is built atop a plethora of IBM Software -- WebSphere Application Server, IBM DB2 Content Manager, IBM Records Manager -- the list goes on, but I won't.
When you consider that the SSA deals with hundreds of millions of transactions per year (you should've seen the picture of the massive rollaround mail carts Mr. Grzymski demonstrated -- it looked like a bumper mail bag car rally at the Post Office!), anything that can streamline the process means improved service to disabled claimants, including hastened mail time. It also helps minimize misplaced or lost case files ("Sure, my check's in the mail!")
To read more about the rollout of the SSA eDibs system, check out this story in "Network World."
Meanwhile, know that the check is, in fact, in the mail...but that the check started out as a bunch of extremely efficient bits and bytes moving through an IBM content management system.
This is one time where you can truly say with a straight face: Your tax dollars hard at work.[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  business_intelligence cognos information_management ibm_software 2 Comments 5,655 Views
Hey, first off, I just want to say I'm real sorry to all my New York Giants friends. I know you all hate to be beaten up on by a bunch of Cowboys (hee hee hee). Good game, though.
And speaking of getting beaten up on, I bet every last one of you loves your mobile phone carrier, right?
Ever since my second trip to Tokyo in the spring of 2000, when I saw my first NTT DoCoMo iMode phone in action, complete with WAP-like applications (including a virtual fishing game!), I've wondered about the perilous fate of mobile computing in the U.S.
So, apparently, is The New York Times in an article this morning entitled "Cellphone Straitjacket Is Inspiring A Rebellion."
Somebody bar the mobile tower's gates, the open mobile computing platform mob is gathering and they are ticked!
Me, I don't want much from my little Blackberry Pearl. Just be able to quickly load sports scores and look up that cool restaurant's address, or find an on-the-spot movie listing. I can do all that, mostly, but it sure can take a long time.
Though the Times' piece suggests the iPhone started the easy-to-use mobile computing battle, Google's recent Open Handset Alliance and bid for new spectrum licenses last January only added fuel to the fire.
For my money, it all comes down to the age-old battle: Walled Garden Hell, or Open Network Eden. Me, I'll take a bite out of the apple every time if it means more application (and carrier) choices.
And speaking of bites out of the apple, IBM announced its intent to acquire business intelligence and performance management software leader, Ottowa, Ontario, Canada-based Cognos, for U.S. $58 a share (around $5 billion).
I look forward to eventually working and speaking with my new Cognos colleagues...preferably via a phone on an open mobile network.
I'm a bit of a news junkie, if that wasn't evident. My social studies teachers always told me it was important to keep up with what's going on in the world, to read the newspaper, to watch the evening news, etc. Of course, now with the explosion of personal media (blogs, podcasts, news aggregation engines and filters, etc.), it's all a bit overwhelming.
To my mind, filters are more important than ever. Within IBM, I've often distinguished between the old and new media as being the difference between hunting-and-gathering and the Domino's pizza guy. With hunting-and-gathering, during the first decade of the WWW and the early evolution of search engines, we primarily characterized our behavior in terms of going out and looking for information.
Next, with the advent of various content syndication standards (namely RSS 1 and 2, and Atom), we saw the Domino's pizza delivery guy arrive on the scene. Now, we can "subscribe" to information, filtering it upfront and indicating our specific interests so that only the most relevant information (hopefully) arrives on our virtual doorstep.
What I rapidly see happening is a whole new layer of structure both necessary and inevitable with the firehose of information being developed and distributed. Call it the "Super Duper Wisdom of Crowds Hyper Meta Information Filter" (My term!) This filter will, increasingly, with all the rapid-fire evolutionary technologies like social bookmarking, tagging, etc. work in conjuction with the increasingly meta-oriented search capabilities -- whereupon we search existing searches (Rollyo, etc.) for that single and elusive information nugget -- then have our RSS newspaper delivery boy drop it off on our doorstep.
Here's the problem with all this: One could spend more time filtering and sifting and looking for information than consuming the information itself.
Maybe I should just start back up my subscription to the New York Times?
Speaking of filters, topix.net just announced a new search filter out at the Search Engines conference. Check it out here and see how you can search for news results over the past year and beyond. It seems especially useful for backtracking and searching for past news stories on a specific topic or from a specific region (city, zip, etc.)[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  information_management business_insight community blogging 1 Comment 4,743 Views
As a longtime blogger at IBM -- one who has a day job helping drive new business for our company via the Web -- one of my biggest challenges is keeping up with increasing volumes of information and eking out the bits most relevant to my areas of interest.
By way of relevance, IBM's Information Management group has a statistic that consistently sticks with me: Managers spend two hours a day searching for information.
And yet 50 percent of what they find is useless, and 42 percent of them accidentally use the wrong data on a weekly basis.
Think about that.
That's like saying managers spend two hours a day trying to find their way back to their office.
"Uh, Bob, I won't be in for a couple of hours because, uh, I'm lost and completely clueless, uh, and I don't know how to, uh, get to the office from here. Uh, see you then...Hopefully."
If managers spend two hours a day searching for information, you can only just imagine what bloggers spend.
Though many bloggers (including myself) use RSS readers and even intelligent filters to monitor mentions of specific words (think Google News and Blog Alerts), there's been a dearth of "smart" monitoring and recommendation capabilities available for the blogosphere.
But the possibilities are immense.
By way of example, if I'm interested in the topic of Internet marketing, it would be great to have a technology that could make automagical recommendations of relevant Internet marketing blogs based on blog viewing patterns, posting frequency, comments, and other relevant blogging indicators.
IBM's Tokyo Research Laboratory has been working on such an approach, and in March will be rolling it out in partnership with Japan Internet media firm, CyberAgent.
In its Ameba blog service, CyberAgent specifically will introduce two new functions:
Ameba has some 4.5 million users in the Japanese blogosphere, one of the world's largest by country.
What's difference about the approach taken by the Tokyo Research team is that though there has been substantial standalone analysis of text data or user activity, these folks focused on composite analysis.
This approach provides for a new data analysis platform that allows text data and user existence in a form of node, allowing for the accumulation and analyses of user activities as a linked network.
This allows for more relevant blog recommendations based on expressed interest, with both what one writes on one's blog as well as what one reads in other blogs feeding the recommendation engine.
Think of it as a sort of blogging collaboration filtering engine, except that one's input to drive the filter includes what one publishes in their own blog!
This initiative will roll out in March, and I, for one, am going to be very interested to see what comes of it.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go find my way to the office and I only have a couple of hours!Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  information_management infoondemandconf2006 wayne_brady 1 Comment 4,447 Views
Wayne Brady gave me a headache in the kickoff session of the Information on Demand conference here in Anaheim this morning.
Not because he wasn't funny. He was too funny!
But more on that shortly.
In his keynote presentation, IBM Information Management general manager Ambuj Goyal outlined the ideal scenario:
"Imagine if you could ask the same question twice...and get the same answer twice."
Unfortunately, it doesn't happen nearly often enough. Information in many enterprises is like the Wild, Wild West.
It's everywhere. Reuse is a rarity. A typical large company could have as many as 40 different financial systems, none of them interconnected!
Many spend 70 percent of their time looking for the right information instead of acting on it.
"Imagine if you had the information at the moment you or your employees needed it."
It's time to take back control, said Ambuj. Control of your risk. Of your future. Of your markets. Of your bottom line.
Which means it's time to take back control of your information.
In a recent IBM CEO study, those companies that have taken back that control are getting five times more value creation for their information, because the dots are connected, the services are shared, the information is getting to where it needs to go.
Ultimately, Ambuj said, it's about getting the right information delivered, in context.
Get Your Motor Runnin'
As for our customer, Harley-Davidson, CIO Jim Haney said it this way: "I work for the coolest company in the world."
Haney provided an excellent overview of Harley-Davidson's 15.8 percent CAGR, its 20 years of sales growth, and the fact that its competitors are now attempting to copy that success.
How to break away from the pack and continue its leadership? By building integration services that serve as a hub providing information to and from all its other key business systems: ERP, SCM, PLM, Data Warehouse, etc.
As the Harley video setting up Jim's talk indicated: "We believe in going our own way, no matter which way the rest of the world is going."
Now, back to Wayne.
Just imagine this: Wayne doing Prince doing "Purple Rain."
Except the artist formerly known as Wayne formerly known as Prince is doing the song formerly known as "Purple Rain" and is now known as "Pimp Your Crypto."
Wayne cracked the code, and I got a Triple DES headache.[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  vacation information_on_demand tipping_point outliers malcolm_gladwell information_management beach las_vegas 5,266 Views
I'm taking the next couple of days off to go sit on the Redneck Riviera and contemplate the oil rigs out in the Texas Gulf.
Hey, only in Texas can you sit on the beach, watch the seagulls lulling about, watch the flying fish jump across the waves, keep an eye out on the pelicans diving for the flying fish, and all while watching the big oil companies help to make us energy independent in real-time right off the Texas coast.
However, while I'm contemplating nature on Mustang Island, you should start to think about signing up to attend the Information on Demand event in October out in Viva Las Vegas.
I have agreed to make a return engagement to the land of the Flying Elvi, two dollar craps, and casino master data modeling so that I can cover the tidings via the Turbo blog.
I won't put on too heavy of a sales pitch on your attendance at the moment, because the seagulls await.
But let me just lead by saying early bird registration (read: discount) ends on August 31st, and this year's keynote is going to be presented by none other than Malcolm Gladwell.
If you don't know who Malcolm Gladwell is, well, you need to get a clue and go read some of his books.
I've read all of them, and am a regular reader of his pieces in the New Yorker.
Malcolm has a way of looking at the world -- and, in turn, helping others look at the world -- that is very unique and often discounts what is typically deemed to be "conventional wisdom."
In fact, his latest tome, Outliers, will make you downright rethink what constitutes what we've come to define as "success."
For me, this will be sort of a Malcolm Gladwell homecoming.
Back in 2000, right as the air was drifting out of the Web 1.0 bubble, I had an opportunity to attend the Industry Standard Internet Summit out in Laguna Niguel, California.
The roster of speakers and Internet luminaries was mind-boggling, everybody from Bill Joy, the chief scientist of Sun, to Steve Case, then head of AOL, to John Doerr, the venture capitalist and humanitarian.
It was an absolute Internet-oriented intellectual feast, and set amidst the tres chic and gorgeous confines of the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel (where everybody should spend at least one night of their life).
Gladwell's first book, The Tipping Point, had just come out, and what better venue to hear him tell the story behind the story than amongst a gathering of the best and brightest in the technology and media industries.
It was definitely a highlight of the event.
So, you can read more about Gladwell in his bio here, and that's the first reason I'm going to give you for attending this year's Information on Demand clan gathering.
Now, if you'll excuse me while I head to the beach to think about some others reasons I'll start to mete out upon my return.
And for those of you heading out to San Jose to attend the Search Engine Strategies conference next week, I'll be speaking at the event and look forward to seeing you there.Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  flying_elvi information_management information_integration infoondemand2007 4,242 Views
Monday, October 15, 2007, 10:30 AM PST
With Dana Carvey and his impersonations now in the rearview mirror, and since Steven Covey will be in attendance later in the week, it's time to begin with the end in mind and look ahead to the future of information management.
After the morning break, Andrew Warzecha, VP IBM Information Management Strategy, gave us a glimpse into the headlights, outlining for a SRO audience the "State of the [Information Management] industry."
Andrew covered some significant ground in his session, so I'm going to try and just hit a few of his highlights.
First, this is a growing market, expected to reach $39.6B U.S. this year, and growing at a 7% CGR through 2010.
Though information management may have been relegated more into the technology trenches in times past, it is rapidly becoming a board level concern, with Andrew projecting at least one major company failing in the next 5 years due to an information integrity issue.
Andrew also pointed out that an SOA approach and information management are inextricably linked and that the idea of "information as a service" becomes increasingly vital.
For we mere mortal end users, search becomes the business users' consumable front-end to business intelligence moving forward -- how the heck else are you going to find what you need?
But these changes are not without their challenges: The increased business demands for trusted, in-context real-time information becomes a major CIO level architectural challenge, and organization-wide data governance practices become recognized as a major issue in differentiating the innovation, information rich from the information and quality poor.
The Net: There's going to be a lot more info to deal with and organizations not preparing for the onslaught now will find it increasingly difficult to compete, and, music to my ears, both content and Web information become first place citizens in data integration efforts.
So get with the program, and start here to review some of the significant product and strategy announcements emerging from the Information on Demand 2007 conference.
Speaking of information overload, I'm preparing to scan the skies for tonight's Flying Elvi.
Scarves all around![Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  regulatory_compliance infoondemandconf2006 information_management storage 4,260 Views
Okay, so it doesn't completely rhyme like the old adage, but it's close enough for email storage.
On the announcement front, we announced today at the Information on Demand Conference (really, I was in the room!) an e-mail archiving and storage solution that includes Microsoft Windows 2003 R2 software along with IBM server and storage hardware, software and services.
Both the IBM and Microsoft software are pre-loaded and pre-tested as part of the solution. (And you thought we couldn't play nice with the competition!)
This e-mail archiving and storage solution (also available through Business Partners) is designed to help companies retain email for corporate governance and legal discovery purposes, and to help improve performance of and optimize storage investments.
In other words, major CYA technology in case the FBI comes looking at your SOWs and requires that RCPT.
Get all the skinny here.
All subpoenas now welcomed...except for the part about the kissing...er, archiving.[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  infoondemandconf2006 information_management nypd data_warehousing 3,840 Views
I lived in the Big Apple on two separate occasions. The first time, from 1984-1986, the second, from 1998-2001.
I wonder if it's a happy accident the crime I experienced there -- a girlfriend assaulted on 8th Avenue, two separate bicycles stolen while working as a bike messenger -- or if it was because NY had not yet implemented its more effective policing regime in the early 1990s and, beyond that, facilitated a novel approach on gathering and leveraging crime statistics.
While I leave Columbo to figure that one out, let me debrief you about what I learned in a session yesterday here at IBM's Information on Demand Conference in Anaheim, California, entitled "Intelligent Policing.
Fact: NYC is one of the few cities still reporting a steady decline in violent crimes over the past five years. Philly, Boston, Houston, all up. NYC, down. Why?
Well, for one, I left town.
But many believe it's because NYC instituted its own Crime Information Warehouse and "Real Time Crime Center," providing for a single and integrated source of crime information data.
This has allowed the police brass and beat cops to interface with the system in the way they see their "business," and allowed them a powerful investigative analysis tool that helps solve crimes and enable more effective deployment of resources.
Before, again following the stovepipe approach, different systems often produced different answers to the same questions. (And again, a common theme here at the conference.)
There was no single, reliable source responsible for the accuracy of the data, and any reporting and analysis required programming skill and/or intensive manual efforts. Reports sometimes took days to produce, and special ordered reports cold take weeks. In which case, John Q Criminal was well on his way out of the country.
Now, with the Crime Information Warehouse, officers can get a single, easy-to-use point of access to data on virtually all crimes committed in NY's five boroughs. IBM's DB2 Universal Database Data Warehouse Edition pulls data from various standalone systems.
This, combined with business intelligence reporting tools from IBM Business Partner Cognos, helps officers better detect crime patterns as they are forming, and in turn helps precinct commanders take proactive measures to get ahead of these trends and ward off spikes in criminal activity.
Like, perhaps, the stealing of bicycles for hard-working bike messengers??[Read More]