Tony Pearson is a Master Inventor and Senior IT Architect for the IBM Storage product line at the
IBM Systems Client Experience Center in Tucson Arizona, and featured contributor
to IBM's developerWorks. In 2016, Tony celebrates his 30th year anniversary with IBM Storage. He is
author of the Inside System Storage series of books. This blog is for the open exchange of ideas relating to storage and storage networking hardware, software and services.
(Short URL for this blog: ibm.co/Pearson )
My books are available on Lulu.com! Order your copies today!
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This week I am in Chicago for the IBM Storage and Storage Networking Symposium, which coincides with the System x and BladeCenter Technical Conference. This allows the 800 attendees to attend both storage or server presentations at their convenience. There were hundreds of sessions, over 20 time slots, so for each time slot, you have 15 or so topics to choose from.Mike Kuhn kicked off the series of keynote sessions. Here's my quick recap of each one:
Curtis Tearte, General Manager, IBM System Storage
Curtis replaced Andy Monshaw as General Manager for IBM System Storage. His presentation focused on how storage fits into IBM's Dynamic Infrastructure strategy. Some interesting points:
a billion camera-enabled cell phones were sold in 2007, compared to 450 million in 2006.
IBM expects that there will be 2 billion internet users by 2011, as well as trillions of "things".
In the US, there were 2.2 million medical pharmacy dispensing errors resulting for handwritten prescriptions.
Time wasted looking for parking spaces in Los Angeles consumed 47,000 gallons of gasoline, and generated 730 tons of carbon dioxide.
In the US, 4.2 billion hours are lost, and 2.9 billion gallons of gas consumed, due to traffic congestion.
Over the past decade, servers went from 8 watts to 100 watts per $1000 US dollars.
Data growth appears immune to the economic recession. The digital footprint per person is expected to grow from 1TB today to over 15TB by 2020.
10 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded every minute.
Bank of China manages 380 million bank accounts, processing over 10,000 transactions per second.
At the end of the session, Curtis transitioned from demonstrating his knowledge and passion of storage to his knowledge and passion in his favorite sport: baseball. Chicago is home to both the Cubs and the White Sox.
Roland Hagan, Vice President Business Line Executive, System x
IBM sets the infrastructure agenda for the entire industry. The Dynamic Infrastructure initiative is not just IT, but a complete end-to-end view across all of the infrastructures in play, including transportation, manufacturing, services and facilities.Companies spent over $60 billion US dollars on servers last year. Of these, 53 percent for x86-based servers, 9 percent for Itanium-based, 26 percent for RISC-based (POWER6, SPARC, etc.), and 11 percent mainframe. Theeconomic downturn has impacted revenues, but the percentages continue about the same.
The dominant deployment model remains one application per server. As a result, power, cooling and management costs have grown tremendously. There are system admins opposed to consolidating server images with VMware, Hyper-V, Xen or other server virtualizaition technologies. Roland referred to these admins as "server huggers".To help clients adopt cloud computing technologies, IBM introduced [Cloudburst] appliances. IBM plans to offer specialized versions for developers, for service providers, and for enterprises.
IBM's Enterprise-X Architecture is what differentiates IBM's x86-based servers from all the competitors, surrounding Intel and AMD processors with technology that provides distinct advantages. For example, to support server virtualization, IBM's eX4 provides support for more memory, which often is more critical than CPU resources when deploying large number of guest OS images. IBM System x servers have an integrated management module (IMM) and was the first to change over from BIOS to the new Unified Extensible Firmware Interface [UEFI] standard.
IBM servers offer double the performance, consume half the power, and cost a third less to manage, than comparably priced servers from competitors. Of the top 20 more energy efficient server deployments, 19 are from IBM. Roland cited customer reference SciNet, a 4000-server supercomputer with 30,000 cores based on IBM [iDataPlex] servers. At 350 TeraFLOPs it is ranked #16 fastest supercomputer in the world, and #1 in Canada. With apower usage effectiveness (PUE) less than 1.2, it also is very energy efficient. This means that for every 12 watts of electricity going in to the data center, 10 watts are used for servers, storage and networking gear, andonly 2 watts used for power and cooling. Traditional data centers have PUE around 2.5, consuming 25 watts total for every 10 watts used by servers, storage and networking gear.
Clod Barrera, Distinguished Engineer, Chief Technical Strategist for IBM System Storage
Clod presented trends and directions for disk and tape technology, disk and tape systems, and the direction towards cloud computing.
Today was a special day! IBM launched the world's first "Global Archive Solutions Center" in Guadalajara, Mexico.We had a formal "ribbon cutting", shown here were the following dignitaries (from left to right):
Eugenio Godard, IBM Guadalajara site level executive
Andy Monshaw, IBM General Manager of IBM System Storage
Cindy Grossman, IBM VP of Tape and Archive solutions
Luis Guillermo Martinez Mora, Secretary of economic development for the state of Jalisco, Mexico
José Décurnex, IBM General Manager for the country of Mexico
In the morning, we had a series of speeches from Cindy Grossman, Andy Monshaw, Eugenio Godard, and Federico Lepe (technology advisor for the governor for the state of Jalisco, Mexico).
While the hordes of press journalists, analysts and clients were taking the lab tour, we took a snap of thefront entrance. The day was packed with activity.
After the lab tour, IBMers Clod Barrera and Craig Butler presented to the analysts.
Cindy Grossman explained why IBM created a solutions center specific to archive solutions, and why wechose Guadalajara for its location.
I presented the pains and challenges companies are facing, and why they should partner with IBM forarchive solutions to address those requirements
Harley Puckett and I split the group. Harley is my colleague at the IBM Tucson ExecutiveBriefing Center who was the focal point for the various aspects of launching for the past eight months.He presented and moderated the presentations and demos to a collection of prospective clients.
That's me on the left, with Harley on the right.
I moderated a series of speakers to press and analysts. These included:
Mark LaBelle, Spectrum Health server and storage manager, and Steve Lawrence, Spectrum Health image solutions architect, presented their success story using IBM Grid Medical Archive Solution (GMAS). [Spectrum Health] manages seven hospitals and 130 service locations in Michigan, USA.
Mark Uren, ABSA technical architect, presented their success story working with IBM in deploying their Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) which includes Enterprise Content Management and archiving. Mark flew in all the way from Johannesburg, South Africa. [ABSA] is the financial services subsidiary of Barclay's serving theAfrican continent.
Jeffrey Beallor, president of [Global Data Vaulting], presented his success story as both a client and IBM Business Partner, offering backup and archiving solutions through "Software as a Service" (SaaS) business model. GlobalData Vaulting has its data centers in Canada, but provides services to clients worldwide.
We had a Q&A panel with the company representatives from Spectrum Health, ABSA, and Global Data Vaulting; followed by a Q&A panel with the collection of IBM executives to take questions from the press and analysts.Special thanks to Cyntia, Daniela, Carlos, Raul and Salvador for their help in making this a successful event!
(all three photos on this blog post taken by Mauricio, a professional photographer IBM hired for this event)
This week, some of my coworkers are out at
[VMworld 2009] in San Francisco. IBM is a platinum sponsor, and is the leading reseller of VMware software. Here is the floor plan for our IBM booth there:
Virtual Data Center in a Box & Virtual Networking on
IBM & VMware Joint Collaboration on Power Monitoring
“Always on IT” Business Continuity Solution
IBM System Storage™ XIV®
[IBM XIV Storage System] is a revolutionary, easily managed, open disk system, designed to meet today’s ongoing IT challenges. This system now supports VMware 4.0 and extends the benefits of virtualization to your storage system, enabling easy provisioning and self-tuning after hardware changes. Its unique grid-based architecture represents the next generation of high-end storage and delivers outstanding performance, scalability, reliability and features, along with management simplicity and exceptional TCO.
IBM Storage Solutions with VMware
Featured products include: The new IBM System Storage DS5020 , Virtual Disk solutions with IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller, IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, and IBM System Storage ProtecTIER Data Deduplication solutions.
Server virtualization with VMware vSphere offers significant benefits to an organization, including increased asset utilization, simplified management and faster server provisioning. In addition to these benefits, VMware enables business agility and business continuity with more advanced features such as VMotion, high availability, fault tolerance, and Site Recovery Manager that all require dependable high-performance shared storage. Adding storage solutions --including virtualized storage-- from IBM delivers complementary benefits to your information infrastructure that extend and enhance the benefits of VMware vSphere while increasing overall reliability, availability and performance to help you transform into a dynamic infrastructure. IBM can provide the right storage solution for your environment and requirements. Our solutions help maximize efficiency with lower costs and provide affordable, scalable storage solutions that help you solve your particular needs.
Stop by to learn how our the exciting new storage solutions can help optimize VMware including self-encrypting storage, automated, affordable disaster recovery with VMware SRM easier and faster provisioning of storage for virtual machines, dramatically improved storage utilization with ProtecTIER deduplication, and how the DS5000 has lower costs Total Cost of Acquisition (TCA) than typical competitors.
IBM Smart Business Desktop Cloud
IBM System x® iDataPlex™: Get More on the Floor
Virtual Client Solutions from IBM
IBM also is sponsoring some breakout sessions:
Leverage Storage Solutions for a Smarter Infrastructure
Simplify and Optimize with IBM N series
IBM SAN Volume Controller: Virtualized Storage for Virtual Servers
XIV: Storage Reinvented for today's dynamic world
Wish I was there, looks like a lot of good information!
This week, I was in the Phoenix area presenting at TechData's TechSelect University. TechData is one of IBM's IT distributors,
and TechSelect is their community of 440 resellers and 20 vendors. This year they celebrate their 10 year anniversary of this event. I covered three particular topics, and I was videotaped for those who were not able to attend my session. (There were very few empty seats at my sessions)
IBM Business Partners now realize that the "killer app" for storage is combining the IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller with entry-level or midrange disk storage systems for an awesome solution. Solutions based on either the Entry Edition or the standard hardware models can compete well with a variety of robust features, including thin provisioning, vDisk mirroring, FlashCopy, Metro and Global Mirror. This has the advantage that the SVC can extend these functions not just to newly purchased disk capacity, but also existing storage capacity. The newly purchased capacity can be DS3400, DS4700 or the new DS5000 models. This is great "investment protection" for small and medium sized businesses.
LTO-4 drives and automation
The Linear Tape Open (LTO) consortium--consisting of IBM, HP and Quantum--has proven wildly successful, ending the
vendor-lockin from SDLT tape. I presented the latest LTO-4 offerings, including the TS2240, TS2340, TS2900, TS3100
and TS3200. The LTO consortium has already worked out a technology roadmap for LTO-5 and LTO-6. The LTO-4 drives
support WORM cartridges and on-board hardware-based encryption. The encryption keys can be managed with IBM Tivoli Key Lifecycle Manager (TKLM).
SAN and FCoCEE switches
IBM has agreements with Brocade, Cisco and Juniper Networks for various networking gear. I focused on entry-level switches for SAN fabrics, the SAN24B-4 and Cisco 9124, as well as new equipment for Convergence Enhanced Ethernet (CEE),
including IBM's Converged Network Adapater (CNA) for System x servers, and the SAN32B switch that has 24 10GbE CEE ports and 8 FC ports that support 8/4/2 and 4/2/1 SFP transceivers. FCoE Clients that want to deploy Fibre Channel over CEE (FCoCEE) today have everything the need to get started.
The venue was the
[Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa] in Chandler, just south of Phoenix. This compound includes [Rawhide], an 1800's era Western Town attraction, a rodeo arena, and a casino still under construction.
Dinners were held nearby at the infamous
[Rustler's Rooste] Steakhouse on South mountain.
This week and next, I am down under in Australia and New Zealand for a seven-city Storage Optimisation Breakfast series of presentations to clients and prospects. My first city for this seven-city tour was Sydney, Australia.
Here is the view from my room at the [Shangri-La hotel], including the famous [Sydney Opera House] and Circular Quay, from which to take a water taxi or ride the Manly Ferry. [Sydney harbour] is the deepest harbour in the Southern Hemisphere, allowing boats of all sizes to enter. This section of the city is known as "The Rocks".
Sydney is a very modern metropolis. The last time I was in Sydney was in May 2007 to teach an IBM Top Gun class. My post back then on [Dealing with Jet Lag] is as relevant now as it was back then. In addition to being 9 hours off-shifted from last week in Dallas, Texas, I also have to deal with the colder climate, about 40 degrees F cooler down here. The weather is crisp and clear, it is Winter going into Spring down here as the seasons are flipped below the equator.
Many of the buildings are recognizable from the movie ["The Matrix"] which was filmed here. We joked that this seven-city trip was also similar to [The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert], in that both journeys started in Sydney. If you haven't seen the latter, I highly recommend it to get to learn more about Australia as a country.
(Completely useless trivia: Actor Hugo Weaving appeared in both movies. While most people associate him with Australia, where he has lived since 1976, he actually was born in Nigeria, and traveled extensively because his father worked in the computer industry.)
Here I am standing next to our banner.
The line-up for each event is simple. After all the attendees sit down for breakfast, we have the following three sessions:
First, Anna Wells, local IBM Executive for Storage Sales in Australia and New Zealand presents IBM's strategy for storage, and how IBM plans to address Storage Efficiency, Data Protection and Service Delivery. She then highlights various products that are currently available to help meet customer needs, including XIV and the SAN Volume Controller (SVC).
Second, we have a client or two share their success story. We will have different speakers at the different locations.
Third, I present on future trends that will impact the storage marketplace. With only 40 minutes for my section, I decided to focus on just three specific trends, with a mix of some colorful analogies to help emphasize my key points.
We had a great turn-out for our first event in Sydney, lots of clients and prospects came out for this. There is a lot of enthusiasm for IBM's vision, thought leadership, and broad portfolio of storage solutions.
Continuing my romp through Australia and New Zealand, today I presented in Hobart, the second city on my seven-city tour. Hobart is on a separate island called Tasmania, just south of the main Australian continent. The island is heart-shaped, and Hobart is in the lower right ventricle.
Hobart boasts the second deepest harbour in the Southern Hemisphere (yesterday's Sydney Harbour being the first). It is quite cold here, but at least the skies are clear.
I stayed in the [Henry Jones Art Hotel], named after the famous owner of the IXL Jam Company. When I arrived, they presented me with a list of 18 known convicts that shared my last name: PEARSON. I checked and made sure I was not on the list. Then it was explained to me that here in Australia, everyone values their criminal ancestors, as this is how the country was formed. The names were from registry archives from the 19th century.
In keeping with the concept of an art hotel, each of the rooms were unique, which is a nice way of saying that they fit whatever they could into the spaces available. It's been a while since I stayed at a hotel with the phone at one end of the room, but the electrical outlet at the other. The thermostat was hidden in the bathroom, and I had to master some 16 different ropes to put down the shades, as the bright light from the [Cenotaph] was keeping me awake. I was able to take pictures of some of the art sculptures from the balcony.
This was a smaller event than Sydney, with only about two dozen attendees. This makes sense, as Hobart population is only about 250,000 people. Tasmania island hold about 1 million people overall, concentrated mostly along the center line of the island.
As we had done in Sydney, Anna Wells presented IBM strategy and products, Adam Beames, system administrator for Tennis Australia (shown here in the picture at left) presented his experiences transforming their datacenter, and I presented the future trends in storage.
In appreciation for Adam's presentations in Sydney and Hobart, I presented him with a copy of my book, [Inside System Storage: Volume I], available from my publisher, Lulu.com, in paperback, hard cover, and now also in eBook format for those with Kindle, Nook or other digital book readers. See panel at right on this blog for ordering information.
Bob Moffat, IBM Senior VP and Group Executive who leads IBM's world-renown Systems and Technology Group, and Cris Espinosa, System x and BladeCenter platform sales specialist, one of the many employees like me at the bottom of same Systems and Technology Group.
Here'sBob Moffatholding an IBM BladeCenter HS22 blade server.A lot of the IBM executives were on hand to help show off IBM's strategy and vision, and highlight how to deploy IBM systems that are the right fit for today.
This is Ira Chavis, IBM consulting IT specialist, who covers how to manage and reduce energy usage today withIBM Energy Efficiency offerings.
Here is Casey Bell, our liaison for the conference, and Angela Reese, who presented Tivoli's latest appliances:
IBM Tivoli Foundations Application Manager
IBM Tivoli Foundations Service Manager
These are IBM servers pre-installed with IBM Tivoli software to help monitor applications and provide service desk support. These are part of our IBM Express initiative that focus solutions aimed for medium sized businesses. By offering them as appliances, rather than just software, these can be deployed in only an hour in most situations.
And here I am, Tony Pearson, IBM certified Dynamic Infrastructure solutions expert, covering servers, storage and networking systems that help to improve service, reduce costs and manage risk. IBM offers flexible systems, software and services to match a wide diversity of business needs, designed for today's challenges and tomorrow's opportunities.
This was a long day, and looks to be a long week ahead.
Continuing my blog coverage of the [Forrester IT Forum 2009 conference],I will group a bunch of topics related to Cloud Computing into one post. Cloud Computing was a big topichere at the IT Forum, and probably was also in the other two conferences IBM participated in this week inLas Vegas:
The CIOs and IT professionals at this Forrester IT Forum seemed to be IT decision makers with a broader view. There was a lot of interest in Cloud Computing. What is Cloud Computing? Basically, it is renting IT capability on an as-needed basis from a computing service provider. The different levels of cloud computing depends on what the computing service provider actually provides. How do these compare with traditional co-location facilities or your own in-house on-premises computing? Here's my handy-dandy quick-reference guide:
Cloud Software-as-a-Service [SaaS], Examples: SalesForce and Google Apps.
Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service [IaaS], such as Amazon EC2, RackSpace.
Tradtional Co-Location facility, you park your equipment on rented floorspace, power, cooling and bandwidth.
Traditional On-Premises, what most people do today, build or buy your own data center, buy the hardware, write or buy the software, then install and manage it.
A main tent session had a moderated Q&A panel of three Forrester Analysts titled "Saving, Making and Risking Cash with Cloud Computing." Here are some key points from this panel:
Is Cloud Computing just another tool in the IT toolbox, or does it represent a revolution? The panel gave arguments for both. As a set of technology, protocols and standards, it is an evolutionary progression of other standards already in place, and an extension of methods used in co-location and time-share facilities. However,from a business model perspective, Cloud Computing represents a revolutionary trend, eliminating in some cases huge up-front capital expenses and/or long-term outsourcing contracts. PaaS and IaaS offerings can be rented by the hour, for example.
An example of using Cloud Computing for a one-time batch job: The New York Times decided to build an archive of 11 million articles, but this meant having to convert them all from TIFF to PDF format. The IT person they put in charge of this rented 100 machines on [Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)] for 24 hours and was able to convert all 4TB of data for only $240 US dollars.
Cloud Computing can make it easier for companies to share information with clients, suppliers and business partners, eliminating the need to punch holes through firewalls to provide access.
Since it is relatively cheap for companies to try out different cloud computing offerings with little or no capital investment, the spaghetti model applies--"throw it on the wall, and see what sticks!"
What application areas should you consider running in the cloud? Employee self-service portals-Yes, ERP-Mixed, On-time batch jobs-Mixed, Email-Yes, Access Control-No, Web 2.0-Mixed, Testing/QA-Mixed, Back Office Transactions-No, Disaster Recovery-Mixed.
Different IT roles will see varying benefits and risks with cloud computing. However, by 2011, every new IT project must answer the question "Why not run in the cloud?"
There were a variety of track sessions that explored different aspects of cloud computing:
Software-as-a-Server: When and Why
This session had three Forrester analysts in a Q&A panel format. SaaS can provide much-needed relief from application support, maintenance and upgrade chores. The choice and depth of offerings is improving from SaaS providers. However, when comparing TCO between SaaS and on-premises deployments, can yield different results for different use cases. For example, a typical SaaS rate of $100 US dollars per user per month, with discounts, could be $1000 per year, or $10,000 over a 10-year period. Compare that to the total 10-year costs of an on-premises deployment, and you have a good ball-park comparison. SaaS can provide faster time-to-value, and you can easily just try-before-you-buy several alternative offerings before making a decision.
The downside to SaaS is that you need to understand their data center, where it is located, and how it is protected for backup and disaster recovery. Some SaaS providers have only a single data center, so it mightbe disruptive if it experiences a regional disaster.
Cloud IT Services: The Next Big Thing or Just Marketing Vapor?
Economic pressures are forcing companies to explore alternatives, and Cloud IT services are providingadditional options over traditional outsourcing. Only 70-80 percent of companies are satisfied with traditionaloutsourcing, so there is opportunity for Cloud IT services to address those not satisfied. Scalable, consumption-based billing with Web-based accessibility and flexibility is an attractive proposition. Tenyears ago, you could not buy an hour on a mainframe with your credit card, now you can.
Cloud technologies are mature, and there is interest in using these services. About 10 percent of companies are piloting SaaS offerings, 16 percent piloting PaaS offerings, and 13 percent investing in deploying "private clouds" within their data center. This week Aneesh Chopra, who is Barack Obama's pick as the first CTO for the US Federal Government, [stated to congressional leaders]: “The federal government should be exploring greater use of cloud computing where appropriate.”
IBM is betting heavily on their Cloud Computing strategy, has already gone through the reorganizations needed to be positioned well, and claims to have thousands of clients already. HP has some cloud offerings focused on their enterprise customers. Dell is investing and reorganizing for cloud as well.
Network Strategic Planning for Challenging Times
While not limited to Cloud Computing, companies are seeing WAN traffic doubling every 18 months, but withoutthe corresponding increases in budget to cover it. The Forrester analyst covered WAN optimization management services, hybrid Ethernet-MPLS offerings to help people transition from MPLS VPNs to Carrier-grade Ethernet.
Who should you hire for WAN optimization? Do you trust your own Telco that provides your bandwidth to help you figure out ways to use less of it? Alternatives include System Integrators and Service providers like IBM and EDS.Or, you could try to do it yourself, but this requires capital investment in gear and performance monitoring software.
New workloads like Voice over IP (VoIP) and digital surveillance can help cost-justify upgrading your MPLS VPNs to Carrier-grade Ethernet. The possibility of converging this with iSCSI and/or Fibre Channel (FC) over Ethernet (FCoE) and this can help reduce costs as well. Both MPLS and Ethernet will co-exist for awhile, and hybrid offerings from Telcos will help ease the transition. In the meantime, switching some workloads to Cloud Computing can provide immediate relief to in-house networks now. Converging voice, video, LAN, WAN and SAN traffic may require the IT departments to reorganize how the IT role of "network administrator" is handled.
Navigating the Myriad New Sourcing Models
The landscape of outsourcing has changed with the introducing of new Cloud Computing offerings. However, adapting these new offerings to internal preferences may prove challenging. The Forrester analyst suggesting being ready to try to influence their companies to adopt Cloud Computing as a new sourcing option.
Traditional outsourcing just manages your existing hardware and software, often referred to as "Your mess for less!" However, outsourcing contract law is mature and many outsource providers are large, well-established providers. In contrast, some SaaS providers are small, and the few that are largemay be fairly new to the outsourcing business. Here are some things to consider:
Where will the data physically be located? There are government regulations, such as the US Patriot Act, that can influence this decision.Many Canadian and European customers are avoiding providers where datais stored in the United States for this reason.
What is the service delivery chain? Some cloud providers in turn useother cloud providers. For example a SaaS provider might develop the software and then rent the platform it runs on from a PaaS, which in turn mightbe using offshore or co-location facilities to actually house their equipment.Knowing the service delivery chain may prove important on contractnegotiations. Clarify "cloud" terminology and avoid mixed metaphors.
What is their contingency plan? What is your contingency plan if the system is slow or inaccessible. What is their plan to protect against data loss during disasters? What if they go out of business? Source Code Escrow has proven impractical in many cases. SLAs should provide for performance, availability and other key metrics. However, service level penalties are not a cure-all for major disruptions, loss of revenues or reputation.
How will they handle security, compliance and audits? Heavy regulatory requirements may favor dedicated resources to be used.
Who has "custodianship" of the data? Will you get the data back if you discontinue the contract? If so, what format will it be in, and will it make any sense if you are not running the same application as the cloud provider?
Will they provide transition assistance? Moving from on-premises to cloud may involve some effort, including re-training of end users.
Are the resources shared or dedicated? For shared resource environments, is the capacity "fenced off" in any way to prevent having other clients impact your performance or availability.
I am glad to see so much interest in Cloud Computing. To learn more, here is IBM's [Cloud Computing] landing page.
The track sessions were aligned by job role. Here are all the tracks:
Track A: CIO
Track B: Enterprise Architecture professional
Track C: Application Development & Program Management professional
Track D: Information & Knowledge Management professional
Track E: Sourcing & Vendor Management professional
Track F: Business Process & Applications professional
Track G: IT Infrastructure & Operations professional
Track H: Security & Risk professional
Track I: Technology Product Management & Marketing professional
As an IBM consultant, I deal with all of these different kinds of professionals, so I thought I would try to attend a variety of sessions this week. Here are my notes from a few of these:
Transforming IT for Lean Times: Organizational Structure
The Forrester analyst presented the concept of "Lean IT". This is not just a process to make IT skinny or marginal through commoditization. Rather, it is to meet business needs through differentiated services. Gone is the "one-size fits all" mentality. Lean IT can be used to streamline IT capabilities to enable employees to get their jobs done. Continuous improvement is done through a series of "Rapid Improvement Events" (RIE), a methodology known as "Kaizen Blitz".The focus is to reduce waste, including rework, firefighting, meetings, unnecessary reports and paperwork, working groups, and task forces. A common mistake is to reorganize departments before understanding the fundamental requirements, or make every employee use the same PC just to simplify the job of IT.
Traditionally, IT departments had three jobs. The first is Utility, to keep the lights on and systems running. The second is Productivity, to enhance existing systems and applications. The third is Innovation and Business Transformation.The problem has been that many IT leaders have been "IT Supply Managers" ensuring there is adequate supply of these. Instead, the Forrester analyst suggests redefining the role to one of "Demand Broker". Some companies have already done this. The CIO manages the demand for IT from Business Units, Business Processes, Information Workers, as well as suppliers, business partners and customers. As a demand broker, the CIO could then use these demands to optimize and prioritize IT resources.
Why Tech will lead Economic Recovery
The current 5.7 percent drop in IT spending in 2009 during this global financial meltdown is actually similar to the drop in ITspending in 2001-2003. However, the Forrester analyst anticipates that IT spending will bounce back in 2010.His reasoning came from looking at past IT spending trends since the 1950s. He found four clear sequencesconsisting of 6-10 years of growth and investment in IT, followed by 6-10 years of refinement and digestionwhere business leaders try to make the most use of these investments. The four sequences of investment and growth are:
1976-1985 personal computing, empowering individual productivity
1992-2000 network computing, enabling e-business and the internet boom
2008-2016 smart computing, optimizing business results through flexible and responsive IT that incorporates awareness and analytics to solve new business problems.
He argued that this trend was already starting to show itself. There was an uptick in IT spending in 2008 before the financial melt-down, and he feels this is why the tech industry sector will drive the economic recovery in 2010. The top five industries that will lead the adoption of smart computing will be: Government, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Utilities, Education, and Personal Services. These represent 54 percent of IT spending in the US, and also represent a large portion of the US stimulus package.
Smart Computing can be summarized as the "Four A's":
Awareness - instrumentation like RFID chips, sensors and video surveillance
Analysis - intelligent recognition of patterns and finding anomalies
Alternatives - identifying alternative responses
Actions - dealing with threats or capturing opportunity
Smart computing in these industries reflects the need for more vertically-aligned industry-specific solutions.IBM is well-positioned in this area, having both the hardware, software and services for smart computing, as well as deep industry-specific expertise. Other industry-specific vendors, like General Electric and Siemens, have the vertical alignment, and are working to adopt smart computing. Meanwhile, Oracle/Sun and Microsoft are also investing in smart computing, and have the potential to develop more vertically-aligned industry-specific solutions. Other IT vendors will have a choice to make: stay horizontal or go vertical.
ERP's Evolving Landscape: Impact for Application Professionals
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software vendors are consolidating, with
the average ERP deployment 10 years old, triggering many to re-evaluate how
well the promises of ERP match the reality. On the positive side, ERP promised to reduce the total number of applications, provide somefinancial stability and integration, and for the most part the Forresteranalyst felt these promises were mostly met. However, in deploying newcapabilities, lowering TCO or establishing a partnership between vendorand client, ERP vendors got low marks.
Customers are now demanding more end-to-end solutions, especially withmore industry-specific functionality. Technologyadvances should be used to boost the business value. For example,ERP lags in SaaS adoption. Frequent upgrades to meet regulatory requirementscould drive stronger interest in SaaS deployments of ERP.
Customers would also like the end-user experience with the ERP to bemore role-based, with actionable insight and intelligent responses related to the user's job responsibilities. Hybrid ERP solutions that span deploymentacross on-premises, SaaS and managed hosting services might be neededto ease this transition.
What You Should Know Before Signing a Contract with a Disaster Recovery Services provider
This session was less about RTO or RPO, and more about broader considerations.The leading disaster recovery service providers are IBM Business Continuityand Resiliency Services [BCRS], SunGard, ICM/UK, and HP. The Forrester analyst did not think HP was treating this as strategically as they could,and often are behind the scenes through other business partners.
Will this [oligopoly] continue? Theanalyst thinks there will be an increase in the number of disaster recovery service providers. Contenders includeTelcos like Qwest, AT&T, BT, and Verizon Business; SMB-focused firms like i365 and Venyu;and cloud computing IaaS providers like SAVVIS.
So what should you consider when putting out an RFP? Here were a few suggestions:
Make sure there are schedules for all of your platforms (x86, Unix, System i and System z)
Identify all fees, including "declaration fee" and "occupancy fee"
Costs of Disaster Recovery test exercises, including how many, and their duration in days.
How quickly you can access their facility after you declare the disaster
Whether the provider has alternative Data Centers, depending on the scope of the regional disaster
Evolving the 4 P's of Marketing to Grow Revenue in Emerging Markets
I was in IBM marketing for seven years. For those without marketing backgrounds, the 4 P's of marketing are product, promotion, placement and pricing. There is no "global" audience, eachcountry, region or locale has unique characteristics, and requires go-to-market (GTM) strategiesbe tailored to each situation. For example, in Russia, decision makers are more influenced byWeb sites and Industry magazines; in Europe, they are more influenced by peers and word-of-mouth;and in Latin America, direct sales force are most influential. In many countries, blogs are more influential than they are in the United States.
Companies of all sizes can do the right things. For example, IBM translates its materials into 31different languages. Meanwhile, 50-person [LogMeIn] has 17 million users because they have localized their offering, and even allow online purchase in local currencies. Third party consultants that knowthe local region may be needed to break into new geographies.
Certainly the opportunity is there. Worldwide, there are an estimated 9 million small businesses,and another 630,000 medium size businesses. These SMBs employ 22 percent of the workforce in Russia, 55 percentin Europe, and 80 percent in Japan.To reach them, you may need to explore new channels,such as government agencies, academia, non-government organizations (NGO), and trade associations.The traditional supply chain of vendor, distributor and reseller may need be redefined as a demandnetwork, with co-marketing programs, peer-to-peer relationships and shared knowledge resources.
IBM collaborated with the International Finance Corporation [IFC] tocreate the [SME Toolkit], a resource and online communityfor small and medium enterprises, translated and localized into several languages. IBM also workedwith Chinese government to select Wuxi, China as the location for its Cloud Computing center as partof the [Wuxi Tai Hu New Town Science and Education Industrial Park].
This was a great week! Lot's to digest and think about.
It seems like I just get out of one conference, and into another. This week I am at Pulse 2008, which combines the best of IBM Tivoli and Maximo into one conference.Like many conferences, this one starts on Sunday, and ends on Thursday.
We're at the Swan and Dolphin hotels at [Walt Disney World] in Orlando, Florida. I've been to several conferences in Orlando, but this is my first time at the Swanand Dolphin. (When I walked into the main lobby, I had a bout of "deja vu". IBM LotusSphere was here last year, and they had a complete replica made in SecondLife!)
If you haven't been to Walt Disney World resorts, whether for a conference or vacation,there are two things you need to know:
Nothing is within a short "walking distance", you need to take a bus or boat to get anywhere
Despite this, you will be doing a lot of walking, so wear comfortable shoes!
Pulse encouraged everyone to blog and take pictures posted onto FlickR, here are a few from Sunday:
Lou and Elizabeth from [Syclo], an IBM Business Partner
Mike and Megha from [Birlasoft] show off their accreditation
Greg Tevis explains FilesX, recently acquired by IBM
Rather than hold this in IBM's Kirkland facility, we chose to have this instead at the [Chateau Ste. Michelle] winery, which was just a few miles away in Woodinville.
The weather was a perfect match to pair with the information we presented. Clear sky in the low 70s.
This was a typical roadshow event, serve breakfast, meet everyone, have four main-tent sessions, answer questions, then finish with a nice lunch. Here was the speaker line-up:
Jerry Mixon presented IBM Global Services to help customers improve service, reduce costs and manage risk.
Steve Loeschorn presented the latest on IBM System x and BladeCenter offerings. Steve showed how IBM'sSystem x servers were more energy efficient than x86 servers from HP and Dell.
Michael Middleton presented the latest from IBM POWER® systems. Michael had some interesting statisticsthat showed IBM's AIX operating system to be more reliable than Sun Solaris, HP-UX, andMicrosoft Windows. Based on a study of 400 companies, AIX averaged only 36 minutes of downtime per year.
For those who want to meet me in person, there are two opportunities coming up in December.
Data Center Conference, December 1-4
Once again, I will be blogging from Ceasar's Palace Las Vegas at this year's [Data Center Conference 2009]! Last year's conference was a blast, and this one looks to be quite exciting. IBM is again a premier sponsor. Scheduled to speak are the following IBM executives:
Helene Armitage, the new General Manager of System Software, on "IT-Wide Virtualization, A Prerequisite for a Truly Dynamic Infrastructure"
Steve Sams, the VP of Sites and Facilities, on "Data Center Actions Your CFO Will Love"
Barry Rudolph, the VP of System Storage, on "Meeting the Information Infrastructure Challenge"
We will also have an IBM booth at the Solutions Showcase, showing off the latest in Cloud Computing,
Service Management, Information Infrastructure, and Workload-optimized systems. You will be able to schedule one-on-one sessions with IBM executives and subject matter experts. Best of all, we will have on display a Portable Modular Data Center [PMDC] that can hold a fully operational data center in a standard [20 foot shipping container].
IBM Virtualization and Consolidation Briefing, December 15
This is being done "open house" style. If you can get yourself to the IBM Tucson Executive Briefing Center, IBM will provide you breakfast, a series of presentations, lunch, and then even more presentations. Your stomach and brain will be full by the end of the day. Here is a list of the presentations:
If you missed the [IBM System Storage and Storage Networking Symposium] in San Diego, California last month (like I did because I was in Japan and India), here is your chance to attend the one next month in Europe, September 8-11, in beautiful[Montpellier, France]. Several of my colleagues from the IBM Tucson Executive Briefing Center are scheduled to speak at this event.
And maybe, perhaps, some IBM executives, will have something important to say next month also! Stay tuned!
For a list of other IBM events this year, see the [2008 schedule].
In addition to keynote speakers Curtis Tearte, General Manager for IBM System Storage, and Clod Barrera, Chief Technical Strategist, my colleague Jack Arnold and I from the [IBM Tucson Executive Briefing Center] will present four topics each.
Continuing my blog coverage of the [Forrester IT Forum 2009 conference],I finally catch up with some keynote sessions this morning. Here's my recap on the rest of the main tent general session keynote presentations from BP, Microsoft and CFIL.
Dana Deasy, CIO and Group VP, Information Technology and Services (IT&S), BP
Dana presented "The gift we’ve been given – reinventing the IT organization". He is the CIO of BP, an energy company that made over 360 billion dollars selling oil and gas. In fact, it is the fourth largest company in the world, with 92,000 employees in more than 100 countries. Back in 2007, business was good but the senior management team felt that IT needed to be straightened out.Dana was brought in as a "fresh thinking" outsider, managing a group 4000 IT staff composed mostly of contractors, dealing with more than 2000 IT suppliers and more than 60 versions of SAP.
Dana presented the results of their IT makeover. In the first year, he was able to cut out 400 million US dollars from the IT budget, including the reduction of 500 people from the IT staff. He increased the employee/contractor ratio to 40/60, with plans to bring this up to 65/35 over the next year. He was able to get 1800 IT employees to perform a self-assessment to understand their strengths and weaknesses. He was able to centralize the IT leadership team, and deploy a common [ITIL] best practices implementation.
What did he learn from all this? Here were his top four "lessons learned":
No time to dwell but know your facts
Work in parallel to push the pace of change
Listen but in the end take your own counsel
Tell a compelling story to energize your employees and your leadership
Chris Capossela, Senior VP of Information Worker Product Management Group, Microsoft
Chris presented "Uncovering Value in the Cloud and On Your Desktop", onhow Microsoft customers are taking advantage of the software they have already purchased.For example, Jamba Juice was able to use Microsoft SharePoint to cut down locating documents from 15 minutes to just seconds, reducing 10-15 hours per week for more than 500 managers. More importantly, they were more confident that document they found was the right one. This is often referred to as "one version of the truth." In another example, Tyson Foods was able to connect Microsoft Word to their SAP application, and have that then connect to their Microsoft SharePoint.
Chris was amazed that many Microsoft customers don't take advantage of all that is available to them.He gave four examples:
Planning Services: If you buy an enterprise license to Microsoft products, you get planning services, from either Microsoft's own Microsoft Consulting Services or from thousands of Microsoft Business Partners. Only 8 percent of customers take advantage of this.
Home Use Rights: For enterprise license customers, employees can purchase "home use rights" to use the Enterprise level of Microsoft Office software for only 10 US dollars, but only about 3 percent take advantage of this.
Training: Many enterprise licenses come with 2-4 weeks of training vouchers, but only 40 percent take advantage of these vouchers.
E-Learning: Microsoft also offers e-learning, which Microsoft customers can either have delivered from Microsoft's own hosted services, or they can get a copy of the E-learning materials hosted inside their own company firewall. Again, few take advantage of this.
Chris wrapped up his presentation by citing some examples of customers that migrated from in-house, on-premises collaboration software to Microsoft's "Exchange Online" and "SharePoint Online" cloud computing Software-as-a-Service [SaaS] offerings. The cloud versions of these software do not offer all the features as the on-premise versions, but Microsoft is working to close this gap.
(IBM offers similar cloud computing services for email and collaboration called [LotusLive])
Gary presented "Tough Times: Opportunity for Innovation and Corporate Makeover". He had some greatquotes intended to help people become better leaders, like this:
“Leadership failures do not usuallyresult from leaders not knowing what todo; rather these failures result becauseleaders fail to do what they know fullwell they should and must do.Most leaders never get fully comfortable withthe changes that they wish for theirorganizations.”
Change the Conversation - employees want to have a compelling reason to change.
Create a compelling description of the future - employees want a vision of where they are headed.
Emotionally enlist employees in the cause - leaders are not remembered for their attributes, as much as the causes they stood for.
Help me understand the business - employees often do not have information in context to act accordingly.
Choose passionate - employees want to see leaders that are passionate and confident on the process and strategic direction.
Create a To-Stop list - we all have "to do" lists, but perhaps you need a "to don't" list. In other words, a list of bad habits and practices you need to discontinue.
Gary indicated that trust must be given before it is earned. If a leader doesn't trust the employees, how do you expect the employees to trust the leader? When asking employees to change their behavior, or self-assess their own skills, a leader must emphasize "I mean you no harm." Otherwise,mistrust will undermine the intended results.
The keynote sessions the past three days have provided clear motivation to the CIOs and IT leaders in the audience to consider making the necessary changes, with impressive results and actionable advice.
Did you miss your chance to attend Storage Networking World last week? IBM has some upcoming conferences that might be of interest to you.
IBM Systems Conference 2009
In this inaugural event, IBM executives, developers and industry experts reveal the latest innovations, trends and directions. In the span of three full days, you will hear and see technologies demonstrated that are needed to transform and respond effectively in these economic times.
There will be three tracks:
IBM Systems -- Including storage, mainframe, POWER and x86 systems
Solutions for a Dynamic Infrastructure
Professional Development -- including negotiation skills, project management and TCO analysis
IBM System Storage and Storage Networking Symposium
If the above conference is too broad, we have a more storage-specificconference. The [IBM System Storage and Storage Networking Symposium] brings IBM storage developers, architects, technical experts, solution providers and customer speakers together in one place to show you how to address the growing challenge of managing and securing retention managed data. You'll also learn about the latest IBM System Storage™ portfolio product announcements.
I have spoken at these perhaps 12 of the last 14 years. The list of presenters has not yet finalized, so I do not yet know if I will actually be there this year.
Two exciting things are new this year. First, instead of being in San Diego or Las Vegas, it will be held in Chicago, Illinois instead!Secondly, you get a two-for-one with the [IBM System x and BladeCenter Technical Conference]. That's right, they are co-located there in Chicago so that you can attend sessions from both! Perhaps you spend 80 percent of your time on storage, and 20 percent on x86 servers, or 80 percent servers and 20 percent storage, now you can register for one price, and decide when you get there.
If you act soon, you can save money with the early-registration discount by May 31.
Hopefully, this will give you enough time to plan and make travel arrangements!
Jim Stallings, IBM General Manager for Global Markets, will explain why a smarter planet needs a dynamicinfrastructure. I used to work for Jim, when he was in charge of the IBM Linux initiative and I was on the Linux forS/390 mainframe team.
Erich Clementi, IBM Vice President, Strategy & General Manager Enterprise Initiatives, will explain how to best leverage opportunities with cloud computing.
Steve Forbes, Chairman and CEO of Forbes Inc. and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Magazine, will presentGlobal Outlooks and the Challenge of Change.
Rich Lechner, IBM Vice President, Energy & Environment, will explain the importance of Building an Energy-Efficient Dynamic Infrastructure. I also worked for Rich, back when he was the VP of Marketing for IBM System Storage, and Iwas back then the "Technical Evangelist". See my post [The Art of Evangelism] to better understand why I don't carry that title anymore.
In addition to these presentations, you will be able to "walk" around to different booths and have on-line chats with subject matter experts and download resources. Don't worry, this is not based on [Second Life], but rather using "On24" much simpler visual interface.Of course, you can follow on [Twitter] or join the fan club at[Facebook].
This is a worldwide event, with translated resource materials and on-line subject matter experts in six different languages (English, French, Italian, German, Mandarin and Japanese). Those in North, Central and South Americas can participate June 23, and those in Europe, Asia and the rest of the world on June 24. [Register Today] and mark your calendars!
A Forrester Analyst drew the analogy of a river to the upcoming onslaught of millennials. Some 100 years ago, smart companies positioned themselves near rivers, the water provided power as well as a means of transporting products. However, today, being positioned near a river doesn't ensure company success, and there are plenty of examples of companies that have existed a long time now filing for bankruptcy.
As we get out of this recession, the war for people will be intense. In the United States, as many as 76 million[Baby Boomers], born between 1946 and 1964, are retiring or approaching retirement, being replaced by 46 million [Gen X], born between 1965 and 1976. By 2010, there will be as many as 31 million [Millenials], born between 1977 and 1998, in the workforce.
To drive the point home, the Forrester analyst cited [Whirlpool] as an example, a company more than 100 years old, with 73,000 employees across 170 countries. Whirlpool manufactures kitchen, laundry and other home appliances. From 1997 to 2002, however, Whirlpool's per-ticket sales were dropping at a rate of 3.4 percent per year. To reverse this trend, they established the Whirlpool Young Professional program, assigned I-mentors, and invested in Web 2.0 collaboration tools. They realized that they needed to harness the Gen X and Millenial energy. The result?From 2002 to 2006, they had a compete turn-around, with per-ticket sales growing 5.9 percent per year.
Since I covered IBM's keynote session yesterday, I thought it would only be fair to cover HP's today.IBM and HP are the top two IT vendors in the world, and not surprisingly also the top two IT storage vendors, and are both platinum sponsors for this event.
Phil McKinney, VP and CTO of Hewlett-Packard (HP) Personal Systems Group
Phil presented "Enabling Innovation: A Strength In Any Economy", which covered HP's approach to innovationnot just within HP itself, but also to help their customers. He presented an interesting progression forIT. In the first, IT is very technology-centric, focusing on standardizing platforms and automating tasks.In the second, IT is more process-oriented, standardizing and automating business processes measured for reliable IT outcomes. In the third, IT is business-aligned, standardizing and automating services, measured on business results. He argued that the challenge was for companies to transform their IT through this progression to improve business impact.
To help customers, HP focuses on four aspects of an Innovation Management Framework:
Strategy, Measurement and Metrics
Systems, Collaboration tools and knowledge management
Culture, Education and Training
Ecosystem, business partnerships and customer innovation
He wrapped up his talk reminding us that ideas without execution are just hobbies.
Tom Peck, Senior VP and CIO, Levi Strauss & Co
Levi Strauss & Co. manufactures denim pants and other clothing apparel, and has been doing so for more than 150 years. Tom made a point to actually wear denim jeans and a sports coat on stage for his talk.His presentation "Dealing with Disruption" was not about disruptive technologies, but rather the disruption the economic downturn has impact the retail industry. To survive through this recession, IT leaders needto be bold about their hiring, reorganizing and rethinking of IT because disruption is everywhere.
IT is not a cost center at Levi Strauss, and represents only 3.5 percent of their total expenses. Instead, they have educated their stakeholders that IT is an investment for competitive advantage. They have focused on simplifying, which is important because their line of pants has grown incredibly complex. When you factor in the different fabrics, colors, styles, sizes, fit and finish, you end up with a large numberof different pants. This complexity came from an effort to provide exactly what every customer thought they needed. He cited a great quote:
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” --- Henry Ford
This same complexity occurs in IT. To address the changes needed, Tom combined "Lean IT" principles with "Six Sigma" methodologies. Lean IT helped identify problems with the overall flow of processes and provided the tools to remove steps that did not add value. Six Sigma was applied to the remaining steps that did add value, to improve capability and effectiveness.
Companies that have been around for awhile, like IBM, Whirlpool and Levi Strauss & Co., have learned to adapt to the changing business and IT landscape, and adopt new ideas for new ways of doing things.
Forrester analysts kicked off the keynote sessions for Day 1 of the Forrester IT Forum 2009 event. The theme for this conference is "Redefining IT's value to the Enterprise."Rather than focusing on blue-sky futures that are decades away, Forrester wants to present instead a blend of pragmatic informationthat is actionable now in the next 90 days along with some forward-looking trends.
If you ask CEOs how well their IT operations are doing, 75 percent will saythey are doing great. However, if you dig down, and ask how their companies are leveraging IT to help generate revenues, reduce costs, improve employee morale, drive profits, improve customer service, or manage risks, then the percentage drops down to 30 to 35 percent.
What are the root causes of this "perception gap" in value between business and IT? Several ideas come to mind:
Some CEOs still consider IT departments as "cost centers". Rather than exploiting technology to help drive the rest of the business, they are seen as a necessary evil, an extension of the accounting department, for example.
Some CEOs consider IT's role as basically "keeping the lights on". They only notice IT when the lights go out, or other business outages caused by disruptions in IT.
IT departments measure themselves in technology terms, not business terms. CEOs and the rest of the senior management team may not be "tech savvy", and the CIO and IT directors may not be "business savvy", resulting in failure to communicate IT's role and value to the rest of the business.
This conference is focused on CIOs and IT professionals, and how they can bridge the tech/business gap. The first two executive keynote presentations emphasized this point.
Bob Moffat, Senior VP and Group Executive, IBM
Bob Moffat (my fifth-line manager, or if you prefer, my boss's boss's boss's boss's boss) is the Senior VP and Group Executive of IBM's Systems and Technology Group that manufactures storage and other hardware. He presented how IBM is helping our clients deploy smarter solutions. Globalization has changed world business markets, has changed the reach of information technology, and has changed our client's needs.To support that, IBM is focused on making the world a smarter planet, instrumented with appropriate sensors, interconnected over converging networks, and intelligent to provide visibility, control and automation.
It's time to rethink IT in light of these new developments, to think about IT in client terms, with business metrics. Bob gave several internal and customer examples, here's one from the City of Stockholm:
Covering nine square miles of Stockholm Sweden, IBM led [the largest project of its kind] for traffic congestion in Europe. To reduce congestion caused by 300,000 vehicles, the City of Stockhold enacted a "congestion fee" with real-time recognition of license plates and a Web infrastructure to collect payments. The analytics, metrics and incentives have paid off. Since August 2007, traffic is reduced 18 percent, a reduction of travel time on inner streets, and a 9 percent increase in "green" vehicles.
In addition to smarter traffic, IBM has initiatives for smarter water, smarter energy, smarterhealthcare, smarter supply chain, and smarter food supply.
Dave Barnes, Senior VP and CIO, United Postal Service (UPS)
Dave Barnes must act as the "trusted advisor" to the rest of the senior management team. UPS delivers packages worldwide. They put sensors on all of the vehicles, not just to know how fast they were driving,but also how often they drove in reverse gear, and sensors on the engines to determine maintenance schedules.Analytics found that driving in reverse was the most dangerous, and by providing this information to the drivers themselves, the drivers were able to come up with their own innovative ways to minimize accidents.This is one role of IT, to provide employees the information they need to enable them to be better at their own jobs.
Dave also mentioned the importance of collaborating across business units. Their "Information Technology Steering Committee (ITSC)" has 15 members, of which only three are from the IT department. This helped deploy social media initiatives within UPS. For example, Twitter has been adopted so that senior management can get unfiltered customer feedback. This is perhaps another key role of IT, to flatten an organization from cultural hierarchies that prevent top brass up in the ivory tower from hearing what is going wrong down on the street. Too often, a customer or client complains to the nearest employee, and this may or may not get passed up accurately along the chain of command. Twitter allowed executives to see what was going on for themselves.
Dave also covered the "Best Neighbor" approach. If you were going to build a deck in your back yard, you might ask your neighbors that have already done this, and learn from their experience. Sadly, this does not happen enough in IT. To address this, UPS has a "Tech Governance Group" that focused on business process across the organization. For example, they improved "package flow", reducing 100 million miles in the past few years.
Lastly, he mentioned that many technologists are "loners". They have a few like that, but try to hire techies who look to team across business units instead. Likewise, they try to hire business people who are somewhat tech savvy. For example, they have encouraged business employees to write their own reports, rather than requesting new reports to be developed by the IT department. The end result, the business people get exactly the reports they want, faster than waiting for IT to do it. Another role for IT is to provide end-users the tools to make their own reports.
(Dave didn't mention what tools these were, but it sounded like the Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools [BIRT] that IBM uses.)
These two sessions were a great one-two punch to the audience of 600 CIOs and IT professionals. First, IBM sets the groundwork for what needs to be done. Then, UPS shows how they did exactly that, adopting a dynamic infrastructure and got great results. This is going to be an interesting week!
Well, I have arrived safely in Las Vegas, and the [Forrester IT Forum 2009 conference] started today at noon, with a Welcome Reception at the Technology Showcase. As a platinum sponsor, IBM has a booth manned by several subject matter experts, on the fourth floor of the Sands Expo, between the Venetian and Palazzo hotels.
On the left side, we have Paula Koziol and our [Kaon Interactive] 3D touch-screen.
On the right side, we have Ira Chavis and Cris Espinosa, and a rack of some of IBM's latest offerings.
I'm here all week to blog about this event. When I am not in sessions, I will probably hang out at the Technology Showcase with my colleagues above. If you are in Las Vegas, and want to connect, please contact me.