Ascendant is a premier IBM business partner and an end to end solution provider and software reseller dedicated to our IBM technology specializing in web-based solutions.
I spoke to Jim Deters, Ascendant's President on our partnership and for a preview on the exciting announcements coming up at IBM Impact in Vegas next month.
Sandy: Ascendant has been a key provider of solutions based on IBM offerings for some time now, can you share with us why this partnership has worked? Jim: The partnership between Atech and IBM works because IBM is producing and delivering world-class and innovative technology that resonates in the marketplace. We in turn take this technology and create solutions and offerings for our customers that help them innovate and drive their business and, in turn, the planet forward. We often call ourselves IBM’s muse. Additionally, the partnership is successful because both Atech and IBM understand how to partner and share common values centered on the customer’s success. In many engagements, we have worked as an extension of one another’s teams, creating the optimal mix of talent and assets from our globally integrated organizations, to deliver for our collective customer.
Sandy: What types of solutions are your customers asking for in light of these challenging economic times? Jim: First, and the most obvious, solutions customers’ are requesting are those that reduce costs. Everyone has to do more with less and this is especially true when it comes to existing IT infrastructure investments – the applications and environments already running. Having deep experience in large, sophisticated WebSphere environments, we created an automation and configuration framework dubbed WICA. WICA is an acronym for WebSphere Installation and Configuration Automation. We were recognized with the SOA Innovation award at last year’s Impact for WICA. In short, it is a framework for reducing costs in SOA and WebSphere environments by automating the management and configuration of the WebSphere Infrastructure. IBM is now OEM’ing the asset and it will be launched as an IBM Rational product at this year’s event.
With WICA in place, we then focus on driving more throughput from the environment – further rationalization of the IT investment by consolidating or extending applications. We are working with many of our WebSphere Portal customers to do just that. We have used WICA to automate and manage the WebSphere Portal infrastructure and are now consolidating legacy and other customer applications onto WebSphere Portal.
After automation and software rationalization, our customers are selectively investing in new initiatives that are strategic to adapting their business to their industry’s changing landscape. We are working heavily in the health care space, both payors and providers. Additionally, we are currently engaged with several Blue Cross Blue Shields across the country to optimize their member portals and create more agile, online business processes. We have created and combined a unique set of capabilities for our customers. By combining user experience architecture, requirements engineering, and business value measurement with an SOA execution, we are helping health care payors align key business metrics to the user’s experience and then ensure end-to-end execution of the solution. The technical solution often encompasses many parts of the IBM platform, including WebSphere Portal, Process Server, Lotus Connection, DataPower, Rational Team Concert and Build Forge.
We are also helping customers across a variety of industries adopt and execute social computing strategies. We are currently working on many corporate communication and collaboration strategies and are creating “internal Facebook-like” solutions, extending online communities to partner communities. Working with a variety of large brands to improve their online shopping experience, we are stressing the importance of “social commerce” applications and strategies in the shopping experience. Commerce is everywhere and the impetus of the “shopping inspiration” usually doesn’t occur on the vendor’s e-commerce site. We are helping customers develop strategies to leverage Facebook, iGoogle widgets, ratings and reviews, and online communities within their WebSphere Commerce implementation.
Sandy: In spite of these challenges, I know that it is a very exciting time right now with the Impact 2009 show almost upon us, Without giving away any big surprises, can you share with us some of the excitement that Ascendant is preparing for the event?
Special note - check out Jim's Video!
Jim: We have a ton in store for Impact that align to the comments above and we are happy to have you get the word out!
First, on the social commerce track, we are doing making several exciting announcements. We will be running a VIP suite (check www.atech.com/IMPACT in coming weeks for the official schedule) to provide an intimate setting to meet and ask a variety of industry, Atech and IBM experts questions. Topics will include.
We have created a strategic partnership with Pluck, a valued IBM partner, and we will be showcasing WebSphere commerce integration through iRise simulations. iRise and Atech are strategically taking to market and entire suite of simulations for IBM software customers. At Lotusphere 2009, we launched a simulation starter for Lotus Connections. At Impact, we are focused on WebSphere Commerce, and specifically WCS and Pluck and a killer “social commerce start store.” Be sure to check out our South Park parody, to be released April 20th! It will be posted to www.atech.com/IMPACT
Industry aligned session for Health Care Payors. We are going to be highlighting our end-to-end capabilities through the eyes of a health care payor. The presentation will start from the very beginning of strategy definition & value measurement, user experience, requirements and process engineering through the technical solution architecture.
The launch of a new asset – the DataPower Automation Framework. Following the patterns of WICA, we have automated Data Power for the management across proxies and as part of an SOA strategy by streamlining the management of a Datapower infrastructure.
Lastly, we will be launching Enterprise Blue ™. Enterprise Blue is our suite of fully-managed, cloud based solutions. Atech and IBM are working closely with Amazon Web Services to help customers get the best of both worlds – all the power of IBM’s enterprise software with the flexibility and low-cost of leveraging Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).
Jim, thanks for visiting with me on my blog and I can't wait to hear more about Ascendant at IMPACT.
IMPACT is less than two weeks away. Don't miss it.
Sign up here![Read More]
Sandy Carter: Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) -- Off the Record
Diamond Sponsor, Miracle Software talks about their decision to participate at IBM IMPACT and why SOA is more important to adapt to business change in today's economy.
Miracle is our Diamond Sponsor this year for IMPACT 2009! This will be their 3rd year of sponsorship! I had the pleasure of speaking with Johnny Chandra, VP at Miracle on his thoughts on the upcoming conference!----------------------------Sandy: What are you seeing in the marketplace around SOA and BPM?Johnny: Business change happens rapidly. The first to reach customers and clients with emerging technologies gain a competitive advantage. Integrating existing business assets with the intelligent and interconnected technologies can lead to efficiency, reusability and profitability for a smarter planet. Some clients are quiet mature in driving BPM while many are in an early adoption phase of SOA and deciding between a Message Vs. Process driven architecture. Miracle will be hosting Birds of a Feather Session #3221 at Impact addressing the same. The smarter SOA standards and patterns will ultimately enable SOA Driven BPM.
Sandy: Why did you decide to sponsor IMPACT again?Johnny: I believe that was a smart decision. Near term, the economy discouraged any action, but strategically we have been seeing the way IMPACT was morphing from a SOA to a SMART SOA and now to a SMARTER summit of choice for the smarter CIO & business leaders. This is an event where business & IT leaders are gathering in an impressive number in search of processes and technology for improving service delivery, while mitigating risk and a dramatic reduction in costs to meet the challenges of this New Economy. There could not have been a better platform in showcasing some of Miracle Software’s SMART SOA Accelerator Frameworks built on top of IBM’s dynamic infrastructure and middleware. In addition, this was an opportunity to hear what new challenges the industry leaders were facing and how some of them have succeeded in overcoming obstacles in their SOA enabled BPM.
Sandy: What do you see as your top value to clients in this market? Johnny: The top value that we see for our clients “in this market” is protecting existing IT investments, reducing costs through reuse, accelerating time to market via rapid SOA deployment. In addition Miracle’s deep expertise and repeatable assets made available to clients, enable SOA accelerated BPM. The Reality Show Miracle is presenting as an Impact Breakout session #3234 showcases this capability utilizing IBM’s Websphere Process Server. Sandy: Anything else you'd like to add?Johnny: Yes. SOA has been lately extending via web 2.0 into the field of Social Computing often referred to as Social Networking. Clients would like to see how it fits into their environment and how they can leverage this technology within the Enterprise. Miracle is doing a Birds of a Feather Session #3222 where participants can learn from how “Thought Leaders” (built much like Facebook & LinkedIn, but geared towards the corporate enterprise) can leveraging the power of social Networks by providing Social software as a service which encompasses all the day to day activities like collaboration, work assignments, communication, group discussion to resolve issues, follow up on targets, monitor progress and many more...all achieved through one single secure environment. Last but not least, security of the SOA environment is a grave concern and Miracle is showcasing a case study “Secure Smart Grid using IBM’s DataPower SOA Appliance” in Impact Session #3235.
Thank you, Johnny and I am looking forward to seeing you at IBM Impact 2009 in Vegas next month. Do visit Miracle at www.miraclesoft.com or at the Impact Solution Center floor either at location or virtually at IBM’s Impact site http://www-01.ibm.com/software/websphere/events/impact2009/
Rocket Software is focused on developing and delivering software solutions to IBM mainframe customers deploying IBM DB2. In the first five years all of Rocket's products were rebranded and licensed to enterprises through IBM's worldwide sales channel. Rocket Software will be at IBM IMPACT 2009 and Sam Elias provides a preview about the benefits of SOA and IBM's Destination z community.
Sandy Carter: Seagull Software – now a Rocket Software brand – offers some exciting SOA solutions in the marketplace. Tell me how Rocket Software has helped customers realize the benefits of SOA to meet their needs to reuse and extend existing applications.Sam Elias:. SOA matches up with what our customers are looking for. We have a history of helping our customers at any point in their SOA adoption lifecycle. What’s attractive to our customers is that we allow their existing business applications to participate in whatever their SOA strategy is — in a non-invasive, cost-effective, and timely way. Our LegaSuite software [now a Rocket Software product] allows organizations to generate scalable solutions, such as new user interfaces and Web services, from their portfolio of existing business applications. This delivers many benefits to customers in all types of industries, from improving call center productivity to enabling customer self-service to integrating business applications both inside and outside the enterprise.
Sandy: As part of IBM's focus on Solutions for a Smart Planet, can you explain how Rocket’s LegaSuite software delivers smart solutions for customers requiring a dynamic infrastructure.
Sam:. Regardless of the size and breadth of the organization, integrating critical business infrastructure in a flexible, secure and seamless way is a challenge that all customers face. One example of this is in the financial sector with our banking customers. As banks are acquired and merged together, there are a common set of services that are used as part of the core application infrastructure. In conjunction with infrastructure platforms such as IBM WebSphere, Rocket’s LegaSuite software provides a cost-effective solution that allows customers to transition these changing (or dynamic) infrastructures seamlessly as application portfolio requirements change. We've used this SOA approach to help several banking customers avoid downtime as they transition to online banking services with limited to no disruption of service.
Sandy: Rocket Software is a longstanding member of IBM's Destination z community. Can you explain why this is important to Rocket?
Sam:. System z is key to many of Rocket's solutions, including LegaSuite. As a founding member of Destination z and a leading provider of System z solutions for the marketplace, it is imperative for us to play a leadership role in strengthening the market awareness of System z and the ecosystem of solutions available for this enterprise platform. Our customers benefit from the community and network of resources available through the Destination z programs, and the better we are connected through the IBM and partner channels the better we can serve and provide solutions for our customers' requirements.
Sandy: IBM recently made a preview announcement for CICS TS V4.1 and there will be further announcements at Impact. Why is this exciting news for Rocket and your customers?
Sam: We’re really excited about CICS 4.1, and it shows that IBM continues to "hit the mark" by being at the forefront of the latest technologies. CICS 4.1 is important for all of our enterprise customers because it continues to show that CICS is the state-of-the-art deployment platform for their mission critical applications. This is a constant challenge for the CICS architecture teams in many organizations as they continually compete with other platforms to remain strategic for the organization. From a solution perspective, Rocket Software has solutions in our portfolio that customers will be able to leverage from day one to take advantage of the new features of CICS 4.1. The new enhancements around Web 2.0 and event-driven architecture give customers greater flexibility and insight around their core business applications or ‘services’ that they rely on to run their business.
Great insights! Thank you, Sam. I am looking forward to meeting you at IBM Impact 2009 in Vegas next month.
Check out Rocket Software at the IMPACT Solution Center, E16 or virtually at IBM's IMPACT site http://www-01.ibm.com/software/websphere/events/impact2009/
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DataDirect Technologies is an IBM partner and provides data connectivity and mainframe integration software for corporate enterprises and independent software vendors. DataDirect Shadow is mainframe middleware software that accelerates the participation of mainframe systems with Service Oriented Architectures (SOA), data access or business intelligence (BI) initiatives, and/or composite application development- all with unique capabilities to dramatically lower mainframe TCO through specialty engine exploitation.
I had a great discussion with Gregg Willhoitt, the Chief Software Architect at Data Direct about lowering mainframe TCO and their views on IBM IMPACT kicking of in Vegas next week.
Sandy DataDirect offers some excellent cost saving strategies. What are some of the messages you'll be sharing to help customers thrive in today's economy? (One of their Session Titles is 'From SQL to SOAP to Events - with zIIP: Cost Effective SOA Solutions for CICS TS V4.1) Gregg: I think it is very important that mainframe customers understand the tremendous opportunity that exist for lowering mainframe TCO while still growing their SOA initiatives. Sounds too good to be true, but this is what happens with innovation. The catalyst for this was the introduction of specialty engines for handling specialized workloads on the mainframe. This allowed processing that would normally be handled by the General Purpose Processor to be diverted to the specialty engine, where it could run without incurring a charge against contracted mainframe MIPS capacity. Initially the benefit was isolated to DB2, Java or Linux workloads – but not anymore. DataDirect has introduced patent-pending technology to more fully exploit specialty engines, expanding the range of environments that can use the zIIP engine to reduce mainframe TCO. With Shadow, DataDirect’s mainframe middleware, customers can offload up to 99% of their SOA-related integration processing to the zIIP specialty engine. For CICS customers, this means more control over costs and the ability to aggressively pursue their SOA initiatives. But the benefit doesn’t stop at CICS. We know the heterogeneous nature of most enterprises, so with Shadow you can leverage the zIIP specialty engine for Web services, SQL or Event processing across a wide range of environments, including Adabas, DB2, IMS, IDMS, VSAM, and Natural. The end result is extra mainframe capacity - a dividend if you will – to support the development of new business services, and in this economy, doing more with less is definitely a strategy for success. Sandy: How does the Impact 2009 SOA Conference help DataDirect, a provider of world class solutions in Data Connectivity and Mainframe Integration, reach new customers and maintain your expertise in today's marketplace? Gregg: To be honest, industry trade events have not fared very well in this down economy; however SOA Impact has been the rare exception. The event has grown to become an excellent forum for all things SOA, providing business and IT management, as well as application developers and systems programmers a great educational resource for examining the practical aspects of how to align SOA capabilities with business goals. Taking part in the technology exhibition is a great way to meet prospective customers, get a better understanding of their integration requirements and provide them with an up-close product test drive. This year, I am sure the focus will be on CICS TS v4.1 and how Shadow complements and extends the product with mainframe Web services, real-time event capture or SQL access. The education outreach this event provides is the perfect context for DataDirect to explain our product’s value proposition for accelerating mainframe SOA enablement. In addition, our technical staff always looks forward to this event for technical presentations and demonstration of the latest IBM SOA products. Sandy: DataDirect is an official sponsor of the Impact 2009 zZone which showcases SOA solutions for System z audience. In fact, this is the second year; you've been an Impact zZone sponsor. What's so special about the zZone? Gregg: The zZone makes all the sense in the world to us given as a product, DataDirect Shadow is singularly focused on the mainframe. Our goal for customers is to reduce the cost and complexity of integrating mainframe data and applications with Service Oriented Architectures, data-centric initiatives like Business Intelligence and Data warehousing, and new application development initiatives that rely on .NET or Java application frameworks. The zZone brings together an elite group of System z partners to complement the IBM System z experts and technology on-hand. It makes quite an impression to customers to see that big z10 mainframe sitting in amongst the exhibit booths. It is here, for example, where a customer can drill down into a technical discussion on zIIP offload or take a tour of our new mainframe TCO calculator for modeling MIPS savings, because it is the right context for that type of discourse. Also, the zZone is a destination for mainframe interests within a larger SOA context. Where else would you expect to find new strategies for redefining the economics of mainframe SOA? Last year, DataDirect was one of the founding members of the zZone at SOA Impact. It was then and still is an ideal setting for demonstrating how new technologies, like Shadow, can help accelerate the mainframe’s role within SOA. The new twist this year is how to make SOA cost-effective for the mainframe. In short, it is all about lowering mainframe TCO. Any mainframe customer looking for technologies to lower SOA-related integration costs will find it at the zZone at SOA Impact.
Great talking to you, Gregg! Don't forget to check out Data Direct at the Impact 2009 zZone.
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Quite excited today to be sharing my conversation with James Governor, a good friend and co founder of RedMonk, the first open source analysis firm. James is an opinion leader in the enterprise middleware space and green technology. His blog Monkchips !Click Here! was recently names one of the top three industry analyst blogs.
Be sure to check it out!
Sandy: James, this will be your third time at IMPACT, the largest SOA conference in the world. What are your favorite things about the conference?James: The people, the people, and uh, the people
Sandy: Why do you think SOA has been so successful in the marketplace today and give 1-2 examples of that success.James: SOA is a 25 year overnight success. The principles have been around a long time, and this time they have been implemented with enough standards to make the approach useful. The need for more integration flexibility never lessens. It is very hard to isolate example of SOA success now- the Fortune 500 are all using the approach. One of my favourite SOA examples right now is not a traditional high endian, WS-* SOA at all: Amee.cc is a web startup that provides back end carbon calculator services for B2B and web companies. Its simple but effective- a web service that can improve the world. It’s simple and effective. [disclosure: AMEE is a client]
Sandy: I know that you are leading a number of Green and Sustainability sessions. Can you overview your major take aways?James: Sustainability and SOA go hand in glove. The key to successful SOA is helping employees and other stakeholders understand opportunities and responsibilities.
Sandy: What is the connection you see between Green and SOA? James: That would be telling ;-) Suffice to say that Sustainability is the latest –ility to join reliability, scalability, availability and so on. Organisations increasingly need to be able to pivot around green issues for strategic planning. Rather than requiring an organisation to rewrite code every time circumstances or plans change, with SOA this can potentially be achieved via configuration.
Sandy: Do you think issues of Green & Sustainability will remain as hot as they were with the economic recession?James: Sure – sustainability now means something it didn’t before. The concept carries ideas of survivability to major shocks, economics or otherwise. Sustainability is CSR taken out of the PR department and made into a stragetic, truly board-level concern. Six months ago I was worried sustainability and greening would drop off of the agenda, but I am a lot more comfortable now that won’t happen. Look at IBM- its agenda at the moment with Smart Planet is all about sustainability- and unless I am very much mistaken IBM looks a lot like the best run company in America right now – so far it has avoided major revenue shortfalls in the recession.
Sandy: Anything that you want to add?James: I am excited about this being the first Impact under the IBM Smart Planet agenda, which is the most interesting umbrella strategy I have seen at IBM in the 14 years I have watched the firm. We all need to get smarter, better instrumented, make more effective use of data, whether at home or in business. An IBMer called Andy Piper describes it beautifully here: To bring this Q&A full circle, Andy is one of the guys IBM looking forward to hanging out with in Las Vegas at Impact. People, people, people.
Awesome, James, thank you for taking the time to chat!
Folks, come hear James Governor talk about going green, soa and sustainability on Wednesday, May 6th at IBM IMPACT 2009.
Follow him on Twitter @monkchips for his latest updates from IMPACT. Don't miss out[Read More]
Hostbridge Technology focuses on the development and delivery of software products that integrate existing and emerging technologies within large organizations. I chatted with Russ Teubner, Hostbridge CEO about their CICS campaign and their presence at IBM IMPACT 2009.
Sandy: HostBridge regularly consults and collaborates with the CICS Group at IBM Hursley. Why is the recent preview announcement for CICS TS V4.1 exciting news for HostBridge and your customers?
Russ: The CICS TS v4.1 announcement is great news for everybody involved with CICS. CICS still runs tremendous volumes of business transactions for many large companies, and like everyone these days, they’re looking for ways to do more with their existing resources. CICS TS v4.1 and HostBridge v6, whose releases will coincide, will help them better manage operations, control costs, and compete in a tightening marketplace.
As we have since day one, HostBridge continues to support and exploit new CICS features. We’re particularly keen on Events Processing and Web 2.0 technologies since they align with the lightweight services approach so many of our customers are adopting. They can be coupled, for example, to enable businesses to respond fast to changing situations. Let’s say a stock price rises to some predetermined level – $85 a share. CICS can now capture this event and immediately publish a series of responses via HostBridge services, mashing up relevant data feeds to traders or end-customers or issuing specific sell orders.
We think CICS TS v4.1 offers enterprises a tremendous opportunity to get more out of high-value resources.
Sandy: HostBridge is currently running a terrific “Do MORE with CICS” campaign. What are the key elements? What can we expect to see at Impact and throughout the year?
Russ: Our “Do More with CICS” theme is a direct outgrowth of conversations with customers, who feel tremendous pressure to do more with the resources they have. In the CICS world, that means finding new ways to use core data and achieve higher returns on mainframe investments. Services-based integration is a great way to do that – especially with lightweight/Web 2.0 approaches like RESTful services.
The face of the campaign is a series of ads in Mainframe Executive magazine and the CICS Spotlight e-newsletter.
We drill into the practical side of the theme in our series of joint webcasts with the CICS Group at IBM Hursley, which started in March and are planned to continue through the summer. We also continue to give talks and publish articles and white papers on the value of integrating CICS using lightweight services.
At Impact, I’ll be updating our “SOA... Give It a REST!” talk with the help of Jerry Hermes, CIO of Navy Federal Credit Union (Session 3197 for you attendees out there). The talk is designed to help IT people look at their integration needs and determine whether a formal SOAP/WSDL approach or an informal RESTful approach is right for their situation. Jerry will share how Navy Federal – the largest credit union in the world – uses lightweight services to web-enable CICS transactions for 3 million members and thousands of service employees.
Sandy: HostBridge is an active partner in IBM Destination z and an SOA Specialty partner as well. How do these associations help you establish your leadership in the marketplace and better serve your customers?
Russ: Our number one goal is to support our customers. Since they belong to the mainframe community, and Destination z is a trusted place to go for insight and information, the fit is perfect for us. Mainframe integration isn’t a cake-walk, and we stake our reputation on giving customers the straight story and doing the hard stuff. Destination z helps us do that.
That same sense of trust and confidence is what the SOA Specialty is all about. As long as businesses rely on System z and CICS, they’ll need integrate to extend the value of these core systems. HostBridge is an SOA Specialty Partner because services-based integration is one of the clearest paths to the future of enterprise computing, and CICS Web services is what we do.
Sandy: We're anticipating strong participation from the System z community at Impact 2009. As a zZone sponsor at this year's conference, what can conference attendees discover by visiting Hostbridge in the zZone?
Russ: HostBridge is sponsoring the zZone at Impact 2009 because we serve and support the System z community. Attendees visiting HostBridge will have an opportunity to learn about our very practical approach to services. One size definitely does not fit all. In complex environments or when industry requirements warrant a formal approach, we do SOAP/WSDL services. Where situations are less complex or for intra-enterprise integration, we champion informal RESTful services. In our experience in the trenches with real customers, the informal approach is often faster, easier, less costly, and just as effective.
Russ, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I am looking forward to meeting you next month in Vegas at IBM IMPACT! http://www-01.ibm.com/software/websphere/events/impact2009/
Don't forget to stop by at the IMPACT Solution Center and talk to Hostbridge.[Read More]
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Silver Sponsor, Phurnace Software, Inc. talks about SOA, IMPACT and the Cloud Computing buzz. This will be Phurnace’s second year of participation at IMPACT demonstrating their WebSphere and WebSphere Portal application deployment tool.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Larry Warnock, CEO of Phurnace Software.
Sandy: Larry, to start off, please tell me how Phurnace applies to SmartSOA implementations?Larry: Sandy, thank you for spending time with me and I want to say that we are really looking forward to IMPACT 2009. To answer your question, Phurnace automates the deployment of applications into the WebSphere container or Portal environments automatically. As SOA becomes more of a reality in large IT organizations, it is often coupled with agile development practices -- which means frequent updates, releases and patches to mission-critical applications. This has put a stress on the configuration management of WebSphere and Portal instances. The Phurnace deployment tool makes it possible for applications to move into production much more quickly, therefore, realizing the promise of SOA. Sandy: Larry, that is interesting and makes a lot of sense, how do WebSphere and Portal customers handle those deployment issues today?Larry: Quite frankly, hand crafted…often thrown together…for sure always out of date, scripts. Customers turn to scripting for the last mile in deploying their applications and portlets. This often takes an army of highly skilled people, that in my opinion, should be working on more value-added projects. The days of scripting or “hobbled-together” script frameworks has past. I often say, why do you have your brightest java engineers building scaffolding vs. working on the building itself?
Sandy: We are hearing from IT Managers and Executives that rapid ROI is a must-have. What kind of ROI can customers expect from Phurnace?Larry: The new bar for investments appears to be less than 120 days meaning that IT must see a return on investment in 4 months to justify any purchase decision in this cost-constrained economy. Phurnace customers are seeing ROI often in half that time. That is possible because customers can immediately eliminate the costs associated with scripting and script maintenance. Believe it or not, we have found companies that actually spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on deployment scripts. The challenge is that the costs are usually hidden or unseen but once you shine a light on them, it is an ROI “no-brainer”. Sandy: The SMB (Small Medium Business) market seems to be quite interested in SOA and cloud computing, specifically, the recent announcement by Amazon (Amazon Web Services) and IBM around running images of WebSphere and Portal. It’s creating buzz….what are you hearing?Larry: The recent announcement by IBM and Amazon creates a viable cloud computing option for many businesses. However, the state of the “on-ramp tools” market to move applications and Portals into the cloud is still very young. While the set up of WebSphere and WebSphere Portal in Amazon Web Services is now quite easy, it is still very complex to actually deploy production-ready applications onto those images. So while the buzz is creating awareness, customers will still need deployment tools like Phurnace to actually use the cloud to run business applications. We hear from customers that there is a lot of development users and experimentation going on in the cloud, but not yet application deployments from the data center. I strongly believe that one day it will happen, especially for SMB, but the tools market to enable IT Operations still has some maturing to do.
Thank you for sharing your insights and I look forward to seeing you at IBM IMPACT 2009 in Vegas next month. For more information on Phurnace, please visit them at booth S2 at the IMPACT Solution Center or http://www.phurnace.com [Read More]
Mobitel chose IBM and BPM powered by SOA to better align business and IT. Meet this IBM IMPACT speaker in Vegas next month to learn more about their SOA and BPM journey!
I had the pleasure of talking to our customer, Boštjan Robežnik, Director of IT at Mobitel and gleaning some great insights on their BPM and SOA journey. Mobitel is a mid-sized company which develops its own innovative mobile solutions in accordance with the needs of the Slovenian market and users’ demands. http://www.mobitel.si/english.aspx
Sandy: Why did you choose IBM software? Boštjan Robežnik: I think IBM was actually a little bit different compared to other vendors. We did quite a deep analysis of the market at that time. So the conclusion was that IBM offers--could offer to us the solution which would really help us to achieve the goals, yeah? One of the big differentiator was Telco Industry Content Pack and WebSphere Business Service Fabric. This was really something not found by other vendors. One of the goals of SOA project was the fast rollout of the standardized--industry standard business processes and data objects, and this is something which is a part of the Telco Industry Content Pack. And this is also something which is not found by other vendors as such. And WebSphere Business Services Fabric gives us a possibility to dynamically select the service based on the policy. This is also a unique feature.
Sandy: Why did you chose the Smart SOA path? Boštjan Robežnik: SOA is a clear must in the future. Also, based on the research--resources of Gartner, for example, this is something which is not hype anymore. This is something you have to adopt in order to have a clean IT. For me it means that I have a really good way how to orchestrate the whole IT landscape, all the application into the single business support system. It gives me a lot of flexibility. So I think that it is really a right decision for IBM. And for me, in the moment, IBM is really a top provider of SOA.
Sandy: How has BPM powered by Smart SOA helped you better align business and IT?
Boštjan Robežnik: Typically business and IT, of course, are quite two different worlds and SOA and Telco Industry Content Pack and WebSphere Business Service Fabric, it really gives a good bridge between those two different worlds. So business typically--of course, they know very well the business processes, they know how they would optimize them. IT, of course, they should have a capability to fulfill the needs of the business people and of the market as such. So by introducing WebSphere Business Modeler to the business people, we actually introduce a bridge between those two different worlds. So by using the Modeler, the business people have actually a communication way with IT how to communicate with IT varied ideas how the business processes should look like. So this is, for me, one of the really important tools. It is definitely a bridge between those two different worlds. On the other hand, we introduced with WebSphere Business Monitor to the business people a tool which could be used by them to improve agility of the company, because now they can measure our human tasks, they can measure our different KPIs. And, of course, this is then bidirectional communication between IT and business units, and it really gives us a better agility on the market.
Sandy: How does "the business" benefit from BPM powered by Smart SOA and the Telco Industry Content Pack? Boštjan Robežnik: Business organization sees different benefits. Of course, one of the major benefits is the possibility to monitor in the production environment the whole business process, to measure the KPIs, to have a chance to modify the business processes. And on the other hand, they see a better agility of the IT systems as such, because IT is responsible to deliver products, it's responsible to deliver new services. This architecture is cleaner, it's easier than to maintain, the governance was introduced, and everything together gives the benefits to business units, to company as such.
Sandy: What has been your experience working with IBM? Boštjan Robežnik: With IBM, since start of the project, we worked hand in hand and it was a kind of joint cooperation, and both parties--we had the full commitment to succeed with that project. Since the start of the project, IBM actually invested a lot into Mobitel with their valuable knowledge, with their experts which helped us onsite, and that was actually crucial for the success of the project, and also for the project completion.
Sandy: We are thrilled that you will be speaking next month at IMPACT 2009 in Vegas . Anything you would like to share? Boštjan Robežnik: I am really excited and looking forward to sharing our experience with you and other IT experts. For me, it will definitely be the most thrilling event ever.
Thank you for sharing your insights and I am looking forward to seeing you at IBM Impact 2009 in Vegas next month. For more information on Mobitel, please do visit http://www.mobitel.si/english.aspx[Read More]
ZSL is a sponsor at this year's IMPACT 2009! They are one of over 50 partners that clients can visit in our Solution Showcase of economic busters and agility enablers this year in Vegas.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Shiv Kumar, Executive Vice President, ZSL,Inc. There are some great insights and nuggets to take away from the below!
Sandy: First, Shiv, thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. First, tell me a little about ZSLs, people, process and product philosophy.Shiv: It’s my pleasure to talk to you Sandy. ZSL has a long legacy of bringing People, Process and Product together to meet and exceed our clients and partners expectations.We strongly believe that People make the process better. People and Process together can bring the value added Products and Services to delight our customers. Sandy: We do a lot with web 2.0 and SOA. And I hear you have something called ‘Eco-Friendly Computing with Websphere sMash. I am intrigued. Tell me more!Shiv: I am glad that you touched up on one of ZSL’s interesting initiatives as an ISV and Solution Provider, that is our GreenWare Computing. Our GreenWare Computing practice focuses in adopting green friendly software platforms such as Websphere sMash which utilizes the processing power at the optimistic level to deliver our Enterprise Web 2.0 and SOA based solutions. I strongly feel that ISVs can do more to show their social responsibility by building Green or Eco-Friendly software products and services. We are having two sessions dedicated on this topic at the Impact conference.
Sandy: To stay with the hot topics for our joint clients today, tell me about how ZSL is working with Cloud computing?Shiv: We are seeing Cloud computing as an extension to SaaS while some of the industry experts put Cloud Computing under the SaaS 2.0 label. I personally feel, Cloud computing adoption is one of major steps towards in implementing SOA with demonstrable cost benefits.SaaS and Cloud Computing make good sense and essential to consider in today's business landscape. Our Cloud Computing initiative is focused on offering our business solutions and services built around IBM Websphere and AWS. We feel proud about launching our first business solution called Enterprise 2.0 SocNet CiC(Collaboration in Cloud) built using Websphere sMash and Amazon EC2 at Impact 2009 conference.
Sandy: What do you see as your biggest piece of advice for clients in this economic time?Shiv: It’s time to invest in optimizing and modernizing your IT infrastructure. Based on our education and recommendations, the majority of global clients deciding to begin SOA initiatives are doing so in a down economy in order to come out ahead of the competition when the turnaround hits. So think about creating ‘ Responsive Enterprise’ with the right technology investment.
Sandy: Finally, why did you sponsor IMPACT? What do you see as the value?Shiv: As we strive to thrive in these challenging economic times, it’s important to invest our time and effort where the future lies. We strongly feel that our participation in Impact 2009 Smart SOA conference is a smart decision not only add value to our partnership with IBM but take lot value, best practices and industry knowledge from the conference to our clients on the emerging technologies such as Cloud, SOA, Web 2.0 and BPM. Awesome! Folks, be sure to check out ZSL at the Solution Center at IMPACT 2009.[Read More]
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Social Media Guru at IMPACT 2009!
I got to know Jeremiah at a Social Media thought leadership event in the Valley. He is truly a leader and visionary in this space. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeremiah and wanted to share what he has planned for IMPACT 2009!
Sandy: How has the economic downturn changed the way people leverage social networkingJeremiah: Our Technographics Research shows an increase in adoption of social tools from 2007-2008, in fact some pretty large jumps in behaviors. Basic common sense and logic tells us that social media usage for consumers will go up during a recession. Why? People will want to connect with others during crises, build personal brands, learn new skills by reading blogs. Also those who are in between jobs will have more time and certainly need to connect with others to find new job opportunities. Furthermore, we’ve found that 53% of marketers have decided to increase their social media spend during a recession on social, however it’s important to note we’re not talking about sizable budget amounts, these are still small potato budgets –all things considered.
Sandy: Is social media superficial branding, or does it truly change the company?Jeremiah: Sadly, many companies are slapping social features on their corporate websites or launching blogs –yet they are not walking the talk. Many brands don’t truly live an open an transparent workstyle, and as a result, customers see right through it. This research is telling, corporate blogs aren't trusted by consumers.
Sandy: What is the biggest finding from the many interviews you’ve done with corporate social media teams, what’s the one trend you’re finding? Jeremiah: Many companies are starting to get organized and are appointing key roles, such as the social media strategist and a handful of community managers. These specific roles, while often perform other traditional marketing tasks, are key to delivering true social media programs to the market. Why? Like all business programs, internal champions are still needed for success –especially new mediums
Sandy: On a lighter note, what's your take on the Ashton Kutcher @aplusk and CNN @cnnbrk race to 1 million followers?Jeremiah: While silly and trivial, this is a true milestone that Twitter and other social tools are about to go mainstream with media coverage. This however, doesn’t suggest they are mainstream tools, as they don’t have mainstream adoption.
Sandy: How do you feel about celebrities using Twitter? Oprah has 92,000 followers before she ever posted 1 tweet, are celebrities changing the way Twitter is being used and any lessons to be learnt by companies?Jeremiah: Expect celebrities to monetize this microblogging tool far faster than Twitter themselves. They will extend this tool to help their sponsors reach new audiences, pimp their own shows and content, and use it to broadcast content. Most celebrities won’t understand the true dialog opportunities and will use it like their other tools –broadcast. As a result, early adopters of Twitter will move on, and create a new community that hasn’t become saturated.
Sandy: You will be at IBM IMPACT in Vegas next month talking about the importance of social networking for today's commerce opportunities. Would love to get a sneak preview on this session.Jeremiah: Social Network adoption is one of the highest participated social activities by consumers –as a result, brands want to be there. In my session we’ll talk about what works, and what doesn’t. I’ll have some practical examples and best practices, and will make it interactive. I hope folks show up, and Tweeting is certainly encouraged!
Gang, come and see us at IMPACT. We have some great social media adventures planned like blogger box seats, Paint your Facebook, and more! Sign Up Here!
P.S. As everyone knows, Jeremiah's puppy is famous and no blog would be complete without a picture![Read More]
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My Virtual Model enables consumers to "try on" clothes online and this is a business model after my own heart! For companies, using My Virtual Model technology improves their bottom-line profitability by increasing revenues while cutting costs. As an IBM SOA business partner, MVM will be at IMPACT 2009.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Louise Guay, the MVM co-founder and wanted to share her insight!
Sandy: This year will be your first trip to IMPACT! What are you most looking forward to?Louise: I hope that I will have the chance to share our experience of social centrality and target advertising with the participants. The moneytisation of the social shopping and networking is “le sujet de l’heure” and we have an experience conducive to it! We can provide in the core of the shopping experience of merchants a usage of social media (Show me me how people like me wear this product!) and how the users can buy the entire look with a buy all button. Once the users register their profiles (their 3D models of themselves with a picture of their faces), ads can be targeted to them via banners or in emails or when they make their model appear on a product page. We have also an amazing network driving new clients to our merchant clients.
Sandy: I know that My Virtual Model has incorporated Social Media within the online shopping experience for Sears, Cosmopolitan and others. What is the reaction from customers and users?Louise: Merchants are anxious to make a sound usage of social media. From a merchant perspective these times command a strong metrics oriented results, we also know that users trust more and more their peers comments. Imagine if they can see their peers wearing what they like and would wear also. They can choose seeing it on similar peers body types or same ethnicity or any physical affinity they have with peers! It influences their purchases and drives strong recommendations. It is an effective outfitting approach. Publishers want to go from mass media to personalized media. My Virtual Model brings each and everyone of their readers to literally try on their fashion picks and hints and all the trends presented regularly in their magazines.Users are more and more visual and very involved in the process. They already rate products. If they can see the products on themselves and on others people similar to them it has a direct impact on their decision to purchase. It boosts their confidence in their styles, their looks and their tastes and preferences. Confirmed in their personalities they feel good to go and get what makes them look great. When we install our product on a publisher/media site like Cosmopolitan, users read fashion tips and trends and are always wandering what it will look like on them and where can they get it? These questions are answered by the virtual models of the users and the comments of other users on their models.
Sandy: What are some of the more popular elements of social media that users have really loved within the new My Virtual Model experience?Louise: Users enjoy discovering their personal styles. They also develop friendships, affinities of interests and support the efforts of others. Many great talents appear and are encouraged by the Community. Users love to create looks, publish them on their public page and get rated by other users. They also appear in the most recent and popular looks of the Community and rate other users looks. They love to click the “Try On Outfit” button and wear on their model an outfit created by another user. It is a great way to shop and buy outfits. It is quick and highly efficient. They love to describe their looks and tell a story about their looks. They also love to see how each item of their looks is worn by other users utilizing the feature “More looks featuring this item “
Sandy: Why did you choose to base this on WebSphere Commerce?Louise: WebSphere is well know for it’s foundational excellence and architecture of openness to integrate 3rd party applications that are user centric. By choosing WebSphere we were able to concentrate on what we do best, and leverage a powerful and robust ecommerce platform to create an innovative and solid shopping experience.This is exciting and thank you for stopping by and sharing your insights! I am looking forward to seeing you in Vegas next month @IBM IMPACT 2009[Read More]
Judith Hurwitz as my Guest for Q&A! SOA for Dummies Second Edition back by popular demand! Get the ebooks at IMPACT 2009
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I still remember when the first edition of SOA for Dummies came out two years ago! These books were snapped up and the feedback was tremendous. With cost optimization and business agility being more critical than ever to companies in these economic times, the timing for a second edition could not be better. So I interviewed Judith Hurwitz a leader in the industry!
Sandy Why do you think that SOA is hot today?Judith: SOA has moved from a technology initiative to a business initiative. Many companies are looking to SOA to codify their business practices in repeatable manner. Many of the CIOs we have been speaking to are looking at the advantage of being able to create reusable services that they can use to gain flexibility. Companies are also looking at SOA to replace some of the inflexible packaged applications that are costing companies too much money to maintain and change. SOA is proving to companies that it can also allow them to innovate in ways that have direct impact on the bottom line.
Sandy: What was your motivation to work on the second edition for SOA for Dummies?Judith: When we wrote the first edition of SOA for Dummies more than two years ago most companies were still in the pilot stage. Many executives we spoke with had a sense that this was something important but didn't really understand it. Things changed dramatically in the past two years and we really wanted to provide more insight not just into the technology but into the ways that real companies across a wide spectrum of markets were being successful with SOA. We were so pleased that 24 customers were willing to not only talk to us but be named in the book.
Sandy: I understand you have spoken to 24 companies across 9 different verticals. Can you give us a sneak peek to some of their experiences?
Judith Hurwitz: There are so many significant stories that the CIOs told us. What has stayed with me is that these companies were starting with business strategy rather than starting with writing code. These companies were setting up centers of excellence to help guide the progress towards SOA. They were also spending considerable time on the organizational issues and business process issues. Several of the CIOs we talked to were able to use SOA to positively change the relationship they had with customers.
Sandy: Judith, I do believe this is your third consecutive year at IMPACT! Anything you could share with the readers about your IMPACT experience?
JudithImpact is really a unique conference. At the first Impact we noticed that attendees were so pleased to find like minded people that were trying to achieve the same goals for their companies. Before that first Impact these executives didn't realize there was a real movement happening. The next year there was a clear change. Executives and mangers now had real experience under their belts and were eagerly sharing best practices with each other. I have found Impact to be a very customer centric event offering real value. I am also struck by the fact that Impact takes a holistic view of both software and business aspects of SOA.
Great insights, Judith. Thank you!
I know we will be giving away the mini book versions at IMPACT and you will be there in person. At IMPACT, we will give away a copy of a Mini Book of SOA For Dummees V2!
Looking forward to seeing you in Vegas next month.