IBM Partnerworld

Insights from IBM PartnerWorld Part 1: Transforming for Growth

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Las Vegas for the 2014 IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference (PWLC). I provided some updates/tidbits via Twitter (follow @darrenwaldrep and #IBMPWLC, though here I’m able to share a more complete report of the key takeaways from the conference. This is part one of a four-part post.

PWLC is an annual event for senior executives in IBM Business Partner firms to meet with peers, industry analysts, and IBM executives and learn about trends in IT solutions, updates on IBM strategy and direction, and the business results IBM solutions are generating with customers. Approximately 1,500 IBM channel partners and 500 IBMers gathered at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas February 10-13 for the event.

Who should care about what came out of an IBM conference like this?

  • Enterprises looking to learn about IT trends and leverage developments around cloud, mobility, big data, social media, security and other topics to drive business results
  • Software Companies (ISVs) and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) assessing the value of validating on IBM technologies or leveraging IBM cloud offerings, for example, and teaming for success in the marketplace
  • Anyone interested in learning more about IBM updates, strategies, and direction and how IBM Business Partners represent an effective avenue for solution consultation, integration, and support.

Three Datatrend colleagues joined me for an event full of learning sessions, meetings with IBM executives, and networking with industry peers, with the goal to bring back insights into new IT solutions that we can leverage with customers and partners. We also obtained updates on the IBM-Lenovo announcement and how it will be a net positive.

Besides the great lineup of general session speakers and customer testimonies, the meetings we held with IBM executives, ranging from brand leaders, to supply chain executives, to channel management, were particularly productive. We are excited about the follow-up and what it will all mean to our customers and partners.

Opening General Session

At the opening General Session, IBM featured three business partners as examples of growth and innovation. Datatrend – namely, Charlie Cox, president of Datatrend’s Technology Infrastructure Solutions division – was one of the three featured partners (the clip begins about a minute into the video). He shared how Datatrend teamed with an ISV to provide a mobile carrier with a solution to address the booming rich media bandwidth demands, freeing up nearly 50% of their network and allowing for significant customer base growth and user experience improvement.

Marc Dupaquier (GM Global Business Partners) then kicked things off and emphasized the theme of the conference, “Transforming for Growth,” and how, together, IBM and its Business Partners are leading the shift in the industry. What is the shift? Simply put, it is how Cloud is becoming pervasive, how things like Mobility and Social are driving phenomenal innovation at an accelerated pace, and how decision making is fundamentally changing in business as we leverage new technologies and approaches to bring the right information and insights to bear at the right time.

Ginni-RomettyIBM CEO Ginni Rometty then took the stage and elaborated a bit on the key shifts in enterprise IT solution, describing it in terms of three main categories – Data/Analytics, Cloud, and Engagement (with a particular emphasis on Security).

Data (or Big Data) is just information unless we apply Data Analytics to make sense of it and leverage it to improve business acumen and performance. Rometty reminded us of the three levels of Analytics – descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive, each of which plays a role in the ways business leaders get the most out of their Data.

Rometty added that IBM Power Systems “does data better than anything in this world”, pointing to new and emerging technologies like Watson which are built on Power Systems technology. She went on to say that IBM Watson will be made available as a Cloud service so that both partners and customers may take advantage of the cognitive computing abilities that Watson offers in more accessible and affordable ways. You can learn more by watching this video on Watson.

Rometty then turned to Engagement (which encompasses social, mobility, and ways to ensure security). Engagement is all about speed, personalization, security, and trust. She reported that by 2016, 50% of companies will have 25% of IT on systems of engagement.

For a good summary of Rometty’s remarks, check out this article.

Insights from IBM PartnerWorld Part 1Next up was Alastair Lukies, CEO of Monitise, who delved further into Mobility, saying that Mobility is key to the IT shift around engagement. Lukies used a quote from Isaac Newton to emphasize that, to make mobile IT deliver on its promise, we build on the hard work of those who have come before us.

Marc Dupaquier then introduced Rod Brooks, CEO of Stop Hunger Now, to announce the conference’s community outreach activity. Stop Hunger Now is a global aid organization serving 65 countries to help fight the worldwide condition of hunger. Brooks made a powerful point, stating that if one in twelve people here at the conference were starving, it would be our #1 priority. Dupaquier announced that our goal during PWLC is to pack 10,000 meals for Stop Hunger Now over the next couple of days.

After a break, Martin Schroeter, SVP & CFO of IBM, spoke about how CFOs are being asked to play a broader role in enterprise technology. He said that CFOs need to be “value integrators” who deliver finance efficiency and business insight. Some of the keys to being a value integrator according to Schroeter are:

  • Using the right tools to drive enterprise agility through enterprise integration
  • Making better decisions through analytics to help anticipate the future
  • Applying an innovative business model that enables a discipline of performance

Jon-IwataJon Iwata, SVP Marketing, followed with an emphasis on the importance of helping CMOs succeed. Iwata said that CMOs need the right technology to deal with the data and social deluge they face every day. A few of Iwata’s main points:

  • CMOs need to meet the engaged customer more effectively … and securely
  • CMOs are investing in data integration, analytics, and application optimization to better understand and serve customers
  • IBM Netezza and IBM PureData are instrumental in delivering the data management and analytics to transform marketing IT

Robert-Picciano copyRobert J. Picciano, SVP Information & Analytics, spoke next and continued the discussion regarding Data and Analytics, which he said are necessary for effective data mining and governance. Picciano described how IBM Power Systems coupled with BI/analytics middleware results in actionable insight and performance acceleration. He added that Data Analytics allow for cognitive computing, a new plateau for decision making in today’s enterprise (see comments above on IBM Watson).

For another perspective on the first full day at PWLC, including some additional details, check out this TechTarget article.

Please check back for part two of this series on the 2014 PWLC conference. There is so much more to share with you. In the meantime, I’d love to keep the conversation going, so please post your thoughts, questions, and comments about “Insights from IBM PartnerWorld Part 1” below. You may also follow me on Twitter @DarrenWaldrep and Datatrend too @Datatrend_Tech.