Key Takeaways from IBM Think 2019

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By Bo Gebbie, Vice President, Sales, Services and Marketing

During the week of February 11, IBM hosted IBM Think 2019 in San Francisco, CA.  In addition to Think, the annual IBM PartnerWorld Conference was also held during the same time.  Hosting these events together saw almost 30,000 attendees descend on San Francisco for the week.

Evolving Solutions had several team members and clients attend the event.  It was an outstanding opportunity to learn about IBM’s 2019 strategic imperatives, new solution announcements and new channel program enhancements.  Additionally, the event afforded us the opportunity to network with hundreds of clients and IBMers from across the country.

As I reflect back on Think, there were several key take-aways for me.

  • Hybrid Cloud is where it’s at. According to the IBM Institute for Business Value, clients are already using between two to 15 clouds.  These environments might be on-premise or in the public cloud.  As the number of cloud silos continue to grow, clients need an easier way to connect the applications, no matter where the data resides.  During Think, the IBM Cloud Integration Platform was announced.  This platform is “designed to securely connect applications, software and services from any vendor regardless of whether those systems are on-premises, in a public cloud or a private cloud,” according to IBM.
  • Data.  Data. Data.  According to IBM CEO Ginny Rometty, “only 20% of the world’s data is searchable.”  Applications such as Office365, CRM, expense management, etc. were the “easy apps” to get into the cloud.  There is 80% of data out there that is critical to an organization’s overall success.  Those core systems will be the focus of the next era.  How do clients utilize that data to make gather meaningful business insights, and make-real time decisions?  IBM is placing big bets on “the next 80%” to help grow its solution portfolio.
  • Artificial Intelligence will transform how we all work. Many people still think of AI as something you would see in a Sci-Fi movie.  But, according to Rometty and several executives we spoke with, AI will be embedded in applications or layered on top of them in the future.  AI will enable new or improved business processes.  AI will enable every single person to do their job in a more efficient or data-led way.  AI will not replace jobs; rather it will augment how we do work.  I like the theory, and look forward to seeing how this plays out over time.
  • Red Hat is key to IBM’s future. The IBM executives could not say a ton about the Red Hat acquisition, since the deal has not closed yet. But, every single IBMer was excited for what Red Hat can bring to IBM in terms of new client opportunity, innovating the product stack and keeping IBM relevant to the next generation of buyers.
  • Holy moly, the Moscone Center is huge. One of my non-business learnings is that the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco is enormous.  It is no small feat to fit tens of thousands of people into one place!

Over the next few months, we will have Evolving Solutions team members at several of our other strategic partners’ premier conferences.  We will share our insights from those events on our blog.

I am looking forward to returning to San Fran next May for Think 2020.  Hope to see you there!

Bo Gebbie joined Evolving Solutions in January, 2017 as the Vice President of Sales, Services and Marketing. In this role, he is responsible for the sales, pre-sales services, post-sales consulting and marketing pillars within the organization. He is a member of the Executive and Management Teams, and represents the organization externally on vendor and partner Advisory Councils.

Before joining Evolving Solutions, Bo was an IBM executive, serving last as Vice President of Server Solution Sales, North America. In that role, he had sales and profit responsibility for a $3B portfoilio across Power Systems, z Systems and the Server Linux brands. Prior to that, Bo was the Business Unit Executive, Power Systems Sales, North America.

Like what you read? Follow Bo on LinkedIn.

Emerging Technology Trends to Watch in 2019

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By Liz Young, Marketing Coordinator

I recently hit up one of our visionaries here at Evolving Solutions, our CTO, Michael Downs, to get his take on the technological trends we can expect to see in the coming year.  Michael evaluates emerging and disruptive technologies.  He brings together the real-world experience our team possesses to help our clients implement solutions that are agile, offering as much longevity as technology allows.

He offered some really great insight on some pretty cool emerging technologies and I had to share three of them because I think they are something to look forward to.

Automation

IT Automation is the trend that keeps coming back. We’ve been talking about IT automation for decades, but it has taken on increasing relevance with most infrastructure now able to be treated as code for deployment and changes. This has allowed developers to integrate the development automation they already created with deployment automation for infrastructure.

The rise of both containers and “server-less” application development models have made automation required. Managing a container that might only run for less than 30 seconds before it’s deleted simply can’t be managed with more traditional manual processes.

Blockchain

After several years of crypto currency hype and over-promise for solving every enterprise problem, some practical and realistic implementations are starting to emerge.

In spite of the reputation for Blockchain supporting interactions between completely untrusting, anonymous parties, the “permissioned Blockchain” model, where the participants are known is showing significant promise for enterprise use cases.

Deriving value from enterprise Blockchain implementations usually necessitates a consortium. We recommend you identify others in your industry or value chain who would also benefit from a shared ledger and work with them on use cases.

Quantum Computing

Undoubtedly the most futuristic and uncertain area of emerging technology. Tremendous energy and time is being spent on Quantum Computing research by companies with the resources, capabilities and interests to achieve breakthroughs. IBM (https://quantumexperience.ng.bluemix.net/qx/experience)  and Google (https://ai.google/research/teams/applied-science/quantum-ai/) both have significant efforts and are  enlisting developers to experiment with algorithms and programming models through their respective portals and cloud based offerings.

In addition to the technical challenges related to making a commercially viable Quantum Computer, use cases that truly take advantage of the unique computational paradigm of Quantum Computing are still being developed. Physical Chemistry, cryptography and certain artificial intelligence use cases seem the most promising, but until more people outside of research laboratories begin to understand the true nature of Quantum Computing, it’s potential will remain limited.

Automation, Blockchain and Quantum Computing are just a few of the technologies that should make 2019 interesting.   I know Evolving Solutions will be watching these technologies for their potential in helping our clients solve their organizational challenges so stay tuned to our blog and social media for more!


Liz Young - Evolving Solutions

Liz is the Marketing Coordinator and is responsible for the digital/social strategy, content creation and campaign execution for Evolving Solutions. She handles all online platforms including the Evolving Solutions website, blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

Liz works with the incredibly talented sales, consultant, and architect teams to ensure we offer the best support to our clients. From creating collateral, to planning world-class events, Liz works to ensure our best foot is always forward.

With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Liz is also pursuing a journalism degree at the University of Minnesota.

Like what you read? Follow Liz on LinkedIn.


Michael joined Evolving Solutions in 2014 to develop solutions for our clients across hardware and software, both on and off premise. He brings over 18 years of creating architectures to solve complex business problems including big data, high performance computing, integration, automation and end user computing.

His broad technology, business and industry experience provides valuable perspective to our clients working to implement innovative technologies to support their success.

Like what you read? Follow Michael on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mldowns/

5 Signs Your Organization is Ready for the Cloud 

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Cloud is pretty much a way of life these days.  If you haven’t made the move to cloud, there is a good chance you could be feeling left out; left wondering what the hype is all about, and what cloud solutions can do for your organization.  Cloud can be a lot of things, from gaining a competitive edge through cloud computing solutions, to being used as a backup and recovery tool, the possibilities cloud offers are virtually limitless. 

So, how do you know if your organization would be well-served using any of the many cloud solutions that are out there?  If you can relate to any of these obstacles, it may be worth looking into what cloud can do for you. 

Is your data center nearing end-of-life or capacity thresholds? 

Cloud offers scalable options fit for most budgets and needs.  Plus, it always evolves, so you don’t have to worry about what happens when you reach end-of-life or a certain threshold. 

Has the management of legacy IT systems become burdensome? 

With certain cloud products, you can spend time on new projects rather than maintaining existing infrastructure, and there are many types of system monitoring utilities to choose from, so you can keep tabs on everything that’s happening with your environment. 

Are you uncertain of your IT needs and requirements, but must meet key business deliverables? 

Cloud solutions provide you with the freedom and flexibility to change services depending on demand.  This saves money and allows the most efficient use of your resources.  Plus, you pay only for the users and storage your company needs. 

Do you have a new application requirements for mobile/distributed users? 

The cloud is making it easier to work anywhere, with any device. Cloud computing offers easier access across all devices and new ways to get the job done. 

Do you have offsite requirements, but no desire or ability to have another data center? 

When you take advantage of cloud computing, you’ll enjoy the major benefit of reducing your IT assets. This is because you only pay for the performance and space you need, reducing your capital expenditures.  

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, taking a closer look at cloud solutions might be a worthwhile endeavor.  Through customizing cloud options to meet your needs, many of the chores weighing down your workload today, can be easily managed, leaving you to work on other things. 

Bluemix Cloud Computing Solutions Drive Value for Businesses

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By Doug Polen, Evolving Solutions Software Sales Specialist

Can Walmart really influence its vendors to migrate away from AWS cloud computing solutions?  If I was a supplier to the retail behemoth, I’d certainly want to consider my options.  AWS is the Uber of the cloud marketplace, but there are other players in the marketplace that offer viable cloud solutions.   Consider IBM’s Bluemix…

You may ask – what is IBM Bluemix, I’ve never heard of it?  Is that Softlayer?  IBM has a cloud computing solution?  These are things I have heard multiple customers say to me over the past couple of months as I have been working to create brand awareness in the Upper Midwest.  Bluemix is IBM’s IaaS and PaaS cloud solution, the IaaS components were previously branded under IBM’s Softlayer acquisition.  Earlier this year, it was merged with the Bluemix PaaS catalog of offerings which was originally launched back in 2014.

Why should you care about Bluemix now that IBM has gotten serious about IaaS and PaaS cloud computing solutions?  There are many finite details, but the top reason for a medium to large enterprise would be Private Cloud.  Many organizations are just fine with sharing their cloud environments in the public space, but as organizations embrace Hybrid Cloud models going across multiple data centers and cloud providers, how do you know your “stuff” is secure?  IBM is able to offer Public, Private, Semi-Private and Local cloud computing solutions for customers to choose what makes sense in their world…while this is likely to change, it can be a very compelling reason for customers to opt with Big Blue.

As a customer, you’ve got options.  It all depends on the use case and what you are trying to accomplish.  Based on my interactions with the IBM teams and my customers, there are some key offerings within Bluemix that are Hot on the Truck at the moment:

  • VMWare Solutions (Hytrust, Veeam & Zerto alliances)
  • Virtual Servers
  • IBM Watson Services for Cognitive Computing Capabilities
  • Weather Company Integration
  • Websphere Application Server
  • Data & Analytics Services
  • Application Integration with API Connect and App Connect

I am excited to see IBM break down many of the silos that previously made it challenging to work with.  Given the robust catalog of offerings, there are multiple ways to procure these cloud tools and services (pay/go, gift card model or subscription).  If you are an existing IBM software customer, be sure to consider the Bridge to Cloud programs at renewal time, you could get a low cost test drive of the Bluemix platform for a couple years.  Nothing on your software renewal that is eligible to bridge…ask for a small sample of Bluemix, you’ll likely see some additional discounting on your annual maintenance bill.

We are Evolving Solutions, Let’s get to work and help you understand how Bluemix cloud computing solutions can bring value to your organization. Contact us today.

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Doug Polen is a Software Sales Specialist at Evolving Solutions.

 

 

 

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Cloud Security – Questions to Ask

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Cloud services can provide any-sized business efficiency and cost savings. Cloud services can also help free up time to allow for innovation and speed up time to market. For some companies cloud services can also provide better security.  IT teams wear many hats to keep their systems in tip-top shape as the world demands always on service.  Many teams are looking to trusted partners who offer solutions to help them manage.

When it comes to adopting a cloud solution, many put security on the top of their list of concerns.  In fact, IBM recently found that 76% of CIOs consider IT security their biggest risk. Security just like other criteria should be evaluated thoroughly when looking at a new IT service whether that service is cloud related or not. IBM Cloud pulled together these questions to ask when evaluating a cloud service:

  • Who is responsible for security? Understand who owns what once the cloud solution is in place. You may find that the provider does not take full security responsibility or uses a third party.  Depending on the skills  of your team, you will need to decide if you can handle the added security needs or perhaps you can work on a shared responsibility setup or you may want a vendor who has full cloud security expertise and handling
  • How do you evaluate if the security is adequate?  When it comes to security don’t stop your evaluation at the certificate level. Dig in and find out what and where the certification covers and what it means to your business. Better yet, look for a cloud service provider that covers security for the entire infrastructure and can help you manage regulatory compliance standards
  • What happens if something goes wrong? You must understand the provider’s disaster recovery process. In today’s always on world, quick recovery is crucial not only to your customers and employees but also to your bottom line

Finally, once the decision is made to move forward, be sure to clearly document the process, procedures and the division of responsibility for managing your cloud service.