2017/11/07 10:15 Donna Dillenberger, “Cognitive Blockchain”, Cascon

Plenary #cascon @DonnaExplorer IBM Fellow, IBM Research, Global leader of Enterprise Systems

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting,based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted by David Ing.

Intro by @mrmindel, Head of IBM Centre for Advanced Studies

[Donna Dillenberger]

Cascon 2017

What is blockchain?

  • Database gets out of sync
  • Blockchain software propogates records onto other databases
  • Why not distributed databases?  Because a distributed database is owned by a single entity
  • Blockchain means no single party controls
  • In addition, distributed database could have someone deleting record
  • Can also put smart contracts onto a blockchain:  changes data, or checks for conditions before or after commitment


  • Have descriptive analytics, then can create predictive analytics

IBM Global Trade Digitalization demo (powered by IBM Blockchain)

Post-presentation follow-throughs.  Some of the content may be similar to …

  • Shipment, Kenya to Rotterdam, then can click on where vessel location is
  • On the blockchain, data from IoT centers, and ports
  • As ship moves, each of point put records on the blockchain — start container tracking, commercial invoice is available, packing list is available, sensor has refrigeration
  • Blockchain analytics products geophysical map
  • Then can put on sensors, for logistics planning, e.g. weather
  • If the ship is late, how late?
  • If refrigerated, if mango aren’t good, who’s at fault?

Not just shipping from export to import countries:  documents

  • Before blockchain, paper was printed, human couriers carried on ship — 15% of the international cost, $26B
  • If a way for secure exchanges, savings in billions of dollars

When Kenyan farmer brings produce, can just use mobile phone to upload documents

  • Then Kenyan regional association can approve certificate of origin
  • Smart contracts are dictating a workflow
  • Sanitation department can add certificate onto blockchain
  • All signatures done onto blockchain
  • Then horticultural association that gave the farmer seeds, they upload a commercial invoices so that coffee can leave
  • Mombasa customs, don’t have lost or forged papers, blockchain means can’t be deleted
  • Workflow programmed by smart contract, requires all signatures

Data immutable:  health inspections, sanitation, signature of individuals

  • Then can do analytics:  where is the hold-up, e.g. waiting for sanitation certificate
  • U.S. customs is asked for this for parts of products, e.g. Ikea shipping parts to the U.S.
  • A major path for opium is in the legs of furniture
  • U.S. customs wants to know that the furniture is coming from Sweden, but the legs may come from Indonesia

Once have analytics, customer asking for blockchain data to be combined with natural language to deal with compliance

  • Financial services, 30% of cost is just meeting compliance

Cognitive Blockchain demo

  • 1. Ingest regulation
  • 2. Kick off bot
  • 3. Obtain permissions (to see records)
  • 4. Check blockchain records compliance

Australia and the Kimberley process:  to reduce conflict diamonds

  • How to get a Kimberley certificate:   download a 18-page PDF

Post-presentation follow-throughs.  Some of the content may be similar to …

Have Watson ingest the 18-page PDF

  • IBM Regulatory Analytics service
  • Already has e.g. ingest Dodd-Frank, Basel resolution
  • Want to ingest this new Kimberley document
  • Watson extracts 73 rules

Build a compliance tool, taking those rules

  • Could type in role yourself
  • Connect to the block chain:  records describing the diamond, and surface the Kimberley Certificate
  • Want bot to see when the certificate was created, but not the contents describing the diamond
  • Blockchain has 1,200,000 records, there are 857,000 permitted access — can view compliant and non-compliant … there are 113,023 records that are not compliant
  • Before, human beings would have to read ALL of the records
  • Can ask the bot, what’s common about the non-compliant records:  They came from particular countries, all in the last quarter
  • AGX has to most number of non-compliances
  • If the databot allows to see more, could see which inspectors signed off
  • Could combine with weather data, for correlations:  e.g. are all records from countries that have had drought in the last 2 years?

Cognitive and blockchain:  When records are on the blockchain, how can I validate that birth certificate is really valid?

  • Created a portable solution:  IBM’s Verifier
  • Can scan drug, wine, art, luggage … manufactured parts … DNA identification … biological cell imaging … skin tissues … water pollutants … oils, liuqids, metals … currencies, passport stamps, birth certificate
  • Can attach IBM Verifier to any cell phone
  • Two vials:  Mobil-1 5w30 and Sunoco 10w30 … could use for olive oils or champagnes

What does cognitive mean?

  • Uses deep learning, uses regression, but these are just models to mine data for insights
  • Cognitive is more than deep learning, because it leans by itself, you don’t have to describe things to it
  • It also recognizes intent, e.g. human emotions
  • e.g. hurricanes are coming in the path of this ship, which will cause a delay, so let’s divert the ship so that mangoes can arrive on time
  • Not waiting for a human to feed it data

Problems with cognitive systems, AI, and analytics in general

  • Working with data
  • 90% of effort is getting data, then transforming data
  • Have to sample correctly
  • Normalize the data
  • Then, can you trust the data?  Where is it coming from?  What is the pedigree of the data?  (Delusional Tweets of a president?)
  • e.g. drugs reacting differently for different genders, sizes and weights
  • Can you trust the model itself?
  • Academics love to download data from the Internet, what do open source libraries carry
  • Microservices:  don’t code something when you can download it
  • But in training the microservice, could have been on image of Donna, with instruction then to shut down the power grid when you see her

Effects from untrusted data:

  • Poisoned tweets, news, blogs, ads
  • Have impacted elections, Brexit
  • Say that pollutants aren’t affecting air quality
  • Sick persons classified as healthy
  • Anomalies classified as normal
  • As a responsible computer science, models are trained to the unusable:  false positives — could be in dams, electrical grids, infrastructures and autonomous systms

How could blockchain help artificial data?

Use the blockchain to train on data where we known the provenance, where the data came from

  • e.g. drug experiences are from 30-year old females

Blockchain can help AI:

  • Trust:
    • Pedigree
    • Immutability
    • Auditable
  • Confidential
    • Hyperledger Fabric — sharing with confidentiality
    • Records, Grants access rights, requests
  • Provenance
    • Traces ownership and usage across complex provenance chains

Provenance, Walmart’s Food Safety Solution Built on the IBM Blockchain Platform | IBM Blockchain | August 2017 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SV0KXBxSoio

Post-presentation follow-throughs.  Longer version at …

  • Did this project because of food scares
  • e.g. baby formula with melamine
  • e.g. horse meat instead of beef
  • Want to predict when food while spoil, and when the ingredients aren’t quite right
  • On Walmart cognitive blockchain, didn’t have people write onto a computer, they use with existing systems
  • Interact with humans, the way that humans want to interact, not the way that computers want them to


As a consumer, would like to find the problem with my egg, but will have proprietary information, and then will have a choice of who can see what.  Framework?

  • Blockchain isn’t owned by one entity
  • Hyperledger has a governance policy:  will all clients be able to see information on the blockchain
  • e.g. this blockchain has Kroger, Unilever, etc. … that don’t allow to see participants
  • Bitcoin and public blockchain allow people to see all of the data, and an anonymous person can put on data:  a potential exposure to poisonous data

Provider that doesn’t reveal data (e.g. patient)?  Can break that in emergency?

  • Looking at different approaches
  • Hyperledger allows roles
  • Could say heart surgeon sees only part of data
  • Dentists can only see that part of data
  • Up to you as patient to see that
  • If hospital owns data, then could have a smart contract, if the person comes in unconscious, might enable anyone to see data
  • Ethereum, Bitcoin, don’t permit these, Hyperledger does

Concerns about data so security that the data gets lost so that no one can get to it?  Data superpower building a back door?  Blockchains growing so large so that no one can manage them?

  • There’s a difference between blockchain implementations
  • Bitcoin keeps growing
  • Linux Foundation Hyperledger Fabric, has an activity to archive blockchain
  • e.g. after financial regulation, have to keep all financial records up to 30 years, and every transaction (trades) has be recorded, has to have copies for last day, last week, last month, up to 7 years
  • Financial companies store on tape, up to petabytes, exabytes
  • If blockchain is over 50 years old, archive that
  • Superpower?  True with public data, Ethereum and Bitcoin, anyone can see that
  • But not true with all block chain
  • With Ethereum, said superpowers can’t change:  when had a problem, said would roll back … but originally, records were to be immutable
  • Hyperledge Fabric protocols:  can add more nodes, it’s one company or person compromising his node, but then others nodes push it out and don’t allow others to join
  • IBM Secure Service Container:  when the blockchain is hosted in IBM Cloud, all of its data is automatically encrypted, not by human, but by hardware that isn’t addressable by software
  • Even if U.S. government asks for key, IBM doesn’t have then
  • This is a response to Edward Snowden, who was a system administrator
  • Blockchain data so secure that it gets lost?  Don’t understand that question, will take offline

Wish you had been at this presentation?  Some of the content may be similar to …

#bandieuhoacuanphuc, #baoduongdieuhoaanphuc, #ban_dieu_hoa_cu_an_phuc, #blockchain, #cognitive, #dillenberger, #ha_tuan_khang, #ibm, #lapdieuhoaanhuc, #muadieuhoacu, #seoconghuong, #signal_buiding, #suadieuhoaanphuc, #trendy, #user_is_king

2011 interviews of Nick Donofrio on his career at IBM

(Ex-)IBMers who ever encountered Nick Donofrio @NMJD in his 44-year career at IBM may appreciate memoirs in two interviews. The first starts with his childhood, through to 1964 when he first started working with IBM.

Grant Lussier: So you basically joined IBM roughly at the halfway point of the history of the company, right?

Nick Donofrio: Pretty much. That’s right. I like to say that. I use this famous chart by Ray Kurzweil. I should get it for you.

Kurzweil 1999, Moravec 1998

Nick Donofrio: The reason I use it is because it has my life on this chart. So he (Kurzweil) plots a hundred years of technology advancement. He is not plotting it for IBM’s benefit. I am using it to describe the life in IBM. It’s a very interesting chart. Semi logarithmic. So what he plots is the amount of computational capability you can get for a fixed amount of money in a fixed amount of time. And it turns out the curve is a hugely super-semi logarithmic chart super exponential. In a hundred years it rises 16 orders of magnitude.

And what I like to point out to people is I started at the point of vacuum tubes, which is about right in the middle of the chart. (Nick points to the Kurzweil chart in his hand that he pulled out of his brief case) It’s about a hundred years and I joined right there. I came out of RPI with vacuum tube skills. I actually designed circuits with vacuum tubes, right? Only to find out that is not where we are. “We are trying to move to the transistors, Nick.” And then nobody knows this, but then we are going to do all of this along the way. So I quickly re-schooled myself, re-skilled myself. This is how I get to Syracuse. I get my Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse. I got my degree because IBM had a programme with Syracuse. [p. 10]

Grant Lussier | “The Nick Donofrio Story: Part 1, The Formative Years” | 2013 at http://www.celerasearch.com/articles-news/category/nick-donofrio .

The second part describes the career at IBM, through a series of management positions.  In 1971, Donofrio was assigned a management position in Burlington, Vermont.  He learned from the 360-degree review.

Leadership 101
My initiation into leadership occurred in the “old IBM,” when the hierarchical structure was firmly entrenched. It was pretty rugged. I was in Burlington, overseeing about ten circuit designers in my department. I was really close with them. The supervisory assessment process at the time was a survey taken of the people reporting to you, and the reports of the managers ranked best and worst were sent to the leaders at corporate. The rankings were 1 to 5, with 5 at the top. I got my opinion survey back; I was flabbergasted by how bad it was. I was terrible. I didn’t get a 1, but like 1.4. I was crushed, and I thought, “I’ll be jobless. I’ll be the worst on site.” It was a very humbling experience, but it taught me some important lessons. One: that just because I “knew everything,” that didn’t mean that I was a good leader. I needed to let people do their jobs. Two: I was going to have to learn how to ask for help. Without the assistance of my staff to steer me in the right direction, I was a goner.

More broadly, I think this event taught me that change is important. You have to be willing to evolve and to be okay with not having every answer.  [p. 7]

At age 42, he was the corporate director of development at the IBM headquarters in Purchase, NY.

Nick Donofrio: [Around 1987] IBM hit the wall essentially because it was not paying attention to what its clients wanted. It was making better and better things every year, but they were not the things that people wanted to buy. They were ranked the number one company in the world in the ’80s, so they were everybody’s envy. It was a slow and gradual degradation. In a few years, it started to fall off the backside. [p. 5]

In 1995, Lou Gerstner asked Donofrio to lead server group (i.e. over 100,000 employees across RS/6000, S/390, AS/400 and PC servers). The marketplace was competitive, but the approach was different.

Grant Lussier: So, you are saying the market is large enough for the server business worldwide to have multiple players?

Nick Donofrio: Right. It was then for sure. In order to successfully grow, we often forged partnerships and relationships with the very folks we competed with day in and day out. Alliances, industry organizations, standards, all these and more become part of the daily routine. The only way for anyone to survive and thrive was to find partners. Cooperation and competition quickly turned into ‘coopetition’. If you build a large enough ecosystem, it turns out they really do come! The only way for anyone to survive is by finding a partner to deal with…it’s a different direction from the way we had functioned previously.. And that’s become the mantra moving forward.

In hindsight, he reflects on his career.

Grant Lussier: What do you think that you’ll be remembered for?

Nick Donofrio: When I look back at my career, seems like I was smart enough to take what I learned at RPI and continually reapply it in a time of very high transition and change! And that is how I made my- self; that is how I made my name. Rather than be the guy with the first idea, I was the guy with the last idea. I learned that there was nothing wrong with not being first, or not being in the lead. As an engineer, I’m a problem solver at heart. That is what I did for a living; solved problems!

When it comes to getting along in the world, there’s nothing wrong with being a good, hard-working person, with caring a lot about people and trying to do the right things. So because I kept those ideas in mind, I always felt comfortable with myself. I never had to be something I wasn’t. And as a result I was never afraid of change. I actually thrived on it! I hope the legacy I left behind is the sense that you can not change fast enough given how fast the world is changing around you.

Grant Lussier: So you would say that being good is more important than being great?

Nick Donofrio: Yes. And I think good people should always win. Even though they often don’t, even though life isn’t kind or fair, that doesn’t mean that someone should become bad or compromise them self to get forward in the world. That doesn’t make any sense to me. I’ve been asked, “Why are you always willing to listen to people, and to reach out to people?” I guess that is just the way I was raised. I enjoy giving back and helping people and realizing that there are so many people so much brighter than me in the world who could do so much more with just a little help.

Along the way, I also came to believe each one of us is the ultimate creator of our situation. You get either what you want or you get what you deserve. But whatever you have in the end, it is yours. You have no one to blame, or to credit, but yourself. That is the truth as I see it. In the end, for peo- ple like you and me who’ve been at liberty to exercise our wills in life, it is a pretty sobering philosophy. If it didn’t work out well for you, it didn’t work out well for you because you decided that it didn’t work out well for you. If you didn’t really want it that way, you would have kept working to get something different. But you decided you were going to set- tle, right? Or you decided that you were powerless, right? There are only a handful of ways, if I remember correctly, to resolve conflict—you either fight, you flee, or you change. This stuck with me, as IBM developed me into a better and better leader and manager. [pp. 10-11]

Grant Lussier | “The Nick Donofrio Story: Part 2, The IBM Years” | 2013 at http://www.celerasearch.com/articles-news/category/nick-donofrio .

Nick Donofrio is IBM Fellow Emeritus, retired as IBM Executive VP Innovation & Technology in October 2008. He says he’s not retired, just graduated from IBM, in this speech in 2013.

“21st Century Innovation / Technology” | Nick Donofrio | November 14, 2013 | Bentley College at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9BDOBcLes8

#career, #history, #ibm, #nick-donofrio

Number of IBM employees was 379,592 for year-end 2014

IBM officially reported on the number of employees for the year ending Dec. 31, 2014 in the 10-K filed with the SEC on Feb. 24, 2015.

Employees and Related Workforce

Yr.-to–Yr. Percent Change
For the year ended December 2014 2013 2012 2014-13 2013-12
IBM/wholly owned subsidiaries 379,592* 431,212 434,246 (12.0)% (0.7)%
Less-than-wholly owned subsidiaries 8,862 9,018 8,009 (1.7)% 12.6%
Complementary 24,321 23,555 24,740 3.3% (4.8)%
  • Reflects reduction of approximately 35,000 resources due to divestitures.

As a globally integrated enterprise, the company operates in more than 175 countries and is continuing to shift its business to the higher value segments of enterprise IT. The decrease in total resources from 2013 to 2014 was primarily due to divestitures in 2014, which drove a reduction of approximately 38,000 resources. The company continues to remix its skills and resource needs to match the best opportunities in the marketplace.

The complementary workforce is an approximation of equivalent full-time employees hired under temporary, part-time and limited- term employment arrangements to meet specific business needs in a flexible and cost-effective manner.

Source: Form 10-K Annual Report | Feb. 24, 2015 | United States Security and Exchange Commission at http://secfilings.nasdaq.com/filingFrameset.asp?FileName=0001047469-15-001106%2Etxt&FilePath=%5C2015%5C02%5C24%5C&CoName=INTERNATIONAL+BUSINESS+MACHINES+CORP&FormType=10-K&RcvdDate=2%2F24%2F2015&pdf=

via:  IBM’s work force drops by 50,000 in 2014 under reboot | Rick Smith | Feb. 25, 2015 | WRAL Techwire
at http://wraltechwire.com/ibm-s-work-force-drops-by-50-000-in-2014-under-reboot-/14469352/

#2014, #ibm, #number-of-employees

Four guiding questions to make a company great (Sam Palmisano, 2003/2011)

Four guiding questions were given in 2003 to the top 300 managers at IBM to make the company great (again):

  • “Why would someone spend their money with you — so what is unique about you?”
  • “Why would somebody work for you?”
  • “Why would society allow you to operate in their defined geography — their country?”
  • “And why would somebody invest their money with you?”

Mr. Palmisano formulated those questions in the months after he became C.E.O. in March 2002 His predecessor, Louis V. Gerstner Jr., recruited to I.B.M. in 1993, had already pulled the company out of a financial tailspin, first reducing the size of the work force and cutting costs, and then leading a remarkable recovery.

In meetings after he took over, Mr. Palmisano told colleagues that I.B.M. was still good, but that it wasn’t the standard-setting corporation that it had been when he joined in 1973. (A history major at Johns Hopkins and a star offensive lineman on the football team, he turned down a tryout with the Oakland Raiders of the N.F.L. for a sales job at the company.)

The four questions, he explains, were a way to focus thinking and prod the company beyond its comfort zone and to make I.B.M. pre-eminent again.

“This needs to be our mission and goal, to make I.B.M. a great company,” he said, according to executives who attended the gathering. [….]

“The hardest thing is answering those four questions,” Mr. Palmisano says. “You’ve got to answer all four and work at answering all four to really execute with excellence.”

“Even a Giant Can Learn to Run” | Steve Lohr | Dec. 31, 2011 | New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/business/how-samuel-palmisano-of-ibm-stayed-a-step-ahead-unboxed.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Samuel J. Palmisano, who is departing as I.B.M.'s chief, devised four questions that pushed his huge company to stay a step ahead of rivals.

#goal, #ibm, #mission, #palmisano, #questions

“The Decline and Fall of IBM” | Robert Cringely | June 2014

Quick read of “The Decline and Fall of IBM” by Robert Cringely, downloadable as Mobi, epub or PDF for $3.99USD from http://www.anysubject.com/the-decline-and-fall-of-ibm-by-robert-cringely , or from Amazon on a Kindle in the U.S. or on a Kindle in Canada.

The body of the book is relatively short. In PDF formatting, the content is as follows …

p. 007: Preface
p. 009: Introduction
p. 013: Chapter 01: Good Old IBM
p. 018: Chapter 02: Lou Gerstner Saves IBM for AWhile
p. 028: Chapter 03: Sam Palmisano and the Long Con
p. 033: Chapter 04: Why Big Companies Can’t Change
p. 039: Chapter 05: LEAN AND Mean
p. 048: Chapter 06: ‘Death March 2015’
p. 054: Chapter 07: A Tale of Two Division Sales
p. 057: Chapter 08: Financial Engineering
p. 061: Chapter 09: An IT Labor Economics Lesson from Memphis for IBM
p. 066: Chapter 10: The Ginni Paradox or How to Fix IBM
p. 077: Afterword: What if Ginni Doesn’t Listen?
p. 078: Comments from Readers (On Cringely Blogs from 2007-2013)
p. 229: About the Author

An (ex-)IBMer who reads Cringely regularly will probably be most interested in Chapter 10.

These are my ideas for what Ginni Rometty should do as CEO. [p. 66]

The Hardware Problem:
Computer technology is becoming more of a commodity, and IBM must learn to become a commodity supplier. [pp. 66-67]
The Hardware Solution:
IBM needs to retain and grow its hardware division. The immediate goal should be to return it to break-even performance without any more staff cuts. Next, it needs to realign the business to better serve the market for the next decade. [p. 67]

The Software Problem:
Compared to many other software companies, IBM moves like a glacier. [p. 68]
The Software Solution:
Product development needs to understand the needs and directions of the customers; it needs to be empowered to design new products and versions that will increase its value to the market; and it needs to be enabled to produce those products and versions quickly and efficiently. [p. 68]

The Services Problem:
For the last 10 years, IBM’s Services divisions have been subjected to relentless cost reductions, layoffs, massive offshoring of work, and a scary process of dumbing down the talent. [….] Most of the great processes IBM developed over the years have been lost. [p. 69]
The Services Solution:
Global Services should launch a division-wide continuous quality improvement program. Teams should be empowered to find and act on ways to automate the business. [p. 70]

The Cloud Problem:
The infrastructure used to provide a Cloud service is much more complex than that of a typical IBM outsourcing account. IBM’s approach of throwing lots of bodies with narrow skills at the problem won’t work with Cloud technology. [p. 71]
The Cloud Solution:
Beyond leaving SoftLayer alone, what IBM needs to do to be successful with its Cloud investments is to fix other parts of the company. [….] IBM needs to provide value-added services to its Cloud platform to increase both revenue and profit. [p. 71]

The Analytics Problem:
IBM has hopes to make this a service they can offer in the Cloud. That will involve copying most of business data to a database outside the company. […] The next challenge to a Cloud service is TIME—simple math and physics. [p. 72]
The Analytics Solution:
There is exciting work to be done in analytics; I just don’t see IBM positioned to grab a leadership role. There’s no way they’ll achieve their stated goal of making billions from this business. [p. 73]

The Mobile Problem:
IBM has completely missed the biggest change in Information Technology in a decade. [p. 73]
The Mobile Solution:
IBM should have its own App Store, which would offer customers a way to learn how to use the new mobile platforms. It could provide a way for the application developes to interact with IBM’s customers. Over time IBM could learn and develop mobile technology that is useful to IBM’s customers. [p. 73]

The great opportunity is to fix the cause of the problem. In most cases, a poor corporate culture delivers decisions that cause quality problems. IBM needs to change its culture and its values. [p. 74]

Restore Respect:
IBM needs to start treating its workforce with respect, and as valued members of the corporation. IBM needs to invest in its people and get them working for the company again. [p. 74]

Near the end of John Akers’ time as CEO … IBM’s divisions needed to operate more effectively. They needed to adapt to the needs of the market, but the corporate management structure was preventing this from happening. This was the exact problem Lou Gerstner found and fixed when he joined IBM. Well, Lou is gone and IBM has reverted back to its old bad habits. [p. 75]

A New Business Model:
IBM needs to learn ROI thinking. IBM spends far too much on gold-plating new products and services. IBM gives preference to its more expensive proprietary technology over commodity industry technology every time. Good design and good engineering makes the best use of money. If the commodity stuff works and is the best economic choice, then
use it. [p. 75]

A Better Business Goal:
Lou inherited a financial disaster and made the tough decisions to stabilize the company. His financial decisions were not the ends they were the means. The long-term goal was to align IBM with its customers and the market. That needs to be done again. [p. 76]

For those interested in IBM, the book is worth $3.99. Cringely is a (well-informed) journalist. He has not, however, ever had a decision-making role inside of IBM, so the analysis comes for an external perspective.

The introduction for the book was replicated by the author on his blog “The Decline and Fall of IBM” | Robert X. Cringley | June 4, 2014 at at  http://www.cringely.com/2014/06/04/decline-fall-ibm/.

The Decline and Fall of IBM:  End of an American Icon?

#cringely, #ibm

As It Shrinks In A Growing Market, Does IBM Have A Strategy? |Peter Cohan | June 14, 2013 | Forbes

IBM’s strategy to focus on “social networking, mobile computing, data analysis and storage and cloud computing” seems clear.  This is a socioecological systems direction that responds to changes in the business environment that can cause some discomfort internally.  There are a lot of employees who don’t work in those growth areas.  The question is whether employees have had enough foresight to shift their knowledge base and skills, and/or whether career managers have provided sufficient guidance for those employees to make the transition.

IBM’s formula for profit growth has been to cut costs enough to offset declining sales. In the last year, its revenue fell 2.3% while its net income grew 4.7%. If IBM cut enough people, it could meet its profit numbers.  [….]

… in April, Rometty announced that in her fifth quarter as CEO, IBM had missed predicted earnings by a nickel and would fire people to cut costs before the end of June.  […]

IBM’s statement was short on specific details and long on how layoffs are a natural response to industry change and IBM’s evolving business strategy. IBM said “Change is constant in the technology industry and transformation is an essential feature of our business model. Consequently, some level of workforce remix is a constant requirement for our business. Given the competitive nature of our industry, we do not publicly discuss the details of staffing plans,” according to Bloomberg.

IBM claims that it’s just using the layoffs to shift people from declining business lines so it can invest in growing ones. AP suggests that “some of those employees didn’t fit” with IBM’s plans to invest in “social networking, mobile computing, data analysis and storage and cloud computing.”

As It Shrinks In A Growing Market, Does IBM Have A Strategy? |Peter Cohan | June 14, 2013 | Forbes at http://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2013/06/14/as-it-shrinks-in-a-growing-market-does-ibm-have-a-strategy/.

As It Shrinks In A Growing Market, Does IBM Have A Strategy? - Forbes

#ibm, #strategy

2013/04/28 13:30 Gabi Zedik (IBM Research), “Mobile First: Future Directions in Mobile Development and Runtimes”

IBM Impact Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted by David Ing.

Following the GTO session by Steve Abrams, in the first track that IBM Research has run at the Impact conference

Mobile First isn’t just a name, it’s a way of thinking of mobile

Mobile has GPS, personalized

Unlike other technologies where think about processes first, have to put the person in the centre

New consumption patterns

  • Omnichannel:  physical, mobile,social, video and web
  • Context fusion: apps used to perform an single task, based on context (roe, mobile)
  • App-centric
  • Activity burst
  • Apps chained

Re-imaging businesses

  • Radical simplification: core objective, enable in one or two interactions, e.g. Instagram, Bump
  • Extreme personalization
  • Participative behavior
  • World-as-an-interface
  • Zero barrier to entry

Mobile First has disruptive impact on IT delivery infrastructure

  • “Systems of engagement”:  read about these on web
    • Engagement capabilities
    • Scalable delivery infrastructure
  • “Systems of record” are legacy systems

Challenge:  data used to live on the system of record, life was easy, would access from a fat client or browser

  • For mobile devices to work effectively, some of the data needs to move off systems of records, to be cached on the device in continuous client experience
  • Then need to synchronize data, make sure it’s secure

Mobile First Delivery Middleware is different from Traditional Web App Server

  • Functional requirements
  • Programming model attributes
  • Run-time deployment and management attributes: heteorgeneity in middleware stacks, number of programming languages

Emphasis on mobile developers, different from those in cloud

  • Need a higher level of abstraction, a layer above a cloud
  • Focus on building mobile application:  usability is important
  • Would like to configure a dashboard on server side, and access that
  • Care less about virtual machines, who started the service, they just want them there
  • Would like to avoid writing code on the server side (although sometimes do need to write)

Mobile Enteprise Application Platform Solution (MEAP) 2011-2012

  • Familiar Worklight diagram

Other companies more focused on mobile developers

  • Convergence: mobile enterprise platforms are converging with mobile infrastructure services

IBM Mobile Runtime Platform (with Systems of Engagement)

  • Mobile Industry  Platform and App Services
  • Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) — non-SQL, more JSON or SOAP, need a transformation
  • Foundational Services — different security models
  • Cloud runtimes and frameworks (PaaS Fabric)
  • Software Defined Environment

Research Runtime and Industry Services

Session 1169:  Space-Time Aware Services for the IBM Platform

  • Location is becoming central for what we do
  • Linking operational decision management becomes important
  • Link with uncertainty, work in a proactive event-driven way (so that if have situations, handle, or change)
  • Combine with visual analytics, to define investigative services

Spatial extension to Websphere eXtreme Scale

  • Important on how to represent data, structure in an efficient way so don’t have to go across all of the servers

Secure Mobile First Enterprise Data Services

  • Unlike a laptop that could be owned by an enterprise, mobile devices are much more exposed
  • Bringing device into enterprise, have to manage private and enterprise data, e.g. e-mail that requires authentication, and can’t be copied to the private side of the device


  • Have many mobile devices
  • Vision, would like seamless way of moving across devices and across people
  • e.g. start on desktop, them move to device on car (without sending it by e-mail) to start in the same point
  • Ability to synchronize across applications, across operating systems, across users, in a seamless experience
  • Challenge:  want to share across devices, operating systems, applications
  • For an application doing it across devices

Scalable enterprise mobile messaging service

  • A lot happens in RESTful APIs
  • Sometimes using messaging, delivering system to system with certain throughputs
  • Sometimes pub-sub mechanisms
  • MessagingSight to handle so many devices at throughput required

Want agility from development point of view

  • Looking at how to simply:  Rapdi App Development of Data-Centric Mobile Enterprise Apps, session 1211

Research Development Lifecycle Tools as a Service

  • Testing
  • Application security and certificatoin
  • NitroGen:  Rapid LOB app constructoin
  • Usability and accessibility
  • DevOPS:  delivered in an Enterprise App store

Mobile challenges and accessibility support are more important in devices, e.g. could have light outside, can’t hear in a noisy environment

Research projects:

  • Smarter mobile commerce:  customer context –> omnichannel interaction –> authentication and payment
  • Context inference engine
  • Presence zones, enabling in-store personalized services
  • ARISTO:  Actionable, personally tailored knowledge ad the decision point, e.g. augmented reality application that could sort, compare prices, filter out (as opposed to calling your wife)
  • Smarter mobility:  e.g. transportation, logistics

In Brazil lab:

  • Smart Board
  • Citizen Sensor: reporting on city problems when they encounter them
  • City Companion: helping tourists, the blind

#ibm, #impact, #mobile-first, #research