Home A Day With the Bloggers at IBM: Notes – Part 1

A Day With the Bloggers at IBM: Notes – Part 1

I am at IBM’s blogger day at the corporate headquarters in Armonk, New York. Officially it’s called the “Smarter Planet Blogger Day.” I’m hoping to get some insight into a company with more software than any technology company out there. IBM has made $11 billion in software acquisitions over the past five years and $2 billion in organic investment.

Here are some notes from the first part of the day. We’ll post again this afternoon.

8 a.m. EST. Looking at the schedule that tour organizer Erica Topolski put on a Tumblr page. Nice touch.

8:15 a.m.. Bloggers are waiting in the blogger bus. Chatted with Mike Loukides of O’Reilly Radar about Strata, the conference they have planned for February. Topic: big data!

8:45 a.m. Arriving at IBM headquarters. It’s like an estate. Rolling fields and forest. Beautiful blue stone from the Catskills at the entrance to the steel and glass building. It feels like I’m in a science fiction film.

9 a.m.I’m sitting next to Larry Digan from ZDnet. (Here’s his post from this morning.) Other bloggers here include Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch, Derrick Harris of GigaOm and Mike Vizard of CTO Edge.

9:30 a.m. Tour of IBM museum pieces. Check out the Batman machine. It’s called a Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator.

10:15 a.m. First round table: Fred Balboni, global business lead and business analytics and optimization

Notes from Balboni discussion:

IBM Analytics has five layers:

Data Warehouse: Look at transactions as they are moving.

Content management: Integrating information into the business process.

Presentation Layer: Business intelligence – presenting information to the world, either internally or externally.

Predictive Analytics: Take a predictive component.

Strategic: Helping with the strategic aspect of analytics.

Balboni says companies are starting to say legacy IT is a part of business, but that analytics, not legacy IT will be the differentiator.

A few years ago these companies could hide a bad decision. Profits seemingly fell from the sky. Now companies are trying to “maneuver through the small passageways.” Balbonis asked rhetorically: “What’s so hard about getting a product through a channel?” The problem is that the channel is constantly changing. Information companies face far more regulations and the market is dynamic.

Best quote: “Industries based on atoms ship things on trucks,” Balboni said. “Information companies ship bits.”

Summary: Balboni highlighted how young the market is for analytics. Companies are moving data from the bottom to the top of the value chain. Little data experiments are turning into major efforts. There is a bank that pooled data to see correlations between bank loans and defaults, which helped reduce the number of defaults. Now they require 26,000 cores of processing power to do analytics, mostly focused on blocking and tackling on basic transactions. Cloud services will be sold as part of a service package. Private cloud is gaining interest but not as much the publlc cloud. Pharmaceutical, insurance and healthcare industries will work with third party services to use the cloud for analytics.

That’s where IBM fits into the game. Selling services and the tools that service providers can use to serve their customers.

More to come!

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