IBM News Roundup (Jan-Feb) – Watson Group, Cloud Expansion, IBM Studies, 4Q Earnings, and more

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IBM News Roundup (Jan-Feb)

Here’s a roundup of some of the major IBM news, events, and study releases from the past few weeks, in case you missed them.

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Related:

–Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

IBM Italy Fashion Industry Leader Dr. Dario de Judicibus: Create Your Own Opportunity

Dr. Dario

Dr. Dario de Judicibus, European Fashion Industry Leader, IBM Smarter Commerce

“I try to do something different every day. I do not wait for the opportunity – I try to create it.”

Dr. Dario de Judicibus is the European Fashion Industry Leader for IBM Smarter Commerce Italy, specializing in Business Strategy, Knowledge Management, and Social Networking.  He has written more than 250 articles in several magazines and newspapers, published 6 books, and speaks regularly at national and international conferences.  He is also a prolific IBM inventor with 7 patents to his name.  Prior to IBM, he worked at CERN (Geneva, Switzerland), Stanford, and DESY (German Electron Synchrotron), and he has a Laurea in Physics, High Energy Particles, from Florence University in Italy.

Be sure to join in the live Tweet chat we’ll be hosting with Dr. de Judicibus and Scott Duby on Thursday, February 6.

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The Greater IBM Connection:  When did you join IBM, and what led you to join the company?

I joined IBM in 1986.  I had just graduated and completed mandatory military service as an officer.  At the time, there weren’t a lot of good opportunities in Italy in research, so I was looking for a company that also did research.  IBM had a very strong research lab in Rome that I was interested in joining.  Because of my extensive background and research experience (CERN in Switzerland, SLAC at Stanford, and DESY in Hamburg), I was immediately hired, but that research lab closed after a few years, so I moved to a different job.  In my 27 years with IBM, I have had many different jobs, both technical and non-technical, but the real reason I love this company is the opportunity to interpret and create my job description as I wish.  In fact, I am what today is called a ‘Wild Duck‘. It is not always easy to operate independently in a company that has very strict processes at times, but I must say that I am never bored.

What were some of your more interesting roles and what did they entail?

I’ve had a lot of different worldwide roles in IBM, but some of the most interesting and exciting for me were when I was practically inventing a new global practice from scratch.  For example, in 1993, when every software developer in IBM was continuously reinventing the wheel for every project, I founded the Reuse Shop, which was the first IBM group to create software libraries of building blocks that could be used to develop products.  I later took on managing the first Intellectual Property initiative (ICM) for Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, and Israel.  Then, in 2010, I became Fashion Industry Leader, first for Italy and later on for Europe, creating the first IBM Retail Practice and market segment focused on the Fashion and Luxury Products Industry.  Being a pioneer is not easy, especially when you really have no frame of reference to operate from, but it’s also extremely exciting to land in a totally new world and explore. There’s not many companies in the world that give their employees such an opportunity.

What was the workplace like when you joined and how has it changed over time?

One of IBM’s strengths since the 80’s has been the collaborative environment and sharing of expertise.  We didn’t have the same kind of sophisticated social sharing tools that we have today of course, but IBM has always had a global network of expertise, internal forums, and a set of tools to share documents and experiences.  So, even if the means were primitive as compared with today, somebody in some region of the world was always available and willing to help solve a problem.  It was a really big family.  Now the tools are more sophisticated and make it a lot easier to leverage extended networks of expertise, but the core IBMer attitude of willingness to help/volunteer and share your expertise hasn’t really changed.  This is the greatest asset we have in our company – our people.

What does a typical day look like for you now?

You might be surprised, but I do not remember a single day of work looking like another… Every day is a new challenge and a surprise.

Image Credit:  Venture Beat (The Internet of Things is coming, and IBM wants to be at the center of it)

Image Credit: Venture Beat (The Internet of Things is coming, and IBM wants to be at the center of it)

Is there any project or initiative you’d like to tell us more about?

Well, probably the Fashion Alliance, where I developed a new marketing channel approach.  Rather than thinking of our business partners simply as an additional channel to sell IBM solutions or their solutions based on IBM products, I created an ecosystem of several companies, each one strong in a specific area, working together like a football team.  In practice, I was able to solve customer problems by assembling this team of third party competencies, coordinated by IBM, who were stimulated to work with each other.  One of the solutions we developed was a family of products based on biometrics, not for security purposes, but for marketing.  One example was the Smarter mannequin, which was also one of the first elements of a vision I developed in 2010 called Total Reality.  To understand the concept, imagine taking the web and removing all the interfaces you currently use to access it – computers, tablets, and even smartphones.  Now substitute those devices with everyday objects such as rooms, tables, cars, or appliances like a refrigerator or an oven.  Suppose that your interactions with the object will be reflected as data changes in the web and the changes in the network data will also influence the objects themselves and how they interact with you.  A network of objects, communicating with human beings and even with each other – that is Total Reality.  Of course, objects not only have to be smart but also aware of what’s around them – that is, they must have some primitive sense or basic intelligence.

(Related:  IBM Smarter Planet ‘Internet of Things’ and IBM ‘Internet of Things’ solutions)

What do you like most about your career with IBM?

Autonomy in my work. In most cases I am the manager of myself.

What characteristics, skills, or attitudes have set you apart and helped you be successful?

Curiosity, lateral thinking – that is, thinking outside the box, willingness to take risks, and focus on the customer point of view.

What were some of the most important lessons you learned?

Whatever we do must have an objective and a measurable result, but, once you have planned the action necessary to achieve that goal, forget it, and try to do your work to the best of your ability.  When you are running a race, you don’t need to think about how far away the finish line is – only have confidence in yourself and in the skills of people working with you.

What would you do differently if given the opportunity?

I try to do something different every day. I do not wait for the opportunity: I try to create it.

big data growingWhat do you see are the major upcoming trends in your field?

Mobile is changing the way we relate with the web and therefore all the resources that are available through the web – people, information, tools.  We are always connected and we continuously exchange millions of pieces of data even when we are not aware of it.  We are just at the beginning of this new era, but if we can figure out how to analyze all the weak signals hidden in this world of Big Data, we will have the ability to harness incredible power. So, the real challenge is the ethical aspect, not the technological one. I think that, in the future, we will have to ask ourselves how to develop ethical rules that will balance the need to handle this power of Big Data responsibly while still maintaining the independence and autonomy of the web, which is its major value and its founding mechanism of evolution.

Tarpaulin Photograph by Dario de Judicibus

Tarpaulin Photograph by Dario de Judicibus

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Really a lot of things – I like to try new things often.  I have practiced the martial arts since I was a child (judo, karate, aikido, kung-fu, krav maga, and archery). I also enjoy windsurfing and tennis and am currently practicing fencing and body building. Some other hobbies include the guitar, photography, and writing (I’m a published writer of essays and novels).

What advice would you give to Greater IBMers to help them be successful in their career?

Real innovation is in your ideas. Technology may help and may sometimes create opportunities that were impractical in the past, but real innovation is always born from brains. However, to have a good idea is not enough. To make it a real thing requires a lot of work and very practical attitudes. My model is to be a pioneer. A pioneer must be a visionary because, if you are not a visionary, you will never leave the safety of your own home to discover what lies beyond the mountains.  However, a pioneer must also be a very practical individual because, if you don’t have a good head on your shoulders, you won’t survive more than one day when you are beyond the mountains.

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Related:

–By Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

IBM Study – Champions of SaaS (Software as a Service): Infographic + Video

Image Credit:  IBM Center for Applied Insights

Image Credit: IBM Center for Applied Insights

IBM Study: Champions of SaaS (Software as a Service)

Pacesetters are looking to Software as a Service for competitive advantage

On January 28, 2014, IBM announced the results of a new study entitled Champions of Software as a Service:  How SaaS is fueling powerful competitive advantage which found that nearly half of the businesses using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) are achieving competitive advantage, rather than simply reducing costs.  The use of Software as a Service (SaaS) has skyrocketed over the last few years and shows no signs of slowing down.  What’s driving that demand?  While many of the more than 800 IT and business decision makers that IBM surveyed worldwide as part of this study did cite reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of their applications as the top reason for adopting SaaS, almost half are also using SaaS to attain a broad range of powerful benefits that combine to deliver something even more critical: competitive advantage.

Some key data points:

  • 71% of Pacesetters have reduced time to market of products/services by using SaaS
  • 71% of Pacesetters have used SaaS to change their organization’s business model
  • They put social tools at the top of their most-favored SaaS applications
  • They are more than twice as likely to have leveraged analytics across their organization to turn big data into insights using SaaS

Learn more

(The study was by the IBM Center for Applied Insights)

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Related:

–Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

What Does IBM Watson Look Like? Generated Art Face the Wave of the Future?

Image Credit:  From The Face of Watson video

Image Credit: From The Face of Watson video

Who knew that generative art would be the face of a Jeopardy champ?  For the Jeopardy competition in 2011 between IBM Watson and Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, IBM hired veteran digital artist Joshua Davis to create Watson’s face, a swirling electronic avatar based on IBM’s Smarter Planet logo.  Davis took the globe motif and added a swarm of particles — a single “leader” chased by the others — to spin around on the globe’s surface, indicating that Watson is “thinking.”  He also visually represents Watson’s level of confidence in an answer, based on complicated algorithms that boil down to 27 possible states that the avatar can be in.  Generally, when Watson is confident, the particles swarm to the top of the globe and glow green;  and when Watson is not confident, they flow to the bottom and glow orange.

Learn more:

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Related:

–Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

#GreaterIBM Tweet Chat Preview: Augmented Reality to Engage the Connected Consumer on 2/6/2014 (#P4SPChat)

Image Credit:  Media Bistro

Image Credit: Media Bistro

The world is changing and so is the consumer.  Four out of five consumers use smartphones to shop, and mobile is predicted to overtake desktop usage by 2014 (source:  7 Mobile Marketing Stats That Will Blow Your Mind by Jay Baer).  Brian Solis predicts that the ‘Connected Consumer‘ will be prevalent in the next 10-15 years.  Who is the ‘Connected Consumer’?  They will typically have had a digital footprint by the time they were 2, and will be a savvy shopper who scans QR codes, shops for deals in real-time, and points their camera phone at an item to learn more about it via augmented reality (source:  Meet Generation C:  The Connected Consumer by Brian Solis and his talk on the topic at the 2012 Social Media Success Summit).  Augmented reality technology enhances the shopping experience by overlaying digital information such as images, text, audio or video onto an image that needs to be viewed through a smart device.  One study found that people who were exposed to augmented reality had a higher likelihood to buy and buy at a higher price in comparison to those exposed to traditional advertising, and they also spent more time in the advertisement (source:  Augmented Reality as a Marketing Strategy).

So how can brands best engage this new Connected Consumer?

Join the conversation as The Greater IBM Connection partners with IBM Smarter Planet  to host a Tweet Chat (#P4SPChat) on the topic of Augmented Reality to Engage the  Connected Consumer on Thursday, February 6, 2014 from 11am-12pm ET. (Link to join = http://tweetchat.com/room/P4SPChat)

Chat Recap

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Panelists

Our panelists for the Tweet Chat will be Dr. Dario de Judicibus and Scott Duby

Dr. Dario

Dr. Dario de Judicibus, Fashion Industry Leader for IBM Italy

Dr. Dario de Judicibus (@DdJ_at_IBM), is the European Fashion Industry Leader for IBM Smarter Commerce Italy, specializing in Business Strategy, Knowledge Management, and Social Networking.  He has written more than 250 articles in several magazines and newspapers, published 6 books, and speaks regularly at national and international conferences.  He is also a prolific IBM inventor with 7 patents to his name.  Learn more about Dr. de Judicibus in this interview and the links below:

Scott Duby

Scott Duby, IBM Global Retail Solutions Leader

Scott Duby (@Scott_Duby), IBM Global Retail Solutions Leader for Smarter Commerce, has more than 20 years in the retail and consumer products industry.  He brings a dynamic perspective having worked in various roles across the industry (retail, research analyst, consulting, and Fortune 500).  He often speaks at retail industry events, has appeared on television news as in industry expert, published white papers, and been quoted in major news publications.  In his current role, Scott leads the strategy, direction and management for the portfolio vision while overseeing operations related to solution development, strategic partnerships, and go-to-market business development activities.  He advises software companies in the domains of e-Commerce, Distributed Order Management, Merchandising, Price Optimization, and Forecasting and Replenishment.  Scott has US patents pending in the mobile shopping domain, and he was responsible for launching IBM’s Augmented Shopping Advisor application in partnership with IBM Research.  To learn more about Scott, see the links below:

So, please join the Greater IBM and Smarter Planet #P4SPChat Tweet Chat on 2/6/14 from 11am – 1pm ET as we discuss “Augmented Reality to Engage the Connected Consumer”. You can join at http://tweetchat.com/room/P4SPChat

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AUGMENTED REALITY MARKETING TO CONNECTED CONSUMER questions:

  • Q1: What’s new and different about the connected consumer?
  • Q2: What’s really ‘augmented reality’ shopping?
  • Q3: How can brands best engage with the connected consumer?
  • Q4: What type of technology, applications and skills are needed to enhance in-store shopping experience?
  • Q5: #IBM5in5 predicts buying local will beat online, how can technology help?

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Greater IBM #P4SPChat Tweet Chat

Date: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Time: 11am – 12pm US ET
Join the Tweet Chat: http://tweetchat.com/room/P4SPChat
Hashtags to follow & engage in the conversation in real-time: #P4SPChat

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About #GreaterIBM

The Greater IBM Connection is IBM’s global business and professional network that brings together current and former IBMers around the world. As the evolving technology industry increasingly calls for relationship led sales, marketing, branding, and recruiting, The Greater IBM Connection provides a tremendous opportunity to stay connected and engaged with market influencers. We hope you join and contribute today!

About #P4SPChat

Are you interested in talking about building a Smarter Planet? Join us and discuss how businesses, governments and entire industries are adopting technologies to become efficient and effective. Follow the hashtag #P4SPchat.  Tweet Chats are held on an adhoc basis, as scheduled.

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Additional Resources:

–By Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

IBM Study – Setting the Pace of Innovation in Africa (Infographic)

Image Credit:  IBM Center for Applied Insights

Image Credit: IBM Center for Applied Insights

IBM Study:  Innovating in Africa

Learn from IT leaders ahead of the pack

On January 27, 2014, IBM announced the results of a new study entitled Setting the pace in Africa: How IT leaders deliver on the potential of emerging technologies, which found that while nearly 87 percent of African IT leaders rank new technologies such as analytics, cloud, mobile and social media as being critical to business success, only 53% are pushing forward with adoption.  Africa’s IT and business climate is changing rapidly and the booming technological and consumer revolution is underway. But for all the new opportunities there also are some leadership challenges, skills shortfalls and security risks that threaten to slow tech-driven progress. However, pace-setting IT leaders are tackling these challenges and positioning their organizations for competitive advantage.

What’s holding businesses back – and giving Pacesetters the lead:

  • STRATEGIC BUSINESS LEADERSHIP FOR IT:  African Pacesetters do more to tangibly demonstrate the value of emerging technology.  They are 30 percent more likely than their peers to link IT investments to business outcomes.
  • IT SKILLS DEVELOPMENT: Half of African businesses are still addressing IT skill deficits and not yet developing skills to transform the business.  BUT – Pacesetters are 80 percent more likely than their peers to cultivate IT skills to meet future business needs.
  • INFORMATION SECURITY: The majority of African companies cite security of emerging technologies as a top-of-mind issue.  BUT – Pacesetters are 30 percent more likely to create a risk-aware culture, employ new security technologies and bolster security skills and expertise.

Learn more

(The study was by the IBM Center for Applied Insights in collaboration with the IBM Center for CIO Leadership.)

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Related:

–Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

Aspens in A Changing Climate & IBM Environmental Leadership

Image Credit:  National Geographic Tree Patterns Wallpaper

Image Credit: National Geographic Tree Wallpaper

“Imagine a world of idyll, where a chorus of wavering lime-green leaves creates an ethereal backdrop to columns of bright white trunks.” – Tyler Williams, American Forests

The aspen is a striking tree with it’s silver white bark and golden fall hues.  It’s also a really interesting tree.  Did you know that one of the largest living organisms on earth is actually a 108-acre stand of aspens in Utah called ‘Pando‘?  Groves of aspen trees commonly develop from a single root system, which means that large groups of aspen trees can essentially be a single living organism growing together as a clone.  The aspen tree is often called the ‘quaking aspen’ because aspen leaves will flutter (or ‘quake’) in the slightest breeze, so they can be a loud tree as well.  Legend has it that the Native Americans knew they were approaching aspen trees long before they saw them because they could hear the rustling leaves.  It’s one of the most adaptable tree species, capable of replenishing itself in as little as 50 years, and is the most widely distributed tree in North America with cousins around the world, into the Far East and Africa.  It belongs to a select group of trees dubbed “circumglobal super species,” which means it is capable of spanning continents in strikingly similar forms.

But what’s in store for this beautiful tree as our climate changes?

Aspens have been in decline for the past half century, in large part due to global warming.  Scientists agree that global warming is caused in large part by greenhouse gases that come from fossil fuels in cars, factories, electricity production, landfills, agriculture, etc. – in other words, the growing effect of human urbanization on the planet.

us__none__sustainability__sustainability_icon_2__170x120Did you know that, for more than 40 years, IBM has been ahead of the curve on environmental issues, and is a recognized environmental leader?

“Protecting the environment is in our DNA,” says Wayne Balta, IBM vice president of Corporate Environmental Affairs and Product Safety. “Even before the issuance of our corporate policy commitment to environmental responsibility in 1971, our commitment to being a good corporate citizen was part of the company’s Basic Beliefs and Principles in the mid-1960s.  As stated in those Principles: we understood well that “we serve our own interests best when we serve the public interest” and “we want to be in the forefront of those companies which are working to make our world a better place.”

Image credit:  World Environment Center

Image credit: World Environment Center

  • Newsweek Votes IBM Greenest Company in America (Newsweek, Oct 2012)
  • The European Union recognized 27 IBM data centers in the EU for their energy efficiency in January 2012 – the largest group of data centers from a single company to receive this award.
  • IBM is the only company to have twice received the Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development in the 28-year history of the World Environment Center’s annual award (in 1990 and 2012).

IBM’s approach to sustainability is twofold:  working to make existing products and processes more efficient, while also developing new innovations that can help the world lessen environmental impact.  As one example of a sustainability project that IBM worked on, check out this video on IBM’s partnership with the city of Dubuque, Iowa to create a replicable model of a sustainable city for communities of 200,000 or less.

Learn more:

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Related:

–By Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection