In other words, the mobile world is open for business. Learn more.
- Posted by Regan Kelly
Today, the conversations about big data are shifting, from “What is big data?” to “What can I do with big data?” Five key use cases have emerged that hold high potential value for many organizations.
Eric Sall, vice president of product marketing at IBM, describes those high-value uses for big data in this podcast, now available on demand.
- Forbes.com, Tom Groenfeldt
As Dell and HP struggle to figure out their businesses, IBM is moving into their territory with Power Systems starting at $5,947 at the low end of its newly launched Power line of computers. “With these new systems, IBM is forging an aggressive expanding of its Power and Storage Systems business into SMB and growth markets,” said Rod Atkins, senior vice president of IBM Systems and Technology Group.
“Big data and cloud systems that were once only affordable to large enterprises are now available to the masses.”
The systems have more power, greater stability and manageability because they’re are integrated from design through production, said Colin Parris, general manager, IBM Power Systems. Read the rest of the story.
In this piece, Trevor Davis, a leading consumer products expert and consultant with IBM Global Business Services, talks about how our society is well-attuned to what’s trending at any moment, thanks to the rise of social media plus analytical tools.
But these trends are only fleeting, and because of their very nature, have limited value. How, then, do we extract the real value from all the noise, and figure out the long-term, meaningful trends with staying power? Read here.
What can go faster than the speed of light? We’ve all learned this from an early age: nothing. And now IBM has developed a chip that makes it easier to shuttle data about using pulses of light instead of electrical signals.
The chip offers a way to move large amounts of information between processors in computer servers at much higher speeds than today’s.
The development team said that using light instead of electrons to transmit data has two key advantages:
Another significance of this breakthrough? It’s much cheaper than other available options. More details here. (BBC News)
Expert Interview: Jon Iwata, with the Center for CIO Leadership
Jon Iwata is IBM’s Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications. He spoke to the Center for CIO Leadership about why close collaboration between Chief Information Officers and Chief Marketing Officers gives the best companies an edge in the marketplace.
Center for CIO Leadership: Our CIO members tell us they are facing an explosion of data from an increasing number of sources, including Social Media, and sometimes struggle to make sense of it all. How does the availability of so much data impact the marketing arena?
Jon Iwata: Essentially, we have discovered an extremely valuable natural resource — data. Marketers today recognize this. More than 1,700 CMOs interviewed by IBM said that the top three forces changing marketing are, in order of importance, the data explosion, the rise of social media, and new choices of channels and devices.
For marketers, the so-called “Big Data” phenomenon holds tremendous promise. Using analytics to extract insights from all the data, we can better understand our customers. We can market to individuals instead of to segments. We can use real-time information to predict what they’ll do or buy next. Forward-looking CMOs are beginning to move in this direction. They are changing the practice of marketing.
However, the CMOs we surveyed also said they are least prepared for these shifts. They lack the capabilities, skills and tools required to address them. As CMO of IBM, I can relate. I see the same challenges.
Center for CIO Leadership: What is driving the move toward predictive analysis of data?
Jon Iwata: Traditionally, marketers have made decisions based on historic data – what was sold, what market research told us, how campaigns performed. Today we have the tools to take advantage of real-time data – what is selling right now, how campaigns are performing right now. I would say that for most CMOs, this is where we are – somewhere between using backward-looking data and real-time data. But as we get our arms around all the data available to us – data in our enterprise systems and the vast, unstructured data outside the enterprise – we can apply analytic tools to predict customer needs and wants. You hear about this when marketers talk about “next best action” and “next best offer” and “buyer propensity” models. We are excited about this capability because it will deliver great ROI on marketing investments. And, from the perspective of the customer, we will be much more relevant and personalized when we touch them with information, an offer, an answer. They will experience marketing as a service rather than noise.
Center for CIO Leadership: Doesn’t this new capability to analyze data — and advise the other members of the C-Suite about business performance — fundamentally change the role of the CIO?
Jon Iwata: Yes, most definitely. As technology moves to the front office, the CIO will be expected to help the CMO, the CHRO, the CFO and line-of-business leaders take full advantage of these new capabilities. The CIO may not need to be a deep expert in marketing, for example, but certainly they will need to understand what CMOs are trying to build and deliver for the company. The CIO will be a partner as we build out these new capabilities – what some are calling ‘systems of engagement’ – and ensure that these systems are integrated with the rest of the company’s enterprise systems.
Center for CIO Leadership: It sounds like CIOs have to develop their business skills, as well as their technical acumen, to help lead change at their companies. What would you say are the most important qualities required from leaders today?
Jon Iwata: Great leaders must be good listeners to start with. In today’s world, they need to be role models for collaboration, bringing teams together and overcoming historical or other reasons for working in isolation. The solution to most of our business problems today relies on a strong ability to integrate — to see the bigger picture, and the perspective others bring to the table — outside one’s own domain. Very often, that collaboration opens new paths to innovate and to provide value to the organization that a single function or group can not deliver by themselves.
Center for CIO Leadership: You will be giving the keynote address at the upcoming forum in Paris where IBM invited CIOs to bring their Chief Marketing Officers along. What’s behind the new partnership between CIOs and CMOs?
Jon Iwata: Our worlds are converging. Technology is transforming how marketing is understood, practiced and led. And marketing is changing how IT will be used in the company. So, CIOs and CMOs need to work together on major initiatives like a master data management strategy, social media, and building these systems of engagement so we can reach customers through the channel or device of their choice. CIOs and CMOs will be the co-designers of their company’s total customer experience.
Center for CIO Leadership: What advice might you have for a CIO interested in forging a strong partnership with the CMO?
Jon Iwata: Seek to understand – and shape — the CMO’s agenda for transformation. Help the CMO understand where to start – for example, a master data management strategy that results in a single, accurate view of the customer as an individual. Help the CMO know what he or she doesn’t know – about security, standards and the importance of integrating marketing systems with e-commerce, CRM and other critical business systems. Understand the need for speed. CMOs and their teams operate in both short-term and long-term cycles. They will want innovative ideas from the CIO on how to deploy capabilities and iterate very quickly.
At IBM, the marketing and CIO teams are working to gather information from virtually every interaction, transaction and situation involving our clients. We want to be able to monitor what individual customers and our competition are saying about our company and our brand. In our company and in our customers’ companies, we’ve seen great success when IT experts are actually embedded in marketing organizations so that the two groups of professionals can better communicate and collaborate.
Center for CIO Leadership: You talk about the “authentic enterprise.” What do you mean by that?
Jon Iwata: One of my colleagues says that in this world of near total transparency, “how you are is who you are.” Customers, neighbors, suppliers, employees can share with the whole world what they see and experience. Of course, their first-hand experience with your brand has far more influence over people’s opinions and perceptions than any formal communication or interaction we can put into the world. An authentic enterprise, therefore, is a company that truly lives what it stands for. This is not about ethics. This is about what makes IBM, IBM – and ensuring that we are actually living up to that in every corner of our company.
Center for CIO Leadership: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us.
Jon Iwata: My pleasure.
Social Business at IBM: The Global Social Media Summit – The Authentic Social Enterprise London, 10/3 (Blog post by Joerg Winkelman)
Understanding Big Data – Get the eBook
Insights from the IBM Global CMO Study
What are your thoughts on CIO/CMO collaboration in this age of the data explosion? Tell us in the Comments.
Greater IBMer, author and thought leader Dr. James Cortada is no newcomer to the world of developing, writing, and publishing books. An IBM employee of nearly 40 years now, he’s recently published his latest, “The Digital Flood: The Diffusion of Information Technology Across the U.S., Europe, and Asia” – and it’s his 66th book.
Read more about Dr. Cortada and how his IBM career helped him in developing his dozens of books on the history of information technologies and business management.
The Greater IBM Connection: How long have you been an IBMer?
Dr. Cortada: 38 years.
What is your role today – what are some of your more interesting duties?
I work in the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), doing research on contemporary business problems and advising governments on how to improve their operations.
I also support client teams selling to government agencies when they need thought leadership materials.
How did you come to join IBM?
I was recruited into sales by two IBM executives in the 1970s.
What earlier roles have helped to prepare you for the work you’re doing now?
I have consulted to governments all over the world, sold software and hardware, and learned to run sales organizations, all of which taught me about the role of IT and managing its use in business terms.
Is your IBM work related to your writing?
They are related, because my writing is about how IT is used by individuals, companies, governments, by industry and by country. My IBM experience gives me the insight to know what issues to explore that are relevant to our clients.
Have you written for pleasure all your life? How did you begin?
I have written for pleasure all my life; I learned to do it first as a reporter for a newspaper, later as a stringer for AP, then through the formal rigors of graduate training.
When did you begin writing books?
I published my first book when I was 20, a short thing about the American Civil War in my hometown in Virginia.
That was 65 books ago.
What spurred you to write a book – what was the impetus that got you started?
I have been writing about the history and management of IT since about 1978, always about topics that I wished someone else would write about, but did not.
So I did.
Buy the book at Amazon.com
How do you choose the subjects to explore? Can you explain the process?
I pick topics by listening to what clients and experts are concerned with and by what experts are not willing or able to take on.
For example, European economists and historians like to write more about their home country than about Europe as a whole. Clients want to understand Europe as a whole rather than just about one country.
I also build on what I learned from prior projects to determine what questions to explore and on what skills I have. I am fortunate to be able to work in multiple languages, which makes writing a global history easier.
IBMers work a lot of hours; how do you make the time to write?
This is like jogging, it is a discipline. Every Saturday and Sunday morning I write/study/research between 6 and 8:30 AM, 4 weeks a month, 11 months a year, 10 years each decade. That means there is enough time to write and after a while you get quite efficient at it so the productivity increases.
Do you write regularly? And if so, when and where?
Only on weekends and in my home office, at the same desk so that my mind mentally gets switched fast to the writing zone.
What other hobbies do you have?
Hiking and camping, and I also collect old books on information technologies, tabulators, computers and, of course, everything I can get my hands on regarding the history of IBM and its competitors. I have a very cool collection of publications about IBM from all over the world.
Does your creativity emerge in any other ways, do you paint, photograph, play music, etc.?
No time to do those things as IBM, family, community activities, and writing consumer all my waking hours.
What does your future in writing hold? What’s next?
Three books: what the history of 150 years of IT teaches management about business; a short account of how management has changed in the last 30 years and where it is going; the first history of the role of information in the United States, 1875-Present.
Get “The Digital Flood”
James Cortada’s page on Amazon
Is computer technology the modern Copernicus?
No longer able to grasp the technology we have created
by Lilli-Marie Pavka, IBM
Modern humankind is surrounded by systems and developments that are becoming ever more complex and humanly unconceivable, and this is happening at an uncannily accelerated pace. Collectively, humankind has supported and is willing to continue this trend, but as individuals, many people are left feeling clueless concerning how to distinguish sound scientific theories from the incredible amount of pure nonsense that has emerged throughout human history.
In his new book discussed below, retired IBM physicist and engineer Walter Hehl has taken an in-depth look at disconcerting trends in IT, how they have affected humankind, and how they will continue to do so.
What was your motivation to write this book?
After 34 years in R&D, I wanted to reflect on IT trends and how they have affected and will continue to affect our lives. I wanted to take a somewhat philosophical view of these issues. My book The Ominous Acceleration of Knowledge, examines the incredible acceleration of our body of knowledge. Humankind has developed ultralarge systems that exceed human understanding, and I wanted to analyze what exactly that means. For example, although computers have been created and designed by humans, computers now possess nearly all our intellectual properties—but they execute them a million times better. That’s what fascinates me.
In a nutshell, what is your book about?
It’s about the fact that we have surrounded ourselves with superhuman systems that are far, far more intelligent than we are. We are increasingly dependent on computers to calculate things that greatly exceed our knowledge or understanding. Simply put, the main point of this book is “to understand human understanding”. It examines the concepts of emergence, chance, complexity, exponential growth and ultralarge systems that are bringing about fundamentally new knowledge and achievements.
My book is basically an analysis of two main superhuman systems that we humans have created: science, especially mathematics, and technology, especially IT. Both of these systems are driven by an incorruptible process: In science, it’s the experimental process, and in technology, it’s whether a technology functions.
Your book proposes a grading model from 3 to –3 to classify the scientific soundness of facts and theories, ranging from a high degree of scientific soundness, to common beliefs that are untrue but harmless, to pure nonsense. What is your intention with this model?
My hope is that this grading model could become a standard tool to classify the scientific soundness of our human belief system.
|3||basic science||measured to a high degree of accuracy, verified, integrated in conventional system||relativity theory,
many physical constants
|2||scientifically established||measured (perhaps to a lesser degree of accuracy), integrated in conventional system||distance of planets and fixed stars,
evolution and genetics,
some botanical drugs,
continental shift (today)
|1||transiently scientific||new theory or hypothesis within the conventional scientific system, but not yet successfully integrated||life on other planets,
extension of longevity,
some botanical drugs,
“Pulsar is a rotating neutron star” (~1970)
no proof to the contrary,
not obviously nonsense
|some botanical drugs,
visitors from other planets,
cold fusion (1989),
continental shift (in 1915)
volcanic source of moon craters (~1920)
|–1||outside of science||no proof,
no hard refutation but outside of established science
laying of cards,
“My Friend Harvey”
|–2||counter-scientific||no proof, but in direct contradiction to established science—but a proof would win a Nobel prize!||time machines
|–3||proved wrong||wrongness generally accepted||hollow world theory,
Venus a tropical paradise,
prophecies based on observation of animal intestines, esp. the liver (hepatoscopy)
Your name has been mentioned in one breath with Ray Kurzweil and other futurologists. How do you feel about that?
I have had quite a bit of correspondence with Ray Kurzweil and I respect his work. He is an extreme optimist, and his predictions and extrapolations extend up to 50 in the future. He’s a very courageous individual. I, on the other hand, am not so interested in making predictions. My work focuses more on describing the state of our current situation as well as the background that fostered the drastic changes that led up to this and that continue to take place.
So you won’t venture any future predictions?
No, that would enter the realm of science fiction, and that’s not really my thing. Having said that, however, it’s completely clear that drastic changes are to be expected in the next 10–20 years. Just think of service robots, for example, or advances in medicine/biology, gene technology, the simulation of brain connectivity—all these issues are on the brink of becoming reality, and that has nothing to do with futurology. Futurologists generally predict changes of a more sociological nature.
How do you think that our relationship with computers will change?
Science has always posed a fundamental challenge to human society. Copernicus was the first to displace humans from the center of the universe, and the computer is currently in the process of delegating humankind to an even more remote edge of the universe. All our human abilities are increasingly migrating into computer technology, and this is a major paradigm change that I refer to as “copernification”.
It’s clear that our relationship with computers has changed and will continue to change human society to a much greater extent than many people believe—and we’re just at the beginning. This process is now accelerating at a pace that we can no longer humanly grasp, and this is what I mean by “the ominous acceleration of knowledge”. Just think—20 years ago, people said a computer would never steer a car. Now prototypes of an automated parking system have been introduced. Or take flying an aircraft: when it becomes difficult, a computer takes over. These are examples of copernification. We are being replaced by the computers we have built simply because they can do (or will do) everything so much better than we can.
So there’s no difference between humans and computers? What about consciousness?
Consciousness is but our real-time program. In reality, in a purely technical context, humans are in fact computers. Our brains are wired with billions of electronic neural connections. The brain is actually nothing but a dirty computer, but it works, and that’s the amazing thing. Many people don’t want to accept that. People want to think that our brains are completely different from computers, but they’re not. It’s just a different architecture.