Even Greater Than A Grand Slam — Quintuple Leadership!

As clients transform their businesses to embrace cloud, mobile, and big data – our teams in WebSphere have been relentlessly re-inventing our portfolio to drive new innovations in these areas to accelerate client adoption and value from our portfolio. We all know the many stories about tech companies losing their way because they “missed a wave” or missed a shift in the marketplace, and certainly inside WebSphere we are vigilant to make sure we never make that mistake.

Given the magnitude of the marketplace shifts – it’s incredible to see the evolution of WebSphere over the past fifteen months. In just that short time-span our teams have:

  • Launched a new portfolio and brand for Mobile – IBM MobileFirst
  • Launched a new set of solutions for API Management
  • Developed whole new set of capabilities for Smarter Process – our business process software portfolio
  • Invented and launched a new line of services for the Internet of Things – our MessageSight offerings.
  • And developed new sets of composable services for our core WebSphere portfolio around WebSphere App Server, DataPower, MQ, and Cast Iron.

And the good news is that the investments and transformation of the portfolio is being recognized. For the first time ever, our WebSphere portfolio is now cited as the leader in five broad areas in the Gartner Magic Quadrants:

  1. Application Services Governance – leadership for our new WebSphere API Management, Datapower and SOA solutions
  2. On-Premises Application Platforms – leadership for our WebSphere Application Server solution
  3. Mobile Application Development Platforms·– leadership for Worklight solution
  4. On-Premises Application Integration Suites – leadership for WebSphere MQ, Integration Bus & Cast Iron solutions
  5. Business Process Management Suites – leadership for our BPM and Decision Management solutions

Obviously to be cited as the leader in all five areas is quite an accomplishment – congrats to our Product Management and Development teams around the world!

So what is better than a grand slam? I guest best analogy would be a five-point play, which is one of the rarest feats in basketball! Quintuple is the official word for “five of something” so here’s the WebSphere’s Quintuple Leadership!

IBM Cited as the Leader in new market of API Management

As new technology trends emerge, it’s always reported that upstart companies who are “more nible and can move faster” than big ole IBM tend to get early leadership in new markets.    So we are more proud than ever to be recognized for our newly crowned leadership position in the only Gartner magic quadrant that covers API Management—the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Services Governance.  In this quadrant report, Gartner coins the term “Application Services Governance,” to encompass the technologies of APIs, API management, SOA, and service management, demonstrating their belief (and our IBM viewpoint) that the two areas (APIs and SOA) constitute a single market.

So while there is lots of noise about the some upstart competitors like Apigee, Mashery, and Layer 7 in the API management space, IBM is the one cited by Gartner as the clear leader in both our strategy and our ability to execute.

But that’s not all. The emergence of an Application Services Governance segment signals the renaissance of Service Orientation. It’s the reinforcement that exposing and managing services – and their latest incarnation as web APIs – is the foundation to support mobile and cloud initiatives. With the emergence of the API economy, and the need for our new capabilities for developer self-service, and service metering and analytics, IBM is uniquely positioned to lead the API and Service Management space.  

To that end, we are continuing to strengthen the linkage of our WebSphere SOA and API management products – IBM DataPower, WebSphere Service Registry and Repository (WSRR), and IBM API Management – to simplify integration and deliver on the value of service orientation in an API-centric world.

This leadership deserves a special shout-out to Nicolas Robbe and his extended team – he’s our leader for the API Economy solutions and has done an incredible job building our portfolio of offerings and establishing IBM as the clear leader in the API market.

New WebSphere solutions for Mobile, Cloud and Smarter Process

This week in Singapore at our IBM InterConnect event, our WebSphere business made several significant new product announcements to help clients embrace Cloud, Mobile and Smarter Process. Innovations in these areas are transforming client enterprises by helping them anticipate with greater insight, adapt to change proactively and interact in entirely new ways.

Mobile
One area of announcements focuses on mobile solutions. Customers are demanding a seamless mobile experience and the ability to transact anytime, anywhere. Any organization that dares to not provide a top-notch mobile experience to customers is sure to be passed over for a competitor that does. The new IBM Mobile IBV study found that while most companies recognize the need for a mobile strategy to effectively compete in the future, less than half of organizations demonstrate characteristics of a well-defined strategy. The companies that have a clear direction for their mobile efforts, are already outperforming companies that do not. Key mobile announcements include:

  • A new version of IBM Worklight further accelerates service-driven application development
  • A new IBM UrbanCode plugin for Worklight automates mobile application deployment and availability from development through test and production 

Cloud
Updates to the cloud portfolio address the application challenges organizations are facing in developing traditional on-premise applications, cloud-born applications and new mobile applications. These applications must work together seamlessly across a range of devices. IBM helps meet these development and integration needs with a comprehensive set of software, tools and services on the cloud. IBM is migrating the WebSphere portfolio of products and capabilities to IBM Softlayer and the cloud, providing organizations the ability to create and consume applications in the whatever way makes most sense for their business. The shift of WebSphere to cloud is enabling:

  • Private hosting: Bring your own license WebSphere software running on a dedicated platform as a service – on premise or hosted
  • As a Service: Pay as you go WebSphere software running on a shared platform as a service (public PaaS and BPaaS)
  • Composable Services: Individual, high value services and assets that developers can access in the cloud to build and run next gen web and mobile applications 

Smarter Process
New process capabilities are helping companies to reinvent business design and process to accelerate delivery and increase ROI. Smarter processes result in optimized operations, increased business agility and better decision-making. IBM business process solutions provide inherent value by enabling a customer-centric approach to operations. Here’s what’s new with Smarter Process:

  • A new version of IBM Blueworks Live on IBM Cloud enhances analysis and process summary
  • A new Decision Engine for IBM Operational Decision Manager delivers internet speed performance with a minimum resource footprint

To find out more about these announcements and how they can help your organization get a leg up on the competition, check out the upcoming posts on the IBM Impact blog that will drill into each of these three areas.

Congrats to our girls! Two State Championship Teams

While I have mentioned in past my love of coaching basketball and soccer – I didn’t have a chance to post about the great weekend that we had on the soccer field this past May.  Since I just came across the photos below on my desk – it seemed like time to go back and write the blog post I should have written back then.  Coaching youth teams is one of the primary ways I relax and get some exercise…. and it’s a great way to complement the hard work of being in the high-tech industry every day.

For the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of helping to coach the U14G CASL Cyclones.   The team is a mid-level travel team – and typically plays in 4-6 tournaments a year at both the challenge and classic/premier levels.   My oldest daughter is one of the original team members since it was formed when she was 9, and we have some of the deepest friendships with the other families that have been a part of the team for those 5+ years and 10+ seasons.   Over the years, many of the girls who could have elected to move up to the premier teams have stayed on the team because of their strong friendships.

Similarly – my youngest daughter Megan just began playing at this level three seasons ago and I am also helping to coach her team.  Our goal is to create a strong family environment just like we have done with Sarah’s team – all the while ensuring the girls play at the mid-to-top levels of competitive youth soccer and have lots of fun doing so.

When one is helping to coach two teams, the hardest part is usually scheduling.  So this past Spring both teams I was both thrilled and quite logistically challenged when both teams were invited to play in the North Carolina State Championship Tourney – they NCYSA Singer Challenge Cup.  Managing to work out tournament scheduling for 8 games in 2 days – and having the energy to coach them would be tough!

As you can see from the photos – both teams won the State Championship!  The best part though was seeing each team play their very best soccer of the year.  As a coach you always hope that your teams give their very best performance at the right moment – and that’s exactly what happened with both the CASL Dragonflies, and the CASL Cyclones.  Both teams played their best soccer, and both had to defeat their arch-rivals who also played their best soccer as well during the weekend.  Throughout the weekend — all the coaches and teams demonstrated some of the best sportmanship I’ve seen over the year – which is sometimes not the case when the State Championship in on the line.

It was quite a weekend – and quite a way to celebrate Fathers Day 2013 with my own two girls, and their teams (my 25 girls!).

Way to go girls!

U10Girls CASL Dragonflies NC State Champs

U10Girls CASL Dragonflies NC State Champs.  Head Coach Sam Guemple is back left.

U14 Girls CASL Cyclones State Champs

U14 Girls CASL Cyclones State Champs.  Head Coach is Ed Kelly in back center, and assistant Preston Sutton is back left.

Megan (L) and Sarah (R) Riegel with their Dad & Coach on Fathers Day 2013.
Megan (L) and Sarah (R) Riegel with their Dad & Coach on Fathers Day 2013.

Mobile Banking – Taking Off In the USA

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal newspaper had a great article on the rapid adoption of mobile banking by consumers in the USA.   Some of the cool indicators of adoption cited in the article include:

  • Mobile banking represents roughly 8% of transactions, with online banking at 53% and branches, 14%, according to AlixPartners. Other methods, including automated teller machines, make up the rest.
  • Nearly half of smartphone users who switched banks said that mobile banking was an important factor in their decision, up from 7% in 2010, according to an AlixPartners survey.
  • Bank of America began offering mobile check deposit in August – and now their clients are depositing more than 100,000 checks each day through their mobile phones.
  • J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., which started offering mobile banking in 2009, said that it has some 13 million customers who use its mobile services.

Similarly – I’ve seen another stat that said 57% of U.S. smartphone owners use mobile banking features.

Last week I was in Toronto with several key clients including ING Direct – and they offer a very cool mobile banking app that is one of the best I’ve seen in the industry.  I especially like their Small Sacrifices feature that is well integrated to social media feeds – you might want to check it out up on the app stores.

Did you know that 20% of the largest US banks use IBM Mobile solutions, and 15% of the top banks around the world do too!

 

The App Economy – It’s Harder Than You Think!

Today as I was driving to a meeting up in the New York City area, there was a great piece on WNYC about the opportunities of the app economy. Given all the buzz about the mobile revolution, the abundance of apps on all the app stores, and the lack of mobile app skills, the two lead reporters for the New Tech City project on WNYC set out to see how easily they could learn to build a mobile app.

You may recall that last week I blogged about the newest results of the Tech Trends survey, which pointed out that:

  • Only 9% of all companies think they have all the Mobile skills they need
  • 25% of IT/LOB decision makers report a major Mobile skills gaps, with an additional 40% percent seeing moderate skills gaps
  • 77% of students and educators see major and/or moderate skills gaps

Given all the anecdotes about people developing their own apps in just days or hours, the imminent skills shortage that means there are jobs available and the prospect of striking it rich by developing a killer app – Tracey Samuelson and Stan Alcorn set out on the quest to develop mobile programming skills from scratch and then develop their own app.

As you might imagine (spoiler alert!) – it was a lot harder than they expected.  It’s a very well done piece of journalistic reporting – entitled “Learning How To Make A Smartphone App” so please be sure to check it out. This is the type of experiential reporting that is always valuable to break down some of the common myths that exist with new technology trends.  And it’s another example of strong journalism from public radio that is so refreshing compared to the non-stop blather of most talk radio these days!

So – while the app economy does present big opportunities – it requires the right skills to be successful. Which skills? Skills in mobile programming, skills in data integration, skills in user design and skills in business process redesign to take advantage of the mobile opportunity for companies large and small.

Mobile is Everywhere and Nowhere At The Same Time

One of the biggest challenges facing clients who are trying to become mobile enterprises is that mobile is everywhere – and nowhere. Mobile is everywhere – we all have mobile phones, there’s a constant buzz about mobile technology in the media, and across all industries leading companies are levering mobile to gain competitive advantage, to deepen their customer relationships and engagement, and improve their employee productivity in ways never before imaginable.

And yet – mobile is nowhere. It is nowhere in the sense that it’s very hard to find technical talent with good mobile skills.  These top skills are nowhere to be found!

At IBM, our Center for Applied Insights just recently completed our 2012 Tech Trends Study – and the findings have some great insights on mobile, cloud, social and analystics skill gaps.  As you might expect – I zoomed right to the mobile section. The report indicated that -

  • 49% of respondents have deployed Mobile
  • 69%  plan to increase their Mobile investment in the next two years, with 35% planning to increase it 10 percent or more
  • Over the next two years, 31% of respondents will start allowing BYOD – making it the norm for 76% of respondents

So clearly mobile is being embraced by clients rapidly – with 49% having already deployed projects, and 69% are planning to increase their investment in the next two years.  Mobile is certainly everywhere in this sense, and is a critical imperative for companies both large and small across all industries.

The problem is that mobile skills are nowhere.   Back to the TechTrends Report  and it reports that -

  • Only 9% of all companies think they have all the Mobile skills they need
  • 25% of IT/LOB decision makers report a major Mobile skills gaps, with an additional 40% percent seeing moderate skills gaps
  • 77% of students and educators see major and/or moderate skills gaps

So – given how important this is for our client and our partners – I recorded a brief video discussing about this issue and giving some advice to IT professionals and students around the world on how and where they might want to focus on their skill development for Mobile.

Finally – if you are interested in learning more about the challenges for mobile, social, cloud and security, below is a pretty cool infographic that lets you explore the trends and insights.

And as you might expect, given IBM’s focus on helping our client and partners solve these skills gaps, today IBM is announcing a whole range of new programs to help students and universities create and scale new courses around mobile, security, cloud and social IT skills.   The most exciting part of it all – we’re making our IBM Mobile Worklight development platform available for free classroom use by schools all around the world.  You can get it here!