Cool App Design – It’s In Vogue!

One of the cool elements of the mobile revolution that is taking place is that it is forcing a new focus around the importance of good creative design for mobile applications.  While I’m not sure if this is due to the differences in screen size and interaction methods (touch vs mouse driven), it doesn’t really matter.  The good news is that it is resulting in software developers being asked to really re-think good user interface designs and that’s good for all of us!

Part of the evolution is certainly due to the fact that smaller screens and form factors require that mobile applications must be simpler – the best ones are not simply replicas of web site or existing traditional apps, instead they are built for simple tasks and discrete purposes that often require re-imagining key customer interaction processes.    As functionality is re-thought from the user centered design perspective, it provides an opportunity to rethink the graphical interfaces and feel as well.  While it’s not very often you hear anyone bragging about the cool UI on a traditional PC app – it is quite common to see cool designs on mobile platforms.

Recently I came across this list of ten sites that was posted by Jacob Gube , the Founder and Chief Editor of Six Revisions that can provide mobile app developers with some inspiration for design patterns and graphical interface models.   It’s pretty cool – check it out.  I think my favorite is lovely ui – but let me know what you think!   As some of you know – my lovely wife is a graphic designer – so I’ll have to ask for her vote too and she what she thinks.

This week here at IBM we were also proud to report that our IBM Interactive Design Services team was cited as one of the best design and digital marketing teams in the industry as noted by their placement in the Gartner Magic Quadrant!   If you aren’t familiar with them – you can check them out here – and as you can see by clicking on the Our Work tab, they have done some great, cool projects with great user designs.






Hot Mobile Topics Broadcast – Next Week!

It’s been a busy first few weeks for me as I dive into my new Mobile role at IBM. One of the big projects has been working with our product teams to think through the right solutions to best help our clients all around the world.   I’ve also been canvassing as many industry peers as I can who are leading thinkers on mobile to learn their perspectives and insights.

The great news is that on October 10 from 12:00-1:00 pm ET , we are hosting a virtual broadcast, “Speeding innovation and extending reach with Mobile Enterprise”.  We will be bringing together a range of mobile experts from across industries and geographies to examine mobile trends, challenges, and opportunities to transform how we work, sell and communicate. The in-depth discussions will focus on the latest mobile technologies and how successful enterprises are ahead of the trend.

In all my travels to talk with clients and experts over the past thirty days, one thing is abundantly clear – mobile is the hottest topic in the industry – more so than even cloud, security or social (and yes, they all do fit together as well.) What makes mobile such a hot topic is this – it’s deeply personal, we can all relate to it and have experience with it, and everyone admits we’re just scratching the surface of it.

When you consider that in 2012, the shipment of smart phones and tablets is expected to exceed that of traditional computers and laptops, and consider that in 2013 there will be more mobile devices in existence on the planet than people – many of us must be carrying lots of devices! (Going out on a limb here – remember 9% of the world population is under age of 5 – they probably don’t have devices yet. Another 8% are age 5-9 and most probably don’t have devices either!) (see data here for details).

This data was confirmed by my very unscientific crowd survey at the ITExpo Keynote I gave in Austin, TX earlier this week. When I asked the crowd how many of them had 3 or more devices (laptop, tablet, smartphone), over half the room raised their hand, and almost 1/4 of the room carried two or more smartphones!

Both business and IT executives at companies large and small know they need to take advantage of mobile devices to provide access to their internal systems and processes for employees, as well as to enable easier purchasing and support services for their customers. Most also recognize that mobile devices are also creating a unique opportunity to connect with and interact with employees, customers and partners, leveraging real-time data, information and expertise to drive better, and more meaningful engagement and transactions.

But — embracing mobile is difficult — and it’s not as easy as just creating a simple app because you also have to think about:

· The variety of devices used
· Employees who increasingly wish to use their own devices at work
· Application level and device management
· Cost controls
· Security concerns

And yet, on the positive side, the clients see the real opportunity to use mobile technology as the catalyst to improve employee productivity, increase customer satisfaction, grow market share, drive innovation and improve client loyalty.
During our broadcast on October 10th, the group of experts we’re convening will discuss how to:

· Extend existing business capabilities to mobile devices
· Transform your business by creating new opportunities around mobile solutions
· Build mobile applications and connect them to, and run, back-end systems in support of mobile
· Manage mobile devices, services and applications, and secure your mobile business

TV host and technology expert Katie Linendoll will moderate the broadcast that features some of the leading IBM thinkers, a case study of Tire and Battery Corp (TBC)’s use of mobile to transform their business, an Air Canada example (for all you Road Warriors out there) and IT analysts and other experts who can share the new opportunities they’re seeing.

If you’re building out a mobile strategy, or looking to improve your current mobile capabilities, you definitely cannot afford to miss this broadcast.

You can follow online conversations around the broadcast by following the #ibmmobile tag.

Yes Its True….!

Over the past few weeks it has been rumored that I was taking a new role to lead Mobile marketing across IBM – and yes it’s true! (Special shout out to thevarguy for reporting it first…) As many of you know, for the past three years I’ve had the privilege of leading IBM’s business development and marketing around all of IBM’s ISV partners, our start-up programs and our efforts around the globe with colleges and universities. As my good colleague Mike Grandinetti often said when he introduced me at various start-up or venture capital events “Mike has one of the coolest titles and jobs in IBM…”

It was a cool job indeed — working with our best ISV/application alliance partners, so many entrepreneurs and leading edge inventors in the start-up community, and so many great teachers and administrators at colleges around the world who dedicate their lives to teaching and empowering students to be successful in life. It has been incredible to see the uptake of IBM’s Smarter Planet strategy in all these areas – with hundreds of key ISVs embracing our Smarter Planet industry blueprints, over 1000+ start-ups working on cool smarter planet related business models amidst our venture capital network, and millions of students (literally) being trained on key new skills like analytics, mobile technologies, smarter commerce, smarter healthcare, and so many other areas.

And quite honestly – I expect a similarly cool outcome in my new job leading the mobile computing marketing and strategy for IBM around the globe.  As you would all expect, IBM sees the mobile revolution as one of the great technology revolutions facing our clients and the technology industry and we’ll be leveraging all of our company’s strengths to help our clients adapt and leverage the mobile era.

Judging by most of the discussions I have had during my first month in the role – it feels like we’re still in the very early stages of the mobile revolution. As Dan Rowinski of RedWriteMobile said to me at a small gathering of thought leaders last week in Boston – mobile consumer is at 3.0 and companies are at 1.0. So we’re just a the beginning of the mobile revolution. In some ways it feels like the beginning of the web revolution – everyone knows they need to embrace mobile somehow, many are putting out new apps to get started, but very few companies have a holistic, breakthrough strategy to really take advantage of the mobile revolution.

Are you seeing similar? Can you share any great breakthrough strategies you have seen in the mobile space?

Honest advice from a successful IBM partner!

Earlier this week I hosted one of our ISV Leadership Forum events at our IBM Innovation Center in Silicon Valley.  As part of the event we covered how partners can best leverage all of IBM investments in Smarter Cities, Smarter Analytics and Cloud Computing. Special thanks to all our partners who attended! As often occurs, the highlight of the event was when we had a partner share their experiences and advice in these areas for other’s to learn from.

This week we were thrilled to have Meghan Keough, VP of Marketing and Product Management at SignalDemand join us. If you don’t know SignalDemand — check them out, they have a very cool solution that leverages big data and predictive analytics to provide insights and optimization for commodity based value chains. Said simply – they help clients drive higher profit margins through better pricing, supply and volume decisions.

When Meghan spoke and was asked what advice she would give to other partners who want to work with IBM – she gave three tips:

  1.  Adopt IBM Software where it makes sense for your business as an ISV. IBM has a ton of solutions that you can embed or leverage in your own company’s software solution, and you should take advantage of what IBM has to offer.
  2. Get working on joint sales right away and bring some deals to the table. The quickest way to get the partnership going is to bring some deals to IBM and put some joint wins on the board. In doing so, IBM quickly engaged and began bringing SignalDemand into key opportunities that IBM was uncovering.
  3. Be patient and keep working across IBM — once you get the gearbox working it’s a huge engine. Megan pointed out that IBM goes to market in three ways – by industry, by product/solution, and by “big plays.” Getting connected to leaders and sellers in all these areas helps drive success — and you have to keep working it given how large IBM is in the market. While it might take awhile, it pays off once you get the engine running!

I always love great advice from a partner that is honest and direct. Thanks Meghan for helping our partners learn how to be even more successful!

The BIG opportunities — and the IBM Recipe Book for Success

Despite all the hype about the big opportunities that exist in the IT marketplace – and the debate about how BIG the big data opportunity is, or how quickly the mobile revolution will overtake us, or how the cloud transformation will cause all sorts of problems to rain down on IT systems (see Steve Wozniak’s comments), or how cities need to become Smarter Cities to better handle the massive urbanization that is taking place around the globe, everyone agrees these are big opportunities for IBM and our partners to help clients transform their business.

As you would expect, IBM needs a broad range of partners to help us deliver solutions and services to clients in all of these areas – and we’re very focused on make it simple and clear to partners where the best opportunities are — and how partners can work with us in each of these areas.  We have thousands of client wins in these areas and most of them involve partners as part of the client value equation.

This week I’ll be at our Silicon Valley Innovation Center talk about these BIG opportunities and laying out the partnering receipe book for success.  I’ll be hosting our ISV Leadership Forum that is open to partners and software vendors from all across the Valley and I look forward to seeing many new partners at the event!   It’s a great opportunity for you to come and learn from other partners who have found great success in teaming with IBM!

If you want to attend — here’s the info and registration page.

I hope to see you there!

Great new content for developers and startups unleashed at IMPACT yesterday

As I’ve written about several times before – every developer I meet talks fist about the cool cloud and mobile projects they are working on, and our Tech Trends survey backed up the enthusiasm with these two areas outdistancing all others as the hot topics for developers and startups around the globe.

So yesterday at IMPACT we unleashed some incredible new free tools for developers up on our developerWorks site:

PureSystems Cloud Sandbox/Free Trial Environment – to help individual developers create their own patterns of expertise to optimize their applications for either IBM PureSystems, or the IBM Smartcloud, developers can now use a completely free cloud development environment up on our cloud. That’s right — free access to our IBM PureSystems technology on the IBM Smartcloud. This is our first ever totally free cloud environment for developers to leverage. I’ll be posting more later today on why this is such an advantage for developers — and offers so much more than other cloud sites.

PureSystems Virtual Patter Software Development Kit — if you are thinking about how to optimize a home-grown application, or want to work develop “off-line” from the cloud – they you can also download the new SDK that we made available yesterday, enabling you to create a pattern of expertise for your own application. Once you complete the pattern work, your app can then run on IBM PureSystems, or the IBM Smartcloud. One pattern – runs seamless on either platform. Others have promised this, but so far we’re the only vendor to deliver it.

New Mobile Zone & Community Tools — we also unveiled a big new Mobile Zone on developerWorks, and released IBM Mobile Foundations to provide developers and IT practitioners the tools they needs to create and manage an end to end mobile environment. The new Mobile Foundations includes content from our Worklight acquisition, Endpoint Security from Tivoli and technology from our Cast Iron acquisition.

Make sure you check out these toolkits and especially the Free Cloud Environment from IBM!

ps – Stay tuned for my next post – I’ve gotten lots of questions about how our Trial Environment compares to a free trial on Amazon – so I’ll be posting some key points on that next.

Global Entrepreneur Winner Sproxil expands partnership with IBM

Back in June 2010 – a little company named Sproxil sprung onto the scene of the global healthcare market by winning the IBM Smartcamp competition in Boston, MA.  Since they won our event competition, Sproxil has been featured for their cool solution on CNN, on the BBC, in the Wall Street Journal, and in other media outlets all over the globe.

Sproxil provides a mobile product authentication service that can be applied to various industry specific problems to ensure products are authentic before they are consumed.   You can see their CEO in this video talking about their solution — in this case providing a safe, reliable, scalable way for citizens to verifty that the perscription drugs they are consuming are legitimate, and have not been tampered with.  This enables the pharmaceutical industry to reduce drug counterfeiting and allows consumers to verify the authenticity of prescriptions in seconds with their mobile phones.

Today at IBM, we’re pleased to announce that Sproxil is collaborating with IBM and  is extending manufacturers’ ability to view and analyze real time consumer data to detect and prevent drug counterfeiting in developing countries, where 25 to 50 percent of medicines are believed to be counterfeit, costing the industry $75 billion a year. With the collaboration, Sproxil also uses IBM’s cloud service to provide clients with secure, reliable data access virtually anywhere.

Sproxil’s partnership with IBM builds on IBM’s rich portfolio offerings for Smarter Healthcare.   If you are at our IPMACT event today n , please be sure to find Dr Ashifi Gogo and congratulate him on his cool solution and partnership with IBM!