IBM’s Impact conference is happening in Las Vegas right now. The conference is well attended with over 9000 attendees.
Here are my Top 3 Takeaways from the opening keynote:
Marketplaces are essential
In the new world of elastic resources and next generation requirements, customers want to make their licensing process more agile, too. That will more and more replace traditional marketing and sales efforts - in the ideal case seeing a business executive looking for a solution, purchasing and potentially even starting to deploy it.
The infrastructure of choice for this transformation is a marketplace and it’s no surprise, that IBM launched its marketplace today. And it brings together a lot of IBM assets - starting with SoftLayer at the infrastructure, BlueMix at the platform and the IBM SaaS portfolio on the application level. More importantly IBM also opens the marketplace to partners and starting with 200 partners is a key milestone.
In the IBM vision of the API economy - the marketplace is where commercial success will crystallize for this new way of configuring, delivering and consuming next generation applications. And certainly IBM has hit a user friendly interface to use the marketplace - but as the number of solutions grows we will have to see how the user interface will evolve.
Behind the scenes it is the WebSphere (not mentioned a single time by name in the keynote) patterns which are key to automate loads, especially hybrid loads. As we have blogged before IBM is in the enviable situation that when early versions of the marketplace will err more in the direction of more professional service engagement - that is not a bad outcome for IBM.
Mobile remains a priority
IBM spent considerable bandwidth in the keynote with Marie Wieck walking through mobile scenarios and presenting showcase customers and patners.
Obviously IBM thinks the train for the mobilization of enterprise content has not really left the station and that IBM now has a viable offering with the SoftLayer, BlueMix and WorkLight offering. Wieck stressed the importance of agility and BigData as capabilities (Cloudant acquisition) - good ingredients and a differentiator for IBM mobile applications. Now IBM will have to show that it can create traction in a mix of mobilizing existing apps and as well building next generation apps.
Watson is IBM's higher ground
And last but not least it was Mike Rhodin to talk about Watson - and sharing the groundwork IBM is laying with exposing the Watson cognitive APIs to the developer community. IBM has seen a lot of success with its request for ideas, with the semi-finalist being unveiled in the keynote. So good ecosystem blocking and tackling, the real value of Watson for the API economy lies in the monetization of cognitive APIs by IBM and the differentiation partners can achieve by using these APIs. It will be interesting to see in the next months how this will develop - in the meantime nobody can really reach.
A very good start of Impact for attendees and IBM. This may well have been the first time Luc Leblanc demoed software live in a keynote - for close to +20 minutes. A very powerful testament for the usability of the marketplace, a good demo topic - but also a symbol for the new IBM. With Impact being the former WebSphere conference - I would have expected a few more references to that product - most attendees are using WebSphere in production and IBM needs to be careful to connect status quo in its customer base with an attractive and quickly developing future product landscape.
The customer base implicitly knows what is being used and what evolves to what - but sometimes explicit statements (and roadmaps - still MIA) help to chart an enterprises course of future investment. But in the meantime congrats to IBM for an innovation speed very few would have thought would be possible for this company.
Posted by Holger Mueller