Mobile and Cloud at #IBMIMPACT 2014

Tangerine Bank, an IBM customer, kicked off IBM IMPACT 2014 discussing how they are using technology to re-imagining and simplifying banking. In particular Tangerine is focused on becoming a mobile-centric or mobile first bank. They are trying to raise the bar on mobile banking applications, adding things such as voice activation and offline access. Working with IBM they adopted a different platform for their mobile development – PureApplication System –  allowing them to get to a 6 week (and hopefully a 2 week) development cycle.  This allows them to develop and easily test and deploy repeatable patterns, access the Worklight programming environment, use Bluemix for testing and QA, and taking advantage of the API catalog to manage the bank’s internal services.

Robert LeBlanc  of IBM followed to use Tangerine as an example of the shift to a completely digital economy where companies are increasingly using mobile and cloud for computing, unbundling their business offerings and where new “killer apps” have the potential to disrupt any industry. In response he encouraged companies to do four things

  • Reinvent and innovate continuously
  • Make better decisions with real-time actionable insights (Decision Management)
  • Accelerate time to market
  • Integrate across the (extended) enterprise

IBM sees this as increasingly about taking a building block approach, building a composable business that assembles  what’s needed quickly and effectively to solve rapidly changing business problems. IBM identifies four service types  in this environment:

  • Infrastructure services such as those from Softlayer
  • Defined pattern services such as its PureApplication services
  • Composable services (middleware) such as BlueMix
  • Business services in the more general SaaS portfolio.

Clients increasingly want a hybrid solution with on-premise and cloud based development, deployment and management of applications. These hybrid solutions, such as those offered by IBM using a combination of PureApplication System and web-based PureApplication Service, have four main use cases:

  • Extending enterprise applications e.g. to mobile
  • Test and learn and supporting rapid experimentation
  • Managing dev/test/production in different ways like cloud for dev but in-house for production etc
  • Market expansion and globalization, running different markets on different combinations.

As companies use cloud, mobile and Big Data in this way they have to get business, IT leaders and developers to collaborate (and I would add analytics professionals). This means a change for everyone – how business leaders think about technology, how IT leaders think about cloud and security, and how developers think about assembling not just building applications. To help with this transition IBM has also announced a cloud marketplace. This is a curated site, managed by IBM, designed to pull IBM and third party services into solutions so clients can find them quickly. Solutions run across business services, development services and ops services. All (or almost all) of these services have a try before you buy set up on the marketplace. In parallel IBM is offering new SaaS services, new composable services on BlueMix and new services on Softlayer are all a focus.

Rob also spoke about continuing development of the BlueMix platform. This is focused on providing an integrated development environment on the cloud. New services around analytics, scaling, cloud integration etc are being added. IBM is announcing an interesting partnership with Galvanize to open up a BlueMix Garage where IBM and start up developers can work together side by side.  The first is in San Francisco with more planned.

Marie Wieck came up next to talk about design thinking – training IBM and customer development teams to think first about engaging with mobile.  She identified three success factors for mobile:

  • Mobile interactions are becoming mobile transactions
    Must support secure, effective, real-time transactions not just interactions (which I would add means decision management on the backend).
  • Must be iterative and rapidly evolve applications
    Business rules are your friend here, helping you iterate business logic
  • Use mobile analytics to improve outcomes at every moment
    Not just mobile analytics, also customer analytics!

IBM has focused its MobileFirst portfolio (reviewed here) on delivering support for mobile development, mobile security, mobile engagement and transformation. The new Worklight Platform, BlueMix mobile cloud services and Cloudant’s database as a service are all part of IBM’s strategy, A set of Business Acceleration solutions that provide ready apps for specific areas like banking, government, insurance etc. New mobile QA facilities, continuous integration and deployment automation.

Mobile and cloud are big focus areas for IBM moving forward as they are for everyone in the enterprise space.

Cross-posted from JTonEDM.