ESG's Mark Peters, Christophe Bertrand and Jon Oltsik discuss highlights from IBM Think 2019, held in San Fransisco.
Read the related ESG Blog: Thoughts on IBM Think[ing] 2019- includes video
Announcer: The following is an ESG on-location video.
Mark: Welcome to IBM Think here in San Francisco. There was tremendous pineapple expression and rain here, that didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the 30,000 people that came to hear the latest explanations, reveals from IBM. For many of us, the week started with something which was quintessential IBM, project debater, where you had an AI machine debating and conversing with a human being with nuanced conversation for 30 minutes. Really quite remarkable.
[AI Voice] Allow me to start with a brief rebuttal among other things. I think Mr. Natarajan suggested that preschools should not be subsidized because this will reduce their quality. I would like to offer him different view.
Mark: Aside from that when we saw Ginni speak, she talked a lot about what she called Chapter 2, which was a very broad IBM term for, if you like, outside-in IT, and the way that we're dealing with data differently. One of the truisms of a big show like this is it's just too big to cover everything. That said, since so much is ultimately about data, a couple of my colleagues that were here are going to look at that from the perspective of protecting and securing that data.
Christophe: Data protection, I think, was really front and center in a number of sessions. Not only was I able to present our research, but I also met with a number of end users who have expressed their interest in the evolution of data protection into something else. That something else is data management. It's intelligent data protection and it's reusing data for business outcomes. I also have the opportunity to discuss GDPR with some of the experts in the field from IBM. Plenty of opportunities for IBM to differentiate themselves here. Lots of great technologies and more importantly, a very strong consulting arm as well. So, when it comes to compliance, GDPR, and this type of burning issues in a number of global enterprise accounts, you can certainly count on IBM to be front and center with these types of solutions.
Jon: IBM's message of digital transformation of supporting business processes even of their social support, very, very encouraging. But what I found, I think, is that there's a bit of a disconnect between IBM's message and their cyber security offerings. Now, I come away from the show, even more impressed with the cyber security offerings. It's a wide variety of products and extensive services, but they're not supporting the business processes or digital transformation as well as they could. And IBM is in a unique position to do that. So, if I were Ginni, if I were Mary O'Brian, I would say, "Look at vertical industries. Look at digital transformation, business processes, OT, IT. Talk at the business level and bridge that gap between the business people and the cyber security people." That's a big gap and no one's doing it effectively and IBM has the opportunity to do that.
Mark: I said at the beginning that this is a big show. Everything - excuse the pun - everything from AI to Z Systems and everything in between. If you wanted some thematic elements, there was talk about digitization and the AI. There was talk about hybrid cloud, but there was also equal weight given to things like corporate stewardship. And quite honestly, my big takeaway from this week is, that too is quintessential IBM. If you went to the general sessions, you really didn't get a lot to talk about products. They were mentioned in passing. But this was a show that was about capabilities, about futures, frankly, about hope and direction. That is quintessential IBM.