ESG's Mark Peters, Scott Sinclair, Paul Nashawaty, and Mike Leone discuss their impressions from IBM Think 2021, which featured new announcements for Watson Orchestrate and Cloud Pak for Data.
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Mark: I'm here today with some of my colleagues from ESG to give their thoughts on Think, the IBM event that took place recently. Now, IBM has been busy spinning off everything, it looks like, and the latest part is Kyndryl, everything that isn't relevant to two things, growth as one very important driver, and then from a technical perspective or a solution perspective, hybrid cloud and AI.
Everything else seems to be going by the wayside. So, Mike Leone, I want to turn to you first. I said AI was one of the big things. Your thoughts?
Mike: Absolutely. Thanks, Mark. You know, they mentioned AI so much throughout this event, and I really loved the fact that it wasn't just focused on the data teams or the experts that are internal to the organization working through the data pipeline, it was focused on, you know, everyday end users that are employees of businesses. And I thought that was really, really important.
On the technical side, they came out with the next generation of Cloud Pak for Data with an intelligent data platform that infuses AI and tons of capabilities that are really going to be impactful and help organizations achieve data success. It was all about ensuring the right people have access to the right data at the right time from anywhere.
So, a big capability that really stuck out to me was AutoSQL. So many organizations have to deal with challenges across the AI and data life cycle, data integration, ensuring data access and its tight alignment to data governance. Things like ensuring ongoing data management, making sure the right data is available to those that want to leverage it for AI.
AutoSQL is really going to leverage AI under the covers to automate all of that. AutoSQL is going to bring to market a universal query engine that's going to eliminate the need to move data across that distributed environment. That underlying benefit, it's all going to be time savings and it's going to be impressively eye-opening. Now, on the other side of the AI, they announced something called Watson Orchestrate. And this is really focused on the everyday employees, you, and me, and everyone else that has to deal with the complexities and annoyances, to some extent, of having to schedule a meeting or integrate between different applications, an ERP platform, and emailing details somewhere.
Watson Orchestrate is going to take those tasks and it's going to provide self-service so end users will get the guardrails they need to really be able to leverage AI to speed up those tasks. The idea of being able to start small is going to go a long way for organizations to gain trust and confidence in the software, and then eventually extend that.
And again, the end result is going to be impressive time savings and really end-user/worker productivity gains.
Mark: You know, it seems to me that certainly for IBM, AI seems to mean all in. They certainly were at the show, but I want to turn to you, Paul, to broaden it out a bit because obviously, you can have all the AI in the world, it's still got to run on something. I'm fascinated by what you heard from conversations about cloud and the journey, data transformation, hybrid cloud, that sort of stuff.
Paul: The impact to agility in hybrid clouds and AI initiatives is really helping accelerate digital transformation initiatives. You know, when we look at this, we also look at it in the context of digital first initiatives and digital first business models. That is one of the other areas that I thought was a key area to focus on here in some of the sessions I was attending. I liked the idea that they were talking about adopting digital technologies to reengineer, automate, and fuse end-to-end processes.
That was really an innovative approach in different terminology, different things that I was hearing here that I haven't heard in a lot of different places. Containers was a big area of focus. You know, one of the things around containers and the adoption of microservices was focusing where and how you're driving those microservices into the cloud.
And I really loved the session that talked about the "Ten Reasons to Modernize Application." Resonated well with a lot of the research that we've been doing as well. So, I'm really excited about this and really excited about where they're going, and interested in how they're going to adopt it, and the customers are going to adopt it moving forward.
Mark: I want to move... Thank you, Paul. I want to take what the two of you have said and sort of meld that together for Scott. And I guess, Scott, to you, the question or the proposition is around focus. I was thinking if you imagine, you know, an IT mall, IBM was very much an anchor store in the past. Is it still that or is it becoming a speciality store down one of the side aisles?
What do you think about its focus?
Scott: Well, Mark, I don't know if it's a speciality store, but it's definitely trying to uplevel its clientele. I've always been impressed with how IBM Think has always brought forth a really nice balance of infrastructure modernization stories, app modernization stories, and digital business transformation stories. And they've done this for several years. While the storyline has always been digital transformation, typically, the focus in the keynotes and everything tends to be more on the infrastructure on, what's the hardware, how are we upping the technology?
With IBM Think, the pendulum is long. I mean, Mike brought up some of the great technology they're doing like Cloud Paks for Data, but really I think Watson Orchestrate is a really fascinating tool. Because if you think about it, it's basically this Swiss Army knife, Easy Button to embed AI in your business. Well, that conversation needs to actually happen at multiple layers, not just IT.
The digital transformation technology, something like what Watson Orchestrate can really do and how it can transform a business, they need an advocate from a C-suite level. I'd be really interested to see if moving forward, IBM Think adds a C-suite level, you know, tier in terms of classes to help build in these digital business story lines.
Because going back to AI being all in, IBM is all in on digital business, and those are the stories that they're putting together.
Mark: Scott, thank you. It's a fascinating group of thoughts from all three of you. And I think the combination between the hybrid cloud side of things, the AI side of things, and as you say, Scott, what the focus now brings to the market and where IBM is going to sit in it, [inaudible] or a market, whichever it might be, is really interesting for the future.
Thank you for watching.