In this ESG On Location Video, ESG's Mark Peters and Scott Sinclair provide their insights on the IBM Think 2018 event, held in Las Vegas. This video includes interviews with IBM's Eric Herzog and Ed Walsh.
Read the related ESG Blog: THINK-ing about IBM (includes video)
Announcer: The following is an ESG On Location video.
Mark: Welcome to IBM Think here in lovely Las Vegas. Think, from IBM, was a combination of a number of shows that the company used to do. And I think not only is that a good idea from a company and a user perspective, but it also demands the fact that IBM needs to tell a cohesive story.
Ginni, in her keynote on day one, I think, absolutely did that. And she introduced the intriguing concept of incumbents that disrupt — incumbents, if you like, that innovate. And that really is very interesting both from a user perspective and from the company perspective. To talk about what that really means from a solution perspective, from a capabilities perspective, I'm gonna hand to my colleague, Scott Sinclair. We'll also hear from a couple of IBM execs who sat down in front of the camera for us.
Scott: With a theme like the innovative incumbent, it might sound a little counterintuitive at first. When we think about innovation, we tend to think about the emergent startup, but here it's all about data. Incumbent companies within their industry tend to have more data within their stored systems, within their environments. They've been accumulating it for years and that data has value. And here at IBM Think, it's all about unlocking that value. And it's not just within the infrastructure itself. I mean, behind me, you'll see all sorts of infrastructure solutions from all flash to many of the spectrum software technologies that IBM, you know, continues to innovate around.
But Think is so much more than that. There's technologies around artificial intelligence with Watson, blockchain as well as IOT environments. In here, if you're an innovator, if you're someone, a CIO, that's looking about how do these solutions fit within my environment, you can sit down and have a conversation about Watson and then literally walk 100 feet over here to the infrastructure section and then see how these new emergent workflows fit within those infrastructure environments. And to me, that's really the story here at IBM Think. It's not just about the technology. It's not just about the innovation, but it's about the marriage between the data and the technology itself that that data lives on as well as these emergent workflows all coming together to provide value and deliver to the incumbents that innovation that allows them to become more transformational within their industries.
Eric: For the past two years, we tried to get away from speeds and feeds. We sell solutions in a data driven multi-cloud environment that optimize business outcomes. So, you can't go in and just say, "Oh, yeah. Look at my tape," or, "Look at my all-flash array," or, "Look at my data protection." That's not the way they wanna talk. They wanna know, why is it good for their cloud, why is it good for their AI, what's it gonna do for their modern workloads. I'm going to containers. I've been using VMware, but how do I get persistence to work for containers? That's the IT guy. The CIO doesn't care about that stuff. He wants to make sure that all software SLAs are always met so he can meet the needs of his business.
So, talking at upper level about how storage is a critical foundation for cloud workloads, AI workloads, even old workloads like SAP or Oracle or a VMware shop, the reality is storage is the critical foundation just like a major building.
Ed: The biggest thing is changing our overall go-to market instead of being about product. You know, we have a very broad portfolio. It's really about having conversations with clients and helping them to be more data driven and really modernizing and transforming our environment.
Everyone wants to be data driven in the business and it doesn't matter if you're doing a public cloud or you're doing on-prem or you're doing physical or virtual or you wanna do Docker containers. It doesn't matter what your…you're all looking to be more data driven. So, that brings the whole IBM portfolio to bear to help our clients get to this next era.
So, I think what you're seeing on stage is really IBM in a fully integrated vision, but you see more and more IBM, you see the difference in the last 18 months really executing as a team.
Mark: As we come to the end of what was a very big show, what can we take away? Scott talked about the idea of incumbent disruptors very much from the technology perspective, but it's fair to say that, of course, being an incumbent disruptor is exactly what IBM itself would like to be. And I think it did a very good job at putting forward its case to be that, and I saw three ways that that's true.
Number one is from the portfolio. You cannot fail to be impressed by the range of products that you see, and capabilities, services, software and so on, everything from tape through to blockchain and beyond. Also, secondarily, you've got what I like to call physics. I sat through a presentation on Quantum Computing and just about managed to get my brain to cope with that.
And then you've got, I think, perhaps the most important of these three Ps. So, you've got the portfolio side, you got the physics side, and then you've also got, if you like, the problem side. In other words, if you're to be a successful IT company, you've got to address problems. And right throughout this conference, IBM did a really good job of concentrating on solving problems and not just delivering technologies. And on that basis, I think we can say that the name of this conference is one that genuinely can be used because in terms of the place of this particular incumbent disruptor, this really made us all think.