Information On Demand 2010, Day One: The Opening Session

Here I am at the opening session of the 2010 IBM Information On Demand conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. The hall is beginning to fill up with what is reported to be around 10,000 attendees. I wonder how many are IBMers? This is the first time I have written a blog entry during an event. It’ll give me an opportunity to test out this new laptop battery – should have about 7 hours of work time before it konks out, so I should be good to go (at least for the opening session hour and a half). At any rate, it is getting crowded and things are supposed to get kicked off in about 5 minutes.

The emcee is promoting an IOD poll where he wants folks to go on-line and answer a question ( They are promoting a poll and the top of the list reason for attending this conference is “to learn the IBM business strategy.” Well, based on my experience of attending all of these IODs, I’m guessing that those folks won’t be disappointed.

The tagline of this conference is “Gain Insight. Optimize Results.” That seems like an apt goal for a conference promoting information and analytics.

The emcee right now is telling hokey jokes (Las Vegas = Lost Wages)… c’mon! Either get some good jokes or stick to “data stuff!”

Now the loud music is blaring and the hall is nearing capacity and people are still streaming in… 5 minutes late getting started, but the lights have just dimmed so here we go.

“Business today is all about outcomes.” Okay, I agree, but hasn’t it always? Information drives that process now more than ever – now we’re getting somewhere.

Now we have a series of drummers on the stage… sorta like Stomp! This’ll wake everybody up. Nice choice to kick things off! Nice usage of video to let everybody see what is happening. Can’t tell if the screen (with a white background) is actually what is going on on stage, but it sure looks like it. Nicely done!

Robert LeBlanc Sr. VP of Middleware Software comes on stage now – tough act to follow. He announced that there are 10,014 registered attendees as of this morning. Now he is describing the types of attendees, from CEOs to data analysts. Now he is switching to talk about what IBM sees going on in the market. Talking about the 2010 IBM Global CEO Study. Three things they need:

1) embody creative leadership with innovative business models, 2) reinvent customer relationships, in most cases, with better use of data, and 3) build operating dexterity, by glocalizationn – having both a global and local focus. CEOs are most worried about volatility, uncertainty and complexity. To deal with this, IBM asserts you need a well thought out information agenda. I agree!

In 2009, there are 800,000 petabytes, but by 2020 it will be 35 zettabytes. 44x more data and content over the coming decade. Yet people are starved for information. 1 in 3 make critical decisions without the information they need. 1 in 2 don’t have access to the information. 75% think it is easier to get information over the Internet than from their own organizationns. And 3 in 4 think more predictive information would drive better decisions.

There is a gap between information and outcomes. How can we align information, in an age of information explosion, with the business? (Then his mic cut out briefly… back on now!) Of course, the answer is busienss analytics and information management. And IBM wants you to use their solutions to do it.

IBM conducted a CIO survery earlier this year and the #1 priority is business analytics. Robert then gave some customer examples (e.g. Avis Europe cut marketing costs by 50 percent; then he talked about New York tax office and how they avoided $1.2 billion in questionable refunds – he kinda lost the crowd there, though – LOL).

So how can you gain insight and optimize results with IBM? Robert suggests: 1) Plan an information agenda, 2) Master your information to ensure it is accurate and governed, and then 3) Apply business analytics to anticipate and shape business outcomes. Sound good? It does to me, but I wonder how many shops will do these things?

Innovation will continue, and according to IBM, from three broad categories: 1)  Information from everywhere, which needs to be integrated and analyzed, 2) With more flexibility, using automation, virtualization and the cloud, and 3) Having extreme scalability, with “big data” and real-time streaming using efficient parallelism and optimized workloads.

Customer panel session is next with representatives from Visa (Mike Dreyer, CIO) and  Centerpoint Energy (Dr. Steve Pratt, CTO). I am a customer of both! Visa has been around for 40 years and they think of themselves as a payment technologies company. Have grown fromm 29,000 customers in 1970 to 1.8 billion cards now. Incidence of fraud under $35 is very low, so now they more frequently allow swipe and go with no signature for those transactions. I’ve noticed that, haven’t you? That is an example of analytics impacting business action. Visa’s is now focused on digital commerce on the Internet and mobile devices for mature markets like the USA. But in emerging markets, like India, 92 percent of expenditures are still cash.

Centerpoint Energy then talked about what is happening with energy. The company is 135 years old and is in the process of transforming itself. They are moving towards a smarter utility implemenation. Advanced metering that is more intelligent and capable of delivering almost instant turn on and turn off. Can meter down to 15 minutes intervals. Used to deal with 10s of thousands of devices but now they are dealing with 10s of millions of devices. Customers want real-time notification (e.g. inform when power will be back on during an outage, with information delivered to mobile devices). Moving from dealing with 88 thousand transactions a day to millions of transactions an hour.  Centerpoint refers to their transformation as intelligence realization.

Arvind Krishna, GM Information Management Software is up next. Based on the thousands of client engagements he sees the problem areas break into four categories: 1) Enhance customer understanding, 2) optimize real-time decisions, 3) foster collaborative decisions and 4) Enable enterprise visibility. And, of course, IBM’s data management solutions help to do all four of these.

He also points out that the foundation for business analytics and optimization will manage, integrate and analyze data. And with 35 zettabytes of data, performing these tasks is not optional. IBM has spent more than 14 billion in acquisitions since 2005. And they have more than 7500 dedicated consultant. Not to mention the latgest research department in all of private industry.

Now he is handing out some awards to IBM partners. The first is the Showcase Exhibitor award which went to JCB Partners. The CTO Innovation Award goes to TerraEchos. The Solution Excellence award went to Alpine Consulting. And the Rookie of the Year award went to Buckley (a reseller of Optim solutions). Can’t say I had ever heard of any of them, but congratulations to them all. And the IOD Innovation Award for OUtstanding Information Agenda Solution was presented to Visa. He then thanked the Information Champions (you’re welcome!) There are 250 of them and 100 were in the room.

My presentation (The DB2 Top Ten Lists ) is next, and I am posting this from the room before I speak!



I'm a strategist, researcher, and consultant with nearly three decades of experience in all facets of database systems development.
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2 Responses to Information On Demand 2010, Day One: The Opening Session

  1. Pingback: World Wide News Flash

  2. tagesgelder says:

    You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with
    your blog.

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