This week I am in Las Vegas for the annual IBM InterConnect conference. IBM touts the event as a way to tap into the most advanced cloud technology in the market today. And that has merit, but there is much more going on here.
If I had to summarize the theme of InterConnect I would say that it is all about cloud, IBM’s Watson, and DevOps. This is evident in terms of the number of sessions being delivered on these topics, as well as the number of vendors and IBM booths in the concourse area devoted to these topics.
But the highlight of the conference for me, so far, was Ginni Rometty’s keynote address on Tuesday. She was engaging and entertaining as she interacted with IBM customers and partners to weave the story of IBM’s cloud and cognitive computing achievements. The session is available to for replay on IBMGO and it is well worth your time to watch it if you are at all interested in how some of the biggest and most innovative organizations are using IBM technology to gain competitive advantage.
And let’s not forget that Will Smith – yes, that Will SmithWill Smith – was part of the general session on Monday. Not surprisingly, he was intelligent and amusing calling himself an African-American Watson as he described how he used primitive data analytics to review the types of movies that were most successful as he planned his acting career. My favorite piece of advice he offered was something that he learned as he moved from music to acting. When he was asked if he had ever acted before (he hadn’t) he said “Of course,” and it led to him getting case in the mega-hit sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire. His advice? “If someone asks if you have ever done something just say ‘yes’ and figure it out later.” He had a lot more to say, but let me send you here if you are interested in reading more about Will.
Of course, there is a lot more going on here than just what is happening in the keynote and general sessions. Things I’ve learned this week include:
- DevOps is as much about business change as technology change
- The largest area of growth for DevOps is now on the mainframe (according to Forrester Research)
- Some companies are bringing college grads up to proficiency in mainframe COBOL in less than a month using a modern IDE
- Networking is the hidden lurking problem in many cloud implementations
- The mainframe is not going away (I knew this, but it was good to hear a Forrester analyst say it)
- And a lot more
But that is enough for now. So to conclude, I’d like to end with a quote from Ginni Rometty that I think all of us in IT should embrace: “Technology is never good or bad; it is what you do with it that makes a difference.”
Let’s all get to work and do good things with technology!