Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Deer Hunters: An Information Technology Lesson


by Kevin Jackson & Dez Blanchfield

In episode four of the “Pioneers Of Possible” podcast series, Dez Blanchfield caught up with  Max Michaels, General Manager, IBM Network Services in the studio.  Their engaging and insightful discussion included a philosophic story about cooperative deer hunting from Mr. Michaels’ childhood, through to his professional life experiences with a famous former CEO of Pepsico and Westinghouse, both which contributed to the depth and strength Mr. Michaels’ brings to his role and the management of the IBM Network Services business.


Early in the discussion, Max shared an anecdote about how his Grandmother’s personalized retelling of a Jean-Jacques Rousseau's tale circa mid-1700’s, about a group of hunters who elected to collaborate while tracking a large stag, rather than operate independently, influenced him throughout his career. He also recounted how he enjoyed a similarly defining experience working with Michael H. Jordon when the venerable leader was Chairman and CEO of EDS.

Throughout the conversation three endearing characteristics stood out about Max Michaels as a thought leader and innovator - they were:
  • The extent to which he values good business judgment
  • Successes he has earned through unorthodox thinking
  • The critical converging of the IT and networking world
His unorthodox way of thinking was very effectively put into practice while at McKinsey, when in 1996 he led a three-person team, one among some 300 teams worldwide, to win a company-wide competition to generate new client-ready knowledge ideas called the McKinsey Worldwide Practice Olympics. Ranked #1 among 300+ McKinsey teams by showing how to apply the Black-Scholes option trading model to any strategic situation. The critical financial insight behind the Black-Scholes model is that it “eliminates risk” by showing how to buy and sell an underlying asset in just the right way. At McKinsey, Mr. Michaels showed how the identification of the right issues leads to correct strategic actions.

The insight displayed by this win is that the business world is not directly comparable to the financial world. When you invest by buying stock in the financial world, you may have little direct input into what happens to make the stock goes up or down. The business world is entirely different in that when you invest in a new product, strategy or marketing plan, the investor has a continuing opportunity to change the outcome, based on customer perception and preferences change. Throughout the conversation in this episode of the Pioneers of Possible podcast series, this approach to driving successful outcomes turns out to be key to Max Michaels’ leadership style at IBM Network Services, and the genius behind the “Always-on Initiative,” designed to help enterprises support the always-on nature of day-to-day business. The network is the enabling capability for “Always-on” and serves as a foundational element to the convergence between information technology (IT) world and telecommunications (telecom). 


Before this trend took hold, companies ran IT and telecom networks separately and with separate leadership teams. With the intuition gained earlier, Mr. Michaels is now helping IBM customers move away from focusing on IT outcomes and move towards a converged business outcome. This approach, in turn, changes business models in ways which makes it possible for organizations to better leverage the convergence of IT and telecom, both within and external to their organizations.

According to Max, the average person in the US is interacting with the network for 16 hours a day. Businesses, therefore, need to deliver their products and services to these individuals through the network.  Modern business models rely on the network to facilitate seamless connectivity and the convergence of cloud, the new model for delivering IT, and telecom. Networks enable the cloud, and in the next phase of the evolution of digital business and digital transformation, where the cloud, in turn, becomes the network. IBM as a cloud company is leading the way.

This very paradigm is in effect the same core driver behind the transformative effect the cognitive capabilities of IBM Watson has when incorporated into the network and the cloud, an effect as positively disruptive as a driver of change on how we all experience the world around us, both in business and in life. Through the lens of network service, this overarching principal also heightens the importance of network and cloud convergence. The explosion of data the world has experienced over the recent decade has increased the demand for everything to be software-defined, so that compute, storage and networks can all combine into a single entity which provides value to the end user. Network virtualization and software-defined infrastructure are dramatically and fundamentally changing the entire enterprise managed services world and that, in essence, is the definition of the IBM Service Platform with Watson delivers.

Please enjoy this episode of the podcast series. We look forward to your feedback and comments through social media as we continue our journey to introduce you to leading IBM innovators and thought leaders.



This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services. For more content like this, visit ITBizAdvisor.



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Monday, January 8, 2018

The Endpoint Imperative: In a Software World, Hardware Does Matter

Hardware matters. From productivity to security to innovation, make sure your machines can keep up. Intel’s Sarah Wieskus joins The End Point Imperative: A Podcast series from Intel to discuss the importance of stable, optimized hardware in today’s digital world.

Kevin L. Jackson: Hello everyone and welcome to this episode of The Endpoint Imperative, a podcast series from Intel. My name is Kevin L. Jackson, and I will be your host for this series. The topic for this episode is "In A Software World Hardware Does Matter." From security to productivity. With me again is Sarah Wieskus with Intel, Sarah, welcome back.

Sarah: Thank you, Kevin.

Kevin: You know since our last talk, I've been dying to ask you about this migration to Windows 10. Everyone is doing it. And this move to as-a-service models where releases of new features occur two or three times a year is putting everyone in a tizzy. What does this mean for the hardware?

Sarah: Sure, great question. We spend a lot of time with customers helping them with this exact question. Intel is constantly innovating on the hardware side with our business brand of vPro. Again, vPro is our optimized for the business brand of hardware for the environment and enterprise. We are innovating on this platform every year, future proofing it for these new features and new releases, as an example with Windows 10 and Microsoft. Microsoft and Intel have a very collaborative strong relationship. We make sure that everything they would like to enable is supported on the hardware side as well. So that a customer can trust that from end to end, the hardware to the software, that everything is validated, verified and works out of a shoot.

Kevin: With this accelerated pace of updates and feature releases, enterprises need to think about the hardware, about how to support this new steady cadence of continued innovation. Is that about the size of it?

Sarah: Absolutely. We work hand in hand, again, to make sure the features that they are enabling every six months, so when these releases come out, run best in the enterprise, on top of our hardware. It is an end-to-end story. For example, from a security perspective, because security is one of the many reasons customers are migrating to Windows 10. We have enabled specific hardware attributes that Windows 10 can take advantage of, as an example. And security is so important for the enterprise, and again, is one of those reasons people are refreshing to Windows 10. We're making sure that if a customer is going down that path, that if they chose to run that technology on top of the Intel vPro business brand, that those hardware security elements are complementary with the software.



Kevin: This evolution, though, is accelerating. How is the Intel vPro platform keeping up? What's next?

Sarah: Great question, and as I said earlier, we are innovating on top of this technology every year. And this vPro brand really means four things to the customer. It means that it's going to have the best performance to enable productivity. That it's going to be the most stable solution we have for business. Meaning a unified driver stack. Meaning a more stable firmware. Also, as I mentioned before, that hardware security piece. There are specific hardware security features enabled on the vPro BIOS, as an example. And then finally manageability. With vPro brand we enabled something called "lights out management", or out of band management, so that regardless of the state of the system, you're able to manage that hardware and ensure the platform runs as optimally as possible.

Kevin: You know, unfortunately we're at the end of our time for this episode. But it's really good to know that Intel is making it easy for business, with vPro platform, now and for the future. Thank you, Sarah, for your insights and expertise.

Sarah: Thank you, Kevin.



( This content is being syndicated through multiple channels. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of GovCloud Network, GovCloud Network Partners or any other corporation or organization.)





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( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2018)



Friday, January 5, 2018

IT Transformation with Watson


Credit: Shutterstock

by Kevin Jackson & Dez Blanchfield

IBM recently launched an exciting new project in the form of a podcast series produced and hosted Dez Blanchfield, appropriately titled the “Pioneers Of Possible. This new podcast series sets out to connect listeners from around the world with innovators and thought leaders within IBM’s Global Technology Services (GTS) and Global Business Services (GBS) business units worldwide.

Each episode offers a “fireside chat” between Dez Blanchfield the host, one of an exciting lineup of IBM GTS & GBS subject matter experts, all of whom are currently very actively engaged in the challenges associated with leading and delivering the future today. Though its initial three episodes, the show focused on connecting listeners with IBM’s subject matter experts. Getting to know these leaders personally and professionally is an important goal because, in their roles, they drive the trends, disruptions, and transformations we see across many industries today.


In episode one of the series Mickey Iqbal, IBM Fellow -Global Lead for GTS Enterprise IT Transformation Advisors states “In today’s world, businesses are faced with the challenge of keeping up with the accelerating rate of change.” Dez Blanchfield likened this to leaders needing to sprint just to keep up. Running in multiple lanes, in multiple races simultaneously. A key message throughout this episode in the series is that in today’s increasingly competitive environment, success lies in an organization’s ability to create new ideas and solve problems and selecting the right partner to help them through the business and technology transformation required to achieve the desired outcomes.

In episode two of the series, Nick Fuller, Senior Manager, Cognitive Service Foundations, IBM Research, talks about how “Technology immersion and actively collecting ideas both help.” His impressive professional pedigree coupled with an incredible array of 63 patents certainly give weight to his comments on such matters. In this episode, the discussion included the broad topic of problem-solving in today’s race to leverage cognitive computing and artificial intelligence. He posits that a multi-step process is required, including:

  • Stepping back to look at critical conditions and parameters;
  • Avoiding analysis paralysis at all cost;
  • Not being afraid to put a stake in the ground in defining a new paradigm or solution; and
  • Remaining open to repeatedly trying new ideas;
  • Do not fear “failing fast.”

In episode three we hear from Bridget Karlin, CTO, and VP of GTS, Innovation & Automation, Global Technology Services, that “If businesses are looking to innovate during transformation, that the typical path is through the application of advanced technology in the delivery of new business values and opportunities.” Bridget and Dez discuss how this observation explains why IBM GTS is so focused on technology vision and thought leadership.  In particular, Bridget outlines IBM, in this pursuit, are developing an end-to-end framework for infusing artificial intelligence into all of their new technology capabilities.

Thus far in the series, our SME’s have offered listeners tuning in an amazing look into their personal lives, professional career paths, and their roles with IBM. A key theme throughout thus far has been that IBM’s Cognitive Technology Service Platform, known as Watson, brings significant business and technical competitive value to organizations in the exciting array of new business and service capabilities it can enable.

As a transformative company itself, IBM has moved from a systems integrator model to a service integration model that is led by technology. IBM’s focus on using their digital transformation to improve the way IBM delivers services is what led to the Watson service delivery platform. This offering infuses artificial intelligence derived insights from Watson into the IBM service delivery process. In doing this, IBM leverages open source and best of breed technologies to deliver rapid outcomes. This approach also focuses on building and maintaining a service delivery ecosystem.




IBM delivers this service through an IT Transformation Advisory Team that works closely with C-suite executives to transforms clients to their next generations of systems. The advisor team focuses on the entire solution lifecycle from design to build, to manage to optimize and achieve the desired business goal.
By using the IBM Services Platform with Watson, IBM customers can leverage valuable technology automation building blocks for things like incident remediation, IT compliance, and patching. In this way, IBM clients can deploy very robust IT infrastructure automation portfolios in a very timely manner. 
As a senior business or technology leader, you are invited to get to know IBM’s GTS and GBS thought leaders and innovators through this exciting new podcast series. You should also take the opportunity to schedule a 30 minute, one-on-one call with an IBM Expert and challenge them to help you and your organization make good on the promise of today’s most exciting business & technology disruptions and innovations.Click here now” to schedule a call or meeting at a time that best suits you.
Thank you for tuning in, we have many more great podcast episodes lined up for you.



This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services. For more content like this, visit IT Biz Advisor.



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( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2016)