Posts tagged ‘IBM’

The state of cloud computing in Europe #CloudWF

Guest Blog with IBM

Author: Simon Porter

Cloud computing is the most touted technology in the global business landscape today. Europe is no exception.

There are two main ways we’re seeing businesses take advantage of the cloud in Europe. First, there are the smaller, innovative, and born-on-the-cloud startup companies that use it to help them disrupt existing industries by getting to market faster and with less upfront capital investment.

The second area where we’re seeing European companies take advantage of cloud is at more established enterprises looking to enter new, international markets. As companies here seek to become more global, they’re looking toward non-European markets—whether by selling into those markets or tapping into suppliers. In these cases, cloud empowers them to enter these new markets by providing the flexibility, speed and scalability needed to be a global player.

Cloud also enables businesses to market and sell to customers in new and more efficient ways. With the proliferation of smartphones and social media, business success relies on turning this technology into new sales channels. This is often referred to as systems of engagement, and with unpredictable volumes, it’s ideally suited to cloud.

The economic climate in Europe is improving, but it remains very competitive. It is critical for businesses to optimize their supply chains and lower their sales and support costs. Applying sophisticated analytics is one effective way of doing this. In the past, this was prohibitively expensive. But cloud enables analytics-as-a-service, removing the need and cost for a large up-front investment in an IT system that may be used only a few hours per month.

Challenges in cloud adoption persist

According to a Eurostat study released this past year, only 19 percent of European businesses used cloud computing services in 2014. Compare that to a recent RightScale study that reports 82 percent of U.S. enterprises as having a hybrid cloud strategy (up from 74 percent in 2014), and it would appear that Europe is lagging. However, that’s only part of the story.

You can expect the European cloud adoption numbers to rise sharply this year and even more in years to come. But as with any emerging technology, there remains barriers to adoption.

Chief among those barriers is security.

According to a recent Cloud Industry Forum poll, 70 percent of U.K. executives cited data security among their biggest concerns in moving to cloud. That marks an 11 percent year-over-year increase.

What IT departments in Europe are seeing is something quite different than what the rest of the world is experiencing, and that stems from data location and security. A lot of the questions around security and data location are driven by perceptions in the market that aren’t always true. Security in a cloud-based solution will often be much stronger than that of an on-premises, in-house IT solution.

To remain competitive, European businesses must work through security challenges—and I fully believe that they will. It’s ultimately not a matter of technical or legal challenges preventing cloud adoption in Europe—it’s about business leaders understanding the transformational benefits cloud can bring to their business, and then typically for midsize businesses taking advantage of this by using a local trusted Cloud Service Provider.

The good news  is that IBM is continuing to open data centers in Europe. We now have centers in the U.K., Netherlands, Germany, France, and most recently announced, Italy. But even with this span of locations, customers want to keep their data in country.

European SMBs typically lack resources and the IT skills to take advantage of this new kind of capability. They need to turn to a local service provider that can essentially be their IT department. At IBM, we’re continuing to expand our partnerships with local cloud service providers as a means of enabling local data and secure environments with IBM’s Managed Service Providers.

A move to hybrid 

In the business world, we recognize clients have already made investments in core IT systems. We find that European customers want to protect and enhance them with new, innovative capabilities that enable them to make better business decisions faster with advanced analytics. Companies are also able to reach new customers and markets with multi-channel marketing and sales capabilities, both largely based on cloud-enabled digital and social technologies.

For example, a client may have an existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that they have invested a lot of time and money in over the years. They still need to see a return on that investment. It is impractical to completely replace it with a new solution, but perhaps enhancing it with social analytics or social engagement could help them in their customer service and marketing.

Combining mission-critical, on-premises systems with new cloud-based systems of engagement is an example of a common hybrid cloud solution. This is how many businesses in Europe protect their existing investments in IT while taking advantage of new delivery models.

An eye toward the future 

The world is only getting flatter. There are multiple new entrants in many industries, and existing businesses will have to differentiate their own offerings to remain competitive. Who would have thought the taxi industry could be disrupted in the way that Uber has done? Cloud can be the key enabler for businesses to innovate around new products and channels faster and in a lower risk manner.

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IBM will be at the Cloud World Forum on Stand D150, taking place on the 24th – 25th June 2015.

Tony Morgan, Client Chief Innovation Officer GTS Europe at IBM will be speaking on Day 1 at 11:05am in Theatre C: DevOps & Containerisation on ‘Speaker out of the Shadows: Managing Innovation with Cloud.’ 

REGISTER YOUR FREE EXHIBITION PASS HERE.

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Strategy: The Future of Work – Technology People and Moore’s Law

Source: Martin King

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When we think about work we usually think about people – their mental or physical effort – either alone, with other people or with technology. However, the characteristics of both technology and people are changing and so will the future of work.

Technology has always been an important factor in work – from the earliest of times people have developed and used tools to compliment, enhance and amplify what they can do. Where work and the actions of a tool are repetitive and predictable then it becomes possible to automate the tool to create a machine.

Tools compliment people in work whereas machines replace them in work and change the nature of work at the same time. While people use a tool to do work, with a machine its different –  the machine does the work  and people’s work becomes the machine – operating and attending to the machine.

Machines have only been able to go so far economically (compared with the cost of people to do the same task) and to where and how they can be applied. However, all this is changing – changing economics and technology suggest that we are entering a new machine age and this has radical consequences for the future of people in work.

Technology developments are starting to radically reduce the cost of robots and machines while at the same time the cost of people continues to increase  – making machines more economical than ever before. Computer developments, machine learning and AI are radically changing how and where machines are applied. The predictability required by machines once meant that they were applied only in controlled environments (a typical factory installation for example) but now we are starting to see more machines operating in the real world – Google’s driverless car is an important precursor of this development. The same trend has already happened in IT – where once computers were large, expensive and used in special conditions (think of an office and a desktop PC) .. we now find them out in the real world with us (think smartphones and wearable tech). In the years ahead we should expect to see more and more machines and robots leaving their factories for our world.

Once something becomes digital change and impact becomes rapid (if not exponential) – we are starting to see “Moore’s law” in the digital aspect of machines – if this is the case then we should expect to see radical advances in the application of machines and robots in the 21st century. In 1997 IBMs Deep Blue became the first machine to beat a human world champion at chess – 14 years later IBM returned with Watson to become the first machine win the TV trivia game Jeopardy in 2011. Deep blue was very much a traditional machine – it did one thing .. a special purpose computer to play chess by “brute force analysis” to work out chess moves to greater depth than any human player ever could. Watson however represented something different – IBM describes it as a “smart machine” able to answer questions in natural language. Since winning Jeopardy IBM has developed Watson and what it calls cognitive technology – Watson is now 24 times faster, 90 times smaller and described as performance improved by 2,400%. IBM have made Watson available on the web as a cloud product and developer “ecosystem” to support the development of what IBM describe as “cognitive apps” – today – you can carry Watson in your pocket!

On the 7th June 2014 computer program Eugene Goostman simulated a 13 year old boy from Odessa in unrestricted conversations – a machine passed the Turing test for the first time

On December 7th 2014 IPsoft launched Amelia – described as “the first cognitive agent who understands like a human … our cognitive knowledge worker, interfaces on human terms. She is a virtual agent who understands what people ask – even what they feel – when they call for service. Amelia can be deployed straight from the cloud in a fraction of the time. She learns as she works and provides high-quality responses consistently, every day of the year, in every language your customers speak”  IPsoft sees Amelia supplementing, or directly replacing, virtually all ‘non-expert, repetitive’ job functions from customer support to expert assistance and back office roles.

Management consultancy Accenture is using Amelia in its cognitive services saying “The cognitive and learning capabilities of the Amelia platform allow it to easily absorb routine processes as well as learn from natural language interactions in order to solve customer problems and respond successfully to a wide range of queries”. Accenture is helping Shell deploy Amelia in its internal training programme, answering queries from learning advisors – “she will observe how advisors interact with staff until she is ready to automate the processes herself.” Baker Hughes is testing Amelia in its financial department on its Accounts Payable helpdesk to address queries from vendors around invoices and payments.

Sean Ammirati writes that Any office job that involves drudgery is a candidate for automation. One way to think about occupations ripe for robots is to look at different professional tasks with a knowable problem and solution – even if it’s really complex to figure out that solution.

Research from the Oxford Martin School at Oxford university suggests that nearly half of all jobs in the US are likely to be automated in the coming decades. The research concludes that  “While computerisation has been historically confined to routine tasks involving explicit rule-based activities  algorithms for big data are now rapidly entering domains reliant upon pattern recognition and can readily substitute for labour in a wide range of non-routine cognitive tasks . In addition, advanced robots are gaining enhanced senses and dexterity, allowing them to perform a broader scope of manual tasks. For workers to win the race, they will have to acquire creative and social skills.

A recent report from Deloitte suggests that Computers and robots are set to replace more than a third of UK jobs in the next twenty years. Work in repetitive processing,  office administration, clerical and support service jobs, sales and transportation are most at risk. The report says that “Although the replacement of people by machines is well understood, the scale and scope of changes yet to come may not be … Unless these changes coming in the next two decades are fully understood and anticipated by businesses, policy makers and educators, there will be a risk of avoidable unemployment and under-employment”

But wait .. there’s more. Brian Arthur writes about the Second Economy – the computer-intensive portion of the economy where machines transact with other machines without humans in a “vast, automatic, and invisible economy without workers thereby bringing the biggest change since the Industrial Revolution

At the very extreme pessimistic end of the spectrum Stephen Hawking thinks that “Artificial Intelligence Could End Human Race”, Nick Bostrom warns that AI could be more dangerous than nuclear weapons and that “artificial intelligence may doom the human race within a century” while Elon Musk hopes “we’re not just the biological boot loader for digital superintelligence”  that “With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon” and “worries Skynet is only five years off

The changes in technology mentioned above suggest radical and pessimistic negative impacts for work and for people but this assumes nothing else changes. However, people are incredibly resourceful  and other views are more optimistic.

Gerd Leonhard suggests that the concept of work as we know it is toast but that many new areas will open up in new or unpredictable niches, with titles we can only guess at at present and that there are all those areas where human soft skills are essential. Many lower-paid but intricate jobs (think electricians or plumbers) with too many variables may be too expensive to automate. And there will surely always be a premium for the human touch in some areas that could be automated – cooking or teaching, for example

Greg Satell gives some useful advice on How to Avoid Being Replaced By A Robot –  learn To Ask Questions, Improve your social skills and go beyond the routine. “the division is no longer between manual and cognitive tasks as much as it is between routine and non-routine work.” Anything that is standardised and routine is at risk of being automated.  Greg leaves us with the optimistic message that by “automating tasks, we are liberating human imagination and the human spirit.  The more we unlock the secrets of technology, the more we find ourselves.”

Andrew McAfee compares the information revolution with the industrial revolution and takes a very optimistic view – “what we’re in the middle of now is overcoming the limitations of our individual brains and infinitely multiplying our mental power. How can this not be as big a deal as overcoming the limitations of our muscles?” … we ain’t seen nothing yet. The best days are really ahead”. Andrew makes the point that “Economies run on ideas. So the work of innovation, the work of coming up with new ideas, is some of the most powerful, some of the most fundamental work that we can do in an economy. In the technology-facilitated world .. the work of innovation is becoming more open, more inclusive, more transparent, and more merit-based.

As automation looks set to impact traditional notions of work and how we work technology changes and a new generation of people emerge that can make the most of the new conditions and potentially reimagine work as we know it. In 2014 Internet traffic from mobile use exceeded PC use for the first time – signalling the start of a new era of anytime, anywhere IT and the potential for anytime, anywhere work. Rather than us having to come to work – work can come to us. Mobile IT combined with social media, cloud and web access are powerful tools in the right hands. New cultural movements like the Maker Movement combined with new technologies like 3D printing, Internet of Things and cheaper more accessible “maker” electronics like Raspberry PI, Adruino and Intel’s Edison suggest potential future artisan economies of scope, creativity and imagination while machines replace more routine and standardised work.

The generation who have “grown up digital” in the 21st century have grown up with the tools we shaped for them – the Net, the Web, mobile phones, smartphones, social networks and social media. Generation Z have grown up with information and communication at their fingertips. Those born in the 21st century will be able to “race with the machines” – and as Greg Satell says “our value will be determined not by how much we know or even how hard we work, but how well we collaborate with machines and with each other”. Research by Sparks & Honey’describes Generation Z as developing their personalities and life skills in a socio-economic environment marked by chaos, uncertainty, volatility and complexity. They have learned that traditional choices don’t guarantee success. They  “Intend to change the world. That entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship is one of their most popular career choices – 72% want to start a business and 61% want to be an entrepreneur rather than an employee.

While it seems that a new generation are ready to “race with the machines” John Hagel suggests that our institutions and their organisation are the main problem. He says that “at its core, this isn’t a technological challenge, but an institutional challenge. We’re dealing with a set of institutions that are increasingly inappropriate for the mounting pressure we face. The root cause is how we’ve defined work in companies … one of the issues is this formula for how work is conducted was developed in the last century, and it was based on a set of infrastructures and assumption of a stable environment that made it easy to define standardized highly-scripted work. Now we’re in a world that’s more rapidly changing, more uncertainty, more of those extreme events that Taleb calls the “black swans” that make it really critical for us as individuals in the workplace to take much more initiative, to be constantly exercising creativity and imagination to respond to the unexpected events.  That’s a very different model of work.  It requires a very different way of organizing our institutions and a different set of work practices that are much harder to automate.  Rather than pursuing scalable efficiency, perhaps we need a new set of institutions that can drive scalable learning, helping participants to learn faster by working together.

“We have stone-age emotions, medieval institutions and godlike technology.”— E.O. Wilson

Hagel says that “Until we can develop an alternative institutional model, one that can scale as effectively as the scalable efficiency model, we will face mounting pressure from machines and remain locked in a race against the machine without the ability to finally race with the machine. The problem is how do we innovate our institutions and our work practices so that we, in fact, can start “racing with the machine.”

Ultimately technology may provide a platform to race with machines – a new generation of developers like Vitalik Buterin working with open, autonomous, decentralised technologies suggest could Bootstrap decentralized autonomous corporations where we can work together with other agents on the network … not necessarily knowing whether they are human or not.

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Martin will be presenting in the Employee Experience Theatre at the Cloud World Forum, at Olympia Grand in London on the 24th June 2015, on ‘Capitalising on New Technologies: Discussing the Future of Cloud, AI, Robotics, Anticipatory Computing

Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of all the knowledge and networking opportunities presented by EMEA’s only content-led Cloud exhibition.

Register for your FREE exhibition pass here!

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US Army deploys hybrid cloud for logistics data analysis

US-Army-300x200The US Army is partnering with IBM to deploy a hybrid cloud platform to support data warehousing and data analysis for its Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA) platform, the Army’s logistics support service.

LOGSA provides logistics information capabilities through analytics tools and BI solutions to acquire, manage, equip and sustain the materiel needs of the organisation, and is also the home of the Logistics Information Warehouse (LIW), the Army’s official data system for collecting, storing, organizing and delivering logistics data.

The Army said it is working with IBM to deploy LOGSA, which IBM said it is the US federal government’s largest logistics system, on an internal hybrid cloud platform in a bid to improve its ability to connect to other IT systems, broaden the organisation’s analytics capabilities, and save money (the Army reckons up to 50 per cent).

Anne Altman, General Manager for U.S. Federal at IBM said:

“The Army not only recognized a trend in IT that could transform how they deliver services to their logistics personnel around the world, they also implemented a cloud environment quickly and are already experiencing significant benefits. They’re taking advantage of the inherent benefits of hybrid cloud: security and the ability to connect it with an existing IT system. It also gives the Army the flexibility to incorporate new analytics services and mobile capabilities.”

The Cloud World Forum will be taking place on 24th – 25th June at Olympia Grand in London.

Telstra to offer SoftLayer cloud access to Australian customers #telcocloud

Source: Business Cloud News

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Telstra and IBM have announced a partnership that will see the Australian telco offer access to SoftLayer cloud infrastructure to customers in Australia.

Telstra said that with the recent opening of IBM cloud datacentres in Melbourne and Sydney, the company will be able to expand its presence in the local cloud market by offering Australian businesses more choice in locally available cloud infrastructure services.

As part of the deal the telco’s customers will have access to the full-range of SoftLayer infrastructure services including bare metal servers, virtual servers, storage, security services and networking.

Erez Yarkoni, who serves as both chief information officer and executive director of cloud at Telstra said: “Telstra customers will be able to access IBM’s hourly and monthly compute services on the SoftLayer platform, a network of virtual data centres and global points-of-presence (PoPs), all of which are increasingly important as enterprises look to run their applications on the cloud.”

“Telstra customers can connect to IBM’s services via the internet or with a simple extension of their private network. By adding the Telstra Cloud Direct Connect offering, they can also access IP VPN connectivity, giving them a smooth experience between our Next IP network and their choice of global cloud platforms,” Yarkoni said.

Mark Brewer, general manager, IBM Global Technology Services Australia and New Zealand said: “Australian businesses have quickly realised the benefits of moving to a flexible cloud model to accommodate the rapidly changing needs of business today. IBM Cloud provides Telstra customers with unmatched choice and freedom of where to run their workloads, with proven levels security and high performance.”

Telstra already partners with Cisco on cloud infrastructure and is a flagship member of the networking giant’s Intercloud programme, but the company hailed its partnership with IBM as a key milestone in its cloud strategy, and may help bolster its appeal to business customers in the region.

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Hear more about Telco Cloud at the Telco Cloud Forum, taking place on 27th – 29th April at Radisson Blu Portman in London!

REGISTER YOUR FREE PASS HERE.

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Mobile, cloud, big data platform helping to contain Ebola outbreak #bigdata

Source: Business Cloud News. October 27, 2014

IBM, working in conjunction with a number of organisations, is using a combination of mobile, cloud and analytics platforms to help Sierra Leone and Nigeria’s public health authorities contain Ebola outbreaks and help coordinate disaster relief efforts in the region.

The partners, which include Sierra Leone’s Open Government Initiative, Cambridge University’s Africa’s Voices project, Airtel and Kenya’s Echo Mobile, are deploying a platform that enables citizens to report Ebola-related issues via SMS.

Those messages are collected along with location-based data and fed into an IBM Connections-based platform that provides insight to governments about the disease’s spread, helping public health authorities identify correlations in the data and emerging outbreaks as they happen in real time.

The platform aims to help emergency workers coordinate and allocate medical resources to areas in need of Ebola-related relief.

“We saw the need to quickly develop a system to enable communities directly affected by Ebola to provide valuable insight about how to fight it,” said Dr. Uyi Stewart, chief scientist, IBM Research – Africa. Using mobile technology, we have given them a voice and a channel to communicate their experiences directly to the government.”

IBM developed the cloud and analytics platform underpinning the service along with Sierra Leone’s Open Government Initiative. Local telco Airtel has set up the toll-free number via which citizens can send SMS messages, while Kenyan start-up Echo Mobile anonymises the SMS data.

Cambridge University’s Africa’s Voices project helped incorporate questions sent via SMS into public service announcements to elicit feedback from citizens in both English and Krio.

According to IBM the organisations are working to extend the platform’s capabilities by incorporating phone signal data to track footfall, enabling scientists to map and accurately predict the disease’s spread.

IBM said it’s already opened up the IBM Connections platform to Nigeria’s Lagos State Government, which hosts an Ebola Operations Centre that coordinates disease containment efforts on behalf of the Nigerian government and other organisations.

The goal, IBM said, is to create a cloud-based Ebola Open Data Repository which will provide governments, aid agencies and researchers with free and open access to valuable data related to the Ebola outbreak.

This isn’t the first time IBM has coordinated technology deployments in a bid to support disaster relief initiatives. The company granted access to its SmartCloud platform to support both post-Haiti and Chile quake efforts in 2010.

Capgemini opens SMAC innovation lab in Melbourne #cloudasia

Outsourcing and systems integration firm Capgemini has opened a digital innovation lab in Melbourne, Australia focused on developing innovations in and helping clients implement social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) technologies. The move comes as IBM and SAP bolster operations in what seems to be emerging as a key tech hub in the region.

Capgemini, which already has a strong presence in Australia with over 2,000 employees, said the multi-million dollar SMAC lab will be co-located with its new Global Delivery Centre, and will innovate around, and offer offer support to existing and potential customers implementing, social media, mobile, analytics and cloud computing technologies in their businesses.

“Melbourne has one of the largest research and development clusters in the southern hemisphere and spends more than any other Australian city,” said Deepak Nangia, chief executive officer for Capgemini Australia and New Zealand.

“Simply put, Melbourne is a prime place for investment – it has the ICT skills, infrastructure and capabilities we needed to open our SMAC lab. Today’s announcement reinforces our ongoing commitment to the local ICT market and building tomorrow’s talent.”

The move comes as other enterprise IT incumbents look to make a splash in the booming Australian cloud services market.

SAP this week opened a new $60m Innovation Centre and a Mission Control Centre in Melbourne, which will focus on helping organisations move to cloud deployment models and provide service support to local businesses and customers.

IBM also bolstered its Australian operations as of late, announcing this week that the company is building out a SoftLayer datacentre in Melbourne, which is scheduled to go live next month and offer the full portfolio of SoftLayer cloud services to customers in Australia and New Zealand.

According to Gartner, Australia is looking set to become one of the highest growth markets for cloud services in the Asia Pacific region. The research and analysis firm predicts spending on cloud services will grow at 23.08 per cent annually to reach $5.2bn in 2016, up from $3.2bn last year.

Source: Buissness Cloud News

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Introducing SMAC

Achieving Business & IT Agility through Advanced SMAC Technologies: Social Media, Mobility, Analytics & Cloud

This year’s opening plenary and 3 dedicated streams in Enterprise ensure the opportunities and challenges surrounding the 3rd Platform’ Technologies: Social, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud are comprehensively covered!

Achieving true enterprise mobility is about more than deploying cloud computing. Cloud is the powerful platform needed to achieve business and IT agility, however cross device enterprise application management, integration of communication and social media, as well as data analytics are the game changers for the successful enterprises, SMEs and Start-Ups of the future.

Recognising the unification of these ICT trends and opportunities, Cloud World Forum Asia combines new case studies from across the SMAC: Social Media, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud landscape in the APAC region.

HP Cloud Survey on IT challenges

You are invited to take part in the HP Cloud Survey on IT challenges. We’d love to hear about the risks you face and benefits you expect.

We’d be very grateful if you could take the 2 minutes required to answer our survey.

HP SurveyTAKE THE SURVEY NOW >>

As a thank you for your time & opinion we’ll send you a piece of Forrester Research on Private Cloud Solutions.

The Forrester Wave™: Private Cloud Solutions
“Three Vendors Rise To The Top Of The Private Cloud Market”
 
Why Read This Report?

In Forrester’s 61-criteria evaluation of private cloud solution vendors, we identified the 10 most significant software providers — ASG Software Solutions, BMC Software, CA Technologies, Cisco Systems, Citrix Systems, Eucalyptus Systems, HP, IBM, Microsoft, and VMware — in the category and researched, analyzed, and scored them.

This report details our findings about how well each vendor fulfills the breadth and depth of our criteria and where each stands out to help infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals select the most full-featured private cloud solution. I&O pros can also customize criteria weightings to align with their own private cloud initiative. This report focuses on commercial-softwareonly private infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud solutions.

Thank you

The Cloud World Series and HP Teams

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