Monday, August 31, 2009

Nicholls State University Teams with IBM to Prepare Students for Jobs of the Future

Last week Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, welcomed incoming and returning students. As part of the welcome events, dozens of students, administrators, local business leaders and IBM representatives attended a joint Nicholls and IBM event to discuss the new IBM-developed IT Service Management curriculum available to computer science majors and MBA students beginning this fall. The new curriculum has helped increase enrollment in the IS program by nearly 70 percent over last year.

Nicholls is a 210-acre campus approximately 50 miles southwest of New Orleans and 60 miles southeast of Baton Rouge. Nicholls is the sole provider of higher education in the region, and heavily participates in the development of the region, forging major partnerships with businesses, local school systems, community agencies, and other educational institutions. IBM worked closely with Nicholls to redefine its curriculum for the Bachelor of Science in Information Systems program with a specialization in IT Service Management.

IBM is working with more than 150 schools like Nicholls in more than 40 countries to bridge the gap between academic output and industry needs. By introducing this new curriculum, students will be prepared to work on important projects that are being funded by government stimulus plans around the world.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dedication to every client's success

During four days of July 2003, IBM employees around the world engaged in an online intranet discussion called ValuesJam to shape and define the values that should guide the company and its people in the years ahead. Those thousands of postings and e-mails were thoroughly analyzed and then distilled into three values shared by all IBMers.

A dedication to client or customer success is, of course, nothing new to IBM. As IBM chairman Thomas J. Watson, Jr., said in 1962: "We want to give the best customer service of any company in the world. . . . The relationship between the [IBMer] and the customer, their mutual trust, the importance of reputation, the idea of putting the customer first -- always -- all these things, if carried out with real conviction by a company, can make a great deal of difference in its destiny."

Through the years, IBM has refined its customer service program introducing new features to help clients succeed in their business endeavors. Just this past week, IBM announced the IBM Software Accelerated Value Program -- a new program designed to help IBM clients derive greater results from their current software IT investments. The Program is designed for companies with high availability requirements that use IBM software within complex environments or cutting-edge applications.

Since the program was announced a few days ago, IBM clients are already receiving value from their participation in the program. PT Telekomunikas Indonesia TbK (TELKOM), the largest full information and communication service and network provider in Indonesia, participates in IBM's Software Accelerated Value Program for its use of IBM WebSphere, Lotus, Tivoli and Information Management software.

"As a Software Accelerated Value customer, TELKOM has taken benefit of getting professional support from IBM Indonesia and IBM Worldwide to ensure daily business process continuity and also getting assurance that IT team has access to the latest information about IBM software by being part of IBM Software Technical Community," said Erry C.R. Kusumayadhi, Operational Senior Manager, Information System, Service Support Center.

Creating and maintaining enduring customer relationships is critical in today's economy. There is no cost increase associated with this program for new customers or current customers keeping the same level of coverage. Now that is dedication to every client's success.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Arms" Race Intensifies for the World's Stock Exchanges

The world's stock exchanges -- 161 in all -- are in a fierce battle to win and keep clients by delivering what customers want most: the fastest, most secure and highest reliability trading possible. This has led to a technology "arms race" among the exchanges which are using computerized algorithms to bundle hundreds of thousands of stocks into single, split-second transactions. Speed, or "low-latency," is everything for these exchanges. A fraction of a second can mean mega gains or losses to investors. Transactions that once took minutes and even seconds to complete are now processed in thousandths and millionths of a second, with the fastest trading engines reaping the biggest benefits. However, for exchanges who lose the latency race, failure can be disastrous. The London Stock Exchange learned that last September when a much-publicized glitch in its Windows-based system shut down trading for a full seven hours, leading to enormous losses.

Deutsche Borse, which manages the International Securities Exchange in New York and the Eurex and Xetra exchanges in Europe, has upped the ante in the latency arms race by announcing that it will begin replacing older applications with a new trading infrastructure based on Linux and IBM's low latency middleware technology. The move exemplifies the increasingly competitive nature of the world's stock exchanges to prosper through speed enabled by cutting-edge technology.

Among other benefits, Deutsche Borse will gain flexibility in upgrading applications when they need to, without being tied to any single vendor's code, licensing and support terms. It also gives them bragging rights to one of the fastest transaction speeds on the planet -- the ability to easily execute more than a million trades per second, dwarfing even the mighty NY Stock Exchange.

The dynamics of the world's exchanges and their IT infrastructures is fast-moving and fascinating. Currently, more than two dozen exchanges are actively evaluating new systems to support faster trading. Some of those, like the Mexican and Korean exchanges, are looking at AIX as the backbone because of its robustness. But the vast majority are leaning towards Linux for its performance and stability. These exchanges are investing in systems that will be in place for at least the next decade. But unlike the past, exchanges now need the flexibility to adapt continuously to the ever increasing need for higher throughput and the constant drive towards zero latency. Basing their new systems on Linux, distributed commodity hardware and IBM's low latency messaging provides them the best base to meet those challenges.

Special to the IBM Software News blog by Paul Michaud, Global Financial Markets Industry Architect, IBM Software Group.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

IBM, sensors and the Internet of Things

IBM and its clients across many industries -- government, retail, manufacturing, health care, utilities, and transportation – have been building networks of sensors to bring intelligence to the Internet of Things -- a world in which interconnected sensors communicate their identity, inventory, and location, as well as information on environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity.

Today, IBM introduced software to help clients bring a new level of intelligence to the Internet of Things: IBM WebSphere Sensor Events.

Using WebSphere Sensor Events, companies gain access to the information they need to better predict and react to everyday business events. In turn, the systems that comprise the Internet of Things can positively impact the daily lives of people – to speed the flow of automobile traffic in major cities, ensure the authenticity of prescription drugs, and provide information to consumers about the provenance of the foods they purchase.

IBM software can take the sensor data and add a layer of analytics. For instance, companies can predict and automate a reaction following a set of rules or events to better predict orders for next month, provide alerts on what components will be needed for suppliers, and solve disruptions in a supply chain more quickly.

Automobile manufacturers such as Volkswagen are using IBM sensor software for on demand access to information on the exact location of the shipping containers used to transport parts from suppliers to the manufacturing floor. Volkwagen and other vehicle manufacturers are reducing costs by making their logistics assets function more efficiently.

Enterprising IBMers are taking an innovative twist on sensors with Twitter:

Take IBM Master Inventor Andy Stanford-Clark, who connected his house to Twitter to monitor energy consumption, The Twitter ID provides updates on lighting, heating, temperature, phone and water usage collected from his house. Each update comes from a simple sensor. The system works both ways too - it is possible to turn the fountain, lights and heaters on and off by flicking switches on a web page or from a live dashboard application on his mobile phone.

A team of researchers at the IBM Hursley Lab in the UK, the largest software development Lab in Europe, have set up the local bus to tweet its location and status, so they know exactly when it will arrive.

The new IBM software is just one example of where IBM sees that connecting the digital and physical world through sensors can enable a Smarter Planet. IBM has a whole set of RFID and sensor technology solutions that bring a new level of intelligence to every day things. Sensors are serving as an instrument -- giving a voice to physical objects, allowing them to communicate important information in an increasingly interconnected world.

Related links:

IBM and VC firms accelerate innovation in Brazil

This week IBM is hosting the IBM Venture Capital Forum in São Paulo, Brazil. More than 100 local VCs, start ups and business partners are gathering at our IBM Innovation Center to discuss key technology trends and fuel new partnerships around industries such as telecommunications, healthcare and energy.

As part of the forum, IBM and FINEP -- the Brazilian Innovation Agency -- announced a new partnership that will focus on establishing new relationships between IBM partners with Venture Capital firms.

IBM has a booming ecosystem in Brazil. This includes more than 3,500 business partners, 500 educational institutions and 100,000 software developers.

And not surprisingly, the VC market in Brazil is thriving. According to the Brazilian Association for Private Equity & Venture Capital, investment has more than quadrupled there since 2004, from $6 billion to $28 billion in 2008. In fact, Brazil is expected to have the largest increase in new investment of any emerging market in the next one to two years, according to a June 2009 report by the Washington-based Emerging Markets Private Equity Association.

Emerging markets like Brazil are becoming increasingly important to IBM. More than 60 percent of IBM's revenue is derived from growth markets like Brazil. One way that IBM is looking to tap into the technological growth in Brazil is through the VC and startup community.

Some interesting articles on this topic were published in BusinessWeek and the Wall Street Journal this morning.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

IBM opens advanced analytics center in China

Today IBM announced the launch of the China Analytics Solutions Center in Beijing, China. The press release states the advanced analytics center is "part of a network of global centers addressing the growing demand for advanced analytics capabilities needed to help clients build smarter business systems and drive improved decision-making."

News of the analytics center follows last week's announcement of IBM's intent to acquire SPSS, a predictive analytics technology company that helps clients forecast trends to drive smarter business outcomes.

IBM also recently announced the Smart Analytics System, the industry’s first comprehensive offering that helps organization harness the power of analytics to make intelligent business decisions up to three times faster and requiring up to 50 percent less storage - saving space and energy.

The acquisition, the new analytics center in China, analytics-ready solutions....all examples of IBM's expanding analytics strategy.

But why analytics?

An emergence of new smarter systems which are interconnected and streaming real time information are presenting organizations with unique opportunities and challenges. Businesses and governments are using data and sophisticated analytics to transform decision making.

The time is ripe for organizations to use this data to predict business outcomes, optimize old systems and spot trends before they happen.

For example, the Mobile County Public Schools, the largest school district in Alabama, has selected IBM analytics technology to more effectively measure student performance, immediately identify students "at risk," and adjust academic programs in real-time in order to best deliver smarter education services that prepare students with 21st century skills.

Areas such as electronic health records, education, smart grids, and financial risk management are creating a growing demand for sophisticated business analytics. IBM's organic and acquisitive growth have IBM well positioned to help our clients rethink their systems and apply business analytics in new ways for smarter decisions.