Event Report: #Think2019 Showcases IBM's Shift Back From Software To Services

Published on February 13, 2019 by R "Ray" Wang

IBM Gains Mojo On Cloud Vision and Shows Strength in Digital Ecosystems

Dreaming of warmer pastures in Las Vegas and golf with colleagues, customers, partners, prospects, and employees slogged through the February rain of San Francisco in Moscone Center for the second iteration of IBM Think.  Think 2019 had many highlights beyond the lukewarm “second chapter” of the cloud keynote by CEO, Ginni Rometty (see Figure 1):

  • Watson Assistant and Watson OpenScale broadens distribution on public clouds and breaks AI vendor lock-in on apps but not at the platform level.
  • New digital ecosystems at Hyundai Card, Cigna, Media Ocean, Sentara show strength of IBM Blockchain
  • Science Slam showcases why faster concept to commercialization at IBM Research will power innovation
  • Project Debater demonstrates how far IBM’s NLP and AI capabilities can react and craft complex arguments
  • IBM Cloud Integration Platform speeds up app deployment and supports hybrid cloud deployments
  • IBM Services for Multicloud helps breaks cloud vendor lock-in but not at the platform level.
  • IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Crypto Service deploys IBM LinuxONE mainframes to provide FIPS 140-2 level 4 encryption key management technology
  • IBM Cloud Private and HCL Cloud Native Labs will help migrate ISV solutions to IBM Cloud
  • IBM Managed Security Services Provider Program wins praise from partners building security practices
  • Clients cheer for tech refresh of POWER9 for IBM i and 7.3 TR 4. AS/400 gets more modernization

Figure 1. IBM Gains Mojo On Cloud Vision and Shows Strength in Digital Ecosystems

Figure 2. Ray Wang  sits down with Stu Miniman & Dave Vellante at IBM Think 2019 in San Francisco, CA.

The Bottom Line: Customers Seek An IBM Ready To Battle Amazon and Deliver On Innovation

To counter Amazon’s dominance, IBM along with Google now massively back an open sourced and multi-cloud approach to go after the 80% of remaining workloads.  Blockchain, security, AI, mainframe, global services, and data driven digital networks power the use cases that attract clients to IBM.  The RedHat deal will bring developer communities closer to IBM. 

“A vendor that ran large enterprises on WebSphere and DB2 has become a shadow of themselves. Bringing Watson to other IaaS is the consequence of IBM Cloud retiring” noted Holger Mueller, Vice President and Principal Analyst, “Blockchain remains the last product asset that comes from IBM that gets presence. The rest is RedHat. IBM Is less a product company and more a services company today.  This evolution from hardware over services to software it has taken a step back… back at services.” The bright light comes from the digital network ecosystems created at the industry level to create data driven digital networks.

Overall, IBM’s Think event has improved from a D- to a C- as the events team regains their ability to host an enterprise event, despite poor event planning and messaging.  The loss of key event staff due to a requirement to work from an office hub decimated tribal knowledge and expertise

Your POV.

Will the discussions in Davos make a difference?  Can leaders come together?   Add your comments to the blog or reach me via email: R (at) ConstellationR (dot) com or R (at) SoftwareInsider (dot) org.

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