It’s Back to the Office for (more) IBMers

February 9, 2017

Yesterday, vowe reported that IBM is forcing all employees in marketing that there will be no telecommuting, rather everyone has to work in one of six central hubs. Now, The Register is reporting that this will also affect employees in Software and Systems.

According to well-placed sources, IBM’s Software and Systems unit began a transition similar to the marketing department’s upheaval late last year, with remote workers told they would have to move and work at one of a handful of city offices, or find a new job.

Yesterday, we learned that IBM’s US marketing employees were told they must report to and work at one of these main offices in America: New York, San Francisco, Austin, Cambridge, Atlanta, or Raleigh.

Teams in the Software and Systems division will also be made to work at those hubs, though we are told that IBM is keeping some of its labs open, and Software and Systems employees may be able to be relocated to one of those.

Not confined to the borders of the US, The Register reports that this policy will be implemented in Europe, as well.


IBM Q4: Make Believe and Illusion

January 23, 2017

This isn’t your normal analysis of an IBM earnings report. It’s better.

The other day it was announced the Ringling Bros circus was closing, a victim apparently of changing tastes and of concern for the security of the elephants in the performances. But investors have no fear, if you miss the circus, a modern equivalent is presented every 3 months or so when IBM (NYSE:IBM) reports the results of its quarter. No elephants, but plenty of jugglers and high wire acts punctuated by some clowns and magicians on stage for yet another performance. It’s been a grand show and the results and the conference call this past quarter were no exception.

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Bob’s Big Picture technology predictions for 2017

January 16, 2017

As he has done for years, Bob Cringely has posted his 2017 predictions. Number six ought to be a fun one to watch.

Prediction #6 — Come-to-Jesus time for IBM. The most important 2017 event for IBM will be the retirement at 60 of CEO Ginni Rometty. The future of Big Blue absolutely depends on the actions this year of her successor. If she follows the example of the two previous IBM CEOs Rometty will stick around for a year as chairman before flying-off to paradise in her jet.

The reason I call this a Come-to-Jesus time for IBM is because the next CEO will have a chance to do something different with the company. If he or she decides to break with the past IBM has a chance. If the new CEO takes whatever game plan Rometty hands over and runs with that, then IBM is doomed.

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Maybe just as interesting, in one of his other predictions, Prediction #1, in fact, he talks about the Cloud Arms Race. In it, he only mentions IBM as an aside, with Amazon, Google, and Microsoft being the leaders. I suppose all of the talk from IBM about their cloud, is just that, talk. Oh, there may be some companies in their cloud, but not in the numbers that fill Amazon, Google, or Microsoft data centers.


IBM Verse: Introducing Offline Mode

March 22, 2016

IBM has published a Technote detailing Verse Offline.

But watch those caveats.

verse_offline

Hat tip to Alan for the link.


Warren Buffett: “Owning IBM shares could prove a mistake”

March 4, 2016

Berkshire, which held an 8.59 percent stake in IBM as of Dec. 31, 2015, said in an annual shareholder letter on Saturday that it planned to keep that stake despite a $2.6-billion paper loss at the end of last year.

Buffett told the cable television network he did not think he was wrong for owning IBM shares so far, but said it “could be” a mistake.

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“I went to IBM Connect and saw Verse . . . “ – Part II

February 12, 2016

Apparently, the lack of a overarching message concerning, among other things, IBM Verse is being recognized by more than one tech writer.

IBM’s assets in the collaboration and communications market really have not received as much attention as they should have. To be in a presentation where products such as Verse (IBM’s cloud-based e-mail solution and, as we learned, future on-premises upgrade to Domino) were referred to as having a ‘secret sauce’ seemed a missed opportunity.

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So, there are a few people out there, attempting to spread the word concerning IBM Verse and other solutions in the IBM portfolio and come away wondering why IBM is missing their opportunity. And the window is shutting. The Connect conference is done and put away, which means that free publicity like this will dry up as it waits for something / anything out of Armonk regarding the announcements and demonstrations.

“Momentum” is more like “fits and starts” or “wait and see.”

That is not what this product deserves or needs.

 


CIO: Can IBM redefine the future of email?

February 5, 2016

I was in the middle of the great email battle between Microsoft and IBM [Disclosure: Microsoft and IBM are clients of the author] in the 1990s and there really wasn’t much competition. Microsoft had Exchange, which had its greatest power in its focus on users. IBM bought Lotus to get Notes, which had stronger administration tools and a far better focus on collaboration, but sucked at email. In the end, Microsoft dominated, massively, and Exchange is the recognized standard for business email.

However, IBM just brought out Verse, its new advanced email offering, and it comes to market with many of the same advantages over Exchange that Exchange had over Notes. But, this is email, and experienced CIOs know that changing email is potentially a career-ending process. In order to succeed with a user-focused product you have to get the users excited about it, which may be a skill IBM no longer has.

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Outside Looking In: GURUpalooza and Ask The Product Managers

February 4, 2016

Through the wonders of technology, I was able to attend this year’s GURUpalooza and Ask the Product Managers at Connect 2016. I think it was an excellent use of Periscope and it also allowed me to better understand both sessions. After watching both, I have some opinions from this year’s editions.

First, and easiest, Ask The Product Managers.

Unlike earlier conferences, the combining of “Ask the Developers” with “Ask the Project Managers” eliminated the finger pointing between the two groups. That is, you attend either of the sessions only to hear one group say “ask the other group.” It was maddening.

Why is this still a thing?

It is readily apparent that nothing that is said by attendees is written down or “taken back.” This is extremely obvious when David Hablewitz runs down questions from previous year’s sessions (and by “previous years,” I mean several years. David seems to keep a running list.)  Audience members may feel better, after asking their question, but nothing ever gets done. It only gets people upset.

If I’m wrong, please comment where this is not true.

This is only one hour, at the end of the conference. Why is this not an ongoing, continuous feedback loop? There is a place for this, for example IdeaJam, but I believe that while the Developers/Admins/users of IBM products continue to add Ideas, IBM does not give it the attention that it deserves. And, again, there is no closure to the Ideas. Or responses from IBM.

The sheer number of IBMers on the stage is staggering. Taking fifteen minutes to go through introductions is a waste of time. Assuming that IBM has the right people on stage, just start the session and let the appropriate people answer the questions. Prior to answering the question, the individual could introduce themselves.

But, really, why is this session still on the agenda?

GURUpalooza

Many of these people I describe as friend. A lot of these people, I have known for many years. And, those on stage, have known each other for a long time. You immediately get the sense that they are all very comfortable with each other.

Which means that there are, and will probably continue to be, many things said that only those on stage (and a few in the audience) will understand.

As I sat in my chair, 1,000+ miles away watching the Periscope video, I became a bit uneasy with the number of “inside” references bandied about by the group. Why? To those not familiar with the people on stage, it seemed to me to build a small barrier between the guru’s and the audience. This is definitely not the intent, it was the impression that I got. Lord knows, they have sweat and bled to bring you the best technical track in any conference, and, being at the end of the conference, deserve some relief and laughs, However, not at the expense of “alienating” (poor word choice, I am certain) most members of the audience.

The other thing I noticed, because I’ve been around a while, is that basically the same people are the stage. I get it that Connect is the conference for IBM social software and to draw people in you need speakers that have been around for a while, have name recognition, have the power to draw people to the conference. What I am saying is, in a nutshell, are there individuals that are behind the scenes, that are the next generation of speakers? The ones that are going to take up the reins and blaze new trails on the shoulders of the giants? While it can take years to form the name recognition and drawing power of those on the GURUpalooza stage, are there people spending the time to become the new giants? Do we see them or hear them at the user group conferences? Thankfully, there are plenty of places for them to show their stuff.

It’s my opinion that while the administrators keep the lights on and provide a solid foundation for these technologies, it is the developers that actually have the power to show the relevance of that foundation. You have to have both, but the developers will drive demand, provide life to the products, and get others interested in careers using the products. Are there developer proteges out there, waiting for their time in the limelight? A succession plan, if you will.

You could ask me if I am doing the same thing on the Administration side. To that question, I can answer “yes.” As we experienced admins move up in roles and responsibilities, we are bringing in individuals whom we are training in the art of administration, so that they may take the reins in a few years. It only makes good business sense; you have to keep the mail routing and the enterprise social network rocking. Will they speak at conferences? I don’t know; it’s up to them. But they are getting ready to dominate administration tasks and for that, the developers and users should be happy.


Cringley Critiques IBMs Recent Earnings Report

July 23, 2015

In a post titled “IBM is so screwed,” Bob X. Cringely provides his analysis of IBMs most recent earnings report. Spoiler alert: It isn’t pretty.

An example:

IBMexpense

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IBM and Box: Partnering in Collaboration

June 24, 2015

Today, IBM and Box, an online file sharing and personal cloud content management service for businesses,  announced a partnership.

IBM is going to let Box plug into its analytics and security technology, while Box will integrate its content management system into Big Blue’s existing products.

For example, they will work on a new data analytics solution that uses IBM’s Watson supercomputer. Box’s technology will also be integrated into IBM Verse and IBM Connections, its business email and collaboration services.

They will also jointly develop mobile apps and analytics solutions. Box said some of that could even be included in the products IBM and Apple are building together. On top of that, IBM will use its massive salesforce and consulting team to sell it to its network of business customers.

Considering IBM deals with some of the biggest businesses in the world, it’s a huge deal for Box, which went public earlier this year.

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