Highlights from the Keynote Presentation, Mobile World Congress, 2014, by Ginni Rometty, IBM CEO

Ginni Rometty, CEO at IBM®, delivered one of the Keynote sessions at Mobile World Congress, 2014. Her presentation focused on what she presented as today’s 3 prevalent themes (Rometty referred to them as “shifts”) changing the segment of the technology industry servicing enterprise business:

  1. Data
  2. Cloud
  3. and Engagement

Rometty characterized the current climate for ISVs like IBM as “both an exciting time and a disruptive time” (quoted from a video recording of Ginni Rometty’s Keynote at Mobile World Congress 2014. A link to a “Full Video” of here presentation has been provided, above).

But her own estimates of how long it will take large organizations of computer users (enterprise business and comparably sized communities in the public and not for profit sectors) to actually complete their shift to new paradigms for each of the themes was surprisingly conservative.

Rometty’s estimates are important. David Kirkpatrick, who introduced Rometty, claimed “IBM is the largest professional services company in the world.” (Ibid). Rometty, herself, offered some impressive statistics on IBM’s experience in the mobile computing market: ” . . . 6000 mobile engagements. We’ve had partnerships with 40 of the wireless carriers around the world, and we’ve spent decades building what I hope you think is a very good ‘Mobile first’ portfolio.” (Ibid).

1) Data
Rometty presented data as our newest “natural resource”. She focused on the enterprise business market for analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) systems. She claimed both of these types of enterprise system benefit most when the biggest set of data possible (she claimed enterprises are presently creating 2.5 million GBs, per day) is exposed to them.

She claimed “3 out of 4″ IBM customers are piloting big data projects right now, ” . . . Or have them in production.” (Ibid). But she went on to note only “1 out of 3” were using big data, BI, and analytics, right now, for product innovation. The remainder of her presentation on this first point amounted to a clear presentation of why IBM has mustered a lot of resources (she announced a cumulative investment, to date of $24 Billion dollars) to lead in this market.

2) Cloud
Rometty’s comments on the cloud theme were more cautious. She prefaced a prediction on enterprise business appetite for Cloud products and services with the caveat “when properly done”. By 2016, she predicted, ” . . . A quarter of the apps will be in the cloud.” (Ibid)

This pace is by no means meteoric. The preferred architecture for most enterprise businesses, she predicted, would be hybrid cloud, with 50% of companies implementing hybrid clouds by 2017.

I should add Rometty emphasized the importance of cloud security as a gating issue for enterprises businesses. Another point worth noting: Rometty announced IBM had spent $7 Billion on cloud, less than 1/3 of what they had invested in big data.

3) Engagement
Her presentation on this last theme, in my opinion, amounted to a preface to a presentation of IBM’s Watson product, as an example of the type of system enterprise business requires to successfully engage with today’s consumers. Rometty characterized today’s consumers as exhibiting an ever expanding willingness to provide personalized data in return for truly useful information. Once all this information is digitized, then a system like Watson will provide users with a uniquely capable tool to address rapidly shifting consumer requirements.

What was missing from her presentation on the engagement theme, in my opinion, was any meaningful mention of how businesses can transform social systems (blogs, newsfeeds, etc) into another version of the same kind of information Rometty claimed the data and cloud themes will eventually produce for product innovation.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved

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