IBM Impact Event – Process is King

IT vendors perpetually balance between “business” and “product” messages. And it’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” kind of problem. Take a mixed load of analysts and half will always think one of the dimensions got short shrift – and the other half will say exactly the opposite. So take my first impression of IBM’s Impact event, the WebSphere gathering, with a grain or twelve of salt: “IBM didn’t say nearly enough about product at Impact this year.” And there was much to say, so for me, it felt like a missed opportunity.

Analysts are spoiled creatures; I was annoyed that there was no analyst workroom, no power at our “special seating” (as if the good seats weren’t enough), bad connectivity on Day Two….as I said, spoiled. I try not to behave like a diva. Mostly I succeed. I did manage to remain focused enough to see clearly that business process has become the focus for the WebSphere gang – they’ve moved beyond an obsession with technology to focus on what we do with it. That’s a very positive step up. Read more of this post

It’s On: IBM To Acquire SPSS

With one stroke, IBM has signalled that it believes itself ready to redraw the BI map. After a multi-year, multi-billion dollar spending spree, IBM has assembled the product portfolio, marketing and sales organization, and a 4000-person services army to launch a full-scale assault. It’s a lucrative opportunity: Mary Weier at InfoWeek quotes IDC to the effect that in 2008, the total BI market grew 10.6% to $7.8 billion. But although IBM’s acquisition of Cognos made it a formidable presence, with around 10% of the total market, until now it seems to largely have been in a holding pattern. IDC says IBM’s 2008 BI revenues were $800 million, up 5% since the previous year. But key competitors  SAP and SAS, who are ahead of IBM in share, and Oracle, nipping at its heels, grew at  double-digit rates. It is time to for IBM up that ante; as strong as Cognos was, it ought to have benefited more from IBM’s muscle. And now, it’s on. Read more of this post

CEP: The Tech That Dare Not Speak Its Name

IBM has decided to go after the complex event processing (CEP) market with InfoSphere Streams a bit sooner than expected (by about a year, it seems.) The Product Formerly Known As System S (apologies to Prince – but at least it doesn’t have a weird symbol instead of a name) has been released into the wild because it’s ready enough. Or because Sam Palmisano wanted to talk about it at a recent analyst event. Or (Curt Monash theorizes here) because Microsoft announced that their CEP offering will be in SQL Server Real Soon Now.  Read more of this post