IBM is leveraging the API economy and opening itself up as-a-service. The IBM Cloud Marketplace provides customers with a location from which they can purchase IBM services, and also acquire 3rd party services. The marketplace is focused on bringing together the Business, Developers, and IT. IBM is also providing easier access to their GBS professionals through the marketplace. SOWs and extensive contracts are removed, allowing business value to be achieved faster, and with fewer applied restrictions. IBM’s BlueMix Platform-as-a-Service provides developers with a rich set of IBM components that can be assembled into new applications. IBM is also providing advanced Enterprise 2.0 services to help with the management of services on, and off-premise.
BlueMix beta is IBM’s push into a development platform in the Cloud. It contains approximately 100 different services that can be composed into applications and solutions. Some of the services IBM is offering include: Integration, Rules, RapidApps, BlueInsight (Big Data Analytics), and Worklight. In the future we can expect to see Watson cognitive computing services become part of this new service mix.
IBM is going beyond just offering the platform, they are building physical BlueMix Garages. The first is opening in San Francisco’s Galvanize community. The garage is providing a collaborative environment in which application development will use BlueMix in highly disciplined agile processes that give developers maximum opportunities for creativity and success as they turn new ideas into products.
An example of a cool innovation that likely came out of a garage, perhaps an alpha BlueMix Garage, is the connected car that was at the show. At Impact 2014 a RallyFighter car built by Local Motors was turned into a connected car. The car takes advantage of MQTT (lightweight messaging protocol), the Internet of Things, SmartCloud, Node-RED, BlueMix Cloud Foundry, Big Data Streams, Hadoop, and Cloudant to provide connection between mobile devices and the car. For more information about the car, check out the blog post and videos of how it was built, on the Local Motors web site. The car is a good example of how IBM technology came together, into a physical application, fully mobile enabled (it’s a car!), in less than 2 months.
Exposing IBM as a service, means IBM has to come together. It was evident at this year’s Impact that the Software Group, Systems Group, Global Business and Technology Services are working with each other to deliver value to IBM customers. The value proposition IBM can deliver to customers is that they have it all: from hardware, to software, to business services. Exposing all of it as a service, whether that is on SoftLayer, in their Marketplace, or on BlueMix, is delivering value faster and better than they used to. This integrated approach improves the opportunities for value, instead of when each group worked in more isolated environments to reach their own select objectives. IBM stated that the quick wins they are hoping to provide their customers with are in the 3 – 6 month time frame. No more 12-24 month projects before you get value. If it takes more than 3 – 6 months to deliver a new capability in today’s economy, the opportunity is lost.
I will admit that blue runs through my blood. I was an IBMer for 10 years, and I enjoyed my time with Global Business Services. I also saw the “division” across the lines of business, so I am thrilled to see how IBM is working together better and smarter for the benefit of their customers. I was there when former CEO Sam Palmisano launched the eBusiness on Demand “journey”. Even though IBM launched it, the entire industry has been on that journey, and I believe the “on-demand” is here, and now; through implementation of Cloud, Mobile, the Internet of Things, and the digital economy. I also think we are still on the journey, and time will tell where we will go through the increased availability of as-a-Service offerings, the drive for more information, innovation, and the needs of the now generation.