I arrived in Orlando yesterday afternoon. No, I didn’t fly all the way from Boston for a visit to Disney World – I’m at the SHARE conference instead!
It’s the 60th anniversary of SHARE, the world’s premier mainframe user group, and I was invited to join Tom Rosamilia (SVP, IBM Systems) on stage during his opening keynote. I am excited to be here along with IBM z Systems leaders from every industry to talk about some exciting new trends in our industry and the all important IBM z Systems platform. And 10 of my fellow Rocketeers are here with me, sharing their insights on topics ranging from best practices for enterprise hardware and software to strategies for transforming company infrastructure in the digital age. It’s a big week for all of us.
So why is this event so important? It’s a two-word answer: digital transformation.
Rocket turned 25 this year. I have been on a world tour since January visiting many of our customers and partners. We spend a little bit of time celebrating our important 25th year milestone. But we spend more time talking about the future, the “what’s next”, the digital disruptions that they find most challenging and the digital disruptions that they find most exciting.
I’ve talked to business leaders in almost every industry from financial services to automotive to retail to manufacturing to government and more. And I hear some common threads that cut across geographies and cut across these industries. We live in a hybrid world of diverse platforms with more data coming at us at incredible speed. There is a big payoff for companies that embrace these trends.
Data. The volume of data that needs to be managed, processed, backed up, archived, cloned, managed is forcing businesses to rethink their strategies, architectures, and work flows – what I call their “data supply chains”. What made sense 10 years ago or even five years ago, in many use cases, doesn’t make sense today. I am talking more and more with businesses about this disruptive idea of keeping the data where it lives and moving applications and analytics closer to the data.
Speed. Being slow isn’t an option anywhere in an IT organization. A couple of examples that we’ve been talking about recently:
- Accelerating the loading of data into the appliance that accelerates DB2 queries.
- Supporting IBM’s initiative to bring Spark to z for accelerated analytics.
It is all about acceleration. But beyond faster performance, the digital disruption that I see coming is about faster development, delivery, and deployment. Businesses are looking for—business are demanding—an accelerated pace of DevOps.
Platforms. It has been a long time since it was all about one platform. Today’s world is obviously a hybrid world. The disruption is about connecting these hybrid platforms, connecting Systems of Record with System of Engagement, connecting public clouds with private clouds. One IT exec I met with summed it up this way: Why would I ever leave the mainframe? The diversity of platforms in my shop is my competitive advantage.
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While I’m at SHARE I’ll also be talking about how we are investing in and developing the next generation of Rocketeers–and how helping drive the IBM Academic Initiative is one important way to do that.
We’re working with Framingham State University in Massachusetts to create a Mainframe Certification program that will allow current students, returning veterans and working engineers to learn mainframe skills—and in 2016 the school plans to offer a minor in mainframes.
Speaking of the next generation of Rocketeers, when you see me at SHARE, ask me about our summer internship program we call “Rocketships.” We launched 47 Rocketships this summer. Many of our Rocketship software engineers worked on some really interesting mainframe-related projects related to Linux, Bluemix, and ported tools. Two of our Rocketship engineers are still in high school! I have to say that it puts a smile on my face when I watch teenagers use a mainframe just as easily as they do their iPhones.
So what’s up next after SHARE? We are hosting our Big Ideas/Big Data conference in London on September 15. See you there!
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