En route to IBM Connect in Las Vegas it is time to order some thoughts on where IBM stands in its move to the cloud and overall becoming more of a software company.

Let’s organize our thoughts from bottom up the tech stack, and focus on what matters to CxOs out there.

So take a look at the video:
If you don't have time to watch - read on:
Hardware - Yes hardware matters. Though not the feature at Connect, it is very much relevant, as IBM optimizes new offerings to run better on both its mainframe and Power platforms. These platforms matter more and more as Watson gets optimized for them.

IaaS - SoftLayer has been rolled out to 46 locations in 2015. Location matters for IaaS both from a performance and a compliance perspective. At this point SoftLayer / IBM Cloud is ahead of the competition by orders of magnitude. Many of its outsourcing opportunities are connected with the rollout, but at its core SoftLayer has one of the smallest defaulf pod sizes of all IaaS players, and that matters in the IaaS ‘monopoly’ game being played right now.

Watson - Watson remains key for IBM as a true differentiator in the cognitive computing area. IBM has achieved this without (yet) delivering overwhelming results to both customers and itself. A change in leadership may address this, the strategy is clear: A DaaS (Data as a Service, see the very recent Truven acquisition) combined with Watson strategy is very clear. Sometime IBM will license content, sometimes (see e.g. WeatherCompany) own it. 2016 will be key for IBM to deliver value for customers at scale, results for IBM as a vendor to keep Watson real. 

New offerings - There is room between IaaS and PaaS and IBM has come up with two new offerings, video services and blockchain. Video service matter to all cloud players, as video creates load, load creates economies of scale and those TCO advantages. IBM now has a viable offering for both on demand (Clearleap) and streaming video (UStream) and a new focus on video – we will see what it can make of it at Connect. And Blockchain is of course interesting technology for enterprises, mainly (for now) in the Financial sector - where - not surprisingly - IBM is one of the most active tech stack vendors working on Blockchain support.

BlueMix - IBM has been extending and building out BlueMix with remarkable discipline. The number of ‘hexagons’ is growing and a number of acquisitions makes the platform very attractive. The BlueMix Local offering is key and another testament how the traditional tech stack vendors are offering enterprises hybrid offerings (see Oracle, see Microsoft). It will be key to check in adoption and news about major projects running on BlueMix, as the product reaches 2+ years of age.

Community – IBM has done a lot of work for developer outreach, we will see that again at Connect. I am not sure how well IBM has done here though, as the competition is massive. I would like to see IBM create more value for its Rational developers (a Top 5 developer community) and actually focus more on executives. Many of the next generation application projects IBM wants and can compete on are executive decisions, once those are made, developers will come.


IBM Connect is always a great event to check the pulse of IBM’s software offerings - with customers, prospects, partners, developers etc.  an event not to mix. If you are there, don’t be shy – reach out to me – best on Twitter (@holgermu). 

More on IBM:

  • Site Visit - IBM Design Studio Austin - read here
  • MarketMoves - IBM strikes 3x in Fall - Cleversafe, The Weather Company and Gravitant - read here
  • News Analysis - IBM launches Industry's First Consulting Practice Dedicated to Cognitive Business - a good move it's early times - read more
  • News Analysis - IBM plans to acquire Cleversafe to propel Object Storage into the Hybrid Cloud >> a good move. Read here
    Market Move - IBM acquires StrongLoop - nodejs comes to BlueMix - read here
  • News Analysis - IBM and ARM Collaborate to Accelerate Delivery of Internet of Things - The IBM NextGenApps Stack emerges - read here
  • Progress Report - IBM Cloud makes good progress - but needs to attract more load - read here
  • Market Move - IBM gets into private cloud (services) with Blue Box acqusition - read here
  • Event Report - IBM InterConnect - IBM makes bets for the hybrid cloud - read here
  • First Take - IBM InterConnect Day #1 Keynote - BlueMix, SoftLayer and Watson - read here
  • News Analysis - IBM had a very good year in the cloud - 2015 will be key - read here
  • Event Report - IBM Insight 2014 - Is it all coming together for IBM in 2015? Or not? 
  • First Take - Top 3 Takeaways from IBM Insight Day 1 Keynote - read here
  • IBM and SAP partner for cloud - good move - read here
  • Event Report - IBM Enterprise - A lot of value for existing customers, but can IBM attract net new customers? Read here
  • Progress Report - The Mainframe is alive and kicking - but there is more in IBM STG - read here
  • News Analysis - IBM and Intel partner to make the cloud more secure - read here
  • Progress Report - IBM BigData an Analytics have a lot of potential - time to show it - read here
  • Event Report - What a difference a year makes - and off to a good start - read here
  • First Take - 3 Key Takeaways from IBM's Impact Conference - Day 1 Keynote - read here
  • Another week and another Billion - this week it's a BlueMix Paas - read here
  • First take - IBM makes Connection - introduces the TalentSuite at IBM Connect - read here
  • IBM kicks of cloud data center race in 2014 - read here
  • First Take - IBM Software Group's Analyst Insights - read here
  • Are we witnessing one of the largest cloud moves - so far? Read here
  • Why IBM acquired Softlayer - read here
Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here