We had the opportunity to attend IBM's Think conference held in Las Vegas, all over the MGM and Mandalay Bay, from March 19th till 22nd 2018. Happening in the busiest week of Spring conference season, I could make it only for one day, invited by the IBM Partner conference, that was happening in parallel. 








Prefer to watch – here is my event video … (if the video doesn't show up – check here)




Here is the 1 slide condensation (if the slide doesn't show up, check here):




Want to read on? Here you go:

IBM brings Partner program to 21st century – I had the opportunity to attend the PartnerWorld program events and it was good to learn that the partner program is making jolts into the 21st century, with simplifications for partners to do business with IBM, cutting down the incentive system from a triple digit to a single digit number, giving partners sandboxes to evaluate, create and sell joint offerings. To a certain point surprised this is only happening now - but better now than later or never. Talking to partners the top concerns remain channel conflict with IBM's direct sales force, while the top wish was for IBM to build up dedicated partner pre-sales capacities (in North America). Common concerns, fears and wishes from partners towards their product / platform vendor. 





IBM Think 2018 Holger Mueller Constellation Research
Teltsch in the Partner Keynote

ICP picks up speed – IBM has re-positioned it's hybrid cloud offerings, formerly BlueMix local with IBM Private Cloud (IPC), basically providing the same value proposition as before – a platform for enterprises to build their next generation applications on. Apart from the development tools, IPC has a twist on operation management and monitoring, an important aspect of a hybrid cloud. Being able to securely scale code and monitor the next generation application is important for enterprises. And it being 2018 – Kubernetes is a key aspect to make this happen, and IPC leverages Kubernetes to achieve load portability across clouds. The product team gave me a private preview demo on what is coming later in the year, and it looks promising in terms of capability and usability, especially for IBM shops, and potentially beyond. 

IBM Think 2018 Holger Mueller Constellation Research
Teltsch in convo with Wylie





IBM ML comes to Swift - IBM has been closely working with Apple on Swift, pretty much since the launch of Apple's new programming language. The joint solutions are built on the platform, and given the IBM push on cognitive / Watson / ML / AI, it's key that developers on the Swift platform that are building applications in and for the IBM ecosystem can leverage IBM AI / ML services for the iOS applications. Something joint customers expected and IBM now has (finally) delivered. I had some good conversations with early adopters. 





After a one year hiatus of no conferences and events, IBM is back having a user conference. It has consolidated all the many separate conferences that IBM used to have in one single one, which is of course a major challenges for all involved... but a good change in my view. Customers could not afford to attend 4-5 conferences a year, if they were fully bought into the IBM offerings... moreover, customers had to connect the dots between the various offerings, which at times, where not synced... as each conference would plan it's product and announcement cycles around their individual conferences... Think makes a difference here, aligning messaging, and likely over time product release cycles... that makes it easier for customers and prospects get an overview at a coordinated point in time of the many IBM products, offerings and services. It was good to see the focus of the new partner management regime on making it easier and simpler for partners to do business with (or for?) IBM. Always a good true north for a partner organization.

On the concern side IBM needs to learn how to put out a mega conference, to maximize value for attendees and return of event dollars. It has massive experience of a single property events in Las Vegas, you name it and IBM has been at the respective casino. Multiple property events in Las Vegas are hard for all vendors who have outgrown a single property, but IBM can do better connecting them. And on the product innovation side, it felt at times that announcements could have been made earlier, but were held for Think. Understandable, but a fine line to walk for any vendor. It will be good to see what IBM can create and deliver in the next 12 months, giving a better insight of the innovation power that IBM can harness.

But for now, good to see a single event happening, aligning all messaging, product, offering and services cycles, for a first combined event, Think 2018 was a good start. Stay tuned. 

Also - check out a Twitter Moment of IBM Think 2018 here