Since about a year IBM is pushing the pedal again on cloud, hybrid cloud more specifically. Adding the RedHat acquisition, IBM now has several products and services to position. Having consolidated all its event with Think 2019, happening in San Francisco February 12th to 14th 2019 – it was a good opportunity to check-in what IBM is announced with a news analysis. 




The press release can be found here – and I am dissecting it in my customary news analysis style:
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM Think -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced new hybrid cloud offerings to help businesses migrate, integrate and manage applications and workloads seamlessly and with security across any public or private cloud and on-premises IT environment.
MyPOV – Good summary, always good to have at the start of a press analysis. In the recent PR past of IBM, this would have been three to four separate press releases.
How IBM Hybrid Clouds Drive Innovation While Managing Complexity

The IBM Institute for Business Value estimates that by 2021, 98 percent of organizations surveyed plan to adopt hybrid architectures, but just 38 percent will have the procedures and tools they need to operate that environment1. The process today is challenging because it is largely manual with major security implications and a lack of consistent management and integration tools.
MyPOV – One of the differentiators IBM can use and is using here is its substantial business research capacity. Good to see it here and look forward to seeing it more often.

As part of today's news, IBM is launching new hybrid cloud tools and services designed to help enterprises navigate the complexities of this new landscape:

New IBM Cloud Integration Platform designed to reduce time and complexity to launch new services and applications across cloud environments in a consistent and secure manner.

New IBM Services designed to advise on holistic cloud strategies.

New IBM Services designed to simplify the management of resources across cloud environments.

New services designed to provide industry-leading security for data and applications in the public cloud.
  MyPOV – Another great summary, but time to get into the specifics. 
"At Aetna, a CVS Health business, we see hybrid cloud as an integral part of our transformation journey," said Claus Torp Jensen, Chief Technology Officer, Aetna. "We want to use the best services from various cloud providers to create a seamless consumer experience and digitalize underlying business processes. For that, we are taking an API-centric approach to integration and making sure that all of our APIs are easily accessible across our hybrid cloud ecosystem."
MyPOV – Great to have a customer quote right at the beginning… would have been more valuable if the CTO of Aetna would refer to the specific services here. And for the PR aficionados: IBM definitively has a new chief press release editor – customer quotes would always come towards the end in the past – with IBM executive and industry analyst quotes. Good to see the change, all that matters are… customers.
New Cloud Integration Platform Designed to Dramatically Reduce Coding Time, Complexity

The IBM Cloud Integration Platform is designed to securely connect applications, software and services from any vendor regardless of whether those systems are on-premises, in a public cloud or a private cloud. The platform brings together a comprehensive set of integration tools in a single development environment. It can help improve productivity because integration specialists can write, test and secure code once, store it in the platform and reuse it – an arduous task that once monopolized their time. This can help companies cut the time and cost of integration by 1/3, while staying within their unique requirements for security and compliance.

MyPOV – This is a 'boil the ocean' platform – connect anything with everything from anywhere and everywhere. But fair enough that is what enterprises want and need. Reducing integration times by 1/3 is very impressive. Love to see a proof point. And key for enterprise acceleration – as integration typically slows enterprises down.
Integration is critical as enterprises optimize business processes and create more personalized customer experiences. However, integration is becoming increasingly complex because many enterprises surveyed are already using between two to 15 different clouds and want to deploy new cloud services such as AI, analytics and blockchain to stay ahead of the competition3.

MyPOV – Correct – could / should have been the intro to the section.

With the IBM Cloud Integration Platform, companies can quickly bring to market new capabilities while freeing up integration specialists to focus on the more complex, system-level integrations.

MyPOV – Indeed – that's the benefit. Content hops back to product (or could have been with the first paragraph here).
"Most large organizations have data and workloads spread across multiple public and private clouds, SaaS and on-premises environments – sometimes as a result of their business process infrastructure, but also for compliance, regulatory and data privacy reasons," said Denis Kennelly, general manager, cloud integration, IBM. "The challenge in this environment is to overcome data and technology siloes to quickly deploy new business services and applications with security. Today, we are launching new capabilities designed to help unleash the full power of the hybrid cloud."

MyPOV – Good quote by Kennelly, stating the problem and what is being announced.


New End-To-End IBM Hybrid Cloud Services

IBM is launching new IBM Services for Cloud Strategy and Design, a comprehensive set of services designed to advise clients on how to architect the right holistic cloud strategy from design, migration, integration, road mapping and architectural services to navigating their journey to cloud. IBM Services is establishing dedicated teams of consultants who are certified experts in the latest services and technologies across multiple cloud platforms. Teams will use open and secure multi-cloud strategies, drawing upon IBM's experience in IT transformation and collaboration with an ecosystem of cloud partners. The new services leverage IBM's industry-leading Cloud Innovate method, automated decision accelerators and IBM Cloud Garage approach to support clients with co-creation and scaled innovation in application development, migration, modernization and management.

MyPOV – And we are off to the 2nd announcement, its services offered by IBM's consultants. 
Building off a recent partnership expansion announcement with ServiceNow, IBM is also introducing new IBM Services for Multicloud Management to provide a single system to help enterprises simplify the management of their IT resources across multiple cloud providers, on-premises environments and private clouds.

MyPOV – Good to see the partnership with ServiceNow mentioned, which seems to be crucial for the delivery of these services…

The delivery of IBM Services for Multicloud Management includes three layers designed to provide a single management and operations system:

Business management – applications that provide digital service ordering, modern service management, and cost governance to help manage spend;

Orchestration – an automation layer that helps enable services of different types, from different vendors to be integrated easily and made available to consumers;

Operations - a layer that helps enable infrastructure and operations administrators to monitor and maintain systems, including legacy infrastructure, private cloud, public cloud and container environments.
MyPOV – When I read 'layers' I think software layers, but here we are talking services layers – which at least confuses me… but as long as enterprises catch this – key to know.
In addition, it includes a unified, self-service experience to users to facilitate faster and easier access to cloud services via an environment integrated with the ServiceNow Portal to configure and buy cloud services and solutions from multiple cloud providers. It also provides performance management services and offers the means to monitor and manage the health of the cloud.

MyPOV – Now this is a positive difference for a services announcement. All too often services projects transform in many years of support and maintenance revenue for the service provider. So, it's good to see that IBM offers the self-services for customers… we now have to see how popular that is... and what do customers who do not have ServiceNow do?
"As we grow our digital business, moving our applications to the cloud is critical to help modernize our processes and deliver even better experiences for our customers. Adopting the right strategy and migration approach to cloud needs to be seamless and requires an understanding of our IT landscape," said Sarp Uzkan, vice president, IT, Tribune Publishing. "IBM cloud advisory services and tools provided a detailed assessment that determined not only which applications would be best to move to the cloud but a strong business case that would meet our needs and enabling us to explore the best approach for moving to the cloud."

MyPOV – Good quote by a customer… we now have covered healthcare and media.

Industry-Leading Security for Data and Applications in the Public Cloud

Security remains a top concern across all industries and markets when deploying apps and data in hybrid cloud environments. In order to minimize threats, enterprises need to the ability to protect data at every stage of its journey, easily manage access and identity and gain visibility into the security posture for all their applications.

MyPOV – And we are off to the third announcement, another services announcement. I like the structure better… first the problem for enterprises, then the solution.
IBM is launching the IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Crypto Service, which is designed to provide industry-leading security on the public cloud and is made possible by bringing IBM LinuxONE into IBM's global cloud data centers. This service will provide encryption key management with a dedicated cloud hardware security module (HSM) built on the only FIPS 140-2 level 4-based technology offered by a public cloud provider.

MyPOV – Always good to see security made more reliable by hardware-based security. But its only LinuxONE, so this is really an announcement that is a little bit if an oversell… but ok. Seems like there had to be three.
This is part of the IBM Cloud Hyper Protect family of services, which is already providing enterprises like DACS and Solitaire Interglobal with industry-leading security and resiliency for their applications. To provide high levels of security across both public and private clouds, IBM is also announcing significant enhancements to IBM Cloud Private on Z.

MyPOV – Ok fair enough, it's a suite of products… maybe this should have become as the 2nd paragraph.
Learn more about IBM's new capabilities in cloud security by visiting:
MyPOV – Good to see all announcements having additional URLs included (I took them out above) – but this one I wanted to keep, because… it was nice the see BlueMix in the mix – at least URL wise (for those who don't know -this was IBM's PaaS platform).


Overall MyPOV

Given Think is bringing together what used to be 5-7 separate IBM events till 2016 / 17 – this is not much. But then – sometimes less is more. But given hybrid cloud is the major investment for IBM, Ginny Rometty mentions Kubernetes 3x on CNBC live – it's overall a little thin. THINK is not over – and more may come. And IBM / RedHat may need time to firm this up more.

What is clear is that IBM sees a big, big services opportunity in the multi-cloud business. And IBM is right, enterprises need more help here. But IBM has and will have to compete with all the Sis in that space and it's mixed positioning of hardware / software and services will be great for existing and future customers of the overall IBM multi-cloud offerings, but for a more service provider hybrid world, it's more of a challenge for IBM to win the business. To truly compete with the hardware agnostic Sis, IBM will have to extend partnerships to the relevant hardware vendors that are popular in enterprises' data centers. But those vendors are discovering services as well.

For CxOs who use IBM, or want to use IBM, this is all good news. They need to make sure pricing and quality is competitive though. For CxOs who are partially in the IBM camp, they need to make sure they do not create hardware induced services stovepipes. That will likely only end up with a big bill and integration is still owned by the enterprise. For CxOs not on IBM and not interested in IBM – this is no news… unless they want to use it to entice their vendors to … offer the same. And that very last argument shows that IBM is off to something compelling and good for enterprise to operate their next generation applications and help their enterprise accelerate in the cloud era.