Tuesday, November 05, 2013

IBM Information on Demand 2013, Monday

Hello everybody, and welcome to my daily blogging from the IOD conference. Today (Monday, 11/4) was my first day at the conference and it started off with a high octane general session. Well, actually, that's not entirely accurate. It started off with a nice (somewhat less than healthy) breakfast and a lot of coffee. But right after that was the general session.

The session was emceed by Jake Porway, who bills himself as a Data Scientist. He is also a National Geographic host and the founder of DataKind. Porway extolled the virtues of using Big Data for the greater good. Porway says that data is personal and it touches our lives in multiple ways. He started off by talking about the "dark ages" which to Porway meant the early 2000s, before the days of Netflix, back when (horror of horrors) we all went to Blockbuster to rent movies... But today we can access almost all of our entertainment right over the Internet from the comfort of our sofa (except for those brave few who still trudge out to a red box).

From there Porway went on to discuss how data scientists working in small teams can make a world of difference by using their analytical skills to change the world for the better. Porway challenged the audience by asking us "Have you thought about how you might use data to change the world for the better?" And then he went on to describe how data can be instrumental in helping to solve world problems like improving the quality of drinking water, reducing poverty and improving education.

Indeed, Porway said that he views data scientists as "today's superheroes."

Porway the introduced Robert LeBlanc, IBM Sr. Vice President for Middleware Software. LeBlanc's primary message was about the four technologies that define the smarter enterprise: cloud, mobile, social and Big Data analytics.

LeBlanc stated that the amount of unstructured data has changed the way we think, work, and live. And he summed it up rather succinctly by remarking that we used to be valuable for what we know, but now we are more valuable for what we share.

Some of IBM's customers, including representatives from Nationwide and Centerpoint Energy took the stage to explain how they had transformed their business using IBM Big Data and analytics solutions.

I think the quote that summed up the general session for me was that only 1 in 5 organizations spend more than 50 percent of their IT budget on new projects. With analytics, perhaps that can change!

The next couple of sessions I attended covered the new features of DB2 11 for z/OS, which most of you know was released by IBM for GA on October 25, 2013. I've written about DB2 11 on this blog before, so I won't really go over a lot of those sessions here. Suffice it to say, IBM has delivered some great new features and functionality in this next new release of DB2, and they are already starting to plan for the next one!

I ended the day at the System z Rocks the Mainframe event hosted by IBM at the House of Blues. A good time was had by one and all there as the band rocked the house, some brave attendees jumped up on stage to sing with the band, and the open bar kept everyone happy and well lubricated... until we have to get up early tomorrow for Day Two of IOD...

See you tomorrow!

P.S. And for those interested, Adam Gartenberg has documented the IBM announcements from day one of IOD on his blog here.

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