Thoughts from IBM Think 2018…

Think 2018 was a massive culmination of multiple and previously separate IBM events (Edge, , , Amplify, and Connect). While I was never able to get an official headcount, estimates were north of 30,000. And attendees nearly overflowed the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

With the combined event, IBM presented its extensive breadth of software, solutions, and infrastructure, each catering to key aspects of digital transformation. Attendees could talk directly with IBM developers on how to effectively leverage emergent workloads such as (with Watson), the Internet of Things (IoT), or even blockchain. I mean, IBM even had Quantum Computing on display. And after a detailed workload conversation, attendees could then walk a couple hundred yards/meters (did I mention it was big?) to the infrastructure section of the expo floor and talk with IBM about how these workloads might operate, for example, on public cloud, on flash storage, or on IBM’s Spectrum SDS portfolio. Through these conversations, attendees could bridge from IT transformation into digital transformation.

I have researched and written quite a bit about digital transformation lately, the importance of transforming your infrastructure, and embracing that transformation. But IT infrastructure transformation is only one step as businesses still need expertise in these value-creating workloads to deliver the desired business transformation. I could see this connection in the discussions I had with IBM customers. In one conversation, a customer said that after deploying all-flash, the infrastructure was humming along well, and the next step was to understand how to leverage Watson. And that is where many IT organizations are finding themselves: IT transformation is important, but once the new technology is in place, how do you leverage these emergent workloads, such as AI or IoT, to transform your business with and not just your IT infrastructure?

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