IBM… The Advantages Of Skill And Vision At The Top

IBM significantly beat estimates to turn in a stunning quarter in terms of financial performance this week. Even their mainframe business was looking impressively strong largely because they’ve repositioned that product towards encryption and security. Generally, when you have two quarters of margin increases and increasing double digit growth in new market areas once they are material (IBM’s Strategic Imperatives are now 45% of their revenue mix) you can declare the turnaround out of the woods and affirm the firm’s direction as sustainably positive. IBM has now basically beat street estimates for EPS for a straight 8 quarters supporting this premise that IBM is fully back into the game but with a very different and far more competitive product mix. Let’s talk IBM and why they appear out of the woods while HPE, which is undergoing a similar transition, isn’t doing as well. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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IBM’s Q3… Measuring the Progress of Self-Reinvention

Tech vendors reinvent themselves so often that it qualifies as a spectator sport in Silicon Valley. Strategic repositioning is necessary due to continually evolving technologies, from constantly shrinking semiconductors to massive cloud-scale data centers to increasingly complex data sets to ever-more sophisticated software. Vendors that fail to parse the import of these issues or respond incorrectly can quickly find their businesses descending toward irrelevance. But other issues also demand vendors’ attention. Evolving technologies often spark new behaviors among consumers and businesses, rippling the competitive landscape like a tectonic wave. That can panic a vendor’s customers and partners, leading to other problems. And in a world driven by information, some can sometimes be driven mad, including shareholders who nervously sniff the data-laden wind in a panic over where a missed rumor or muffed signal might lead. How companies approach these issues varies widely. However, IBM’s recent Q3 2017 earnings results show how a vendor can effectively face these and other challenges while fundamentally reinventing itself. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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Talent-Gap Cure Or Just Cur-AI-ting IT?
Oct19

Talent-Gap Cure Or Just Cur-AI-ting IT?

Cisco originally pitched a story focused on its latest initiatives to address the ‘IT skills and knowledge gap’, which is a big and growing problem, and while the just-released AI-powered predictive services can be folded, spindled and mutilated into a ‘talent-gap cure’, it appears more to be just a really good set of business solutions. The costs and resources required to keep the datacenter lights on can account for 70-80% of IT budgets, said Bryan Palma, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cisco Advanced Services, but while improving efficiencies and uptimes will pay a huge business dividend, that doesn’t mean those freed-up resources will translate into the IT skills and knowledge required to facilitate the new IT reality, digital transformation, which by one estimate will be worth $493.39 billion by 2022, and is speeding along at a CAGR of 19.1%. The new services, available immediately, fall into two categories — Business Critical Services and High-value Services — and are extensions of what the company has been providing for some time, said Palma. Services is the second largest business unit at Cisco, at $13 billion and 25% of revenues, with 90% of its services revenue recurring. A big part of the company’s competitive advantage is its installed base of 50 million networks, he told IT Trends & Analysis, and the telemetry data from that provides Cisco with a better picture of what’s going on in the IT environment than practically every other vendor. Professional services can leverage that data to help customers shift their focus from maintaining their datacenters and network infrastructures to finding new ways to improve customer services and generate revenues, he added. “At the same time we’re seeing that IT has been more defensive and they are looking to be more offensive, and that’s where we’re looking to take them.” Calling it a new portfolio of subscription services, Business Critical Services ‘deliver more capabilities including analytics, automation, compliance and security by Cisco Advanced Services’ technology experts’. “In the past it’s been called optimization,” said Palma, and as part of their ongoing focus on constant improvement, have made a number of improvements. “What we’re trying to do is give them the flexibility to move with their strategic options.” The new service benefits include helping minimize human error by: reducing complexity and cost through automation, orchestration, and technical expertise; accelerating business agility and transformation through advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities; and reducing risk with automated compliance and remediation services.The business outcome objectives are to help reduce downtime by 74%, resolve issues 41% percent faster and reduce operational costs by 21%. The other side of the services portfolio, Technical Services,...

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ThinkPad 25 Celebrates 25 Years of Solid Innovation

It is not often we get a collectible notebook. I’ve had a few over the years—the ThinkPad Butterfly, the Acer Ferrari Laptop, and there have been several Dell collectibles like the Dell Adamo. Unlike most laptops, even when these are “done” from a computing sense you generally keep them because they are a part of history. One of the most iconic brands in notebooks however is the ThinkPad. The ThinkPad arguably had the first “collectible” (the only one I sadly didn’t keep) and they just recently announced their 25-year anniversary edition—the ThinkPad 25—in limited quantities. Unlike many of the collectibles I’ve mentioned—which were often both pretty and relatively fragile—the ThinkPad 25 reflects its business roots. Like a collectible truck—as opposed to a collectible sportscar—it is comparatively robust. Let’s talk ThinkPads this week. For more information, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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IBM’s LTO-8 – Building a Bright Future for Tape Storage

Hang around the IT industry long enough and you notice that rumors of the impending demise of some product or class of products are always making the rounds. Sometimes they’re honest opinions expressed by canny industry-watchers. More often they reflect the hopes of desperate vendors trying to poke holes in competitors’ cash cows and/or businesses. Most importantly, they’re generally wrong. Why do I say that? Because if you examine the evidence, you find that technologies tend to die for one of two reasons. The first are vendor-led extinctions where a vendor decides to pull the plug on a given technology (or the market pulls the plug on the vendor). For example, HP’s 2000 acquisition of Compaq and its subsequent adoption of Intel’s Itanium CPUs resulted in the company killing its own HP-UX chips, as well as Compaq’s Alpha and Tandem silicon. Technologies also die when they fail to keep pace with alternatives or lose the faith of core customers. Data storage technologies provide a rich smorgasbord of examples, including the appearance/disappearance of 8-inch, 5¼-inch and 3 ½-inch floppy disks, and Iomega’s Zip and Jaz drives, all of which were driven under by decreasingly costly/increasingly popular HDD and CD/RW technologies. Which brings us to tape storage, particularly data center-focused tape technologies. Those have been under a death-watch since 2002 when EMC introduced its Centera platform, the industry’s first HDD-based solution for data archiving, long a tape bastion. More to the point, despite surviving well beyond competitors’ hopes and expectations, tape storage also continues to evolve as evidenced by the new generation LTO-8 offerings just announced by IBM. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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