In this digital economy, enterprises need to utilize mobile and cloud technologies to bring the next set of capabilities to their clients. The key is unbundling and putting together offerings that really handle the next generation of business and business process, says Robert LeBlanc, Senior Vice President, Software and Cloud Solutions, IBM.
To help organizations capitalize on IBM's composable business vision and make better use of cloud and mobile technologies, Big Blue announced a number of initiatives at its Impact conference in Las Vegas on Monday.
The first is IBM Cloud marketplace, which brings IBM’s various cloud capabilities and new third-party services together in one location to help developers, IT managers and business leaders learn, try, and buy software and services.
“That marketplace is where you can come and get information around infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, and software-as-a-service,” says Robert LeBlanc, Senior Vice President, Software and Cloud Solutions, IBM.
According to IBM, the marketplace serves as a cloud innovation hub where technology meets business with hundreds of cloud services from IBM, its partners and third-party ecosystem. Clients can access a full suite of IBM-as-a-service, including IBM’s Bluemix platform, which was announced at February’s Pulse conference, as well as SoftLayer’s cloud platform.
“This is not just about providing services,” LeBlanc explains. “We are trying to bring expertise to all of you. We are trying to make it easy for you to come to a marketplace that provides you with everything you need,” from how-to’s, documentation, video, what people are blogging, client case studies, “so what you see is a very, very rich set of content associated with those solutions.”
IBM Cloud marketplace has three key components—for line-of-business professionals, IT, and developers. For business leaders, the marketplace will serve as a single stop where business and IT professionals can learn about, deploy, and consume over 100 SaaS applications ranging from marketing, procurement, sales and commerce, supply chain, customer service, finance, legal, and city managers.
For developers, the marketplace provides “an integrated, get-started-now, cloud-based development environment where individual developers, development shops and enterprise development teams can quickly and effectively build enterprise applications via leading services and application protocol interfaces (APIs),” according to IBM. For IT departments, the IBM Cloud marketplace provides a secure set of cloud services built on SoftLayer, which “gives clients the ability to choose a cloud environment and location that best suits their business needs and provides visibility and transparency to where data reside, control of data security, and placement with a choice of public, private or bare-metal server options.”
Bluemix expansion simplifies app building in the cloud
Building on IBM’s $1 billion investment in Bluemix, open platform-as-a-service, IBM also announced at Impact the expansion of Bluemix with 30 cloud services, bringing advanced big data and analytics, mobile, security and DevOps services to developers and bringing enterprise developers into the cloud.
In the first eight weeks of Bluemix’s open beta launch, IBM has seen rapid adoption of the open platform with key clients and partners such as GameStop, Pitney Bowes, Continental Automotive and start-ups including eyeQ.
“Bluemix has helped us grow and scale our resources at a rapid pace, assisting us in deploying a cost-effective solution to our clients that helps us get to market faster," says Michael Garel, CEO and Founder of eyeQ. "With Bluemix, we are able to reduce the amount of time spent on monthly server maintenance by 85 percent, and turn our attentions back to greater innovation."
Monday’s Impact announcement includes enhanced Bluemix services as well as a brand new set of services in areas of cloud integration, the Internet of Things, and machine to machine. “We’re adding a whole slew of analytics, and we are also adding application auto-scaling,” says LeBlanc. “When you build your application and you have it running out on the cloud on Bluemix, you get the ability to auto-scale that application because we sit on top of the SoftLayer structure, which gives us the ability to generate a whole new set of capabilities for all of you who are having to manage these applications.”
IBM’s new Bluemix services are designed to help businesses rapidly transform using big data, mobile, and social technologies in the cloud. “We want to fuel rapid application development because we are in a world of speed, a world of cloud and mobile and big data,” says LeBlanc. “You want to be able to deliver that integrated experience, and we want to help drive the integration that you need between the systems of engagement and the systems of record to help you build the next killer app for your organization.”
To showcase Bluemix’s ease of use and the power of assembly, Mark Jen of Square Inc. spoke Monday about Square’s innovative free credit card reader that turns smartphones into ecommerce devices.
“Over the past few years, Square has completely transformed the way entrepreneurs start, run, and grow their businesses,” says Jen. “With the mobility available from the smartphone, you can now accept credit cards anytime and anywhere—tradeshows, farmers markets, on the road—we’ve truly made commerce easy.”
The final Bluemix announcement is the launch of the first Bluemix Garage to further speed the development of cloud applications. Bluemix Garages are “physical, collaborative spaces for developers, product managers, and designers to collaborate with IBM experts to rapidly innovate and deliver new cloud applications to be deployed onto Bluemix,”
This announcement is in partnership with Galvanize, a startup hub that will provide a shared home to approximately 200 San Francisco startups by the end of 2014. “Developers will work side-by-side and use Bluemix to develop the next-generation applications and solutions,” says LeBlanc. “We want to foster that level of innovation. We want to help these new startups really generate, very quickly, the new business opportunities that are out there. We are really focused on bridging the gap between startups and the enterprise. ”
San Francisco is the first of many Bluemix Garages that IBM plans to open around the world, where developers will be able to work with IBM consultants, partners, and entrepreneurs to bring these new applications to fruition.
For more Insights Magazine coverage of IBM Impact, read about client success stories and IBM's BlueInsight announcement, view a segment of Kevin Spacey's keynote. You can also read more about Spacey's speech and learn more about the new IBM MobileFirst Application Development portfolio expansion and IBM Worklight upgrade.