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Live From Impact 2011: IBM Software’s Steve Mills on Business Agility

April 12, 2011 No Comments

Katie Linendoll, the “chic geek” technojournalist for both CNN and CBS, spiritedly kicked off today’s Impact 2011 morning keynote.Scott and I had the pleasure of interviewing Katie yesterday afternoon for Impact TV, whereupon Katie went out of her way to give Scott a hard time about his pad and paper “Think” pad. (We cool kids both had iPads, albeit mine’s a 1st generation, Katie’s the iPad 2.)

Katie explained that for today’s session, we were going to focus on the “how” of building towards business agility, and then promptly introduced IBM Senior VP, Software and Systems, Steve Mills.

Steve had also joined us for an Impact TV interview, on Sunday, and continued to relay to the gathered 8,000+ member audience some of the key messages he had communicated during our interview.

In his comments, Steve pointed out for the audience how well received the IBM customer participation in both keynotes and breakouts has been, and he highlighted several in his talk: Caterpillar, N.Y. State Tax Authority, Isbank (in Turkey), all of which have realized great efficiencies and agility via business process management.

Mills explained that over the past decade, we’ve collectively been on a journey with SOA to build towards business agility, seizing the opportunity to leverage open standards and start to build more horizontal business processes that were no longer isolated to vertical applications.

SOA, Mills explained, has been about trying to unlock those applications and assets that define your business and the particular processes that make your business run, but that you can’t get there without unlocking your own data and assets.

But Mills also pointed out that there’s not a lot of new things in IT. Watson, for example, the computer system that recently took on and beat Jeopardy world champions, is not four years old. “There’s over 40 years of IT science behind Watson.”

Applause from the Impact audience. Mills continued: “The last four years were really fun. The past 40 were really hard.”

Business agility requires a robust SOA infrastructure, Mills explained, and we at IBM have worked on helping build a complete infrastructure because we understood our customers wanted to tie a lot of services together and to have flexible, high-performing infrastructures.

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