I recently attended the IBM Innovate conference as an IBM guest analyst. At the outset, I must thank IBM – especially their outstanding Software IT analyst team – for being an excellent host and providing us a forum to get a lot of valuable technical and business information on the IBM Rational portfolio of solutions targeted at developers and the IT community. The overarching theme was Software Everyware.
As I returned back toConnecticut, this theme got me thinking. Those of you, who know me, know that I am a foodie. Those that know me better also know that not only do I relish good food, but also like to sample and customize it and get it “at a whim” when traveling or on the road. My close friends and family often think that my whole world revolves around food! And travel itineraries are purposefully built for this!
So during one of the round tables when an IBM executive painted an analogy of integrated software solutions with being Hungry and wanting food, it resonated very well with me. The scenario he painted went as follows: Imagine you are driving and you want to stop to get some food. Then using Yelp on your smart phone, you get a list of nearby restaurants serving close to what you are yearning for and you read the reviews, etc. Then using Groupon, you can check if there are any coupons that could be used, then using the GPS you arrive at this restaurant and have a good meal that makes you Happy and sated! This is great but can be better!
Now, taking this further, he said, imagine if all of this was integrated, and all you do is press a Hungry button – similar to the Staples Easy button. And voila, you get all these processes and applications integrated and you arrive at the restaurant with less manual action on your part. Perhaps with a meal ordering system integrated, you could start munching your delicious meal as soon as you arrive at the restaurant – a classic Just in Time (JIT) system! This could make you even more Happy!
Now, I thought, imagine further, let’s say you have an intelligent sensor that has stored your preferences, past recent meals, and other relevant information and can communicate with the applications/processes listed above. The sensor senses that you are hungry and the system recommends a ranked list of restaurants. You then just press the Go button and are on your way to being Happy!
So Software Everyware allows you to collaborate, integrate, and innovate! And yes, become Happy faster while minimizing manual effort!
But technology is only a tool. Paraphrasing a leading researcher from the Institute of the Future, “Businesses are becoming conversations between technologies, with humans supervising the process”. This is enabled by Software Everyware.
But innovation is not just about technology or products but rather about the careful design and optimization of the business with people, processes, policies, and partners with purpose, passion, persistence, and perspiration! This is what I witnessed at the IBM Rational Innovate conference. Beyond Software Everyware, it was also Happy Everyware!
I went in Hungry to learn and returned Happy! And I didn’t press any buttons! My world has become better!