Enabling hybrid cloud apps and multi-speed IT

With the evolution of the cloud, startups seem to have it easy. They come up with an idea, implement it on the cloud, and deploy continuously right away.

For companies that have developed software for years, either for internal use or to sell, things are more complicated. Those companies invested in their applications and will use them as long as they provide needed function.

Consider the anonymized company “GroceryX.” For years, it had a rewards program. At first, the program ran in the company’s enterprise and gathered data from customers, including demographic data, buying habits, and purchase data. GroceryX used that data to send offers to the customers in the rewards program. Now, the company has a new idea. Through a mobile app, it will provide customers with tailored content that is based on the data from its corporate database. To make that idea a reality, GroceryX needs hybrid cloud.

Hybrid cloud and multi-speed IT

A hybrid cloud application is a complex enterprise application that spans both cloud-based systems of engagement and systems of record, such as mainframe-based transactional systems or traditional applications that are hosted on data centers.


To develop the mobile rewards program app, GroceryX forms a new team that acts like a startup and develops on the cloud. The company also picks the cloud platform where it will develop the mobile app and design an excellent mobile customer experience. One need still exists, though: The app must pull data from the traditional customer data application.

The customer data application team has existed for years, and it releases updates as new function is needed. That team and the new team deliver on different schedules, a concept known as multi-speed IT. Developing hybrid cloud applications requires tracking technical dependencies across multiple teams, developing robust APIs, and ensuring that teams work together toward a common goal.

By / August 24, 2016

IBM named a leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for mobile application development platforms four years in a row

We are thrilled that for the fourth consecutive year, Gartner named IBM a leader in the Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms. IBM is now a leader in seven Magic Quadrants related to mobile:

  • Enterprise Mobility Management Suites
  • Enterprise Content Management
  • Managed Mobility Services
  • Application Security Testing
  • Security Information and Event Management
  • Global Digital Marketing Agencies
  • Mobile Application Development Platforms

Leaders in the report must represent a strong combination of “Ability to Execute” and “Completeness of Vision.” According to Gartner, Inc., “In the MADP sector, this means that Leaders not only are good at cross-platform development, deployment and management across the full life cycle, but also have a good vision of the multichannel enterprise, support for multiple architectures and standards, a solid understanding of IT requirements, and scalable channels and partnerships.”

Mobile continues to be a top priority for enterprises around the world. According to initial findings from the IBM Institute for Business Value study, 77 percent of executives plan to do at least five mobile enterprise initiatives over the next year. As the primary entry point for digital transformation, mobile continues to drive enterprises to rethink how they create unique digital experiences for their customers and employees. IBM is proud to support more than 5,000 clients from around the world in every industry as they transform into mobile enterprises. We are inspired by the innovative solutions our clients are creating with IBM MobileFirst and powered by the cloud.

Here are just a few examples of how IBM MobileFirst is driving mobile development success:

  • ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank, needed an innovative way to attract youth and first-time banking customers. ICICI Bank leveraged IBM MobileFirst to develop Pockets, a multi-platform app described as “India’s first digital bank for youth.” The app enables instant creation of a digital wallet with an attached payment card fundable from any bank account. Users can transfer funds to bank accounts as well as to email IDs, mobile numbers and social networks. They can pay bills, request money from family and friends, and open a full-service youth savings account at ICICI Bank. With IBM MobileFirst, ICICI Bank’s mobile customers receive instant access to useful services, while ICICI Bank gains an effective platform for supporting mobility and quickly developing new features and apps.
  • City Furniture, a Florida-based furniture retailer, leveraged IBM’s mobile services and Swift end-to-end to create a mobile solution in just six weeks to transform clearance merchandise from a cost-recovery to a profitable product segment. City Furniture’s new iPad app enables better pricing of merchandise, improves employee efficiency and productivity and is expected to have a potential impact of more than $1.5 million.
  • Security First Insurance, a leading Florida-based homeowners insurance company, improved customer engagement and provided differentiated service in a competitive business environment through the Security First Mobile App powered by IBM MobileFirst. Through an interactive Storm Center leveraging weather and location-based insights, Security First Insurance is putting critical, relevant storm information and preparedness tools in the hands of Floridians, while at the same time cultivating loyalty for its brand.

ICICI Bank, City Furniture and Security First Insurance are just three examples of how IBM MobileFirst drives digital transformation within the enterprise. We believe our leadership in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant reinforces our vision for driving mobile success in the cloud and cognitive era.

Download the full report here.


Blue Box founder Proudman talks OSCON, OpenStack, IBM future!

When IBM announced in June that it had acquired Seattle-based Blue Box, which offers private clouds as a service via OpenStack, analysts and IT experts called it a step forward for IBM’s hybrid cloud capabilities.

Now more than a month into the relationship—and with OSCON fast approaching—we wanted to get a better idea of where Blue Box will fit in the IBM Cloud portfolio. We went back to the source, Blue Box founder Jesse Proudman, to see how the transition is going, and where they’re headed.

Thoughts on Cloud: Blue Box has been an IBM company now for a little over a month. What has that month been like for you and your team?

Proudman: It’s been a blur of ideas and action, fueled by a phenomenal integration team and lots of 5-Hour Energy. The more we dig into the details, the more we realize just how much sense this combination makes. Most importantly, I’m incredibly proud that we’ve been able to recruit 11 new team members to the Blue Box family in the first month under the IBM Cloud umbrella.

ToC: What does the future hold for Blue Box within IBM?

Proudman: We’re staying focused on the immediate future, on getting things done. The second half of 2015 has three priorities. First, we’ll complete the integration of our teams: engineering and go-to-market are the key priorities. Our engineering team will continue building the Box Panel suite of operations tooling that deploys and manages private clouds for our customers. At the same time, they’ll be working in the field to push Blue Box private cloud as a service into IBM client and SoftLayer data centers worldwide. Our marketing team will work with the broad IBM consulting organization to equip them with the knowledge and resources to help IBM customers and clients understand the role that OpenStack-powered PCaaS can play in their overall cloud strategy.

(Related: Jesse Proudman and other cloud experts offer insights in the webcast “Top ways to get the most from cloud management“)

ToC: Has anything surprised you since Blue Box became part of Big Blue?

Proudman: Both how insanely smart members of the IBM team are, and the breadth of expertise and knowledge that exists inside Big Blue. IBM is 430,000 strong, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the caliber of folks we’ve met.

ToC: You’re heading to OSCON next week. What are your expectations in terms of hot topics and trends heading in to the conference?

Proudman: OSCON is an odd duck in the roster of cloud conferences. It’s more about the philosophy and culture of open source than advocating or demonstrating new commercial technologies. In fact, it tends to be a great spot for recruiting engineering talent.

With that as a backdrop, we’re going to be looking for conversations about container management and container cluster management. Enterprises are obviously interested in how containers are managed and operated in production. They want tooling and support that helps them deliver containers reliably and in compliance with policies. Preferably, they’d like to do this within the cloud infrastructure they’re already running, rather than starting over with a new stack. This is a shift in the conversation, where names like CoreOS, Magnum, Rancher and Kubernetes are more important than things further down the stack like Docker itself. It’ll be interesting to continue to watch how this all plays out.

ToC: You recently wrote that you don’t believe there’s consolidation happening within OpenStack right now. Could you expand a bit on your view of why you think the opposite is happening?

Proudman: Consolidation can mean several things. In the context of OpenStack, the term been used recently to suggest that there is oversupply in the market. That’s ludicrous. What we see instead is a market maturing with new business models emerging to support the consumption patterns customers are embracing.

In my blog post about the failure of OpenStack distributions, I make the case that software distributions of OpenStack have failed because the vast majority of enterprises don’t want to touch OpenStack. Instead, they just want to consume it. So, early distro providers who’ve been acquired are helping larger companies build out a more comprehensive suite of services to meet the realities of a rapidly growing market.

That’s not a consolidation. It’s a realignment of resources in the face of an evolving market.

(Related: Read Jesse Proudman’s Thoughts on Cloud article “OpenStack: The myth of the middle“)

ToC: What do you think Blue Box brings to the table with its OpenStack offering that sets it apart?

Proudman: We make it possible to spin up dedicated private cloud resources in a nearly on-demand environment. We can do this in our data centers or yours, across an ever expanding geography. Customers are embracing it, and we’re excited to be building something that’s perfectly positioned for where the market is going. This is truly unique positioning in the marketplace.

ToC: You also wrote recently that “most enterprise buyers want OpenStack without having to touch OpenStack.” How are you addressing this unique challenge?

Proudman: We started by assembling an incredibly talented team of OpenStack and infrastructure experts coupled with a very robust management technology. Then, we combined forces with IBM, an organization with the resources to deliver OpenStack solutions that the market has been demanding since before they knew the name, OpenStack. Now together, we’re developing a highly competitive product roadmap that I look forward to sharing more about in a future interview.Blue Box founder Proudman talks OSCON, OpenStack, IBM future!