IOD Dispatch: Are you ready to Think Big?
Delaney Turner 270003RQ8K Delaney.Turner@ca.ibm.com | | Tags:  information-insights ibmsoftware
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"To understand is to perceive patterns.” ~ Isaiah Berlin
“Think Big” is this year's theme and host Jason Silva conveyed it with conviction, dazzle and flair.
Dwarfed by a mammoth 80 X 40-foot screen (the largest possible to make without a seam), an energetic Silva listed myriad ways that big data and analytics are helping organizations take advantage of Big Opportunities to create a Big Future.
He explained, for example, how the United Nations is using sentiment analysis to help predict civil unrest, job losses, spending reductions and disease outbreaks. He highlighted how real-time grid data help electricity companies detect and fix problems before a major outage. He illustrated how doctors can now tap into the experience of other doctors to determine the best treatment.
“This seismic shift toward data-driven discovery and decision-making is a revolution,” he said.
All the while, futuristic images of cities, trees and, oddly enough, harvester ants flew by as the TED Talker and self-confessed “epiphany addict” placed these ideas within the context of metabolic laws and biological design and quoted at length from big thinkers like Kevin Kelley and Steven Johnson.
“The more we look at these patterns, the more they resemble forms in nature,” he said. “We're taking human understanding to an unprecedented level."
"Do you know what's going on here? It's accelerated evolution.”
Think Big, indeed.
But if technology is “slingshotting us forward faster than ever before,” if you consider yourself one of “the truly enlightend ones,” a “cosmic revolutinary” in a “new renaissance,” how do you make it – even a small part it – happen in your organization?
At this point Silva ceded the floor to Robert Leblanc, IBM Senior VP for Middleware Software, whose charts provided the answers and whose customer interviews provided the proof points.
Leblanc drew from a long list of IBM C-suite studies to show how since 2004, technology has steadily risen to the top of executives' list of concerns. The rapid adoption of mobility and cloud, plus advances in big data and analytics, are ushering in a new era of computing, he said. Data volume, variety, velocity and increasingly – veracity – are the key drivers of this new era.
Leblanc shared Silva's enthusiasm for the Big Opportunities, but he also acknowledged the big strain these four V's are placing on organizations and their IT infrastructures. IT workloads are now so onerous that most organizations now spend nearly two-thirds of their IT budgets on maintenance and administration, he said. Further, only one organization in five allocates more than half of their IT dollars to new projects.
“I want that 63 percent to be inverted,” said Leblanc. “ I want you spending 63 percent of your time innovating.”
The make that switch, Leblanc, said, organizations must embrace a new mindset more in-tune and in-synch with our dynamic and interconnected global economy.
To prove that such a transition is possible, Leblanc then welcomed the first of two client speakers to the stage.
Phil Anno, Principal Scientist at energy giant ConocoPhillips, explained how IBM Infosphere Stream computing is helping protect their oil rigs and optimize their investments in the Arctic, a region believed to contain 25 percent of the world's remaining gas and oil reserves. One oil rig is a $350 million investment with a time-frame measured in decades, said Anno. To optimize its placement and output – not to mention safeguarding its employees, Anno explained how IBM predictive capabilities help the company track the movement of icebergs and ice floes in the Arctic sea. These insights improve the company's ability to deploy ice breakers. With thousands of icebergs in constant flux, this project can generate a terabyte of data per day, depending on weather conditions and ocean currents.
Following Anno on stage was Keith Figlioli, SVP Informatics at Premier, a performance improvement alliance of more than 2,700 U.S. hospitals and 90,000 other sites. Data silos are pervasive throughout the U.S. Healthcare system, said Figlioli, so much so that 30 cents of every health care dollar is either lost to fraud or waste. More worrisome, he also explained how 100,000 people die each year from preventable hospital infections.
“Providers can't afford to not take advantage of analytics," he said. “It's literally a matter of life and death.”
He then described how Premier's analytics solution is driving a transition from the “stone age” siloed and manual processes that contribute to these problems to an integrated and powerful ecosystem of insights that can dramatically cut costs and improve patient care. “There's not a lot of end-to-end visibility,” he said. Processes can be improved even within a single protocol like a blood transfusion. Figlioli explained. When applied across its providers - some 40 percent of the U.S. healthcare system, these improvements can drive dramatic cost savings and improve patient care. “Our analytics are aimed at the heart of the problem.
Finally, Leblanc also provided considerable stage time to IBM executives Inhi Cho Suh and Deepak Advani, who walked attendees through the IBM technologies that will be helping organizations make these Big Opportunities possible today within their organizations. First, Inhi Cho Suh, VP of IBM Information Management, Product Management and Strategy, provided a detailed run-down of IBM's new family of PureSystems expert integrated systems. You can read more about PureSystems on our official Information On Demand Blog.
Deepak Advani, VP Business Analytics Products and Solutions, then walked attendees through a simulation of IBM's new Smarter Analytics solutions. For more, you can read Katrina Read's recap.