April 13, 2018

IBM Think – the future is here!

In 2018 IBM combined four of their cornerstone conferences; IBM Interconnect, IBM Amplify, IBM World of Watson and IBM PartnerWorld, into a super show called: IBM Think.  I’m not sure on the exact turnout, though I heard reports of 30,000 plus or minus a few thousand people were in attendance.  While it had its logistical hiccups, it also had an impressive interactive expo hall, a wide range of keynote speakers on leadership, AI, security, marketing, and the hands on interactive labs provided excellent exposure to the different IBM technologies.

I’m sure entire books could be written on all the content that was covered at the show, but for this blog post I’m going to share some of the more interesting things I learned from a marketing technologist’s perspective:

  • IBM has renewed their marketing software development themes of seamless integration and AI-powered. And this year, they’ve added a third tenant to focus on –  the user experience aspect.  This was extended to both the cloud and their legacy on-prem software.
  • The first HCL engineered version of IBM enterprise marketing software (aka Unica) is scheduled to be released in Q2 (version 11). Looking beyond the immediate, talk about using Docker resurfaced as a potential architecture framework that would simplify and reduce the burden of implementing software upgrades.
  • Watson continues to be seeded into marketing applications through things like:
    • Segmentation help
    • Performance insights
    • Recommendations on offer assignment
  • There’s a new tool called Media Optimizer. It’s powered by MediaMath and Watson Marketing. It seamlessly integrates DSP and DMP technologies to help marketers automate and optimize their paid media strategies across all channels.  It will come in two flavors: standard and premium, along with some optional add-on components (Intelligence and Audience).

Despite its growing pains and imperfections, I found the show as time well spent.  I enjoyed many of the marketing focused presentations, labs, events, etc. and hope they have more of them next year.