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IBM Cognos TM1 + Atlassian JIRA = Client Success

IBM Cognos TM1 is well-known as an enterprise planning software platform that can transform your entire planning cycle, from target setting and budgeting to reporting, scorecarding, analysis and forecasting [1], and Perficient is well-known for delivering expertly designed TM1-based solutions. At Perficient, we are excited about solving our customers’ business needs. Every Cognos TM1 implementation begins with the question: what problem does our customer need our help to solve? Here at Perficient, we strive to make sure we truly understand customer needs and future needs to help them succeed within their business.

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Extend your Salesforce Investment with Cloud Integration

According to recent studies by Forrester Research and Gartner, application integration along with security, are the main reasons why IT executives resist cloud-based applications. However, fueled by today’s fiercely competitive business environment, IT managers must deliver rapid, innovative and low-cost solutions to stay ahead of the competition. Companies need a solution that can run anywhere, connect applications anywhere, be managed from anywhere, and require no specialist integration skills or IT infrastructure. These solutions must be easily configurable, flexible, ansalesforce cast iron webinar high resd scalable—which means no coding.

With Salesforce solutions spreading rapidly across the business world and moving more of your business functions to Salesforce, you’ll quickly realize the need to maintain your core back-office systems and expose parts of them to your sales and service groups. In addition, there are probably other cloud applications that you have recently empowered your employees and customers with.   Application integration has become the critical component to cloud computing and must be dramatically simplified to realize the full benefits of cloud-based applications. The importance of a solid, stable, and robust integration strategy is key in moving your business forward.

Join us on July 22nd, and meet your answer to cloud integration and data exchange. WebSphere Cast Iron integration has been proven, recommended, and sought after for providing the mechanism to engage almost any existing on premise system to Salesforce with ease. The “no code” approach to building integrations allows for rapid implementation times, often in days, not months.

During this webinar we will share successful use cases and our experts will cover an in-depth look at this solution including ways to:

  • Connect cloud and on-premise applications quickly and easily with Salesforce
  • Compare traditional approaches to integration and the benefits of employing Cast Iron Integration
  • Empower IT with an off-the-shelf approach to integration, reviving your existing back-office systems with a conduit to the cloud


IBM and Box announcement – unwrapping what it means


Last week IBM and Box announced a partnership that benefits a wide variety of customers. The IBM press release, found here, IBM and Box Press release detailed three areas that the companies will work together:

IBM and Box will partner in three key areas:

Transformation of Enterprise Work

  • Content Management: Box will integrate IBM industry-leading enterprise content management including content capture, extraction, analytics, case management and governance.
  • Watson Analytics: IBM and Box will collaborate to bring in-depth enterprise insights using IBM Watson Analytics to content stored in Box.
  • Social Collaboration Solutions: IBM and Box will collaborate to integrate Box capabilities into IBM Verse and IBM Connections, the company’s business email solution and social collaboration platform.

International Reach and Security

  • Enterprise Cloud: Box will enable joint customers to store their content on the IBM Cloud. The IBM Cloud provides data resiliency, data privacy and data localization, a key consideration for international customers who want the option to keep their data in country.
  • Specialized Enterprise Consulting: The partnership will draw upon the specialized Enterprise Content Management skills of IBM Global Business Services professionals to help clients connect or integrate Box capabilities with existing data and systems.
  • Enterprise Security: Box will expand on its enterprise security offerings with IBM security technologies for threat detection, anomaly identification, mobile device management and identity protection.

New Content Rich Apps and Solutions

  • Mobile Apps for Industries:  Box and IBM will jointly develop content management solutions and incorporate Box technology into select IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps.
  • Custom App Development: IBM will enable enterprise developers to integrate Box APIs on the IBM Bluemix developer cloud to help build content rich web and mobile apps.


Overall this announcement makes good sense. There are customers who need to know physically were their data is stored, either for corporate or regulatory reasons, and now they can use Box without Box investing in dedicated data centers. This announcement will support additional mobile development, which is positive for both companies. Having IBM bring Box into customers I think is a win for both. Giving Watson more content to analyze and learn from is great for customers and IBM. Adding the Box APIs into BlueMix gives that platform more value, which is great to see. IBM Verse has some great concepts and linking to Box should make provide additional value to customers.

The collaboration portion is where I see some potential overlap. IBM’s social platform and IBM in general is about integration. IBM of course would like you the customer to find value in multiple IBM products but understands that a mono-culture is not likely. In one way IBM is simply providing customers additional choice; you want to provide Connections files, Connections Content Manger (ECM) and Box to your organization because you have different business drivers and user groups, now you will be able to do that. On the other hand, IBM is selling a file sharing solutions, “IBM Connections Files on Cloud” which is beginning to gain traction in customers. Executives think about the gestalt of a partnership but out in the field is where it happens. Customers need to see the two organizations working together to solve their needs. As long as the customers hear a crisp, clear message, I think this will be a good partnership.

Webinar Recap: Align Data & Analytics for Digital Transformation

Exponential growth of data is a common trend across all industries, along with the need for insights from that data. We’re seeing a large portion of data growth and complexity from the prevalence of devices, mobile, Internet of Things and cloud. Data management and analysis is no longer a competitive advantage, it’s a business necessity to driving innovation.


On a recent Digital Transformation webinar, Perficient polled attendees on the adoption and maturity of Big Data initiatives at their organizations.

  1. Do you have a plan to address the data integration challenges that are related to new customer data types, the Internet of Things, and social data?
  2. Has your company seen the expected value from its Big Data investment?


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Are You Obsessed with Your Customers?

Last week I attended a conference with a great Forrester keynote speaker whose main topic was on Digital Transformation and the Age of the Customer. It is clear there is a new business cycle where the power has shifted back to the people and engagement will mean everything – in other words – companies must embrace a “customer obsessed” operating model to stay ahead of the competition. He gave some great examples of some companies that are succeeding:

  • Southwest Airlines consider themselves a customer service organization who happen to fly planes. They treat their customers as guests and the results are proof positive they get it. I flew United to the conference, got bumped from my very small plan that was overbooked to begin with and was several hours late with very little apology. Maybe time for a change.
  • One of our very own customers, Florida Blue was also shared as a success story. With a massive industry shift, they focused on the new consumer and transformed their business to meet their needs with huge success. Perficient and IBM have been a partner in their journey and continue to evolve with them.

The rest of the conference was just as engaging and I came away loaded with tools to help our customers continue their digital transformation journey.

Today the story continues and I am delighted to be attending a roundtable discussion led by Perficient’s digital transformation strategists Michael Porter and David Stallsmith, and guest speaker Nigel Fenwick, Vice President and Principal Analyst covering digital business strategy with Forrester Researdt webinarch.  Some of the topics they will be discussing include:

  • Crafting a vision that works for your company
  • Understanding where you are on your journey
  • Aligning executive vision with business and IT roles
  • Making the business case for digital transformation
  • Combining tactical projects with the digital transformation strategic vision
  • Uncovering and managing technology gaps

I look forward to hearing about current trends, roadmaps, and technology that can be used to create a better customer experience. I hope you will join me and learn how we can work together to create operating models that take advantage of what’s newly possible for competitive differentiation – it’s time to put our customers at the center of the business and embrace the technology that supports the customer life cycle. It’s time to: Rethink and Realign for Digital Transformation Success

If you can’t make it today – no worries – listen to the replay posted later today.

IBM’s Spark Investment is Evidence Big Data is Dead


Right after I posted my blog on Spark and Hadoop, I came across this article. IBM Big Data RIP tombstone-thumb-300x385-538made a big announcement that they are putting their weight behind Spark.  They are committing more than 3,500 developers and programmers to help move Spark forward. This combined with significant support from the Big 3 Hadoop distributors (HortonWorks, Cloudera, and MapR) Spark seems to have a lot of momentum.

What is going on? Is Big Data is dead!? One can see Google articles proclaiming such. As discussed yesterday, some have said that Spark will replace Hadoop.  Gartner a couple of years ago has proclaimed that Big Data has entered the Tough of Disillusionment. Now IBM has very publicly proclaimed massive support for Spark.  Read the rest of this post »

Insights From Reliable Asset World

Perficient was a Gold Sponsor of this year’s conference, which brought together experts in asset maintenance related processes, training, tools and machinery.

The keynote speaker at the conference was Perficient’s David Reiber. As former owner of General Motors Global Maximo Deployment, David knows a thing or thousand about asset maintenance and reliability.

assetworld1 assetworld2

What I found in speaking with attendees, as well as knowing David, is there has not been investment in harnessing the machine data already being gathered to predict failure in a meaningful, cross-process way. Don’t get me wrong; it is being done by very smart people but done in narrow views of data…nothing that is cross-process step capturing the entire manufacturing process data.

As experts in helping companies harness data and unlock its true value, Perficient is working in a variety of ways to help companies harness machine and asset data.

As a leading IBM Maximo, IBM Integration and IBM Predictive Analytics partner, we’re excited to be a partner for the IBM Predictive Maintenance and Quality product. This product can change the game for organizations by addressing the asset reliability needs of organizations in meaningful ways.

Please contact us to learn how to get started with this cloud or on premise solution. The opportunities for customers are measurable, meaningful and achievable. We’d like to help.


Exploiting IBM Bluemix with IBM Digital Experience

shutterstock_55456972John Boezeman with IBM talked at the last session of the IBM Digital Experience 2015 Conference about integration patterns using IBM Bluemix. Bluemix is a cloud based development and runtime environment that makes it easy to create and deliver services for the API economy. The services can be consumed by any system, including IBM Digital Expeirence. These services can be a mix of web services or UI generating services. A typical example is a weather service. You can deliver just the data or a complete HTML page.

IBM Digital Experience is a natural partner because it offers a lot of built in features to consume those services.  In his session, John showed several ways that IBM Digital Experience consumed Bluemix services. Bluemix can also consume services provided by Digital Experience and he talked about this too.

The four common ways are:

  • Consume Bluemix service via scripting – this is the simplest way.  Here a Bluemix service, like Watson Translation Service, can be accessed via IBM WCM included in DX and by using the IBM Script Portlet. This encourages a four tier architecture. In this case, Bluemix acts as a backend, headless service.
  • Consume via DDC – this option uses Digital Data Connector for WCM to connect to Bluemix to retrieve data and then use WCM to create the presentation.
  • Consume Bluemix Web Application UI – here you use the Web Application Bridge within IBM Digital Experience.  WAB uses an Iframe and reverse proxy to pull markup from Bluemix and display it on the DX page.  You can rewrite the markup to strip out the applications header and footer so the application looks like it is seamless inside the page.
  • Integrate Bluemix app with DX site – this option uses DX’s Web Application Integrator to inject DX’s header and footer into the Bluemix applications pages. This makes the Bluemix application look like its a DX page by having the same banner, navigation and footer as DX. This same technique can be used for any web application running on any platform as long as you can modify the application.

A challenge in the service consumption model is security and cross-site scripting. CORS is Cross Origin Resource Sharing that is now supported by modern browsers. The Blumix app then defines a whitelist of hostnames that can access your service.  This is the easiest way to allow cross domain resources.

A second way to do cross domain is the DX Ajax Proxy.  The proxy uses a Java application to connect to use SAML or credential vault to pass credentials and responses to your Portlet.

Bluemix can also run portlets on the service and DX can consume those portlets using WSRP.  Look on Developerworks for an article about this.

We talked about consuming Bluemix content, but Bluemix can also consume DX services.  Script portlets are fully addressable via URLs independent of portal.  This means you can call a Script Portlet from an Iframe running in an app on Bluemix.

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Leveraging Digital Experience and Marketing

When we talk about Omni-Channel Marketing, we want to integrate marketing automation tools – campaign management, segmentation, etc – with Digital Experience platforms.  IBM has a complete suite of tools in marketing automation, content analytics and digital experience.  In this session at the IBM Digital Experience Conference, Connie Triassi, Angela Caruso and Bryan Daniel talked about how IBM is integrating these various products to provide a complete Omni-Channel Marketing Ecosystem.

The team showed how using IBM products Campaign, Interact, IBM Marketing Cloud (Silverpop, Mobile Push Notification) and Tealeaf can be leveraged with IBM Digital Experience software to increase customer engagement, customer satisfaction & loyalty, and improve conversion rates.IBM Interact

In the demo, IBM used an example company called Greenwheels to highlight the marketing ecosystem. In the demo Heather uses Analytics and Digital Experience to see how the marketing site is performing.  Within Digital Experience, Heather can navigate to the page of interest and see the usage analytics in an overlay right on the page.  To dig deeper, Heather goes to her Digital Analytics system that is connected to her marketing site.

While Digital Analytics provides Heather with a quantitative look at the marketing site performance, she also used IBM Tealeaf to look at what various users were doing on the site and understand what they were viewing.

After analyzing performance, the Marketing Team decides to run a campaign to target several customer segments and increase usage of the marketing site.  Here are the basic steps in the process:

  • First Heather creates a community using IBM Connections.
  • Marketing creates a real-time offer strategy using Interact
  • Heather will instrument the community page wit the offers
  • Marketing will then create an email campaign to drive customers to the community
  • Marketing then monitors the campaigns

To create the offers, Hetaher installs an IBM Interact Portlet on the community page.  This portlet presents the offers generated by Interact.  The portlet passes user information that Digital Experience knows and marries it with other data that Interact knows about the customer.  The personalized offer defined by marketing will then display in the portlet.

Using Interact, a marketer creates segments and associates offers to each segment.  They also creates triggers to tell interact when to execute an offer. Once the Interact portlet is connected to the offer, Digital Experience will then display the correct offer to the user based on the segmentation rules created in Interact.

Brian showed how to create an email campaign tied to the Digital Experience site.  Using Marketing Cloud (SilverPop), he created an email message.  Marketing Cloud integrates with Digital Experience so you can pick content created in WCM to be used in the email campaign.  Using information collected from Analytics, the Marketing Cloud will let you target specific users based on behavior on the marketing site.

Finally, when the targeted customer received the email and clicked on the offer, the analytics tracked the activity and the customer sees the right offer within Digital Experience.

Overall the demo showed good integration between the marketing automation and digital experience solutions.


Digital Experience with WebSphere Commerce

This year during the Digital Experience Conference the integration scenarios of Commerce Server has been a hot topic. When integrating with Commerce there are 3 suggested scenarios.

Some advantages of utilizing Digital Experience for the Commerce server include:

  • Single environment to author all content for either Portal or Commerce sites.
  • Includes both e-spots and full pages of content.
  • Can implement content approval workflows in WCM
  • Security provided by WCM so can restrict content to certain users.
  • In general, WCS content editors like the WCM authoring environment better.


DX with WebSphere Commerce Integration Scenarios

Portal as the Front-end

Utilize portal to aggregate all your marketing and commerce content in the same environment.  Commerce provides example portlets that can deploy to your portal environment.

Commerce as the Front-end

Utilize the WCM API and REST services to server content to the Commerce environment.  WebSphere Commerce environment controls the full user experience.


End users are directed to the appropriate environment depending on the requested page.  Shared resources are requested between the environments via REST.