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IBM Connect 2017 Opening General Session

IBM Connect 2017 kicked off today in San Francisco with the theme of Cognitive Workspaces and how IBM Watson will transform everyday work.  The opening general session was divided into two parts and highlighted key messages, shared customer stories, made announcements and of course showed some innovative demonstrations of accomplishments over the last year and a preview of things to come.  Inhi Cho Suh, General Manager Collaboration Solutions, kicked off the conference.  Interesting highlights follow.

Key Messages

  • Cognitive systems can understand what we are doing, hypothesize and enhance everyday work.
  • Cloud is the key to manage data challenges.  IBM’s vision is to create open cloud platform that is accessible and extensible for limitless products and services.
  • Curate enterprise data with open data to bring them together to cognitive insights – Content, conversation and computation come together to make this happen.
  • Security and privacy are built into the fabric of solutions.  Without this, solutions would be a non starter.
  • Connections, Verse and Watson Workspace are core products to the strategy and vision going forward.

Statistics Driving the Vision

  • Work requiring collaboration has increased by over 50% in the past decade.
  • The Average employee is distracted on average 11 minutes and needs 25 minutes to refocus.  This means most get “re-distracted” prior to being able to refocus.
  • In an average week, people spend over 8 hours searching for people and over 7 hours searching for information… nearly 2 days.


Over the last 12 months, IBM has delivered over 320 new enhancements and features across the portfolio.  Important ones are:

  • Connections cloud infrastructure – Pan-Asian data centers are now online, new certifications in these centers have been obtained and 3rd party marketplace support has broadened.
  • Partnerships with CISCO for video and messaging, box integration for file sharing, Actiance for auditing and compliance and Genband for integrated PBX services expand capabilities.
  • Connections introduced smart search, enhanced metrics and has deeper Office 365 integration.
  • Verse greatly improved productivity by delivering over 30 new features.
  • Notes and Domino – Support will continue through at least 2021 (over 30 years since its initial release!)
  • Feature pack delivery model makes upgrades easier for Notes and Domino.
  • Sametime 9.0.1 was released and delivered additional features and capabilities.
  • Verse on premise shipped.

IBM Watson Work Services

  • The platform is cognitive because it understands business conversations
    • Detecting Intent
    • Identify Topics
    • Summarize
    • Learn Business Dialect
  • The platform can translate them to Actions for Applications
    • Integrate
    • Enrich
    • Interact
    • Act
  • IBM Watson Workspace
    • Open, conversational and collaborative
    • Cognitive at its core – Focus, understand intent and take action
    • Focus on what matters
    • Get work done

Future Delivery

  • Connections – Will deliver version 6.0 for on premise customers.
  • Orient Me will ship  in April using analytics to organize home page as well as a new user onboarding experience.
  • New Connections community experience is coming.
  • Connections Pink – Vision and roadmap for future, modern approach for employee engagement.
  • Verse – Delegated Calendar, extensiblity and updated editor.

The sessions were a great way to kick off IBM Connect 2017 with a good mix of vision, demonstration and thought leadership as to how Cognitive is changing the way we work. More to come in the next few days.

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Glenn Kline

Area Vice President, Custom Development and Mobile Solutions

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