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January 29, 2014

IBM Makes the Case for Open Technologies

Technology – and the cloud -- has never been more important to business, said Dr. Angel Luis Diaz, IBM VP of open technologies & cloud performance, as he opened up his keynote presentation Wednesday afternoon at ITEXPO Miami.

Whether it’s for strategic reinvention, better decision making or deeper collaboration, the cloud is helping companies with insight and leveraging expertise. Almost 60 percent of companies are already using the cloud in some way, and it is powering technology trends like the IoT, which is expected to contribute to the growth of more than 30 billion things connecting to the Internet by 2020. Diaz called to action what he calls the “IT Renaissance,” and understanding the business implications and customers companies are serving when they apply technology. Mobile, social, the IoT, big data and analytics are all powered by the cloud and built on open technologies. The cloud enables companies to run IT, think of new applications and try to create new business models.

Diaz worked along with Tim Berners-Lee on the original standards for the Web, and co-authored one of the original HTML5 specs. He emphasized how open technology and an open approach for building technology, paired with business ideas, can enable companies to have an incredible impact. Open technology can help improve brand recognition and accelerate market growth.

Diaz referenced Rackspace and OpenStack as an example of growth speed. Open technology enables the speed of innovation, which is evident with OpenStack – it grew to be so big in just a year and a half. He also brought up Cloud Foundry, an open-source foundation for people to build cloud applications in a “polyglot” way – being able to scale applications across multiple domains. He emphasized that not all open-source technology is the same – if one vendor controls it, it can take it away. His advice is to look for a healthy ecosystem and separate legal entity controlling it to really service as a reliable foundation.

Open technologies are not just important for developers just like other aspects of the business are not just important for marketing. Diaz brought up the idea of “T-shaped skills,” which basically means being aware of the context you’re in. Business executives need to know their market but they also need to understand the impact of technologies like cloud. Companies that create this awareness and culture to do that will succeed, he said.

The key to innovation is interoperability across networks, infrastructure, platforms and mobile devices – and using a vendor that uses open technology and packages it, hardens it and provides support. Vendors need to provide the support and connectivity companies need in order to build a cloud inside of an enterprise. The cloud should be used as a flexible infrastructure to help companies answer the “Why” – why are you using the cloud? What do you want to accomplish? -- and then realizing how open technology can help reach these goals. Don’t get locked in. 

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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