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May 5, 2021
Dell’s APEX Brings Hardware as a Service to the Mainstream

April 28, 2021
Arm Brings New Compute Options from the Cloud to the Edge

April 21, 2021
Apple Announcements Accelerate Custom Chip Transition

April 13, 2021
Nvidia Steps Up Enterprise and Automotive Efforts with GTC Announcements

April 6, 2021
AWS and Verizon Bring Private 5G and Edge Computing to Life with Corning

March 31, 2021
Cisco Wants to Make Hybrid Work Actually Work

March 23, 2021
Intel Reinvigorates Manufacturing Strategy with IDM 2.0

March 16, 2021
AMD Refocuses on Business with Latest Epyc and Ryzen Pro Launches

March 9, 2021
GlobalFoundries and Bosch Emphasize Shift in Automotive Semis

March 2, 2021
Microsoft Brings AI Appliances and Improved Connectivity to IoT

February 23, 2021
Cybersecurity Deal Highlights Benefits of 5G and AI in PCs

February 16, 2021
Will Conference Rooms Help or Hurt in the Return to Work?

February 9, 2021
The Ever-Present Need for Simplicity in Tech

February 2, 2021
Poly Makes Videoconferencing Personal

January 26, 2021
2021 Shaping Up to Be Big Year for Automotive Tech

January 12, 2021
What CES 2021 Says About Our Future

January 5, 2021
Big Tech Trends for 2021 Are Hybridization and Customization

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TECHnalysis Research Blog

May 11, 2021
IBM Simplifies Automation with Watson Orchestrate

By Bob O'Donnell

One of the interesting, and quite frankly, frustrating things about the world of business-focused enterprise software is that it either gets talked about in very high-level generalities or excruciating levels of technical detail. In other words, it is either all about creating new solutions to digitally transform businesses, or it’s about which API calls can be leveraged in Kubernetes-compatible container platforms to ensure that the appropriate SLAs (service level agreements) for a given application are met.

This can make it very challenging to figure out exactly what a company is trying to say when it introduces a new product or service. It can also make it difficult to determine how important (or not) some of those announcements really are.

Thankfully, not all new products (and corresponding announcements) are so complicated, as IBM’s recent Think event illustrates. In particular, the new Watson Orchestrate tool offers several simple to understand and very clear benefits—that is, once you get past its somewhat confusing name. At its heart, Watson Orchestrate is an AI-powered software tool designed to simplify and automate the process of finding and combining appropriate sets of data for a given task. It also lets people use the tools with which they’re accustomed to achieve these efforts, including popular applications like e-mail, Slack, Salesforce, Workday, and SAP. More importantly, it does so without the need for building sophisticated data queries that require the expertise of a data scientist.

In other words, Watson Orchestrate enables regular businesspeople to gain access to the enormous pools of data that many companies have, but which very rarely are being fully utilized. To use the enterprise software lingo of the day, it’s like a low code/no code version of robotics process automation (RPA).

Though some may shrug their shoulders and say, “so what?”, the truth is, this can have a meaningful impact on businesses that haven’t really been able to take advantage of their data. While this may sound obvious, the reality of the situation for most companies highlights yet another often-frustrating aspect of enterprise software marketing and messaging. For years now, many software and services companies have been loudly touting the incredible data collection and data gathering tools they’ve built, and they’ve highlighted the types of insights that are possible if these large data sets are appropriately leveraged. Along with these big promises have been implications around the ability to actually make intelligent use of all that data.

Unfortunately, as with many other instances in enterprise software, the devil is in the details of how intelligent data extraction needs to be done. Turns out, it was really hard to do it at all and particularly hard to do so effectively and well. In many cases, the promised capabilities are reliant on the expertise of data scientists or others with highly specialized skill sets. The unspoken problem is that the sum total of these specialists is very small, and all of them are in extraordinarily high demand. The result is that the promise of big data lakes and other conglomerations of data remains unfulfilled for most organizations.

Recognizing that, IBM set out to leverage its Watson AI-powered tools to help make that process significantly easier and, therefore, much more democratized. Given that the company is only announcing early access to these capabilities via the IBM Automation Cloud Pak, the real-world performance of Watson Orchestrate remains to be seen, but the logic behind the product certainly makes a great deal of sense.

It’s also important to bear in mind that Watson Orchestrate is only one of several automation-focused efforts upon which IBM has recently embarked. The company also recently unveiled a new version of its Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps, which brings together several tools designed to automate several time-intensive, but often tedious, IT management and operations tasks, such as multi-cloud application management, in order to free IT personnel to work on other more fulfilling tasks. The new version 3.1 also integrates the capabilities of Instana’s application performance management tool, which IBM recently purchased. Instana can do things like automate the process of tracking software dependencies across highly distributed containerized applications. Given how many individual software elements can now go into these increasingly sophisticated applications, this is a significant real-world problem.

Equally interesting is IBM’s recently announced intention to purchase Turbonomic, a company that offers conceptually similar tracking for all the different hardware resources that are used in cloud-native applications, particularly in multi-cloud environments. As with Instana on the software side, manually tracking these kinds of resources has become completely impractical, making automation of these processes absolutely essential to their operation.

In addition, IBM also recently participated in a very different type of automation application via its involvement with the Mayflower autonomous sea vehicle, which is set to cross the Atlantic on its own, following the path of its colonial namesake.

Looking at all these efforts in sum, it’s clear that IBM sees automation as an essential part of its enterprise software efforts moving forward. It is also obvious the company is working to integrate these capabilities across as many areas as possible.

Enterprise software remains an enormously complex and complicated arena, but it’s good to see IBM taking steps to try to simplify the automation part of the equation.

Here’s a link to the original column:

Bob O’Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech.

Leveraging more than 10 years of award-winning, professional radio experience, TECHnalysis Research participates in a video-based podcast called Everything Technology.
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