Nine things seen and heard at IBM Impact 2010

LAS VEGAS—Armonk, New York-based IBM Corp. held its annual Impact conference this week. Amid announcements like the acquisition of cloud integration vendor Cast Iron Systems and new business process management products, here are just a few other things seen and heard this year.

1.Comedian and actor Frank Caliendo opened the keynote with a burst of early-morning funny and impressions of George W. Bush, Star Wars’ Yoda and others.

2.Discover, interact and optimize was the theme of this year’s conference. That is, discover insights from more than 500 sessions. Interact with more than 6,000 attendees from more than 50 countries. Optimize the business.

3.Armed onstage with a pair of red sneakers, Craig Hayman, general manager for WebSphere with IBM’s software group, used these “super cool retro funky sneakers” to illustrate how a business must be agile. “Yesterday’s sneakers are no longer good enough. What was best in class yesterday is no longer good enough today,” Hayman told the audience.

4.IBM believes that services-oriented architecture and business process management will pave the way towards the smarter planet vision launched in 2008. “You can put instrumentation into everyday things … to optimize and make a physical world system act more productively,” said Steve Mills, senior vice-president and group executive with IBM’s software group.

5.For the first time in the conference’s history, attendees enjoyed a stronger business track to reflect the reality that services-oriented architecture and business process management initiatives are shared by IT and business leaders.

6.Rosabeth Moss Kanter, guest keynote speaker and Harvard Business School professor, urged the audience to turn their good ideas to not only make money but to actually make a difference. She joked: “Obviously you have to make money before you can make a difference. Everything in life that’s more valuable than money all costs money.”

7.On a more serious note, Moss Kanter said organizations today must transform into “super corps” to keep up. The four requirements: strong values in relation to benefiting the community; innovation of a very imaginative kind; partnering to build networks; and, naturally self-integrating between organizations because today’s technology allows for it.

8.A new IBM study found that outperforming CEOs demonstrated a 3.75 times greater usage of collaborative workspaces than their less-performing counterparts.

9.Seattle, Wash.-based Hubspan emerged the winner for the IBM Impact Best of Show Award that recognizes the best solutions using WebSphere.

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