Tracking an IT Analyst’s Journey on the Cloud Mobile: My Musings after Attending IBM Pulse 2012.

Published by: Srini Chari

The one key takeaway for me from the conference was IBM’s message on the confluence of private secure clouds to support an increasingly mobile world – employees, clients, partners, and other stakeholders. This is the Cloud Mobile (think Snow Mobile). It has to be safe, secure, and comfortable yet must perform, scale and deliver a high quality of service. IBM unveiled a set of solutions to support this vision and you can get all the detail from IBM Pulse 2012.

Very early morning on March/7 at the hotel, after a shower, I turned on the TV news. I heard that Apple planned to announce the iPad3 later in the day probably with the same pricing as the previous iPad2. It was expected that the price for the iPad2 would be reduced. This irked me as I had just bought an iPad2 a few weeks before. But I quickly got over that as I had already obtained significant business value from my iPad2 investment. This iPad2 and my iPhone4 are my most valuable mobile devices. This fact would be further reinforced as that day’s events unfolded. While checking out of my hotel to return home to Connecticut, a train of thoughts on my Cloud Mobile began to evolve in my mind that I want to share with you.

The Cloud Mobile has enhanced many professional pursuits in differing ways

Gone are the days when Mathematics was largely a solo-sport and the primary tools were just paper, pencil, extraordinary rigor, and amazing individual imagination. In recent years, with the advent of the Internet and an unusual level of collaboration among mathematicians, it has increasingly become a team sport with just as much rigor and an even greater and more amazing group wisdom and imagination.

This has greatly advanced innovation and discovery in Mathematics even in such arcane areas as Number Theory that was once the province of individual brilliance. In fact, the famous Fermat’s Last Theorem was finally proved by Andrew Wiles in 1995 after centuries of sustained collaboration and inquiry. And, yes computers were partly used as tools to arrive at this result just as they were largely used to resolve the Four Color Theorem in 1976. With cloud computing, this level of collaboration will only increase. But then, in some sense, Mathematicians have always been on the cloud!

Painting/art is still largely a solitary activity with less technology impact. Yes there are new artistic areas impacted by technology and graphics but the most creative artists and painters still rely only on their traditional tools – canvas, paint, rigorous techniques, and an amazing imagination. And yes artists and painters are notorious for their nomadic and mobile lifestyles. They too have always been on the cloud!

While writers continue to primarily work solo, there is an increasing trend for them to work in groups particularly when creating complex technical or non-fiction content. Markup capabilities in modern word processors and capabilities in Google Docs further facilitate these group efforts particularly in the cloud!

But while painters and writers both possess amazing creative capabilities, they differ in at least one way – Can you imagine a painter giving up his/her brush to a collaborator to markup on his/her evolving work of art?!

Technologists and Engineers tend to innovate better in groups and through collaboration. In fact, the industrial revolution and the subsequent rise of today’s large corporations depended heavily on this group collaboration. Today, this collaboration extends to other stakeholders including suppliers, customers, investors, and business partners. And Engineering Clouds are being adopted in the Manufacturing industry to improve productivity in design and development. So they too are getting on the cloud!

My current profession – an IT Analyst – is a blend of several of the above professions. IT Analysts must possess the analytical rigor of the mathematician, the conceptual creativity of an artist, the story telling capabilities of a writer, and the knowledge of the technologist. Add to these, the experiences of a business professional – marketing, sales, management, etc. So naturally, IT Analysts should also benefit from the cloud!

How on March 7, the Cloud Mobile helped this IT Analyst

Just as I was finishing up my breakfast at the MGM Grand with some of my colleagues, I saw a missed call from one of my key clients responsible for Business Analytics. So as I took the cab to the airport, I called him back. He wanted to get an estimate of the size and growth of data in the financial services industry particularly financial markets. He had a good estimate of the total size and growth across all industries and had tried some internal sources but did not have an estimate for his particular area. I told him that I was on the road and will try to do some investigation and get back to him the following day.

Now my firm, unlike some other major analyst firms, does not routinely provide these types of market estimates. There are other firms that specialize in these studies and make these reports available to their clients. I do not have access to these reports. But often, there is a lot of information on the web that one could often piece together to arrive at an informed estimate to such questions. So after checking in at the airport, I pulled out my iPad2 – fortunately the airport had free Wi Fi access – and began searching the web. After about ½ an hour, I had some relevant pieces of helpful information but was still nowhere near an estimate. I was a little disappointed and was almost planning to give up temporarily.

But then suddenly, I remembered that I had downloaded a very comprehensive Big Data report written by a major Global Think Tank in 2011. This report was on my secure private storage cloud. I had always planned to read it but never got the time to do so. So with my iPad2, I connected to my secure private cloud (protected by two levels of security), and pulled in the report into my iPad2’s iBook format. Then I boarded the plane. And as the plane soared up above the clouds and the flight attendant announced that we could turn on electronic devices, I opened up the iPad2 and began reading the report.

In that report, after about three hours, I found the missing pieces of information in various places. Not only did I find the missing links to provide my client with an informed estimate, but I also read through this comprehensive Big Data report and was completely oblivious to the uncomfortable middle seat that I was sitting on. Now that’s a ton of business value made possible by the cloud!

The plane landed at Charlotte, NC where I had to transfer to White Plains, NY. I was keen on composing the email to my Business Analytics client summarizing how I had arrived at the informed estimate and the rationale. But I got hungry. So I had a nice hot and spicy Mexican meal at Tequileria at the Charlotte airport. After the meal, I boarded my next flight and slept through the short flight to my destination. The next morning, I sent the email to my client with the informed estimate and rationale.

The Advantages of a Private Cloud Mobile

IBM’s notion of providing clients capabilities to build and deploy secure private clouds and connect as needed to hybrid clouds should help security (but also very cost) conscious enterprise executives make the transition to the cloud to support their very talented mobile workforce. Beyond, the obvious transactional mobile use cases i.e. procurement, sales force automation, invoicing that improve operational efficiency, the Cloud Mobile can (as depicted in my own personal use case) facilitate a level of analysis, collaboration, productivity and innovation, that can be a source of significant competitive advantage for enterprises while nurturing their talented mobile knowledge workers.

There’s a reason why I did not put that Big Data report on a public cloud i.e. Apple’s free iCloud service. These reports and other similar content are my sources of competitive advantage and differentiation. I like to keep these secure and private and protected through several layers of security yet accessible on demand. Also, through this private cloud, I can regulate access to my many collaborators in the cloud!

Back to the Cloud Mobile. The Music and the Pulsating Moves at Pulse 2012 and More.

Maroon 5’s concert at Pulse 2012 indeed made the Cloud Mobile move like Jagger! This built on some amazing fluid cloud like dance moves we witnessed earlier in the day by a group called iLuminate. Musicians and performers too are on the cloud! Performers collaborate and rehearse constantly. They are constantly on the road and mobile. And while there are individual superstars, there is nothing like listening to a well-coordinated talented group either at a concert or in your Cloud Mobile (Automobile).

This weekend the weather was perfect in Connecticut. I had the great joy and pleasure of taking my younger twin son to his choir performance and concert in my Cloud Mobile (Car). Then we all witnessed the lovely performance of his dedicated choir culminating after weeks (and weekends) of group rehearsals and practice. It put this parent on the Cloud! And that feeling even the best IT Analyst can’t analyze! It can only be experienced – in the cloud!

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