IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems - July 2017 - 18
software development, and
include companies large and
small. Culling ideas and insights
from a variety of businesses keeps
the information sharing fresh and
enables a broad array of use cases.
Stefanie Chiras, Ph.D., vice
president of IBM Cognitive
Systems Offering Management,
values the opportunity to engage
in dialogue on the IBM hardware
portfolio for cognitive solutions
at the biannual meetings. "There
are no moderators between us
and our clients. We are very
open about our directions and
strategies," Chiras says. "Our goal
at these meetings is to lay out our
forward-looking thoughts and
discuss where we will take our
company, branding and position
in the market. We solicit feedback,
so it is a very interactive dialogue
with the members."
Clients who attend the
meetings, which are covered
by nondisclosure agreements,
are candid about their
needs. The members validate
how they are using the
Power Systems* platform,
how they architect their data
centers, and offer suggestions
about adding new features or
technologies that could improve
their business. This sharing of
information promotes stronger
relationships, mutual innovation,
and more profitable business
results for IBM and its clients.
"Executives talk about their
pain points and road blocks,
and we discuss what technology
or business methods we have
with our offerings that can help
solve those problems," explains
Carolyn Jones, IBM Cognitive
Systems Portfolio Management,
who leads the planning of the EAB
meetings, collaborates across the
team, responds to client needs
and coordinates the meetings.
"Members tell us what they're
attend the EAB
are covered by
18 // JULY 2017 ibmsystemsmag.com
doing, and this gives us insights
from a business perspective on how
we can help them. These meetings
help them grow their own business
because they see what's on the
horizon with our technology."
The open dialogue environment
also encourages executives from
the member organizations to share
information amongst themselves.
The peer exchange allows
companies to discuss use cases
and different approaches that
could benefit other industries.
"We explain to them what kinds
of workloads and use cases they
could utilize with our offerings
and technology, and then clients
also share what they're doing,"
Jones says. "So it's a great
brainstorming environment on
the value of what we offer."
Nothing is more valuable to IBM
than the client, Chiras says.
"What you've seen from IBM is
a real focus on client feedback.
We want to make sure we get
real-time dynamic feedback. You
see how the customer sees you,"
she says. "Staying client-centered
is the most important thing we
can do today, and the EAB has
allowed us to make sure our
portfolio stays client focused."
The IBM-client relationships
run deep to ensure the goals of the
client and IBM overlap. This allows
IBM to take members' feedback
and critiques in the vein they were
intended, while ensuring IBM's
next generation solutions are
based on what its clients need to
be successful. "They want us to
succeed with them, and they want
their business to succeed with us,"
Chiras says. "It's very much a joint
She points out how direct client
input is invaluable. "It's hard to
beat direct feedback when you're
sitting in a room with clients and
they say, 'Here's our challenges,
and this is what we need from you
to capitalize on opportunities,' "
Chiras says. "They tell us what
would be relevant to their business."
While the topics of discussion
stay consistent from meeting
to meeting, such as hybrid
cloud, analytics and SAP
HANA, the feedback changes
as IBM offerings evolve. For
example, at a recent meeting,
IBM researchers talked about
quantum computing and how it
can benefit IBM and its clients.
Businesses are always looking
for the next best solution that will
give them a competitive edge, and
the EAB connects members to those
technologies. Members get foresight
into new offerings that can enable
and enhance their business.
The EAB provides feedback in
these three main areas:
New features and
technologies members feel
would be important additions
to the IBM portfolio
Support across platforms and
solutions to make them more
usable while delivering more
Guidance on adding
open-source solutions to the
Cognitive Systems ecosystem
and choosing open-source
At the start of every EAB meeting,
IBM representatives recap the
feedback they heard at the
previous meeting, then explain the
changes that resulted from it. IBM
is able to implement some ideas
in just six months. "We change
how we deliver our solutions, and
members have their fingerprints on
it," Chiras says.
change had to do with