Recharging at COMMON’s PowerUp19
This year’s annual meeting of the COMMON user group delivered once again on its promise to power up attendees and recharge their batteries for the coming year. With hundreds of quality IBM i education sessions to choose from on a wide range of topics, there was something for everyone at PowerUp19.
Sunday’s opening session gave attendees the opportunity to recognize their peers and acknowledge the efforts of the many amazing volunteers and speakers that make COMMON a success each year. We also heard from IBM i leaders like Steve Sibley, Vice President of IBM’s Cognitive Systems division, and Steve Will, Chief Architect for the IBM i. Sibley and Will provided insight into the future of IBM Power hardware and the IBM i OS. The pair made it clear that IBM is delivering more cognitive computing capabilities to midrange IBM i systems to power predictive and data analytics and machine learning.
Their message was reinforced in Monday’s key note by Mike Hollinger, Master Inventor and Principal Engineer for PowerAI Vision. He drilled into the ways that the treasure trove of data in core systems of record on IBM i is being leveraged by organizations to extract more value from their data and drive higher returns for their business, partners and clients.
I was struck by Hollinger’s description of the AI ladder. As a Syncsort team member, I noted a number of ties between the rungs of the ladder and recent announcements from Syncsort. The steps of the ladder included:
COLLECT – make data simple and accessible
Making data simple and accessible is at the core of Syncsort products. The COMMON community is familiar with our market-leading Syncsort Assure portfolio – Assure MIMIX, Assure QuickEDD, Assure iTERA and the recently announced Assure Security. The products assure that data is available and secure to meet demands for 24×7 access.
Also, our new Connect CDC product was just announced on Tuesday. Connect CDC helps organizations collect their data though real-time streaming across diverse on-premises and cloud sources using change data capture and replication technology.
ORGANIZE – create a trusted analytics foundation
As systems of record are built out and data is collected, it must be profiled, cleansed and organized so that it is ready for the next step on the ladder. The Syncsort Trillium family of products is designed for exactly that purpose – to improve the quality and completeness of data so that it can be used as trusted source of business insights.
ANALYZE – scale insights with AI everywhere
The third step of the ladder is designing, building, training and running predictive and prescriptive models to enable businesses insights through machine learning everywhere. Again, this aligns with several recent developments at Syncsort, including the recent announcement of our partnership with Snowflake for delivery of traditional IBM i data to the cloud for advanced analytics, and the acquisition of EView Technology in late 2018 to build on the capabilities of Ironstream for delivery of critical IBM i and mainframe machine data to IT analytics platforms like Splunk and ServiceNow.
INFUSE – operationalize AI with trust and transparency
Mike reminded the room that it’s not enough to have a model. That model must be integrated into process automation applications and processes. The final rung on the ladder is automating and scaling AI across the business to really monetize data.
Mike shared some exciting examples of the integration of machine learning models into areas such as ad placement analysis and retail point-of-sale monitoring. Just as IBM hopes to work with customers to further build solutions in this area, we just announced the Syncsort Invent initiative on May 20, focused on helping enterprises anticipate and embrace Next Wave challenges such as hybrid cloud and blockchain. Working closely with customers is how IBM and Syncsort both hope to solve the toughest challenges our customers face.
Syncsort’s booth at COMMON PowerUp19
Over at the Syncsort booth, we had a lot of fun with our Trivia Challenge game and flashy Syncsort socks, but there was also a wealth of great conversations with PowerUp19 attendees. They are clearly looking for answers to their tough problems on all rungs of the ladder – encrypting data to protect it from breach, implementing tougher access controls, ensure both continuous data availability and DR protection for applications and data, building data pipelines to stream Db2 data to new platforms of all types and more.
Leaving PowerUp19 this year I felt energized about future directions for the IBM i and ways that Syncsort can support organizations who are striving to extracting ever greater value from their data. I can’t wait to charge up again at PowerUp in 2020!
Until then, check out our Security Insights for 2019 eBook which looks at results from our latest security survey of IT professionals within the IBM i space.