Let’s Reach For the Stars–From the Cloud

“It’s in the cloud and no one understands the cloud” is the answer we will not accept.  That would be same as giving money to the bank but  not asking any questions about what happens after that.   We need to match our investment needs to the services from the bank to help us put our money into the financial services that meets our needs.   Some  money goes into checking for quick access needs,  some into savings and then of course there are CD’s, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, trusts, Roth IRA’s, investment funds, hedge funds, annuities plus more options to choose from in matching access/investment needs to financial management options.  The cloud is very similar.

Most of us use the cloud today in multiple ways.  For Banco the cloud was part of a solution that shorten loan time processing from 5 days to 2 days.   For 1800 Flowers it’s the way to merge acquired businesses.  We use the cloud more than we realize and it’s a great time to learn more about what happens in the cloud:  https://youtu.be/EHsB1Fzun1A.   Let’s begin…..

1800Flowers Challenge and Approach


This is the perfect time of year for this example.   Having sent each and every item in this picture to family and friends over the years, it was still a surprise that the cloud was the infrastructure that has brought all the options together under one umbrella:  1800Flowers.   It should not be a surprise that with the cloud acquisitions are easier to integrate into the customer experience providing more options to keep the customer as an 1800Flowers customer.


Quickly integrating acquired business into the flagship business while at the same time maintaining and growing the acquired business is a critical requirement for business success today and cloud scalability makes it much easier than ever before.  The cloud makes it easier to invest and well as divest of business units based on projected business needs.

Banco MAIS Challenge and Approach


 Speaking of cloud scalability,  financial systems are going through major changes at a rates not historically seen.  While dealing with regulations and security requirements, financial institutions need to be able to scale to go in to new areas not tapped previously while at the same time improving their core processes so today’s clients are not lured away by traditional and non-traditional competitors.  For traditional banks having to compete with other banks plus insurance companies, on-line banks and financial  services companies they have had to demonstrate why they are still relevant while becoming agile and offering more services themselves.

Think about the process when you bought your first house or car now compare it to the process of your last large purchase. Banco MAIS thought if it and planned to be more aggressive in competing by reducing loan turnaround time from 5 days to 2 days.   Even if the large purchase was not a house or car consider the improvements in the US Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  With improvements and integrations, the process has gone from a matter of days to less than an hour.  Scalability, security, and increasing functionality all make the cloud the go to platform.



IBM Institute for Business Value:  Beyond agility How cloud is driving enterprise innovation


Now while the cloud is the go to platform, here is a perspective of how it is being used.  This IBM Institute for Business Value study show’s how the original role of automated resource provisioning has expanded into many more business centric initiatives with the number one business outcomes being recognized as the ability to  expand into new industries.   This is evident in the 1800Flowers example above.  Here is an snapshot of the business outcomes for the most successful cloud initiatives from this study:

IBV Cloud


IBM Academic Initiative Cloud Options


As we talk about the business outcomes of these successful cloud initiatives, one area we have to address is with all this focus on cloud initiatives how are businesses finding the skills and expertise they need.   Most industries say it is difficult to locate the expertise they need in key technology areas and this includes cloud.   To enable academic institutions to have access to cloud resources for teaching, learning and non-commercial research the IBM Academic Initiative onthehub.com/ibm program provides multiple cloud resources just for these purposes.

The IBM Bluemix Cloud for developers is one of the cloud environments that faculty and students get extended cloud access.  Promo codes are provided in the above link.  Faculty and students can return and get future promo codes to continue the extended academic access.  In addition there are clouds around business process management (Blueworks Live), Blockchain Cloud Sandbox, Enterprise Systems LinuxOne  Community Cloud, and the Power Systems Cloud all available through http://onthehub.com/ibm/:

onthehub cloud


IBM Skill Academy Cloud Career Path:  Cloud Enterprise Developer


 The IBM Skills Academy was designed as a program to quickly enable an academic institution to train faculty and enable students on new technologies.  The Cloud Application Developer and the Cloud Enterprise Developer are two skills career paths available to community colleges, universities and other accredited academic institutions who want to engage on an aggressive roadmap for faculty face to face training, pre-built cloud curriculum, cloud based hands on labs, badges, and proctored testing in these areas.   Here is the snapshot of the Skills Academy Cloud Enterprise Developer career path:

skills academy cloud enterprise developer


IBM Research:  Gesture Recognition System Dataset


 As we are discussing new technologies this gesture recognition system dataset while not in the cloud (yet) is a great dataset for sharing as more continues to be done in this field across industries.   Since access to IBM Research and access to datasets is frequently a request in discussions with academic leaders, I wanted to share this video and dataset as a tool for discussion on the art of what comes next as well to increase awareness of this dataset for others to use who are interested in research in augmented intelligence (AI) around human gestures.

human gestures

With the cloud touching so much of our lives, hopefully we now have a better understanding for how much the cloud has grown in the last two years.  “Today, IBM Cloud supports 47 of the 50 companies at the top of the Fortune 500, including American Airlines, AT&T, ABN Amro, Kaiser Permanente, Halliburton, Pratt & Whitney, Whirlpool, and Ethiad. This past quarter, we grew our as-a-service business 35 percent year-to-year, reaching $13.7 billion. We continue to invest billions in innovation, including clear leadership in AI with Watson APIs, and in IoT and Blockchain capabilities.”    https://www.ibm.com/blogs/bluemix/2017/06/gartner-magic-quadrant-cloud/

With this growth comes even more opportunities for businesses, the academic community and individuals to expand their reach.  Let’s reach for the stars…from the cloud https://www.ibm.com/blogs/think/2017/06/41377/!



LinkedIn:  Valinda Kennedy

Twitter:  vscarbro@us.ibm.com


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