Darrin Nelson, VP of Solution Sales with Sirius Computer Solutions, among the largest IBM resellers in the world, joined John Furrier and Dave Vellante, theCUBE co-hosts, during their exclusive live coverage of the IBM Information on Demand 2013 event in Las Vegas.

Nelson provided viewers with some background on his business and relationship with IBM. “I came from IBM’s largest software reseller and systems integrator in the northeastern part of the U.S., and Sirius asked me to help transform the company to be more software and software-services capable. In a three-year period, Sirius tripled its IBM software business and became IBM’s largest software reseller on the planet.” .

Furrier, referring to two of the four pillars around which IBM has restructured its business messaging this year, asked, “Of Big Data Analytics and Social Business, which has the most traction?”

“There is probably an equal amount of activity in both, but there are more POs being cut for analytics and Big Data,” Nelson explained. “There’s a lot of interest and hype in Social, and clients are interested in how they can leverage these tools to augment the solutions that they bring in to their own customers. People are not investing in Social without it being part of some bigger solution.”

Proof of concept

“We are fortunate to work in an industry that is extremely dynamic. Every three months there’s some crazy buzzword that people start talking about, like cloud, client-server computing or Second Life. And Big Data and analytics fell into that,” noted Nelson. “After people started proving that they were actually running a more profitable and more efficient business when they had facts based on how their businesses were performing, they started to invest.”

“Studies show that customers that are investing in analytics and using a fact-based business approach are 20 times more profitable than those that do not. It’s really become the price of entry at this point. Businesses that are not investing in analytics and are not making decisions based on facts are behind the eight ball, and at a competitive disadvantage.”

Vellante noted that applications connect the infrastructure to the business, and asked Nelson what he proposed.

“We’re seeing a lot of activity among retailers around social analytics,”answered Nelson .  “They’re really trying to understand customer sentiment, to see which hot words are trending, and to make very effective marketing decisions.”

“Think about what it used to take to understand how the market was perceiving your brand or your customer service,” Nelson continued. “You needed to employ a third party to do some sort to study, and three months later you’d get an answer back and had to develop a plan. Right now our clients can see in real time how they’re trending and how the market is perceiving them in certain areas, and making marketing or damage-control decisions.”

The social perspective

Nelson moved on to explain the trend from a Social perspective: “People are now layering Social on top of business areas and solutions to accelerate and increase the value of the solutions that they are providing.” He explained the IBM Tealeaf solution as a “customer experience analytics software that helps organizations gain intelligence and react more swiftly to consumer trends in today’s digitally transformed marketplace.”

The new BI

Talking about “traditional BI business,” Vellante noted that “it gets a bad reputation” and asked Nelson to elaborate on the subject.

“Obviously, I think ISVs are taking much more care to understand that the user experience of those platforms is extremely important. And we’ve seen a tremendous evolution in the ease of use and the integration of the products, so now you’re not just doing traditional reporting and dashboards — you’re able to do predictive planning and have it all integrated under one user experience. This has made the information much more consumable by a larger percentage of IT professionals, and not just the PhDs out there. So I think the simplification and integration of the platforms , and the robustness of the functions that are being provided, have really started to help clients reach a larger percentage of the user base.”.

Dynamic mobility

“There’s an interesting dynamic in mobility,” Nelson continued, tackling another pillar in IBM’s latest campaign. “We are seeing the commoditization and consumerization of certain IT applications. There are certain applications that our clients are comfortable putting a black box around and pushing out to the cloud, because there’s just not real value in implementing variants and upgrading them in the future. Take e-commerce for example: everyone used to have to do e-commerce on their own terms. From an analytics-in-the-cloud perspective, we’re not seeing as much comfort yet, because people are putting their private information there.”

Vellante picked up on that, noting “conventional wisdom would suggest that cloud is perceived as less secure than on-premise.” But he said he’s talked to a lot of people who say that cloud is actually more secure than on-premise.

Nelson agreed, saying “A high percentage of breaches occur from within the firewall. The SLAs are fine, but a lot of this perception is emotional. There’s just a gut comfort level of ‘having my stuff close to me and under my control.’ Putting critical information under someone else’s control is an emotional challenge. But that will attenuate over time.”


Based on an article by Valentina Craft that originally appeared on SiliconANGLE.