“That’s a big personal library”

June 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

Today, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. Worldwide healthcare data is estimated to grow to 25,000 petabytes by 2020. In a recent article, IBM stated each person generates one million gigabytes of health-related data across his or her lifetime, the equivalent of more than 300 million books. “That’s a big personal library” Ten percent (10%) of the information in your lifetime collected about you will be formal medical records. Another twenty percent (20%) will be genomic data and that’s just starting to happen. That leaves us with seventy percent (70%) which people are calling exogenous data that includes what your Fitbit, Apple Watch, Medical Body Area Networks (MBAN), smart, and connected sensors capture everyday. As illustrated below, the Watson Health Cloud brings together all this clinical, research, and social health information together in a de-identified HIPAA enabled data repository. The era of Cognitive Healthcare has arrived and I’m looking forward to how this will enable all-of-us to make more effective strategic healthcare decisions in the future.

A Business Case for Cloud – Not So Easy

June 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

The move to cloud is to say the least a major topic on every CxOs “keep me up at night” list. But building a business case to move to the cloud is not very straight forward. There are many factors involved and the OpEx/CapEx topic itself can be very intense (another reason I did not become an accountant). However, there are some interesting perspectives that are starting to get studied with some interesting results.

Information Services Group (ISG) has published the results of a study that shows the effect of usage in the overall cost benefit analysis of cloud. This is a challenging problem to study as the overall costs of public cloud vendors varies greatly not to mention the wide array of features included or not included in the costs. That being said, enterprises are intrigued by the “only pay for what you use” concept of public cloud. And the fact that they can off load all of the daily care and feeding of the infrastructure to the cloud vendor makes it that much more enticing. The problem is that comparing a public cloud “pay for what you use” model against internal IT where usage is not a factor is not easy.

graphSo the report takes a “standard” infrastructure configuration for an application that is typical of what you would use to “test drive” the cloud and used its deep background to estimate the monthly cost it would incur at a typical large, internally managed IT organization. I have to admit that this seems a bit arbitrary and I am not sure if the degree of variation here isn’t greater than the variability in cloud costs per vendor. However, a stake needed to be put in the ground as a control point so I guess it is as good as any.

The conclusion of the study indicated that at 55% usage the costs where at a break even point between internal IT and public cloud. Obviously there are a tremendous amounts of factors that can make this break even point vary, but what I take out of it is that there is a break even point.

What does that mean for the CxO losing sleep? To me this study again validates the hybrid cloud story. One size does not fit all and the promise of being able to turn out the lights completely on an internal data center is still unrealistic. And it also points me in a direction to pursue. What are the lower usage scenarios (dev/test, capacity overflow, DR, etc.)? How can an enterprise make use of the price points a public cloud offers for these scenarios in a seamless way? How can I do my own cost comparison and have that dashboard that keeps me on the right side of the break even point? These are all factors involved in a hybrid cloud pursuit. We now have some interesting data being collected to help us answer those questions.

Watson Cognitive Advisors

June 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

One of the great things about being at IBM is all the amazing access you have to thinkers, information, and innovation. I recently participated in the “Reinventing Education” course offered by IBMs Think Academy. Global Education faces many challenges, for example how can we make learning more effective for students, parents, teachers, employees, and citizens preparing them to meet the challenging demands of the 21st century. IBM is developing some amazing technologies that is establishing the emergence of a Cognitive Culture. The introduction of cognitive companions as illustrated by the Watson Cognitive Tutor and Watson Teacher Advisor represent in multiple ways how we are beginning to redefine the lifetime learning process. I have included three examples beginning with the Watson Cognitive Tutor and concluding with Deakin University’s “DeakinSync” the first university in the world to use the power of Watson to enhance the student experience. This is just the beginning of the “Cognitive Era” – the opportunity for IBM to provide personalized services incorporating these and other cognitive companions across the entire educational continuum including the enterprise is limitless. I hope you enjoy these examples and encourage you to check-out the “Reinventing Education” course.

The following is an example of how Watson Cognitive Tutor can engage a learner on a specific topic: 

A student, Dave, wants to improve his understanding of physics before his exam. Dave accesses Watson Cognitive Tutor on his tablet. The Cognitive Tutor knows his learning preferences and chooses a voice and personality for the tutor that is most appropriate. Dave selects the subject “physics”. Watson knows that Dave has been struggling with the concept of gravity so it suggests that Dave spend some time on it. Aware of Dave’s learning patterns, strengths and weaknesses, Watson will pick the most applicable sources to present to Dave from a library of high quality instructional materials, video and audio lectures, tutorials, animations and interactive platforms. Watson then evaluates his understanding and provides him with any needed guidance based on his interaction with the tutor. It also provides options that he can explore to learn more and strengthen his knowledge.

Watson Teacher Advisor:

Few innovative tools are specifically focused on teachers, helping to strengthen and support their instruction. Watson Teacher Advisor will help fill this gap by supporting teachers in a way that can mirror the most effective teacher professional development practices.Teacher Advisor will apply the unprecedented power of Watson cognitive computing technology, providing teachers with targeted strategies, lesson plans, videos that demonstrate teaching techniques and more. Watson Teacher Advisor is currently under development, and a pilot is planned for fall 2015 with third grade math teachers. To learn more about the technology, watch the Watson Teacher Advisor Video to witness a group of prominent education stakeholders and master teachers discuss Watson Teacher Advisor and provide overwhelmingly positive feedback. To build Watson Teacher Advisor, IBM is marrying its unique capabilities with content from education experts, and is soliciting advice from teacher groups and an Advisory Board made up of state education leaders, deans of education, and renowned thinkers in education, including the head of the American Federation of Teachers.


Deakin University in Melbourne became the first university in the world to use the power of Watson to enhance the student experience after partnering with IBM to develop DeakinSync. DeakinSync provides answers to student questions on a range of topics, such as courses, tuition and fees, financial assistance, student housing, health and wellness, facilities, job placement, employment preparation and more. Over time every student who asks Watson questions through DeakinSync can expect more tailored information and personalized advice based on their individual profile. Students can ask questions on any device connected to the Web. Deakin also worked with IBM to develop and deploy a predictive-analytics solution based on IBM SPSS and IBM Cognos. The solution analyzes a wide array of factors to help the university identify students at risk to leave the program and allow it to take the necessary steps to encourage them to stay. RH

SAP and the Cloud

June 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

I spent the day in Ann Arbor, Michigan with about 20 clients.  The topic of the day was SAP and the Cloud and we had a lot of interesting discussions around “why IBM”.

After our discussions and deep dives, you could start to see the lightbulb coming on as to why SAP and IBM are partnering together for the HEC (Hana Enterprise Cloud) in the room.  In the end, whether it is Hana, or traditional SAP workloads, having a high performance network backbone (non-metered), the ability to do bare metal cloud, and having the experience IBM brings makes the story come together.

Another interesting observation I had was around how to get started.  We had some folks that started with moving isolated workloads in SAP to Cloud with some good success and some folks looking at a more big-bang approach.  In the end, I am one who prefers the crawl-walk-run approach.

ELEV^TING THE CONVERSATION: Watson Cognitive Value Assessment (CVA)

June 24, 2015 § Leave a comment


ELEV^TING THE CONVERSATION: Watson Cognitive Value Assessment (CVA)

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Watson Cognitive Value Assessment training. At the conclusion of the training, it was clear the content was something that aligned perfectly with “Elevating the Conversation”. The Cognitive Value Assessment (CVA) is often a client’s first step along the journey to cognitive transformation, rapidly identifying transformational opportunities and associated business value. The Cognitive Value Assessment’s primary activities center around clarifying ways that IBM Watson can drive Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and overall business value. The Cognitive Value Assessment objectives include:

It’s important to point out the Cognitive Value Assessment should never be considered an end-point in itself. Sellers, technical leads, and clients should all approach the (CVA) as a first step on the cognitive journey. The Cognitive Journey Map shows each customer the progression of tasks and milestones from initial implementation to future growth plans. It summarizes the key personas of customer end users, describes how their Watson experience will evolve over time, clarifies the value to the customer’s business, and lays out next steps in the cognitive transformation.

Bottom line, this is a great way to Engage, Enable, and Evolve your client relationships. This on-line course is highly recommended for all IBMers.


June 24, 2015 § Leave a comment


ELEV^TING THE CONVERSATION: will be focused on a variety of industries, technologies, trends, and personal interests. The goal is to provide meaningful content with a point of view focused on Enabling, Engaging, and Evolving how we interact and enable outcomes with various communities, clients, colleagues, and perfect strangers. The industries we will initially cover will include education, healthcare, life sciences, consumer, and personal interests like “The Singularity” and “Transhumanism”. The technologies and trends will focus on each industry and adjacencies for example – technologies and trends transforming the healthcare, life sciences, medical device, and insurance industries. The personal interests section will include perspectives on how Cognitive Computing, Singularity, and Transhumanism movements are close to fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological conditions. RH

Getting Started

June 24, 2015 § 1 Comment

I’ve never been part of a more “disruptive” movement in my 25 years in the industry than Cloud.  (I’m using the term “disruptive” in a mostly positive way).  I’ve already started to see the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly emerging as I work with clients which I will share (with names hidden to protect the innocent!).

I’m looking forward to learning from my colleagues about their experiences as well.

Where Am I?

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