IBM: Your Future Mobile Watson Platform

January 14, 2015

I enjoy the IBM marketing hoo hah about Watson. Perhaps it lags behind the silliness of some other open source search repackagers, it is among my top five most enjoyable emissions about information access.

I read “IBM Debuts New Mainframe in a $1 Billion Bet on Mobile.” I love IBM mainframes, particularly the older MVS TSO variety for which we developed the Bellcore MARS billing system. Ah, those were the days. Using Information Dimensions BASIS and its wonder little exit and run this routine, we did some nifty things.

Furthermore, the mainframe is still a good business. Just think of the banks running IBM mainframes. Those puppies need TLC and most of the new whiz kids are amazed at keyboards with lots and lots of function keys. Fiddle with a running process and make an error. Let me tell you that produces billable hours for the unsnarlers.

IBM has “new” mainframe. Please, no oxymoron emails. Dubbed the z13—you, know alpha and omega, so with omega taken—z is the ultimate. Los primeros required hard wiring and caution when walking amidst the DASDs. Not today. These puppies are pretty much like tame mainframes with a maintenance dependency. z13s are not iPads.

The blue bomber has spent $1 billion on this new model. Watson received big buck love too, but mainframes are evergreen revenue. Watson is sort of open sourcey. The z13 is not open sourcey. That’s important because proprietary means recurring revenue.

Companies with ageing mainframes are not going to shift to a stack of Mac Minis bought on eBay. Companies with ageing mainframes are going to lease—wait for it—more mainframes. Try to find a recent comp sci grad and tell him to port the inter bank transfer system to a Mac Mini. How eager will that lass be?

Now to the write up. Here’s the passage I highlighted in pink this morning:

The mainframe is one of IBM’s signature hardware products that will help sell related software and services, and it’s debuting at a critical time for the Armonk, New York-based company. Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty is trying to find new sources of revenue growth from mobile offerings, cloud computing and data analytics as demand for its legacy hardware wanes.

There you go. The mainframe does mobile. The new version also does in line, real time fraud detection. The idea is that z13 prevents money from leaving one account for another account if there is a hint, a mere sniff, of fraud.

My view is that it will be some time before Amazon, Facebook, and Google port their mobile systems to the z13, but for banks? This is possible a good thing.

Will the z13 allow me to view transaction data on a simulated green screen? Will their be a Hummingbird widget to convert this stuff to a 1980 interface?

I am delighted I don’t have to come up with ideas to generate hundreds of millions in new revenue for IBM. This is a very big task, only marginally more difficult than converting Yahoo into the next Whatsapp.

No word on pricing for a z13 running Watson.

Stephen E Arnold, January 14, 2015


Comments are closed.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta