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IBM Pulse 2011 Recap, with Noah Kuttler – IT Management & Cloud Podcast #084

Noah Kuttler

While running around SXSW, I caught up with IBM’s Noah Kuttler to discuss the happenings at IBM’s Tivoli conference, Pulse. Also, be sure to check my trip report from this year’s Pulse – there’s some good discussion in the comments.

Download the episode directly right here, subscribe to the feed in iTunes or other podcatcher to have episodes downloaded automatically, or just click play below to listen to it right here:


As usual with these un-sponsored episodes, I haven’t spent time to clean up the transcript. If you see us saying something crazy, check the original audio first. There are time-codes where there were transcription problems.

Michael Coté: Alright, well hello everybody again, it’s another special South by Southwest edition of the IT Management and Cloud Podcast. And we got a guest here, John and I are still here at The Driskill Bar, so you can hear the lovely soundtrack. Why don’t you introduce yourself?

Noah Kuttler: Hi! I am Noah Kuttler and I work at IBM, and I am in Integrated Service Management Marketing.

Michael Coté: You were just saying you had been at IBM like 10 years or so right? Like what do you have been doing that whole time?

Noah Kuttler: Well, I’ve often been called The Wandering Jew of IBM Austin, because —

Michael Coté: Like those purple ivy plants, right?

Noah Kuttler: Pretty much. Well, I seem to have a new manager every other month, but actually I’ve been consistent over the past couple of years working for Cameron, who you probably know.

Michael Coté: Oh! Right, right sure.

Noah Kuttler: He is a great guy, and yeah, I worked in pSeries, I was an Offering Manager for the P630 and for the P610. I worked on SMP projects in pSeries then worked in Deep Computing for about three years, doing business intelligence, everything in marketing from strategy, offerings, channels, you name it.

Michael Coté: Right, right.

Noah Kuttler: Then, moved over to Tivoli organization, I think about three, three-and-a-half years ago and have been working on this integrated service management marketing team, where we are really trying to champion the category of integrated service management and promote that with our customers.

Michael Coté: Why don’t you tell us what integrated service management organization is to the Tivoli organization?

Noah Kuttler: Sure. Many of you folks listening to this have individual Tivoli products. TSM or you have Maximo products maybe and integrated service management is where we talk about service management extending across many things.

It’s still the visibility control and automation that we’ve always been talking about and that seems to resonate with our customers and with folks like you who are analysts, but when we talk about integrated service management, we not only talk about the data center, we also talk about industries, so industry-specific solutions and there is lot of Maximo in there.

Michael Coté: This is I mean the way, correct me if this isn’t the path that it is, but the way I explain this to people is, you know, imagine if everything was IP addressable then, if you can manage a network you can manage everything, essentially what that is.

Noah Kuttler: Exactly and I would even point people to the blog that you wrote post pulse, because you transmitted all of that information very well and probably better than us, but yeah, and everything is transmittable, and then that also leads to something we call design and delivery, which Pete Marshall is working on.

Design and delivery is about well, if everything is IP addressable and everything is intelligent, well then the software and the services that you are creating, you maybe needing to think about creating those a little bit differently, so that development isn’t throwing those things over the wall to ops, and they’re using different tools and different processes.

They’re able to communicate issues back and forth a little bit better.

Michael Coté: I mean, this has been a big theme for — well all of software group for a while, but for Tivoli is the — what do you want to call like industry framework or solution, I mean, it’s had lots of names and it’s basically, I don’t know, I mean the way I look at it is, it’s finding new markets for IBM software brands that are more, that are not, what is it, they are not traditional IT markets.

Another way of looking at it, is if everything is a computer nowadays that — you can do complier stuff, then you can get into that. In the rational brand, you have the buy and sell a lot, which brings them into system stuff, which is doing non-IT stuff and you guys bought — I always call it Maximo, but it was actually MCO is that what it or —

Noah Kuttler: MRO, MRO.

Michael Coté: It was MRO, which got into keeping track of people’s pencil holders, just anything, valves and things like that?

Noah Kuttler: Yeah, and it really is fantastic, because if you think about it, the assets of IT are such, because that’s what was available to time. Your computers are what they manage, but now you have an iPhone, I have an iPhone, these things can be, these things should also be managed. They should also be a part of the enterprise, but then also things like a building, you know, everything in a building can be instrumented and we can start to control that.

Michael Coté: And then, so do you guys have — like what’s the partnership angle when you’re doing this kind of stuff, and the reason I ask this is because, I mean traditionally IBM doesn’t do stuff outside of its own domain, that’s kind tautologically putting it.

Noah Kuttler: Right, certainly.

Michael Coté: Sort of like, you don’t live outside, you live — your home is your house anyways. And so, like in building, I mean I know you guys partner with Johnson Controls and ultimately people like that. So, do you guys sort of have like the bevy of partners that you go with in various things or are you more trying to sort of takeover those things? Like what’s the strategy that you go in there with?

Noah Kuttler: Well, that particular area I don’t know personally, because I’m not dealing with that. I do know that we do have a number of partners like you said, Johnson Controls that we deal with. And it’s kind of a mix, we have a number of different business partners that we work with that all play in different areas and then there are some things that we go alone where we go with our services organization as well, but your point about Johnson Controls, that was a good example of they make the chips that go into buildings and some of that type of thing and we did a partnership with them where we turned Armonk and Rochester into smarter buildings.

Michael Coté: Right, right.

Noah Kuttler: And, yeah, you probably —

Michael Coté: Yeah, and I guess the other thing that — the other premise or theory or whatever your operating theory being that, I hate to use a word like substrate or wide space or something, but there is this area of need for management to software that didn’t really exist before.

Various executives and keynotes kind of a pulse and other kinds of maintenance that when it came to whether it’s managing a building or managing a factory or managing a pin holder, there really wasn’t the ability to manage it before.

Now, that kind of exists, and there is sort of a vacuum of software that yourself and others could kind of fill as well.

Noah Kuttler: Right, well let’s look at it like this. If you think about the budget of any customer or anybody listening your budget that’s a pot of money, it’s not getting bigger, it’s getting smaller, if anything.

IT budgets sometimes are reducing year-to-year, even budgets that are allocated are reducing. If you think about your average building, there was a great speech that President Obama or for us our President the U.S. President Obama gave at Penn State where he was talking about smarter buildings and he had mentioned us there.

One of the statistics he used that 45% of the energy in the United States goes to buildings or halls. So, outside of payroll, buildings become one of the largest expenses to a company.

So, if you think about yourself and you think about your dwindling IT budget, it’s basically just going into the ether on heating and nonsense like that, whereas if you had an intelligent building, you’re doing smarter buildings that might allow you as an IT organization to have more money or to do things more intelligently with the type of services that you offer.

Michael Coté: Yeah, it reminds us of a conversation I had with one of our clients, Syntela who basically they have, what do they have? They have software that helps you sort of monitor and if not monitored directly, you can figure out and estimate how much power usage various servers have and things like that.

Then kind of cross that with how much power you’re getting in, and the whole point being that you want to optimize the power that you’re using. And back when there was the barrel of oil, and whatever it used to be back when everyone suddenly went green freaky, and then it came down, and everyone kind of forgot about it.

Like, he was saying that a lot of the issues that when they talk with some people, that the IT people are kind of like, “Why do we need this for? We don’t pay that bill.” But then he said that there are some stories of people where, they’re like, we’ve got like a petabyte of storage sitting on the loading dock, because we don’t have the electrical capacity to plug it in.

It’s kind of like well, there you go, there is your problem. It’s like — and the point there being that there’s almost and without getting myself down in too many rabbit holes, I’ll line them up here. But, it’s almost as if in order to do your IT job, it may start to become necessary to do these other things, like worry about power management and things like that.

Know that we have to worry about the power coming in here, because then we can’t plug in our drives.

Noah Kuttler: You have to be a citizen of the world per se.

Michael Coté: Right, right.

Noah Kuttler: It’s funny you say that because, before I was with IBM I was with a small software company in New Jersey and we were about 15 people. When I tell you that I did about everything, I can tell you I did about everything.

In fact, in addition to being the marketing director there, I was the exchange administrator, which how those two jobs fall into the same category is beyond me. But, it’s made me hypervigilant to the fact that all these things are important to know about.

So, I remember being on the phone with someone at IBM, and they said to me, “Oh, such and such is free.” I said, “Oh great, then let’s do that.” The woman says, “Okay, I need your division and your department number.” And I said, “Lady, anytime someone asks you for division and department number, it’s not free.” I’m getting billed for it in some way, shape, or form.

So, those types of shadow budgets that people don’t think about, they factor in.

Michael Coté: Yeah. Why don’t we yeah, I know that make sense. It is like, it’s funny that in the previous episode that we had just five minutes ago as it were.

Noah Kuttler: Right.

Michael Coté: We were talking about how people need to have a sense of purpose or kind of be more plugged into the business. And then may be this is another example of it is kind of being aware of what’s going on beyond your cubicle and like how or what you are doing plugs into that and impacts, all right and —

Noah Kuttler: Well, the DC Water guy at Pulse, and I forget the gentleman’s name and I apologize to him, but the customer that we had from DC Water even talked about it with — when they provided a service back to the end customer as well as internally, all of a sudden they had all of these people throwing money at them saying, “Hey, can you do this project, can you do this?” And when you become valuable to the organization by providing them the things that they need, they are going to make sure you are well taken care of.

Michael Coté: Yeah, yeah.

Noah Kuttler: You know.

Michael Coté: Yeah, I mean it just — that’s the challenges of taking that leap of faith. They are doing — we are doing this project is getting like into that point, but it is —

Noah Kuttler: No question.

Michael Coté: That is like — I think there is sort of an intersection of easy things to say and also the helpfulness of it. And I think that’s the thing, that’s a good, the thing that this concept is at that point of, if you are successful at like making whoever you are delivering your service to happy, they are going to ask for more of it, right? It kind of does beg the question of like well, how do I do that or whatever, but it is kind of — there is no arguing about it, if you could pull it off, then it’s going to work for you.

Noah Kuttler: A great consultant once said to me, there are three steps to being a great consultant. It’s understanding the problem, delivering on-time and under budget, asking for more work.

Michael Coté: That’s right, definitely. Now, that makes sense.

Noah Kuttler: Yeah.

Michael Coté: So lets, I mean lets talk about the Pulse Conference itself for a little bit. I mean, what would you describe the agenda of it, like what the themes were or whatever?

Noah Kuttler: The theme was integrated service management, and it really was a valid communicating both the broader story, but you know one of the things that I would point out is that we are not forgetting about the data center customers by any means. What we have done is, we are working on progression paths, and entry points, so that if you are a TPM customer and you’re really just interested in, “I need to get a better virtualization strategy going on.”

We have those solutions and those are available to you, and we actually — the reason I mentioned TPM is because we had a new announcement around Federated Image Management, but that’s not here or there.

Michael Coté: Right, right.

Noah Kuttler: But, I’m sorry, it’s so transparent how much of a marketing guy I am, because I’m just like plug and you know but —

Michael Coté: And that’s — I mean when people go to a conference, let’s say you are going to conference, they want to know about the analysis stuff, right.

Noah Kuttler: Well, and also I was the one that was the cat herder for that list. That list that you probably saw when the 00:13:13 where they showed the list of — I was the one that cat herded that, so that’s why I know that. But it’s also about the broader perspective of service management when you start to think about industry solutions, you start to think about design and delivery and you start to think about things like intelligent network, metering network management.

I was you know roll off of that one, where like real time asset locator for healthcare. Where you are starting to think about services that are offered, that are not traditional IT, but there are things that IT can implement that are going to provide value to the business.

Michael Coté: Yeah. I mean, it’s Internet of thing stuff, right?

Noah Kuttler: Yes.

Michael Coté: That’s the other moniker.

Noah Kuttler: Yeah. And, I really like that as a concept as well.

Michael Coté: Yeah. I mean, to your point of the data center stuff, I mean the thing that I notice is — while on the keynote it was very focused on integrated service management stuff or whatever to be all proper in my phrasing.

Noah Kuttler: Right.

Michael Coté: If you went down to like the 00:14:15 it is like little boost, it was like, you can like throw a rock, or I guess like whatever else you would have. There would be people who are just like, here is image management, here is service things, like all the technical products were actually down on the floor that you just have to kind of go dig them up.

Noah Kuttler: Because that never goes away.

Michael Coté: Right, right.

Noah Kuttler: At the end of the day there is a bill of materials that needs to be addressed in terms of what the customers are using and again, there are some customers that are very gung ho that are saying yeah, we’re going to do real time asset location for healthcare and we are ready to go. There are other customers that just say, “Give me my TSM, let me be happy and move on.”

Michael Coté: And so, while you are the integrated service guy here, like since you did cat herd the other the list of announcements, like can you sort of like go over what those other announcements were?

Noah Kuttler: Sure. There were a number of different product announcements one of the most exciting things that’s happened recently is, where we’ve taken the big fixed products, and those are now officially the Tivoli Endpoint Manager product. So, that was a really nice announcement.

Michael Coté: Yeah, I mean that was a very practical pragmatic bite and that was in 2010, right, when you guys got that. It’s just desktop management patching or endpoints but you know —

Noah Kuttler: Right, and, you know, the thing and I’ll be honest with you, the thing that I love about the acquisitions that we make is the — in addition to new technology and new things that come in from there, we also get great new people. And there are people that come in that provide very unique or different perspectives that we then as maybe longer term IBM or start to learn from and start to incorporate their thinking, so that’s also good to have those folks in there.

Michael Coté: Right, right. So you had the BigFix announcement and well —

Noah Kuttler: Right, the BigFix announcement, we had Tivoli Provisioning Manager, where we talked about a federated image management.

Michael Coté: That’s the thing that — was that the thing that was in beta that —

Noah Kuttler: Oh, I’ll get to that, but federated image management, part of that is there were some — there were two really good cloud announcements. And I’m laughing because when you asked about it, the name was a code name and now it’s another name.

Michael Coté: Yeah, yeah. That’s why I didn’t ask by name, because I think there are many different names for it.

Noah Kuttler: You know, this is not “ask for it by name” type of situation unfortunately. We refer to it internally as high-scale low-touch.

Michael Coté: That’s right.

Noah Kuttler: That’s what’s in beta, and Jamie talked about that in her keynote and really what we are — it kind of says what it is, and is what it says, whereas if you’re doing a cloud environment and you are doing an image rollout, you don’t have time to configure all those things. It needs to be “boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.”

So, high-scale low-touch deployment is about that, making it very simple to rollout and implement those images. Now, the other thing that we talked about was a tech preview of the hybrid cloud integrator that’s based on cast iron technology.

That is about services that are public and/or private and having those as a kind of just a service catalog where you just pull from those, it doesn’t matter if they are public or private they’re all in the service catalog. We also talked about Tivoli Storage Manager for virtualized environments and we have some really good features there in terms of the way we backup with VMware.

It’s a lot more efficient, it’s a lot quicker.

Michael Coté: Then, there was some security stuff, which is something I don’t pay really close attention to, so I often miss but —

Noah Kuttler: Yeah, the security — it was a security intrusion prevention device. It’s a new box, as an old hardware guy, shiny metal always catches my attention and so —

Michael Coté: That’s right or black metal maybe I don’t know.

Noah Kuttler: Yeah, well yeah, exactly the black yeah. But yeah, it actually won an award at RSA. It’s the GX50 700 I believe was the product name.

Michael Coté: Good IBM name, yeah.

Noah Kuttler: Let me tell you. If there is anybody that knows how to name things and I’m not being sarcastic either you know, personal computer, you’re welcome.

Michael Coté: GX2000.

Noah Kuttler: You’re welcome exactly. So, we had a couple of those announcements, we also had some announcements around like I said, real time asset locator. We did a statement of direction around smarter cities, and then also ran smarter buildings, and so yeah, so a number of them we’re starting to think, there’s anything that was —

Michael Coté: Yes, I remember there was basically some virtualization stuff, and there was the high-touch or low-touch high-thing, and I mean that was kind of interesting.

Noah Kuttler: There was a network manager bundle that we had with OMNIbus, and that was also a nice thing. They kind of bundled a bunch of those products together and the nice thing, it’s funny. The nice thing about the network manager is you know, I referred to it on the blog, the intelligent network — crap I always screw up this name, Intelligent Metering Network Management Product.

Michael Coté: There you go.

Noah Kuttler: Which is around smarter — thank you, which is around smarter grids and smarter electricity. That’s one of those, I refer to it as the Reese’s peanut butter cup, two great tastes that taste great together, because you have the Maximo, which is the asset management and you have the network products, which is around the networking.

You put those together, and you have this great product for reading these meters, and the efficiencies on the network for reading those meters at a home site, as opposed to having to send out a guy or a girl that’s being chased by dogs, and God knows what —

Michael Coté: The truck rolls, and all that business.

Noah Kuttler: Oh yes, truck rolls, I love that.

Michael Coté: That was another, I think, I mean, if having followed like all this integrated stuff at Tivoli for like three years or so now. There is a certain lexicon of — there is a kind of like truck roll, CenterPoint Energy, San Francisco always, DC Water now is one, but there is, yeah like similar things that pop up. It’s fun to catalog those.

I spoke to myself and forgetting what I was going to say next, which is always exciting for me, but I mean, what was I going to say? I had one last thing I was going to talk about, terrible, terrible that I have forgotten it.

Noah Kuttler: Oh, I thought terrible was like a code name for something.

Michael Coté: No, no, no, that’s my own project code names.

Noah Kuttler: Okay, well, yeah we have many acronyms at IBM.

Michael Coté: Oh, I know what you are going to say, because there was also, I forget, I think, it was like the business service community, but there is some community site that you guys —

Noah Kuttler: Oh yes.

Michael Coté: You actually launched it, it’s kind of a soft launched a few weeks ago. But it’s kind of like developerWorks for ops people or something.

Noah Kuttler: Danny will kill me, because I forgot about it, but yeah, and the reason I forgot about it, was because it was in — as I look at the chart in my head. It’s on the bottom there under a kind of a cross thing.

Service Management Connect, is a site that we put on developerWorks and Service Management Connect, the reason that that’s important is, this is Subject Matter Experts at IBM, business partners, you as customers, all of these people coming together to collaborate and share content and share technical content.

It’s not just IBM who is providing content, it’s customers providing content, it’s interaction and collaboration, so it’s really building a community.

Michael Coté: Yeah.

Noah Kuttler: And one of the things around this community that’s in service management connect is the Request For Enhancements tool.

Michael Coté: Yeah, right, right, right.

Noah Kuttler: And we’ve been starting to role that out, so customers can vote on features that they want in products, vote them up, vote them down, comment on them, which is a really great feature.

Michael Coté: Yeah, yeah. I mean, it would be great if in the enterprise management space, you guys could help create as lively a community, that for example Spiceworks has a small and medium community.

Noah Kuttler: Right.

Michael Coté: And kind of bring beyond like these forums, bring the layer of functionality of sharing best practices, and technologies, like you were saying, kind of like voting on features, because it is I don’t know, I continually on this podcast complain here and there, but it is hard to find that body of that community around operation stuff. It’s easier to find in the developer world. So, I mean, hopefully that will work out.

Noah Kuttler: Yeah. Business service management was the first area that we’ve launched and we’re going to launch other areas around it. But yeah, it’s one of the things that I found fascinating and Pulse was the — the Tivoli user group that we have online that 00:23:02 is now managing. Then, like our customer lounge, one of the biggest things that people wanted to do was the customer connection thing, where we were putting customers like in oil and gas, finding them other oil and gas customers, so they could sit down and talk to those folks.

Michael Coté: Yeah, SAP has a community like that. I think that’s pretty popular, it’s called the business process exchange or something and you know, it’s always a little dicey when you get people on the same industry who are theoretically competitors swapping how they run their businesses.

Noah Kuttler: Right, but, right.

Michael Coté: And then, there is also some IT — it’s a little more complicated than infrastructure, but I don’t know, it is nice to be able to facilitate talking to peers.

Noah Kuttler: Yeah, in the developerWorks community, that’s something that we’ve been doing for quite some time is kind of opening that up to customers and getting them involved and interacting. And so, I think that this is kind of the next step, and I hope that it’s a community that is engaging.

Michael Coté: Yeah, yeah, you know, yeah, we’ll see, I mean, it takes a lot of work to make that happen, but you guys have the resources.

Noah Kuttler: Certainly, certainly.

Michael Coté: Well, great, well. I mean, you know, you had reached out so, like I had to do this podcast. And I think it was a good idea to like to sit down and kind of rehash it over kind of what was going on there. I think there is always a lot of confusion about what Tivoli is doing talking about waste water management now. Hopefully, it’s helpful to people who care about Tivoli to, kind of, like get new ideas, new explanations of that.

Noah Kuttler: Well and one thing I would say is, that it’s very interesting, so, you know Ivor Macfarlane, right?

Michael Coté: I think so, yeah, yeah.

Noah Kuttler: Okay. So, Ivor runs a simulator workshop that we do in person. Now, one of the things that we were showing at Pulse was this virtual stimulator game.

It’s a game that we developed with G2G3, because they also helped us with the simulator, the impersonator, but it’s this game that we do online where customers have projects that they have to pick. Then they have to figure out what the solutions are that they are going to put in and all of the time they are losing money, they are losing their stake in the field that they are in.

The game kind of will lead people to maybe you want to do one of these workshops. It’s a four-hour workshop, we do it in person, people take different roles CMO, CFO, CIO. What is astounding is, when you come out of the game, you start to have to a realization of how much larger the problem could potentially be.

The way that I talk about it with people is, it’s kind of like twitter people can tell you about twitter till they’re blue in the face.

Michael Coté: You got it steep in the soup.

Noah Kuttler: Until you have that one scenario and for me, the scenario was a certain Telco, who will remain nameless, was billing my mother for three boxes that they never installed for a television service. She was very frustrated, and I said to her, “Mom, I’m going to go on twitter. I’m going to see what I can do.” I put the name of the company up at fail, about a little while later I get a contact form a person there, she says, “Hi! My name is Jenny send me your mother’s information.”

I sent it to my Mom, they get a dedicated rep that’s working with her and yeah, it took some time, but eventually they got it off of her bill.

Michael Coté: Yeah, yeah, that’s not too shabby.

Noah Kuttler: So my mom calls me up, and she is just like shellshocked, she says, “I don’t know what I would have done, if you hadn’t done this.” She is like now I understand what this twitter thing is that you’ve been talking about.

Michael Coté: Yeah, yeah. No, it’s like reintroducing people into the whole scheme of things talking with each other.

Noah Kuttler: Yeah and so yeah, the Tivoli products, and you know working on those in the data center is something that we continue to do, but as our customer start to see their needs go outside of the data center, then we want to have those solutions and we want to have integrated service management across all of that. And so, that’s what we were doing.

Michael Coté: Yeah, now that makes sense. Well, great well thanks for being a guest here.

Noah Kuttler: Oh, no problem. No problem. Thank you. And next time we have to do like over Rudy’s or something local, you know —

Michael Coté: That’s right. We’ll have some food in a hotter place than this. It’s getting kind of cold in here.

Noah Kuttler: Yeah, I was going to say — I think we are sitting like right under the air vent.

Michael Coté: Definitely.

Noah Kuttler: I mean that’s under the —

Michael Coté: It’s kind of 00:27:27 kind of keeps you up.

Noah Kuttler: Is that a how or is that — what’s that hanging from the wall?

Michael Coté: Over here?

Noah Kuttler: Yeah.

Michael Coté: Yeah, it’s a longhorn.

Noah Kuttler: Okay, that is a longhorn hanging from the wall, because we are in Austin and of course that just makes sense.

Michael Coté: You just inherit those and your wife doesn’t want them so you bring it to work. That’s what you do. All right, well on that note, we’ll see everyone next time.

Disclosure: see the RedMonk client list for clients mentioned, including IBM.

Categories: Conferences, IT Management Podcast.

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