IBM Bets on Automation to Spur Hybrid Cloud Adoption; Rivals Attempt to Drown its Messaging

Summary Bullets:

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Charlotte Dunlap – Principal Analyst, Application Platforms

• During IBM Think IBM unveiled a set of new products and features underscoring its more comprehensive automation and hybrid cloud portfolio

• Also holding conferences and outlining automation strategies and offerings last week were ServiceNow, Automation Anywhere, and Appian

Following 12 months of aggressive investment in the workflow automation space, IBM used its mega annual conference, IBM Think, to demonstrate how its latest DevOps focus is paying off and strengthening the company’s overarching hybrid cloud agenda.

Workflow automation represents an emerging market sector which most closely defines the current DevOps concept and includes a prominent list of ecosystem rivals. While IBM leveraged the conference to provide hybrid cloud technology updates, its larger agenda was meant to reiterate its strengths going forward in the increasingly competitive workflow automation space. IBM finds itself facing notable competitors within a changing ecosystem including ServiceNow, Salesforce, Pegasystems, Automation Anywhere, Appian, and Microsoft among others. These vendors represent both partnerships and competitors in an evolving market which touches upon several advanced technologies including low-code development platforms, robotic process automation (RPA), AI, workflow automation tools, and intelligent process automation (IPA).

During IBM Think, the company unveiled a set of new products and features underscoring its more comprehensive automation and hybrid cloud portfolio:

• Watson Orchestrate: Automates routine employee tasks to improve productivity via integration with collaboration tools like Slack, Salesforce, SAP, and Workday. Later in 2021 the interactive AI tools will be integrated with IBM Automation Cloud Paks.

• Cloud Pak for Data updates: AutoSQL automation tool leverages AI to manage data easing the requirements around distributed queries.

• Mono2Micro: Referred to by IBM as a transformation advisor, is a new feature in WebSphere Hybrid Edition which provides best practice recommendations for moving appropriate enterprise applications to the cloud, powered by AI.

IBM wasn’t the only vendor conference promoting intelligent automation last week. Also presenting their automation solutions and strategies were:

• ServiceNow highlighted three key differentiators including low-code strengths to ease process automation; integration via pre-built connectors; and extensibility to work on legacy app architectures.

• Automation Anywhere is looking to disrupt the workflow automation space through its RPA strengths and through a platform that’s designed to be used by any enterprise employee, via industry-specific and pre-configured solutions.

• Appian outlined its latest strategy for time to value via new/unlimited pricing models around its low-code and automation platform with an increased focus on security.

Consolidated intelligent automation platforms help enterprises mechanize IT during critical business transformations. This provides DevOps teams with the technology components necessary to reduce operational risk and lower cost under application modernization efforts addressing distributed systems. Specifically, workflow automation is playing a key role in IT automation for its ability to offer a starting point in digital transformations through important features such as process mining.

During the past year’s global health crisis and subsequent need to accelerate digital transformations, IBM and other application platform providers honed strategies in response to enterprises’ quest for new services leveraging integration, AI, and cloud infrastructure to take business processes and the entire ALM pipeline to new levels. Technology advancements resulted, aimed at providing broader insights and diagnostics into various backend systems, alongside pre-determined automation of remediation of problems. These include a self-learning process for automatically making improvements to app services going forward. Solutions supporting a more unified and centralized management service which attaches security and governance to processes are quickly becoming vital.

For more on IBM Think, please click here

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