Tag Archives: cloud

Five-point plan to get the most out of your Apprenticeship – Oliver Pope

I recently celebrated my 4th ‘birthday’ at IBM.  Don’t ask me how four years have gone so quickly, because I don’t have an answer (and I’m trying to ignore the fact!).

With that in mind, I thought I’d share an updated 5-point plan that I use every day, that will help you get the most out of your apprenticeship and indeed, your career.

  1. Get a Mentor – I can absolutely assure you that there is no point in your career when having a mentor is a bad thing. And when I say ‘a mentor’ – I mean collect them like Pokémon.  Having a ‘council of advisors’ means that whenever you have a difficult decision about your career or how to handle a tricky work situation, the act of listening to people you trust will, I can guarantee, show you the right path
  2. Stay Excited … but not too excited – To this day, I still don’t understand people when talk about ‘that Monday morning feeling’. Talk to people (your manager, your colleagues in other parts of the business, your mentor), and find the role that suits you (you’ll know when you’ve found it, trust me).  But remember, you are starting off in your career (and building your understanding of technology, your role in the company and the machinations of office politics) so you are at a slight disadvantage to some of your colleagues who have done it before.  I have found that, in cases where I don’t know everything about a subject, I need to remain conscious of that fact and not allow myself to make assumptions or assertions that may end up coming back to haunt me or my client.  Which brings me on to my next point …
  3. Do the Reading – I cannot understate the importance and value or taking the time to do some education (formal or informal) in and around your area of expertise. Subscribe to development newsletters … most of the time you’ll just delete them, but even if you only read one white paper a month that teaches you one new thing, you’ll benefit. All of this provides you with the foundation to start implementing your own, new and innovative ideas that could change an industry –  and the next time the client asks a tricky question, you’ll be the one coming up with the answer
  4. Work Hard and Earn Your Place – Put in the hours. It’s that simple.  You won’t always be the most intelligent person in the room (I rarely am), but you honestly don’t need to be.  If you build a reputation for putting in the work, being personable, approachable and diligent, important people will soon start coming to you.  At first it will ‘only’ be to help do some research maybe, but then you’re helping them author a white paper, and then you’re implementing what you wrote about and changing the face of your business or industry (trust me, I know what I’m talking about on this one!)
  5. Chill Out! – Relax. ‘Wellness’ may be an annoying buzzword but really, the simple things still work best:
  • Avoid working from home (that’s where you go to in order to be with your family and turn your brain off!)
  • Work should start and end at specific times (obviously there are exceptional circumstances, but don’t get into the habit of answering emails whilst settling down to watch the next episode of The Walking Dead)
  • Have lunch away from your desk (sounds silly, but it dramatically increases your productivity over the whole day)
  • When it all gets a bit much and you’re juggling 15 tasks at once, step away from your desk, get some fresh air, write everything down and tackle the priorities one-by-one

I hope that helps – I can honestly say that I use most, if not all, of these points on a daily basis.  I really think it helps, and I really believe that you can start an amazing career as an Apprentice by implementing these in your day.

Thanks for reading, and let me know if you’ve got any other ideas that I can implement in my day!

Oliver Pope-Mostowicz, IBM Cloud Architect

@oliverjpope_

https://uk.linkedin.com/in/oliver-pope-mostowicz-90554358

CAMSS? Just another acronym?

CAMSS. It’s another acronym. Does it look familiar to you? Doing a Google search for ‘CAMSS’ will mostly yield results related to IBM as this is our ‘keyword’ for the future direction the company is taking. Yet, IBM are not the only company diverging and investing in the CAMSS space. Many other global technology corporations such as Microsoft, Amazon, Accenture and HP are also heading in a similar direction. However not many people understand just what these initiatives are.

I currently work on account which is the other side of the country to my home town, and any trips back require a number of hours on public transport. I thought one day, whilst I was bored and had just finished an IBM quiz on Cloud, to maybe do an experiment and see who else on the commute would know about cloud, analytics, mobile, social or security. While I think there may be a select few who would understand, the majority of people will probably look at me funny and some would probably tell me to go away. Don’t worry, I didn’t actually go around asking people that, it was the end of a long week of work and I just went to sleep!

If you’re not that sure about CAMSS (Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social and Security) then be glad you have our blog. I will cover briefly what each initiative is, and how it ties in to the work we do to improve the way our clients and people in general work.

Cloud

When we talk about cloud, we don’t talk about things being put on to actual clouds, but keep the metaphor in mind as it is probably the easiest way to explain Cloud to someone who is not necessarily in the know. When a company is looking to upgrade their existing infrastructure, maybe to support a new project or keep up with business demand or growth, a company will probably start costing how much it would be to buy all the networking gear and hire professionals who are able to install the new network. Many companies will probably outsource this work to a reputable company. While this means that company will have their own infrastructure, it is often very costly and, to keep their systems secure and running smoothly, they will likely have to upgrade in the next five (or less) years. So how does a company keep up with demand and technology without having to fork out money every number of years? Turn to the Cloud. Companies like IBM offer Cloud solutions using the latest hardware which can dynamically assign resources depending on the demand from a client. So in the example of an online retailer, Summer can be quiet and the Cloud infrastructure can be scaled down (saving the customer money) and once Christmas hits, more resources can be assigned to cope with the new demand. This is an example of Infrastructure as a Service. You also have Platform as a Service and Software as a Service for hosting singular or a variety of different applications in the Cloud.

Analytics

Data is everywhere. An average person working a 9 to 5 job likely wakes up and checks the latest news or their favourits websites on their phone, eats their favourite cereal or breakfast, washed with certain hygiene products, drives a certain car to work, takes a certain route and when they get to work accesses certain websites or does online shopping buying certain quantities of different products. How much data could you gather from that person based on the above scenario? The same applies to businesses in terms of customer demand, current trends, buying habits, preferred products and financial predictions, for instance when the company is likely to make or lose money. All these data points are useful and Analytics can be utilised to provide a company with useful insights into how their business is operating and can assist in making informed business decisions.

Mobile

In these times, you will struggle to find a person who doesn’t own a mobile phone and smartphone use is ever on the rise. If you were a company looking to improve your web or user experiences for your customers, then it would make sense to go mobile. After all, people are always busy moving around, less people are confined to a desk with one computer for their whole life and much more work is being done on commutes with smartphones or tablets (or other similar devices). A lot of companies and online websites already do a lot of work to make their business experience more mobile. For example, on this Apprentice blog, we’ve done a lot of work this year to make our website more accessible for a range of different users which includes utilising a mobile version of the site and allowing authors to create and edit content on smartphones and tablets (I am writing this article on the bus while on the way to work!). You only need to look at the sheer amount of companies who have a mobile site and initiatives such as Apple Pay to see how seriously companies are taking mobile.

Social

As I type this, Facebook has recently announced that they are celebrating one billion active users online at any one time. Just think on that for a sec, one billion active users with a social media account, that’s 1/7 of the worlds population online at any one time, 1/7 of the worlds population with social media accounts and of those accounts, the average Facebook user has 338 friends (Six Degrees of Seperation Theory anyone?). Companies know the sheer power of social media and are utilising it in many ways such as word of mouth advertising, encouraging users to share experiences of their products, targeted advertising based on a users likes and preferences (again, back to analytics here) as well as Twitter accounts which provide a means of customer service support or providing latest updates (especially useful in terms of transport). Essentially, social media brings customers and companies closer together and the power of communication and human socialising shouldn’t be underestimated.

Security

Increasingly, we are hearing in the news of scandals in terms of data breaches and hacks being performed on major or sensitive websites. (Quite recently, the hacking of Ashley Madison has got quite a few high profile people hot under the collar!). How do these data breaches happen? It’s quite simple: security simply was not good enough. While it’s good to have an amazing infrastructure, servicing customers effectively over social media, a good mobile experiences, it would all amount to nothing if all that customer information was illegally accessed and shared to the wrong person just because of inadequate security. The cost to a company of data breaches is highly significant and has caused companies to go bankrupt from the legal costs associated with compensation for loss of customer data.

I hope this article goes a way to clear up what we mean by ‘the CAMSS agenda’ and clarifies why companies like IBM have chosen to guide business direction toward these initiatives. Once again, I look forward to posting to you again soon. – Craig

 

What on earth is CAMSS? – Avtar Marway

Well, in short… CAMSS stands for ‘Cloud Analytics Mobile Social Security’. These are the five key strategies that IBM have in order to help their clients and be essential to the world. So how have these already helped?

Cloud

Like a normal cloud, which stores water, one of the offerings of IBM’s cloud is to allow storage of their client’s information, data and services. Rather than buying their own data storage, clients can use IBM’s Cloud to store their data and information which means they do not have to worry about it

Analytics

Do you ever think what happens with all the data we collect? The millions of data that is collected through the little things we ignore in life? By using Analytics, we are able to analyse the data we collect in order to make smarter cities and a smarter planet. So an example of this is by using traffic lights. Don’t you just hate it when you’re at a red traffic light at a junction, where there are no cars and no pedestrians waiting to cross? By using the data that is collected by traffic lights, analytics can be used to make these traffic lights smarter and better to the adapting world that we are in.

Mobile

Are you reading this from your mobile? If you are, then that’s one of the big things that mobiles are able to do. Mobile is a huge part of society today and are a big part of our lives. This is due to the growth in technology over the years which has allowed companies such as banks to integrate their services into the mobile industry. IBM helps its clients with Mobile by undertaking activities such as creation, management and testing of their mobile-ready applications. For example, if a bank were to have a new app, IBM could help to create this app, test the app on mobile devices so that when the bank releases the app, there are no problems and customers are satisfied with the application as well as it’s functionality.

Social

How often do you see the Twitter or Facebook symbol on the website of a business? The majority of businesses now link their business with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. in order to increase the social aspect of their business. IBM help to develop offerings and assets around the use of social media. IBM can analyse the data that a business’ social aspect collects. For example, say one of IBM’s clients had a twitter account where customers tweet the company. IBM could use the tweets that have been sent to their client to find out what a lot of their customers are tweeting and then use this information to help their client. For example, if tweets were about low customer satisfaction, then IBM could help the client with this problem. All this is done because the client went social.

Security

Without Security, you would have no money, I would have no money, and there would be mass mayhem all over the world. Security is very important – especially with the growth in technology. This is because if security is breached, all kinds of information can be leaked. Remember when Sony was hacked? And the bank details of many PlayStation users were held by the hackers? Imagine if your bank details were breached, how would you have felt? IBM helps to implement high levels of security to their clients. For example, if a client uses the IBM cloud, the information and data they keep inside the cloud is protected within IBM’s security platforms. IBM have done many demonstrations to display how good our security offering is.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog, and have understood what CAMSS is. If you require more information about any of these or about anything relating to IBM as well as the apprenticeship scheme, feel free to contact me on Twitter (@AvtarMarway), LinkedIn (Avtar Marway) or email me (AvtarMar@UK.IBM.COM).

See you soon!

CAMSS: Cloud from the Apprentices’ view – Oliver Pope-Mostowicz

IBM, and IBMers, are well known for our TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms)! Occasionally however, we break the mould and for acronyms with more (or less) letters. Case in point: CAMSS – Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social and Security.

But what are those five, seemingly only indirectly related, words actually addressing, and why are they important enough to IBM, and to the IBM Apprentice community, that they warrant their own blog series? Well, I’m very glad you asked.

CAMSS are the five key strategy paths IBM will be pursuing in our continued effort to become essential to the world (another key strategy for IBM and IBMers). They are the five key areas of technological development (at various stages of maturity) that IBM has identified as being the most important to the progression of the IT industry (the significant growth areas) and thereby, and without exaggerating too much, the advancement of the backbone of our entire world.

In this series already, other authors have explained some of the areas of CAMSS in their own words and outlined the importance of these concepts to IBM and to those authors specifically. Now it is my turn, and I’m going to take on the Cloud – the dreaded buzz word that is ephemeral by name, nature and application!

Dilbert has pretty accurately summed up the attitude towards the Cloud:

dilbert2

And:

dilbert1

It’s a little depressing, but extremely accurate.

Now there are people who will argue until the cows come home about what the Cloud actually is, but for the sake of simplicity and understanding (something we can often lose hold of in the technical world – much to our own detriment), here is the Cloud, explained in MY own words.

Cloud is about the combination of 4 simpler concepts:

  • Virtualisation – the abstraction of hardware to allow multiple ‘virtual’ servers to run on a single physical machine
  • Elastic provisioning – allows users to quickly deploy more machines to cope with higher demand and to quickly remove (and crucially stop paying for) machines when that demand lessens
  • Usage based cost models – pay for what you need, when you need it. No more, no less
  • Geographic and Provider abstraction – most importantly, with a good Cloud platform you, the user, shouldn’t have to care about where your data and compute power is, and who is providing it – you simply have access to what you need, when you need it

Now obviously the above statements are gross simplifications – in particular the point about ‘caring where your data is’ – there are obviously needs in practical implementation to be compliant with laws and business policies (i.e. some financial business may require that data stay within a specific country), but at a high level the statements are true.

The Cloud is an incredible opportunity for business to respond more quickly to the natural peaks and troughs in the markets (for example, retail business have huge spikes in demand around Christmas but may not need the same support from their IT the rest of the year), and thereby to free up crucial cash to put into other areas that better serve their customers and employees. It is still a relatively young concept (at least in this form – it is certainly arguable that this model is simply the development of the Mainframe and ‘dumb’ client model that IBM built it’s foundations on), and it is a hugely exciting time to be a part of the industry.

The IT industry is of course notorious for ‘the next big thing’, and that very same ‘next big thing’ being a footnote in history the next year – but I don’t think (and clearly IBM doesn’t either) that the Cloud is going anywhere.

It’s time for you to get your head around it.

Thanks for reading.

P.S If this article didn’t help, I reckon this video is pretty good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTNgV0O_oTg