Gene Phifer

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Gene Phifer
Managing VP
13 years at Gartner
36 years IT industry

Gene Phifer is a managing vice president in Gartner Research. Mr. Phifer covers a broad set of Web and cloud-centric technologies, including Web architecture, intranets, extranets, e-business, portals, Web applications, cloud computing… Read Full Bio

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Thoughts from Day 1 of the IBM Software Group Analyst Summit

by Gene Phifer  |  November 19, 2008  |  2 Comments

I’m at the IBM Software Group Analsyt Summit today and tomorrow.  I am sitting in the keynote, which is being delivered by Steve Mills.  The focus of the keynote is IBM’s industry solutions.

I heard Steve mutter the word ‘application’ more in this speech than I have in any other.  And he used the term ‘application’ in relation to what IBM is selling.  IBM has run away from the perception that they sell business applications, pushing the infrastructure angle instead.  But things seem to be changing.

IBM doesn’t offer big ERP, CRM etc., suites, and therefore hasn’t historically competed directly with Oracle and SAP in the applications markets.  IBM does deliver ‘industry solutions’, many of which are heavily comprised of packaged composite applications.  And guess what:  industry solutions, heavily comprised of packaged composite apps, are huge strategies of Oracle, SAP and other business applicaiton vendors.

So, while IBM has historically avoided head-to-head competition with the business applications vendors, is that still the situation? 

I asked Steve that question, and he thinks that the situation is unchanged.  

I’m not so sure.  I see a lot of similarities between IBM’s industry solutions and similar offerings from Oracle, SAP and others.  The world may be changing.  

What do you think?


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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jim Sinur   November 20, 2008 at 11:02 am

    I’ve heard this one out of IBM more than once with failure to follow within two years. I wonder what is different this time?

  • 2 Gene Phifer   November 20, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    IBM has been doing vertical solutions for many years. We asked if there was some event or significant new investment that justified the conference focus on vertical solutions. There is no event. It appears that they are going to put more and more behind these vertical solutions, but the vertical industry focus at the software analyst summit is just an update.

    I think they will keep on keeping on here. IBM sees the money, and they are going after it.

    And they will keep dancing when it comes to whether IBM does ‘apps’.