POWER > Trends > Collaboration

Feedback Loop

Executive Advisory Board
Illustration by Script and Seal

With a goal of forming closer partnerships with clients and using their feedback to help shape IBM’s strategy and offerings, IBM launched a revamped version of its Cognitive Systems Executive Advisory Board (EAB) in the fall of 2014. In the nearly three years since, the EAB has facilitated an open exchange of ideas, objectives and upcoming technologies that has benefited both IBM and its clients.

In early 2017, when Bob Picciano, senior vice president of IBM Cognitive Systems, assumed the role of EAB host, the board shifted its focus, placing it squarely on the Cognitive Era*. Picciano explains why cognitive is a major topic in this year’s EAB agendas: “This new era in technology is changing the way we interact with complex information and insights. The agility, speed, interaction, and data handling required to deliver these insights are driving changes in the fundamentals of system and computing design. Our mission is to modernize enterprise systems to support expanding traditional and cognitive workloads.”

Ongoing Business Value Sharing

The EAB meets every spring and fall, often coinciding with major IBM offering announcements. The group comprises approximately 20 executives from IBM client organizations including vice presidents, chief technology officers, and executive managers. These executives have deep experience with how their businesses run workloads on AIX*, IBM i and Linux* OSs.

Members of the EAB represent a cross-section of industries, such as finance, retail, healthcare and software development, and include companies large and small. Culling ideas and insights from a variety of businesses keeps the information sharing fresh and enables a broad array of use cases.

Stefanie Chiras, Ph.D., vice president of IBM Cognitive Systems Offering Management, values the opportunity to engage in dialogue on the IBM hardware portfolio for cognitive solutions at the biannual meetings. “There are no moderators between us and our clients. We are very open about our directions and strategies,” Chiras says. “Our goal at these meetings is to lay out our forward-looking thoughts and discuss where we will take our company, branding and position in the market. We solicit feedback, so it is a very interactive dialogue with the members.”

Clients who attend the meetings, which are covered by nondisclosure agreements, are candid about their needs. The members validate how they are using the Power Systems* platform, how they architect their data centers, and offer suggestions about adding new features or technologies that could improve their business. This sharing of information promotes stronger relationships, mutual innovation, and more profitable business results for IBM and its clients.

“Executives talk about their pain points and road blocks, and we discuss what technology or business methods we have with our offerings that can help solve those problems,” explains Carolyn Jones, IBM Cognitive Systems Portfolio Management, who leads the planning of the EAB meetings, collaborates across the team, responds to client needs and coordinates the meetings. “Members tell us what they’re doing, and this gives us insights from a business perspective on how we can help them. These meetings help them grow their own business because they see what’s on the horizon with our technology.”

The open dialogue environment also encourages executives from the member organizations to share information amongst themselves. The peer exchange allows companies to discuss use cases and different approaches that could benefit other industries.

Brett Martin is a freelance writer based in Shakopee, Minnesota. He’s been writing about business and technology for more than a decade.

comments powered by Disqus



2019 Solutions Edition

A Comprehensive Online Buyer's Guide to Solutions, Services and Education.


Celebrating IBM i Careers and Community


The Changing Business of IT

IBM Systems Magazine Subscribe Box Read Now Link Subscribe Now Link iPad App Google Play Store