Smarter Commerce: Having trouble putting the pieces together?

So you are at the Smarter Commerce Global Summit and you are seeing all kinds products and services from IBM and Business Partners. If you are asking yourself questions like this:

  • What value do I get choosing IBM for a specific piece of my Smarter Commerce puzzle?
  • What is the value of choosing IBM for multiple products?
  • What value is there in having these solutions integrated versus a competitor?
  • What business partner would you recommend for X, if any?
  • Why should I choose IBM for our eCommerce vision?

If you didn’t get these answered during the sessions, meeting with our executives, from a business partner or even from your IBM sales team then you should know this:

My team is a team of Smarter Commerce architects responsible for all products in the Industry Solutions portfolio specific to eCommerce for all of North America. We specialize in Smarter Commerce Strategy and architecture. We can help you find your gaps and help fill those gaps with an IBM product and service or through a Business Partners products and services. If we don’t know the answer we can quickly find the answer. Hit me up if you have any questions here at the Summit. I am @bobbalfe on Twitter, direct message me or simply Tweet me for a meeting.

The Open Source IT architect

The open source community is surely a force in today’s world.  I started thinking about the “off shoring” comments made on a few blogs that I follow on planet lotus and I decided to think about what I would do from a business perspective if I was in the position of looking for a new job, new business opportunities, or a way to use my software engineering skills going forward.  One of the things our industry has that many other industries do not have is this thing called “open source”.  This is a huge opportunity for software engineers and developers.  From contributing to the projects, using the projects in your company or supporting/extending them for other companies – many options are possible.  This could easily save your company thousands or millions of dollars in software fees.  Not only can you save money with your own company but you could become a consultant or support specialist for the many open source products out there, or build new solutions based on an open source package.  Just look at how Damian started CouchIO, a company who creates solutions based on CouchDB.  Taking your skills to new areas is really what it’s all about.  Blogging, networking, authoring, and “getting yourself out there” are all critical aspects of making it in a global field.  Specializing in one or more of these open source technologies can reap great rewards in the end.

The communities around open source vary with regards to quality and actual usefulness.    You can see my personal list of tools I use at home in a previous blog post.  There is also a great list over on lifehacker if you want a comprehensive list of available tools for a given category.  Apache is the place to start for back-end business software – everything from J2EE web servers to authentication protocols.

I think this could warrant some attention.  Knowing all of the areas where open source touch and being able to piece together solutions using free/open source software would be an interesting skill to have.

As with many, my biggest problem would be engaging in new areas that I am not intimately familiar with as most of my career has been focused on Notes and Domino technologies.  So if your area does not support the Notes market place then you may want to consider relocating or learning some open source areas and applying the cool things you have learned working with Notes in some new space.

I would be interested to hear others opinions on this touchy subject.  This of course is just an idea and an actual business model that brings in money has not really been brought out yet.