Can enterprise-ready software turn the cloud game in IBM’s favor?

john-furrier-and-dave-vellante-ibm-interconnect-2017

At this week’s IBM InterConnect 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada, attendees are taking a hard look at how the cloud players rank in enterprise readiness.

“This is the number one conversation in the hallways here in Las Vegas and every single cloud show in the enterprise,” said John Furrier (@furrier — pictured, left), co-host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile live streaming studio (*Disclosure below.)

So how do cloud providers stack up? Dave Vellante (@dvellante — pictured, right), co-host of theCUBE, said that Google Inc. is too geeky to win in enterprise readiness. But he did say, “They’re trying to talk that game. Diane Greene [is] hiring a lot of new people.”

Amazon.com Inc. is clearly stronger than Google for the enterprise, but IBM Corp. still leads both in software offerings, according to the analysts. “That’s IBM’s ace in the hole is the software business,” Vellante said.

With a rather vocal goal to be a $40-billion business by 2018, how will IBM achieve this with dollars steadily flowing to cloud, where they lag behind Amazon and others? For one thing, IBM announced its Flex cloud object storage that answers Amazon’s S3.

To attract customers, IBM should focus on its edge in Service Level Agreements, according to Furrier.

“The SLAs are actually more important than price,” he stated. Furrier added that Google touted its pricing at Google Next, saying, “‘Buy us ’cause we’re Google.’ Not really. It’s not so much the price; it’s the SLA.”

Who owns AI models?

Even with its potential edge in enterprise cloud markets, IBM faces challenges with the cognitive computing tech like the AI-driven Watson, in which it’s heavily invested. Vellante sees trouble brewing where data ownership meets artificial intelligence models. To this end, Watson General Manager David Kenny said during InterConnect that with IBM, companies will own their data and their IPs will be protected.

According to Vellante, Kenny implied that “the other guys — he didn’t mention Google and Amazon, but that’s who he was talking about — are essentially going to be taking your data into their cloud and then informing their models and then essentially training those models and seeping your IP out to your competitors.”

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of IBM InterConnect 2017. (*Disclosure: SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE is a media partner at InterConnect. Neither IBM nor other conference sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE