EMA Innovators of IBM Connect 2017

Feb 23, 2017 4:43:29 PM

After three fascinating days at IBM Connect 2017, EMA crowned a very short list of vendors with the “EMA Innovators of IBM Connect 2017” award. These vendors are true game changers because they look at a traditional IT challenges from a whole new angle, which enables them to drive highly differentiated customer value. Please note that some of these vendor products might still be in an early or even experimental stage, but Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) believes that they are absolutely worth any IT professional’s time to check out.

Sapho: After App-driven IT Comes Task-driven IT

Website: https://www.sapho.com

In today’s enterprise, there is never a lack of available task and decision-relevant data from all kinds of enterprise software systems, such as
Salesforce.com, Oracle, SAP, Jira, ServiceNow, Trello, Box, and publicly available information streams such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Sapho enables non-developers to aggregate this data and create task-driven interactive workflows that can be used via email, mobile application, Watson Workspace, Microsoft Teams, Feed Cards, or Slack.


  • A salesman wants a mobile dashboard that shows all high value customers and prospects currently at risk of being dissatisfied. To achieve this goal, he joins ticket data from ServiceNow with opportunity data from Salesforce and the number of negative Twitter mentions.
  • Centralized approval for expenses, purchase orders, time off requests, and travel requests coming from the same system, with the required workflows attached.
  • Dashboards and alerts showing KPIs that are relevant to specific staff roles and can be further customized by individuals. Our anxious salesman can set an alert that warns him every time another severity 1 ticket is added to one of his key accounts, or every time this ticket is not closed in Jira within 24 hours.

In a nutshell: Sapho receives EMA’s Innovators award for breaking up traditional barriers between applications and turning traditional systems of record into systems of engagement.


IBM Watson Workspace: Work Task-centric Instead of App-centric Workspaces

Website: https://workspace.ibm.com

IBM Watson Workspace is driven by Watson Work Services. Watson Work Services provide the cognitive and application APIs required to end today’s constantly interrupted workdays by presenting employees with prioritized and project-specific tasks, questions, and information. Watson Workspace does this without making users open numerous apps. Watson’s artificial intelligence has industry-specific knowledge built in, but continuously learns from end-user behavior.


Watson sees an incoming angry customer email in an account executive’s inbox. The email is complaining about a specific software bug. Here’s what Watson can do:

  • Recognize the sentiment and classify this email as “angry”.
  • Check in SAP whether this is a paying customer and how much maintenance his organization is paying.
  • If it is a paying customer, mark the request as “urgent” and put it on top of the pile.
  • Show how much revenue from maintenance and new opportunities is attached to this customer.
  • Find out from ServiceNow which support representative was dealing with this customer before and add her to the conversation. Also add the support representative who was last contacted by this customer.
  • Retrieve relevant troubleshooting documentation from Jira and other sources and attach that information to a meeting invite, based on urgency and availability of all required participants.

In a nutshell: IBM Watson Workspace and Work Services receive the EMA Innovator’s award for delivering intelligent and continuously learning workspaces that enable end users to complete their job tasks faster and better.


Ephox: The Assistant That Helps You Create Content Faster and Better

Website: https://www.ephox.com

Ephox leverages IBM Work Service APIs to help end users create content faster by recognizing the topics the user is writing about and automatically delivering relevant content (web sources, files, photos, and videos) to consider, quote from, or insert into the new blog post, Wiki entry, or other document. In contrast to Google’s “Explore” capabilities for Google Docs, Ephox allows customers to hook up corporate data sources to train the AI and retrieve contextual content from. In addition, Ephox “grades” text as the end user’s type, providing them with a real-time idea of whether their text is too complicated or negative for the target audience.


An industry analyst writes a blog post regarding a hot topic, such as “containers.” As she is typing the introduction, Ephox shows a sidebar with publications behind the corporate paywall on related topics by herinternal analyst colleagues. The side bar will also include links to related publications from other analyst firms and, of course, links to container vendors. Ephox could then also be connected to stock photo sources to recommend images or images could even be extracted from existing internal flow charts (this would require the use of additional Watson API calls).

In a nutshell: Ephox delivers an intelligent text editor that digs into all relevant data sources so the end user can focus on writing content.


Torsten Volk

Written by Torsten Volk

With over 15 years of enterprise IT experience, including a two-and-a-half-year stint leading ASG Technologies' cloud business unit, Torsten returns to EMA to help end users and vendors leverage the opportunities presented by today's hybrid cloud and software-defined infrastructure environments in combination with advanced machine learning. Torsten specializes in topics that lead the way from hybrid cloud and the software-defined data center (SDDC) toward a business-defined concept of enterprise IT. Torsten spearheads research projects on hybrid cloud and machine learning combined with an application- and service-centric approach to hyperconverged infrastructure, capacity planning, intelligent workload placement, public cloud, open source frameworks, containers and hyperscale computing.

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