Alternative Text Chris Booker | 19 July 2016 |

IBM Cloud – Bluemix Lab, Manchester


Bluemix Introduction

 “Two guys in a Starbucks can have access to the same computing power as a Fortune 500 company.”  Jim Deters Founder, Galvanize

Bluemix Lab - The Hive Manchester

Bluemix Lab – The Hive Mancheste

Our Bluemix Lab Event was hosted in Manchester at The Hive which is a grade A office 10-15 minutes’ walk from Manchester Piccadilly. Attended by various industry representatives from retail, distribution, technology, manufacturing and included university lecturers who were looking to integrate Bluemix into degree modules. The day comprised of a business and technical session aimed at helping drive innovation, agility and speed within your organisation. The day kicked off with an overview of the Bluemix platform and the services and technologies available. How born on the cloud companies were differentiating themselves, the likes of Uber, AirBnB and many more. They were disrupting existing business models and organisations. The key take-away was disrupt or be disrupted.

Business Lab


App Prioritisation

App Prioritisation


Leading the lab was Matthew Littlefield – Technical Sales Specialist for IBM. Some attendees had little or no knowledge of Bluemix and were attending to gain a better understanding of the Cloud platform.

Prioritisation criteria played a big part in the business lab and it was interesting to understand the different aspect to these criteria. There are 4 different steps/ areas for prioritization: Impact, Cost, Complexity and ROI (Return on Investment).

Impact: Does the use case make a positive impact on the business? Such as addressing a pain, providing market differentiation, introducing a disruptive dimension to their industry. If so then the value will be low 1-3, if not the value will be high 7-9, otherwise the value will be 4-6.

Cost: Will the costs for both software and services be high? It could be additional software, hardware or infrastructure is required to deliver this.  Having developer resources in the room helps with this dimension.

: Will the use case be complex to implement (e.g. does it require changes to an existing system, does the data exist within the business to support the idea, etc.).

: Will the case have a positive return on investment (e.g. increase revenue, avoid costs, add value).

Matt discussed how to bring an app alive and the different ways on how to do this. To help with ideas and brain storming the group were asked to think of a small-medium sized business (25-50 people) with an age range of customers of 30-50. The group then discussed how to increase the age range of customers and expand the business. To get the younger age group involved business social media would be the way forward. This could be setting up a Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and LinkedIn pages to attract the younger generation. This would be a secondary marketplace. A Millennial app. could be introduced – this is an app which works by giving out offers, an example could be ‘Black Friday’, The business could have a variety of stores in different locations; the app could ping up a notification on your phone or tablet which would tell you about the offers in your current location. This could tie into customer loyalty, having a great customer loyalty behind the business drives a positive outlook and brings in more business. The session then focussed on how do we take an idea and bring it alive with Bluemix and the techniques involved at the different stages of brainstorming, wireframe design, storyboarding through to a proof of concept reality.

Ideas to App reality

Ideas to App reality

Technical Lab

The Hands on Lab runs through the fundamentals of using Bluemix (IBM’s cloud platform). This was led by IBM Cloud Software Specialist, Ed Shee. Ed ran the previous Bluemix workshop at the ODI in Leeds. The Lab exercises included:

  • Deploying a service in the Bluemix cloud,
  • DevOps,
  • Using Natural language services
  • Processing API’s
  • Consuming Services and Customising the Configuration.

– The lab led delegates through how to l deploy a simple application from the Bluemix web interface and use the cf command line to modify and deploy the application.

–  During the lab we covered how Bluemix and DevOps services work together and commit changes to a Git source repository. – From gaining the knowledge of DevOps and the Git repository we moved on to how to deploy a Node-RED application from the Bluemix Interface and bind some cognitive services to the application.

– Following on attendees were shown how to wire up the back-end services to enable data to be fed through the services and build a simple API endpoint to serve information out to a webpage with the results – Moving onto stage 4 – how to create a user-defined service which is local to the organisation and which will be a link between the running service and the Bluemix application that is consuming the local service.

Bluemix Cloud Services

Bluemix Cloud Services


Feedback from delegates for the combined Bluemix sessions ranged from very good to excellent. Below are some of the delegates quotes. One of our manufacturing clients Vaillant have shared their experience of working with us and building and deploying a customer service application on Bluemix. You can read more about this here. “Excellent venue, good presenters, very knowledgeable, got a much better understanding of IBM’s offering” “Bluemix Lab was an excellent – and free in every sense – event where we got to take a deep dive and practice with the most up to date and innovative technology available” We plan on holding some more labs during Autumn and early Winter this year in a number of locations. If you are interested in attending, please register your interest by sending an email to [email protected] or give her a call on 0114 399 2820.

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