Think! Agenda!

Post by
Scott Francis

We’re heading to IBM’s Think! conference next week, and we want to share some of the sessions that jump out to us as sessions we are interested in.  In general the featured sessions have strong speakers and interesting topics – but they also may not get to the nitty gritty detail that you’re looking for – so I recommend mixing in some of the featured sessions with more practical or deep dive sessions – get a little inspiration, and a little perspiration, if you will.  The sessions below are the ones that got my attention, personally.

Think has a broader focus this year.  And if you’re hungry for more practical sessions on RPA, Automation, Machine Learning, Process, Decisions & Rules, Data Science, Blockchain, and Business Modeling – then you’re going to be interested in Driven 2018 – BP3’s industry event for the Digital Operations that are driving Digital Experiences. Sign up to keep notified about Driven 2018 and come see us in Austin in August, it’s a fantastic way to kick off your homestretch for 2018.  You don’t have to be a BP3 client to attend our conference, but we hope you’ll be inspired to join our clients in working with our team.

Back to Think:


If you’re a BP3 customer, odds are that you’d be interested in the strategy and roadmap for Digital Business Automation at IBM:

IBM Digital Business Automation: Technical Strategy and Roadmap

Monday, 8:30 AM – 9:10 AM | Session ID: 4097A
Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 | Lagoon I

IBM’s Digital Business Automation portfolio offers a platform for all your automation needs, whether it’s automating repetitive tasks, capturing and storing content, modeling and running workflows (processes and cases), or automating business decisions. In this session, we’ll provide an overview of the automation platform and the technical strategy guiding its evolution. You should attend this session to understand how the underlying automation technology evolves to the cloud (be it private, hybrid, or public), how your automations are affected by Blockchain, and what kind of intelligence features are being planned.

You don’t even have to change rooms to get to the next session on RPA:

Unlocking the Value of RPA: IBM Robotic Process Automation with Automation Anywhere

Monday, 9:30 AM – 10:10 AM | Session ID: 1846A  | Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 | Lagoon I

Robotic process automation (RPA) enables customers to use software “robots” to automate repetitive tasks or interact with systems that do not have APIs. IBM has partnered with Automation Anywhere to create IBM Robotic Process Automation with Automation Anywhere, combining IBM Business Process Manager (BPM) with their RPA technology. This session provides a technical overview of the RPA offering and a discussion of how using BPM with RPA improves robot orchestration and exception handling. Additional use cases of combining RPA with other automation technologies, such as IBM Operational Decision Manager (ODM) to create intelligent bots and IBM Datacap to accelerate data processing, will be demonstrated.

Microservices and BPM absolutely co-exist, but Microservices are not for the faint of heart.  It’s serious infrastructure, and it takes a thoughtful approach to do it right. We’ve seen companies run with scissors with Microservices without onboarding valuable real-world experiences and insights – and learning on your own is expensive.

Microservices and BPM—Can They Coexist?

Monday, 10:30 AM – 11:10 AM | Session ID: 2314A  | Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 | Lagoon B

Business processes span multiple business areas, breaking barriers between teams and automating communication with siloed systems. By nature, business processes depend on multiple influences. Microservices are at the heart of modern application design, heavily focused on decoupling. Microservices architectures require the creation of truly independent components to enable greater agility, elastic scalability, and differential resilience. These are the same benefits that organizations seek for their business processes. This session discusses the implications of microservices architectures on BPM solutions: from how business processes interact with microservices, to how BPM implementations can leverage microservices principles.

Blueworks Live – a key tool for collaborating on business processes and building consensus on how a business process works – re-introduced here as the front door to digital transformation.  We agree- but the key leap of faith to make is that process is a critical ingredient of Digital Transformation success.

IBM Blueworks Live—Your Front Door to Digital Transformation

Monday, 12:30 PM – 1:10 PM | Session ID: 3999A | Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 | Lagoon I

Thinking about transformation? Launch your digital transformation journey today with IBM Blueworks Live. IBM Blueworks Live provides a simple-to-use and collaborative cloud-based interface to discover and document processes and decisions. Using industry standards for modeling, Business Process Modeling and Notation 2.0 (BPMN 2.0) and Decision Modeling and Notation (DMN), you can easily identify disruption opportunities and turn your ideas into action plans for automation. Come learn about field proven practices to efficiently gather and analyze essential information about your business. See how to use these models to understand what is happening in your enterprise today and determine how to improve it for a digital future.

Decisions are a critical part of any Digital Transformation or Digital Operations implementation.  This session looks like a straightforward product and offering update on the decision management software from IBM.

Automate Decision-Making in Public, Hybrid and Private Cloud with IBM Operational Decision Manager

Monday, 1:30 PM – 2:10 PM | Session ID: 1723A | Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 | Lagoon I

The Operational Decision Manager (ODM) portfolio features cloud, on-premises and hybrid solutions to deliver a comprehensive decision automation platform. The ODM offerings help you capture, analyze, automate and govern rules-based business decisions. Come to this session to get a complete view of how you can automate decision-making and integrate it with cloud and hybrid cloud environments. The session will cover the latest updates on ODM, from public cloud SaaS and PaaS offerings to support for Docker and Kubernetes in private clouds.

Good way to learn how to represent decisions using decision composer, if you’re not already familiar with it:

IBM Decision Composer: The Smart Way to Write Business Rules for Automation

Monday, 2:30 PM – 3:10 PM | Session ID: 4160A | Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 | Lagoon I

Writing and documenting critical business rules doesn’t need to be difficult. Learn how to model and execute decisions on IBM Operational Decision Manager with IBM Decision Composer. Its business user friendly interface and diagram-based description of high level decision structures make it easy to use, even for those with limited coding knowledge. Discover the low-code way to write rules and enable collaboration between the business users who own the business rules and logic and the developers who own the applications that use the business logic.

Picking the right automation tools?

Digital Business Automation Adviser: Selecting the Right Automation Tool for the Job

Monday, 4:30 PM – 5:10 PM | Session ID: 8210A | Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 | Lagoon I

IBM’s Digital Business Automation portfolio has all the components you need to digitally transform your business operations. With a platform covering every aspect of business automation—processes and decisions, content and documents, human tasks, etc.—you are able to select the specific capabilities needed to optimize automation for your particular use case. Join IBM automation design and deployment experts as they introduce the Digital Business Automation Adviser, a detailed and actionable handbook for your own implementation teams to use in optimizing design decisions, and illustrate its use with real-life examples.

Any good tech conference should have a few very forward looking sessions – especially one put on by a company like IBM that invests so much in fundamental research.

IBM Research Science Slam: Unveiling 5 Breakthrough Technologies That Will Change the World

Monday, 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM | Session ID: 8802A
Mandalay Bay South, Level 1 | Think Theater, Bayside E

Join IBM Research Director Arvind Krishna to kick off the 2018 Think Conference with a “Science Slam” where we unveil our predictions for the five technologies that will change our lives within five years. Sharing personal stories that bring technology to life, IBM researchers will reveal profound scientific breakthroughs in such areas as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, security and the environment that promise to change the way we all work, live and interact. Through a series of short, informal talks, you will meet both well established and up-and-coming scientists as they explain their passion for changing the world as we know it.

I like Arthur Viente’s take :  It’s about accelerating intelligence of humans, and the critical part is understanding the impact and relationships of solutions around business processes….

Forget “Artificial Intelligence”—Think “Accelerated Intelligence”

Monday, 4:30PM – 5:10 PM | Session ID: 8450 – Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 | Surf C

There’s nothing artificial about intelligence. Although machines can help, it’s about making the individual smarter in order to make effective decisions. In today’s omni-channel market, AI actually means “Accelerated Intelligence;” i.e., the ability to discover and provide visualization of relevant data at the right time and in context quickly. Understanding the relationships and dependencies across business processes is critical in providing Accelerated Intelligence, or the extraction of data across all available data sources in context to the user. Learn how to understand the relationships of solutions across these business processes, and the value of working across data sources to find faster, more reliable recommendations and actions.

If you’re using DBA on the Cloud or considering it, this is a session to consider:

Business Automation on the Cloud

Monday, 4:30 PM – 5:10 PM | Session ID: 9387A | Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 | Lagoon B

This session will provide details on how to get the most out of your business automation initiatives in a cloud environment. Learn about common patterns, connectivity options, and best practices for migration to the cloud for workflow, decisions, and content services.


The keynote is usually a great session:

Think 2018 Chairman’s Address: Putting Smart to Work

Tuesday, 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM | Session ID: 9145A
Mandalay Bay | Events Center

Join IBM Chairman, President and CEO, Ginni Rometty and distinguished guests for a can’t miss address bringing together some of the world’s top CEOs and business thinkers who are building the future today by putting smart to work.

Should be an interesting session from Lisa Ling:

Lisa Ling – Global Realities and Societal Resiliency

Tuesday, 10:30 AM – 11:10 AM | Session ID: 8164A
Mandalay Bay South, Level 1 | Think Theater, Bayside E

Important societal issues are often overlooked by modern “sound bite” media, but Emmy-award winning journalist Lisa Ling shines a light on the unusual, extraordinary, authentic and unforgettable stories she has covered across the globe. Ling shares how these stories have profoundly affected her outlook on life and highlights a few of the heroes she has met along her journey.

But if you prefer a more AI slant to things, this one is at the same time – and features a variety of presenters from the American Cancer Society, Memorial Sloan Kettering, NVIDIA, IBM, Box, Orange Bank, and Workday:

The Journey to AI

Tuesday, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM | Session ID: 8945A
Mandalay Bay | Events Center

Explore the science behind the AI revolution and the tremendous opportunity being unleashed for businesses and society. This session will look at AI’s progress in cultivating new knowledge in the enterprise and in transforming critical industries like healthcare, telecommunications and financial services. Join IBM’s Dr. John Kelly and David Kenny and special guests to examine the underlying complexities of developing new AI technologies and how forward-thinking leaders are using AI to reimagine workflows within their professions and industries.

Customer stories are a good way to understand opportunities in your own business:

Transforming Arab Bank Using the IBM Digital Process Automation Portfolio

Tuesday, 12:30 PM – 1:10 PM | Session ID: 6286A  | Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 | Lagoon I

Arab Bank, headquartered in Amman, Jordan is the largest global Arab banking network with over 600 branches spanning five continents. In our endeavor to transform the bank by performing a digital and process transformation, we chose to rely on the IBM DPA portfolio, mainly IBM BPM and IBM ODM complemented by IBM Integration Bus. This session will take you on the journey of how we implemented this program. We will share best practices, pitfalls that we encountered and strategies to become successful. We will holistically cover the infrastructure, architecture, development and operational perspectives. You will leave with a clear sense of what it takes to implement a large transformation program utilizing the IBM DPA portfolio.

Digital disruption – and transformation – are on all our minds.  This is a good session to learn about re-imagining the customer experience – but when you’re done with the session, think about what needs to happen to the operational and fulfillment systems and processes within these companies to support these new customer experiences! This is why we believe Digital Operations will be critical to success:

From Digital Disruption to Dominance: Reimagining Every Customer Experience

Tuesday, 1:30 PM – 2:10 PM | Session ID: 8798A
Mandalay Bay South, Level 1 | Think Theater, Bayside E

The first wave of digital disruption – and the data deluge that followed – threw countless businesses off their customer experience game. But the tides are turning. Leaders are embracing bold new strategies, AI, Blockchain and more to reimagine every customer interaction and business workflow. They’re extracting actionable insights faster. Amazing customers with hyper-personalized experiences. And empowering marketing, commerce and supply chain professionals with AI-infused business applications that give them the tools and time to do their most exceptional work. Hear from IBM clients and leaders who are tackling digital disruption from every angle to transform customer experience, unleash innovation and drive unprecedented business growth.

An IBM champion is giving this talk on the loan workflow at Sberbank:

Building a Next-Generation Loan Workflow System with IBM BPM and Integration Bus at Sberbank

Tuesday, 2:30 PM – 3:10 PM | Session ID: 5883B | Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 | Breakers J

The session will descripe the approach used in building a new loan workflow system in Sberbank Slovenia using IBM BPM and IBM Integration Bus (IIB). The new system needed to be built with high flexibility in mind, but also as an enabler for API economy context and integrations. We will describe the rationale behind product selections, key business drivers and success metrics that drove Sberbank Slovenia to a successful implementation.

IBM is increasingly combining Process, Automation, and Content Management.  This session should be a good chance to understand how that works and how it supports digital transformation. This session includes a great speaker from the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration – Gert-Jan Schutte – in addition to Michael Gilfix of IBM.

Better Together: Digital Process Automation and Enterprise Content Management

Tuesday, 4:30 PM – 5:10 PM | Session ID: 8211A

Mandalay Bay South, Level 1, Bayside C, Think Campus | Business and AI Campus Theater C

Automation is at the forefront of the next wave of digital transformation. But to create transformative digital business models that balance customer experience and productivity gains, you need automation at scale. Leaders are using software to automate more enterprise work than ever before, deploying capabilities like RPA, low code, operational intelligence and cognitive alongside core workflow, content and decision management. Join us to hear from industry experts, IBM executives and your peers on how IBM is combining its process transformation and ECM capabilities into an integrated platform that is helping customers increase employee productivity, reduce departmental work and automate more routine tasks across the enterprise.


Blockchain is all the rage, and this event promises to kick off a set of blockchain topics at Think:

Now Being Served: Bringing Speed, Trust and Transparency to Business Networks with Blockchain

Wednesday, 8:30 AM – 9:10 AM | Session ID: 8794A
Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 | Keynote Theater, Mandalay Bay Ballroom

Innovators across global supply chains, financial services, healthcare, government and many other industries are reinventing their business models by convening business networks to change their core processes and the way they transact using blockchain technology. Join the Blockchain keynote and listen to first movers working with their industry and partners to bring trust, efficiency and transparency to their ecosystems. Hear how they got started and the technology, expertise and ecosystem required to create production networks providing business value. Learn about best practices to build a blockchain for business, exciting IBM Blockchain announcements and how to get started with your business network today.

RPA and better bots with Michael Gilfix of IBM and Sameer Gupta of DBS Bank:

Deploying a Better Bot: From RPA to Enterprise Automation

Wednesday, 8:30 AM – 9:10 AM | Session ID: 8212A | Mandalay Bay South, Level 1, Bayside C, Think Campus | Business and AI Campus Theater C

Robotic process automation has emerged as a leading technology helping enterprises across industries to automate routine, high-volume work, freeing employees to focus on higher-value activities. While standalone RPA is yielding benefits, the utility of RPA increases significantly when it is paired with key business automation capabilities delivered within a unified digital automation platform. The results include improved exception handling with workflow orchestration, agile decision-making with smarter bots, and unlocking insights from documents through cognitive data capture. Join us to hear from industry experts, IBM executives and your peers on innovative ways to deploy and extend RPA for superior results.

The Next Generation Bank – Banco Galicia:

Creating a Next-Generation Bank with Digital Business Automation

Wednesday, 10:30 AM – 11:10 AM | Session ID: 1485A | Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 | Lagoon I

Banco Galicia, a leading bank in Argentina, has embarked on an automation journey to transform their business operations. From going paperless with electronic document management, to digitizing operations and driving agility with automated core banking processes, Banco Galicia is creating engaging customer experiences while optimizing their back-office operations. As part of their digital transformation story, Banco Galicia will discuss the technologies supporting this transformation and the architectural decisions that have been made. They will also share the outstanding business outcomes generated by this transformation thus far, and offer a glimpse into their future automation plans.

Quantum computing is on the fringe of current applications – the real question is what kinds of applications is quantum computing uniquely suited to address? What is a quantum computer, and are there different types?

From Sci-fi to Reality: Quantum Computing is Here

Wednesday, 11:30 AM – 12:10 PM | Session ID: 8795A
Mandalay Bay | Events Center

There is a whole class of problems that are too difficult for even the largest and most powerful computers that exist today to solve. These exponential challenges include everything from simulating the complex interactions of atoms and molecules to optimizing supply chains. But quantum computers could enable us to solve these problems, unleashing untold opportunities for business. IBM Director of Research Arvind Krishna will describe how quantum computers have become a reality at IBM. He’ll discuss what companies are doing to become “quantum ready” for a new era of computing. He’ll also present the roadmap for IBM Q, the first commercial quantum program that is expected to deliver powerful results for businesses within a few years.

Another blockchain session for true believers:

Bettina Warburg – The Rise of the Decentralized Economy

Wednesday, 12:30 PM – 1:10 PM | Session ID: 8163A

Mandalay Bay South, Level 1 | Think Theater, Bayside E

Blockchain is about to change everything, according to researcher Bettina Warburg. In this talk, Warburg describes how blockchain eliminates the need for centralized institutions to facilitate trade, evolving age-old models of commerce and finance into a distributed, transparent, autonomous system for exchanging value.

Build process applications with Watson APIs – this is something that BP3 has done, to great effect, for our clients:

Cognitive BPM: How to Build Process Applications Using Watson APIs

Wednesday, 12:30 PM – 2:10 PM | Session ID: 5366A

Mandalay Bay South, Level 2, Oceanside, Think Academy | Lab 4

In this lab, you develop and run a sample process application using Watson APIs. With IBM BPM’s web-based Process Designer, you discover the Watson REST APIs that are then used as part of your business processes. You learn about the different features and aspects involved in the invocation of REST APIs from IBM BPM.

More quantum computing in IBM’s Q Cloud:

Quantum with IBM Q

Wednesday, 3:30 PM – 4:10 PM | Session ID: 9304A
Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 | Micro Theater

Physicists have been advancing the science for decades, but in the last few years quantum computing has started to become a reality. During this session physicist Jerry Chow will talk about his role as manager of the experimental quantum computing group at IBM Research and the evolution of IBM Q, an industry-first initiative to build commercially available universal quantum computers for business and science. Attendees will learn about significant progress Jerry and IBM Q scientists continue to make across the entire quantum computing technology stack, including a prototype 50 qubit processor, the emergency of quantum computing through the cloud via the IBM Q experience, QISKit developer tools, and the exploration of early use cases.


GDPR – data privacy and protection rights in Europe – is a real concern.  What many don’t realize is the process implications GDPR will have on all of us that do business in Europe – we’ll need processes to protect data, and to respond to requests for data and requests for removal of data.  Those requests have the force of EU law behind them.

Jeff Jonas – GDPR: The Big Bang… from Big Data to Big Responsibility

Thursday, 9:30 AM – 10:10 AM | Session ID: 8172A
Mandalay Bay South, Level 1 | Think Theater, Bayside E

Effective May 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect. With this comes big responsibilities for organizations. Data scientist Jeff Jonas shares strategies for fast-tracking GDPR compliance while positioning your organization for competitive advantage.

If you want to hear how a customer righted the ship once it had run into some choppy waters, this is the session.  The best recommendation I can make for folks having trouble with stability on their BPM platform however is to call BP3’s BP Labs team – they’re the best at supporting and improving infrastructure to support your processes!

How Birla Sun Life Insurance Achieved Stable and Efficient Operations through Process Automation

Thursday, 9:30 AM – 10:10 AM | Session ID: 2862A

Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 | Breakers B

Birla Sun Life Insurance Company Limited (BSLI) is a joint venture between the Aditya Birla Group and Sun Life Financial Inc. in India. BSLI had critical and intermittent issues with the application operations integrated with IBM BPM, WebSphere and ECM. In particular, prior to early 2017 the applications and operations experienced excessive production downtime. After engaging IBM support, BSLI adopted the recommended actions to automate and stabilize the operations. The session will share BSLI’s experience, and will also cover the BPM migration, critical issues resolution with roadmap, and the enterprise application landscape.

I’m confident this next session will be a good one – David Herring of Kaiser and Francis Friedlander are two guiding lights in leveraging processes and rules to help patients:

Healthcare Will Combine Machine Learning and Rules to Put Patients Back at the Center of Decisions

Thursday, 9:30 AM – 10:10 AM | Session ID: 2081A

Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 | Lagoon I

Machine learning has the potential to transform the way patient outcome predictions are made. While the results of ML are known to be statistically impressive, they also tend to be individually unreliable and prone to suggest socially naïve decisions. This talk will demonstrate how Kaiser Permanente and IBM are collaborating to design next-generation, contextually aware operational decisions in Healthcare applications. Our vision combines ML to learn from the data and generate valuable insights, with rules that apply contextual knowledge derived from Healthcare practitioners, to ensure the right decision is taken consistently. We will illustrate this work with practical examples built with Watson, Apache Spark ML and IBM ODM.

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