IBM Cloud continues to demonstrate design excellence

IBM Cloud lands two of the prestigious iF Design Awards in 2018, displaying the fine design work of its hybrid cloud products.

Arin Bhowmick
IBM Design
Published in
5 min readFeb 19, 2018


The IBM Cloud design team is thrilled to announce that two of our products, IBM Data Science Experience (DSX) and IBM App Connect, have received an iF Design Award 2018 in the Communications — Software Application category. Each year, the world’s oldest independent design organization, iF International Forum Design GmbH, organizes the iF Design Award. For 65 years, the iF Design Award has been recognized as an arbiter of quality for exceptional design.

IBM DSX and IBM App Connect won over the 63-member jury, made up of independent experts from all over the world, with their user-focused experience design for enterprise software. The competition was intense: over 6,400 entries were submitted from 54 countries in hopes of receiving the seal of quality.

This award is an additional achievement to two other design awards recently given to IBM Cloud, the Red Dot Award and the Spark Award, and serves as an unequivocal indicator of the quality of work produced by IBM Design and how much design has come to impact the entire organization.

The Winning Products

IBM App Connect is a cloud-based solution for business users that quickly connects apps to automate tasks and boost productivity. Instead of manually performing high-touch, repetitive integration tasks, it gives users a simple, business-oriented interface to create workflows and get notifications, sync data, track outcomes and more. Business decision makers that are looking to integrate their business apps and combine their data often don’t have an easy way to do so. They either write custom code or use complex integration platforms, which is time consuming, involves lots of software and requires deep middleware expertise. IBM App Connect was designed to enable users to seamlessly connect and integrate with back-end systems, web, and mobile applications wherever they reside — whether on-premises or in a private or public cloud.

We are passionate about creating amazing experiences for our users, and it’s brilliant being part of an eclectic team working together to make this a reality!” — Sarah Burwood, Design Lead & UX Designer

From a design perspective, the IBM App Connect project provided an exciting opportunity to re-imagine the integration experience for new users, and apply design thinking to this business context.

“My proudest memories of our App Connect journey naturally centre around the designers. As customers reacted to what we’d made, they observed and listened; then the whole IBM team moved as one to iterate and enhance that user experience.” — Brian Peaston, IBM Design Manager, Application Integration

IBM App Connect

IBM Data Science Experience (DSX) is a cloud-based, innovative, end-to-end experience for data scientists to research, create, and collaborate across multidisciplinary teams. DSX merges a powerful set of open source and legacy tools with an online community for data scientists. At the time of its inception, there wasn’t a unified platform available to data practitioners. Our primary mission was to make data simple and accessible through our user-centered design process. The data science field is complex and constantly changing. DSX also continues to expand with the field, incorporating new, richer technologies as data scientists’ workflow and tools shift.

“Data Science Experience is a true innovation, merging a powerful set of tools with an online community. There are no barriers between creating, learning and sharing.” — David Townsend, Director of Design (IBM Analytics)

IBM Data Science Experience

IBM Design Takes a Leading Role in Enterprise Software Experiences

Enterprise software is often looked at as the roach motel of complicated and clunky user experiences, far removed from the modern, elegant and intuitive user experiences available in many consumer apps. However, “the times they are a-changin” as businesses are starting to realize how UX can truly be a key differentiator in the enterprise software industry. There’s a growing realization that organizations need to offer enterprise and business software that works as well and as intuitively as the other apps that their employees use in their daily lives.

Enterprise software needs product experiences that increase employee engagement, simplify complex workflows, reduce turnover rates, eliminate the need for training, and most importantly, increase user satisfaction and employee productivity.

As a leader in the enterprise software field, IBM has the ability to set a global precedent of how design can impact products, users, and businesses on a large scale. At IBM Design, we are delivering on that promise to bring sexy back to enterprise software.

The 4 design awards for IBM Cloud products in the past year, including these two from iF Design, display the incredible strides that IBM has made as a design-driven organization, as well as the integral role that design plays in IBM’s cloud products. We believe that continued and unwavering focus on our users, and on the design quality and user experience of our products will enable IBM Cloud to continue to excel, set precedents and differentiate by design.


Director of Design: David Townsend (IBM Analytics, San Francisco)
DSX Design team: Caroline Law, Renee Mascarinas, Jessica Gore, Leila Johannesen (IBM Analytics, San Francisco)

IBM App Connect
Design Manager: Brian Peaston
App Connect Design Team: Sarah Burwood, Gary Thornton, Rob Breeds, Danny Skinner, Lee Chase and Steve Haskey.

Arin Bhowmick (@arinbhowmick) is Vice President, Design at IBM based in San Francisco, California. The above article is personal and does not necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.



Arin Bhowmick
IBM Design

Chief Design Officer, @SAP | ex CDO @IBM |Cloud, AI and Apps I UX Leadership| UX Strategy| Usability & User Research| Product Design