IBM Design Soars in Cloud Computing Competition

Arin Bhowmick
Oct 6 · 5 min read

IBM Virtual Private Cloud Infrastructure with Interconnectivity and Red Hat Marketplace recognized as 2021 Stratus Award Winners

I’m thrilled to announce that two IBM products were recognized for their experience excellence in Cloud Computing. IBM Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) Infrastructure with Interconnectivity and Red Hat Marketplace, operated by IBM, both received a 2021 Stratus Award. IBM VPC Infrastructure with Interconnectivity won the Infrastructure as a Service Category award and Red Hat Marketplace won under the Cloud Disruptor Category.

The jury panel for the 2021 Stratus Awards, conducted by Business Intelligence Group, is comprised of volunteer industry experts. The panel selects companies that have differentiated themselves as leaders in the cloud space. It’s exciting that out of all the cloud technology currently on the market, two IBM products were recognized.

“We now rely on the cloud for everything from entertainment to productivity, so we are proud to recognize all of our winners. Each and every one is helping in their own way to make our lives richer everyday. We are honored and proud to reward these leaders in business”, said Maria Jimenez, Chief Nominations Officer of Business Intelligence Group.

I’m so impressed by the dedication I’ve seen each design team put into creating these exceptional user experiences. This increase in demand for cloud has made IBM’s products even more indispensable. Our design team’s commitment to IBM’s Enterprise Design Thinking framework and thorough User Research has led them to craft industry-leading products.

Alleviating obstacles for an easier shift to Cloud technologies

Through rigorous user research, the IBM Design team for Red Hat Marketplace was able to gain insight into the problems many customers are facing while shifting over to cloud. Many users are forced to work with outdated ecosystems, which are running on a specific cloud platform, rather than working across diverse cloud environments. These customers are also commonly locked-in to a particular vendor, making it expensive to switch and even harder to innovate. Once customers do find a cloud solution, monitoring their IT costs and return on investment is an incredibly manual process.

Red Hat Marketplace enables cloud customers to browse an extensive catalog of software products and find the best fit for their cloud software needs

The Red Hat Marketplace design team responded to the increased demand for cloud technology by fundamentally changing the way enterprise cloud software is bought. Leveraging IBM’s Enterprise Design Thinking framework, the design team was able to create an all-in-one platform experience. Customers are now able to try, buy, and deploy container-based software on the cloud of their choosing: public, private, on-premise, and even the clouds of IBM’s own competitors.

With a robust catalog of third-party cloud software and transparent cost management capabilities, the Marketplace alleviates the common obstacles consumers run into while supporting the demand for a smooth shift into cloud-based technology. A persistent dedication to improving the user’s experience allowed our design team to make what used to be a frustrating and inefficient process into an easy online shopping experience.

Delivering the security of a private cloud with the agility of a public cloud

The design team met with clients, tracked analytics, and conducted user testing. This in-depth research allowed the them to better understand the product suite’s current capabilities, which led to the insight that our users were seeking less friction in their ordering experience and better ease of use regardless of their starting point.

Over the past year, the team responded by redesigning the user experience to delight both a first time single user and massive enterprise scale clients. They’ve updated IBM’s Virtual Private Cloud product suite’s digital presence to make first time use exceptionally easy. They created smart defaults for networking to get new users up and running their first virtual machine as quickly as possible and reduced the complexity of a first time experience by adding guided tours for new users.

Updates to IBM’s Virtual Private Cloud suite makes it simple and easy for new users to get started right away

Acknowledging the user’s needs and anticipating the best response to any other future pain points have led to an increase in customer success and ease of use. Upon experiencing the updated VPC suite, a user remarked at the success of their new experience.

“I have to say congratulations because I think you have developed an interface that is very easy to follow & understand which is something hard to come across with these cloud providers. Sometimes these things get too technical and they seem to forget the essence of what a good interface is. An interface should be good for anyone, not just someone with an engineering degree.”- IBM’s Virtual Private Cloud User

All of these features have been designed for maximum ease of use, transforming what was once a painful series of calls, emails, and support tickets into an automated system built to ensure user delight.

Winning Design Teams

Thank you to the contributors from the Red Hat team: Nick Burns, Dan Caryll, Mike Esser, Libby Levi,

Virtual Private Cloud Infrastructure With Interconnectivity: Philip Begel, Alissa Chan, Stephanie Cree, Austin Edwards, Isabelle Encela, Bill Grady, Lisa Kaiser, Elijah King, Tracey King, Jenny Lanier, JP Pollard, Ty Tyner, Michelle Yang

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

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