RESEARCH NOTE: IBM Concert Aims to Supercharge Enterprise Operations through AI

By Will Townsend - May 30, 2024

IBM used its signature Think 2024 event in Boston the week of May 20 to announce several new enhancements to its platform, as well as an application lifecycle management solution that leverages generative AI. The latter, aptly named IBM Concert, is designed to provide visibility into application performance and networking bottlenecks, ensuring improved user experiences through orchestration and automation. In this piece, I will dive deeper into the company’s latest digital experience monitoring, network assurance, and observability solution, offering my insights on what I find noteworthy.

What Is IBM Concert?

The use of cloud-native applications continues to accelerate, and next-generation AI workloads could send adoption of these apps to new heights. Managing these apps is a complex task for IT teams, but IBM hopes to simplify enterprise operations with Concert. At a high level, the platform is powered by to deliver a consolidated view of connected applications, make recommendations for improvement, and trigger remediations automatically. Concert’s power lies in using an AI engine to analyze an organization’s underlying application architecture to expose complex connections and dependencies that are candidates for optimization. To ease operator interaction, Concert facilitates natural language queries using generative AI. This makes it quicker to troubleshoot problems and take action. Concert also consolidates application visibility through Concert 360 into a single console, eliminating the need to toggle among multiple dashboards.

Digital experience monitoring and assurance is not new, as evidenced by the offerings of a host of companies that include Cisco, Fortinet, Netskope, and Zscaler. Cisco’s multi-billion-dollar investments in AppDynamics, ThousandEyes, and Splunk speak to the market opportunity for delivering higher levels of enterprise network and application assurance. However, what I like about IBM’s approach is the use of its watsonx technology stack, which has been searching for high-impact use cases. Concert could be that home run for IBM.

High-Potential Use Cases

At its announcement, IBM pointed to three use cases for Concert that will be generally available on June 18, with more expected as the platform matures:

  • Application Security Risk Management is designed to proactively identify application vulnerabilities before they are put into production. This functionality is ideal for apps teams in IT organizations because it helps them avoid time-consuming and low-value break-fix triage, which comes with unfortunate ramifications in terms of poor operational efficiency and lost productivity. Concert could provide a much better path forward.
  • Application Compliance Management aims to streamline compliance management with real-time insights designed to minimize resource impact and harden security. What I like about this use case is the ability to integrate compliance monitoring into the entire application lifecycle throughout the development, production, and evolution stages.
  • Application Certificate Management does exactly what it states, ensuring a more efficient way to manage security certificates and application performance. In this context, Concert tracks certificate expiration dates to manage renewals and ranks them based on impact severity to mitigate costly downtime.

These three use cases are the right ones to prioritize initially, given the highly disaggregated nature of connectivity infrastructure and the need to support knowledge workers in today’s hybrid workplaces. Ensuring consistent digital experiences is a boon for productivity, and the added benefits of improved security and network reliability are equally important considerations.

Final Thoughts

From my perspective, IBM Concert is a well-architected observability platform that is leveraging the power of to mitigate enterprise operational risk. It represents an AI double-down from IBM, one that has the potential to deliver on its promise of improving application performance, security, and network availability. It brings a powerful set of capabilities out of the gate, and it could mature into much more in the future.

Will Townsend
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Will Townsend manages the networking and security practices for Moor Insights & Strategy focused on carrier infrastructure providers, carrier services, enterprise networking and security. He brings over 30 years of technology industry experience in a variety of product, marketing, channel, business development and sales roles to his advisory position.