IBM’s Design Thinking is Redefining
Enterprise Data Protection

IBM’s Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) is a global leader in enterprise data protection. Previous projects (UX Research and Design Thrills IBM Customers) explain how under Brenton’s UX leadership, the product redesign created the easiest management solution in the market.

Customers and analysts love this new focus on ease-of-use. However, the product experience still lags behind customer expectations for the total end-to-end experience.  Using IBM’s new Design Thinking methods, we are solving this problem through three directives:

Users First
Modern Design
Total Experience

Design Thinking

Design Thinking is the collaborative process by which the designer’s sensibilities and methods are employed to match people’s needs with what is technically feasible and a viable business strategy. It’s a human-centered approach to problem solving that helps people and organizations become more innovative and creative. Tim Brown, CEO IDEO.

IBM-Design-Thinking-005 IBM Design Thinking is a collaboration between user experience, development, and marketing.

Phil Gilbert is our visionary design leader at IBM. His team is rolling out Design Thinking at IBM, turning IBM into a design led organization, and revolutionizing the industry.  He calls IBM’s transformation, From Feature-First to User-First. Summarized, the primary goal is to design for users, not features, and not technology. IBM also has a new Design Language and a focus on the total product experience.


Users First

Brenton is injecting a users first mentality using a deep, participatory design collaboration with users and executive stakeholders. We are designing a solution that creates emotional connections with users, and speeds up daily data protection tasks.


Our team participated in an IBM program called a ‘Hallmark project’. This enables us to leverage new tools, including virtual tools, collaboration spaces, and workshop training. This framework gets everyone involved early, and sets the stage for innovation.



Sponsor Users

Sponsor users are like participatory design users on steroids. Not only are users involved through the entire design process, select users present in progress designs at internal meeting and public events.


Getting the sponsor users involved early is a strategic advantage because they let us know when we have it wrong, they tell us we “missed the mark”.

ibm-sponsor-user-feedback-11 Sometimes users participate in design.


Users even become advocates and speak at conferences.

Executive Stakeholders

We love to have our executives participate too. We can zoom in on the vision earlier and faster.

ibm-collaboration-14In this ‘to be’ workshop, executive is coming up with a great idea on how to simplify the experience and feature.

Modern Design

Prior to IBM Design’s Language guidelines, TSM was burdened with legacy design requirements from other sister products. The introduction of IBM Design Language, empowered us to abandon dated designs, and move to a modern UI. People want easy, friendly, simple and approachable user interfaces that are responsive to desktops and iPads.

The three primitives in the new design language is font, color, and typography. Brenton created reference designs to synchronize the design directions, and the UX team designed the panels to implementation.


ibm-color-explore-20Concepts exploring color.

ibm-reference-design-22Dashboard summary of the enterprise.

ibm-reference-design-23Detailed view of a server’s current status and history.


Checking the server from Starbucks.

Total Experience

Creating a total positive product experience is the hardest challenge because many different products are working together to create our data protection suite.

ibm-6-experiences-31IBM’s six experience dimensions of a solution.


ibm-tsm-experiences-32 Mapping plans for executing design goals.


The design goal for 2014-15 is to analyze the total product experience, from out of box to install, to use for all the components in the suite. Stay tuned, and check back for progress updates.

Disclaimer: All concepts, material, and opinions are Brenton Elmore’s ideas and do not reflect views, future features, or opinions of his current employer, IBM.
Solution Name: Tivoli Storage Manager  Operations Center
IBMers can see details on the internal TSM Release Blueprint.