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Welcome to my BeyeNETWORK blog! Please join me often to share your thoughts and observations on new analytic platforms, BI and data management. I maintain a vendor-focused practice that uses primary research, briefings, case studies, events and other activities that stimulate ideas as a source for commentary on strategy and execution in the marketplace. I believe the emergence of a new class of analytic platforms, and emerging data management and advanced tools herald a next step in the maturity of information technology, and I'm excited to be present for its emergence. I hope my blog entries will stimulate ideas that will serve both the vendors creating these new solutions and the companies that will improve their business prospects as a result of applying them. Please share your thoughts and input on the topics.



 Increasingly, IBM is aligning its business unites to delivery synergistically and build cross-domain successes. IBM Global Business Services (GBS - $20B in revenue in 2008) has added its first new service line since IBM acquired PWC. Two other units, the software group and IBM Research, have joined with GBS to create the Business Analysis and Optimization line, intended to make IBM the dominant player delivering advanced analytics focused on optimizing business outcomes. 

GBS has pursued the capture and reusable packaging of intellectual property and methodologies in its engagements for some time, encapsulating business processes, industry requirements, standards and regulations for reuse. IBM proposes to combine those assets with software components and advanced work done in IBM Research to deliver a "predict and prescribe" approach to its customers' business challenges.

This is a formidable array of assets, ammunition for a 4000-person organization pursuing a carefully targeted set of competencies:

  • BI and Performance Management
  • Advanced Analytics and Optimization
  • Enterprise Information Management
  • Enterprise Content Management
  • Business Analytics and Optimization (BAO) Strategy

All the contributors bring substantial skin to the game. Ambuj Goyal, who heads the information management portfolio for IBM Software Group (SWG), told me, "We're harnessing everything we've built" - data management and data warehousing tools, BI, content management, and other components. He's been hammering on the notion of an information agenda as part of IBM's Information on Demand strategy, and driving awareness of the need for data quality and stewardship to satisfy executive demand for trusted data. One in three execs says they don't, even for the relatively mundane types of reporting that are still commmonplace.

In IBM Research, Brenda Dietrich heads a team of 150 mathematics PhDs, many of whom have been working directly with customers to build predictive models. Three key plays are in the first round: risk and fraud analytics; analytics and data optimization; and advanced customer insight, which draws upon BAO head Fred Balboni's recent successes driving GBS business in the retail sector.

The new organization model, in typical IBM fashion, will be rolled out on a massive scale. Most of the people in the organization are being "re-badged;" they aren't new, dedicated headcount, but they have experience in many facets of the problems to be tackled, and are in an accelerated program designed to bring them up to speed to meet an expected demand curve that IBM believes will be very steep. I would not bet against them.

Still, this new effort is only a step on a journey the information technology industry needs to travel. "Predict and prescribe" is necessary, but not sufficient to achieving true analytics-based automation, where the "prescription" is applied to operations within policy- and rules-based guidelines. In such a model, we deliver guidance to decision makers for the exceptional cases, freeing them for more creative and aggressive endeavors. Some advanced organizations have already built such applications, and they will have a leg up. If you are among them, IT Market Strategy would like to hear your story. Please contact us - leave a comment here, or email mervadrian@gmail.com.

Posted May 2, 2009 9:46 AM
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