IBMs Brand-New Bag

By Brian Prince  |  Posted 2008-10-27 Print this article Print

IBM's Brand-New Bag

At its upcoming IOD conference, IBM is pulling the covers off several new solutions. The seven industry-specific and financial management solutions include:

  • Bank Client Servicing for mutual fund reporting and analysis
  • Clinical Resource Planning to drive modeling and forecasting for pharmaceuticals
  • Earned Value Management to track capital costs for federal agencies
  • Internal Control to promote efficiency in financial management and consolidation
  • Municipal Scorecarding
  • Sales and Operations Planning
  • Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), which allows customers to align with current standards for reporting business and financial data.
It is also unveiling new versions of IBM InfoSphere Information Server and InfoSphere Traceability Server, with the latter designed to help companies use RFID tags and bar codes more effectively.

Beyond the product announcements is the launch of Information On Demand Foundation Services. The services build on Information Agenda workshops announced by IBM last month to help businesses develop strategies to better leverage their business data. The new offerings consist of one-day workshops followed by a 12-week in-depth assessment and analysis with IBM experts.

"What we've introduced are foundational services around these core technology areas that are really designed to help the customer establish the competency around the use of these technologies," said Tom Inman, vice president of Information On Demand Acceleration.

"It starts with a one-day workshop for customers to establish the plan around this," he said. "Then it's followed by an in-depth assessment and analysis of the various projects, how those projects need to be architected and deployed, [and] the skills that will be needed to do that. Then we help the client learn how to align the information itself and then deal with the people, the processes and the technology issues.

"So we're not just providing the arms, if you will, and saying, -Good luck,'" he added. "We're actually providing the arms, and we're teaching them how to use them."

Services have been a key component of IOD, and the growth of revenue in that portion of the company's business in part reflects that. When taken in combination with its software solutions, it is also part of what distinguishes IBM from other vendors.

"Many companies are trying to leverage BI in one way or another, but I believe that IBM's IOD effort qualifies as the latest natural step in an information-centric journey IBM has been on for many years," opined Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT. "It's certainly a software play, but it also uses other foundational IBM tools and solutions to achieve its ends."

In its third-quarter earnings report Oct. 16, IBM officials stated that revenues for Information Management software increased 26 percent.

"Global business services and global technology services grew ... but also our capabilities that are there in terms of software are growing with that," Goyal said. "You know the database market is a reasonably flat-to-small single-digit growth market. With our earnings announcement, we said, Look, with the whole Information On Demand value proposition is significant growth in relational database products as well. Why? Because underneath the Information On Demand you need to actually store information somewhere or extract information into a master data management, and deliver value to the endpoints that we are trying to get done."

"Overall, we work with each other," he continued, referring to the software and services groups. "In fact, over 10,000 consultants across the world are trained now in offerings like performance management, business intelligence, Information On Demand [and] Information Agenda so that people can make successful transformations of their clients. But the assets that we have created, over 140 assets that are industry-specific ... that we announced called Information Agenda Accelerated, are helping clients. Things like data modeling ... they are helping clients move to [an] information agenda much faster. It's not just about consulting."


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