IBM Launches $1B Information Management Effort

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2006-02-17 Print this article Print

With new portfolios and products, IBM sets out to deliver breakthrough data integration to help solve crime in real time, model the financial market, track customers and more.

NEW YORK—IBM is throwing $1 billion, 15,000 experts and two new server software products at the problem of wrangling business information. In an event for analysts, press and customers here on Feb. 16, executives from IBMs Software Group and its Enterprise Transformation Services Group pledged to create a new era of working together to connect data across disparate business processes. The new push brings IBMs expertise in data integration, business consulting and math science into the equation in an investment that will stretch over three years.
Steve Mills, senior vice president of IBMs Software Group, said that thanks to years of technology acquisitions and advances in mathematical analysis, the time is ripe for breakthrough solutions that a few years ago couldnt be delivered.
"The capability that exists today in terms of technology allows solving problems that couldnt be solved easily a few years ago," he said in an interview following his presentation. "The cost of solving the problem, the challenge of the quantity of data and the speed [at which it can be accessed and analyzed], along with the growing speed of hardware, now allows things to be [tackled] that couldnt before." The new age of information management will bring about "profound changes" in myriad industries, from health care, real-time crime fighting, financial services, government entitlement programs and manufacturing, he said. "Profound changes in health care, for example, will come not just from basic research but from having a complete record view, not just of a patient but [other patients] whove gone through similar ailments, have received similar treatments," he said. One of the examples given by Mills of the direction IBM is going with information management is New York City police use of databases linked across counties, states and even the nation to find crime suspects relations to other people, known addresses and known aliases. This information, delivered wirelessly through parole cars, is helping police to solve crime in near real time, he said. Giving an example, "An initial piece of information [regarding a nickname used at a crime scene] allowed for them to do a search, come up with a suspect based on a limited amount of information: a tattoo and a nickname," Mills said. "Databases have been connected, they can run searches, they can deliver information to detectives on the scene. To read more about how police departments can use technology to fight crime, click here. "Theyre also able, because we created linkages to other databases across the state and nationally, to go into hundreds of millions of records online," he said. "They can do cross-checks against other information: summonses, information relative to location, neighborhood maps, maps of where other crimes have occurred. They can then try to understand the relationship of this crime event and [other] events that might lead them to other, similar crimes." Change the details, and the scenario is applicable to pretty much any industry where quick decisions based on solid business intelligence are needed. Financial services firms need to model markets fast, and Medicaid administrators need to quickly decide if theyre being double-billed or, for example, being billed by a party whos deceased. Next Page: Business applications of information management technology.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel