IBM Builds Cloud Base on New Deals, Investments

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2014-04-14 Print this article Print

"Companies need tools and expertise to manage and integrate APIs, leverage location intelligence and customer data, and then seamlessly extend their services to reach their customers via the cloud and mobile devices," said Roger Pilc, chief innovation officer for Pitney Bowes, in a statement. "We look forward to delivering Pitney Bowes digital commerce solutions on IBM’s BlueMix."

Indeed, for Pitney Bowes, the partnership provides the opportunity to expose some of its key solutions, such as location-based services, e-commerce fulfillment, Internet postage, and parcel management, through IBM's API management to an extended ecosystem of innovators and developers. It also speeds the availability of new services from Pitney Bowes to vast new markets globally.

"Together, IBM and Pitney Bowes are developing a powerful lineup of cloud services around mobile application development and location intelligence," said Steve Robinson, General Manager of IBM Cloud Platform Services, in a statement. "This open-platform collaboration will inspire development that accelerates innovation and fosters growth."

Meanwhile, also at the end of March, GameStop announced the launch of the GameStop Technology Institute (GTI), a business unit focused on creating affiliations with leading technology corporations and academic institutions to discover and deliver business innovation and technology solutions for the empowered consumer. Joining GameStop as founding partners of GTI were IBM and the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School.

"Now more than ever, the delivery of unique and sophisticated technologies are needed to help accelerate growth in the retail space and meet the increasing demands of customers," said Paul Raines, CEO of GameStop, in a statement. "The launch of GTI represents GameStop's commitment to cultivate innovation within the retail industry, as well as lead the charge in discovering new technology advancements to drive positive customer experiences."

IBM will bring to GTI its cloud development experience, and design expertise from the IBM Design Lab. GameStop will leverage IBM’s BlueMix to build new mobile and cloud applications that integrate with GameStop's existing systems, creating a hybrid cloud environment that will allow GameStop to add greater context around both in-store and online customer interactions.

Harnessing the power of BlueMix enables GameStop developers to quickly innovate, prototype and connect with their customers at the right time using APIs for big data, analytics and mobile.

"This cloud partnership will integrate existing systems into a new class of applications to build even deeper relationships for GameStop with their clients and will help GameStop lead the next phase of retailing by restoring the balance between physical and digital commerce platforms," IBM's Robinson said.

Texas A&M brings to GTI a specific focus on retail research, consumer technology and the evolving consumer experience at the intersection of the two. The Center for Retailing Studies has a 30-year history of serving retailers, and is one of the only retail education institutions housed in a business school.

GameStop’s CIO Jeff Donaldson will chair the direction and efforts of the new institution, serving in the role of senior vice president of GTI.

"As GameStop continues to transform its business beyond video gaming and into the technology space, we formed GTI to address our growing needs for new innovation as a specialty retailer," Donaldson said in a statement. "As we begin our partnership with IBM and Texas A&M University, GTI's initial focus will be on the digitization of the physical retail space which would allow customers to interact with the brick-and-mortar store environment in ways that mimic interaction with digital platforms."

IBM said executives from every retail sector are trying to anticipate what next innovative technology, mobile app, or virtual store experience will win over today's empowered consumer. According to the global 'Understanding Leading Merchants' survey conducted by IBM's Center for Applied Insights, 83 percent of the 325 senior-level retail merchants who responded indicated they were concerned about how to respond to the shifts in the way customers engage with retailers. In the same survey, 78 percent said they worried about being able to provide a holistic, cross-channel experience.

The GTI R&D portfolio will include a focus on enhancing consumer interaction technologies and developing business solutions that help drive traffic to all retail channels.


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