In an effort to help companies better derive value out of their data, IBM is delivering a host of new products and services that optimize information for businesses.
About a month after Ambuj Goyal stepped into the role of general
manager of IBM Information Management in 2005, he articulated a vision
of the company's plans at an analyst forum in Boston.
That vision is called Information On Demand, IBM's answer to helping
businesses better derive value out of their data. A marriage of master
data management, analytics, industry-specific applications and
services, IOD has grown into a broad umbrella of solutions designed to
optimize information for businesses.
And it just got bigger.
This week, IBM will unveil a host of new products and services
during its annual Information On Demand 2008 conference in Las Vegas.
Continuing its strategy of focusing on specific verticals, the company
is releasing seven new financial management and industry-specific
solutions. In addition, IBM is announcing new offerings from IBM Optim
as well as the company's Enterprise Content Management and InfoSphere
There are also new services on tap. The company is launching
Information On Demand Foundation Services, consulting services that
draw on technologies from FileNet, InfoSphere and Cognos.
At its core, the premise of IOD is that businesses are moving from
what Goyal calls an "application agenda" to an information agenda. In
IBM-speak, the application agenda is the traditional focus on utilizing
applications to automate business processes. While investments in such
applications are likely to continue, IBM banks on the growing emphasis
on applications that can help drive businesses' optimization efforts.
"Now [clients are] saying ...-Yeah I did my supply chain, but can I do
a better job of partner management so I can optimize it?' That's an
information-based agenda. I have done a great job of automating my HR,
but can I leverage information to do work force analytics?" Goyal said.
"These are things, assets that we have created on top of our
Information On Demand stack-structured information, unstructured
information, created trusted information out of it so we can do the
appropriate analytics and feed it into the right application."
While the past two or three decades have been about automation, the
next 10 to 20 years will be all about business optimization, Goyal
Although he wasn't ready to paint the picture in quite those terms,
IT analyst Dwight Davis agreed that enterprises increasingly want a
clear vision of how technology can be translated into profitability. In
the years immediately following the dot-com bubble burst, there was a
greater focus on ROI (return on investment) and TCO (total cost of
ownership), he said. In recent years, that tactical focus on TCO and
ROI has become more sophisticated and extended into the realm of the
business value of the technology itself, he explained.
"[IT is] an engine that can be seen as more than just a cost center
and can really be a part of a company that drives business value and
increases revenue and improves customer satisfaction and makes supply
chains more efficient and all those other things that have direct
business ramifications," said Davis, an analyst at Ovum.