Big Data Offers Big Opportunities for Retail, Financial, Web Companies

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-10-29 Print this article Print

With its Smarter Commerce strategy, IBM is applying analytics to commerce overall, with a strong recent focus on marketing analytics. IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative delivers software and services to help companies transform their business processes to more quickly respond to shifting customer demands. The initiative is driven by the demands from users who are increasingly looking for ways to bring new levels of automation to marketing, sales and fulfillment to secure greater customer loyalty.

The explosive growth of mobile, social and online commerce is a key trend within Smarter Commerce. The new software brings together the power of social networking, analytics and mobile computing to front-office operations and externally to clients. As a result, users can gain faster insight on customer buying patterns and consumer sentiment.

"We are living in the mobile and social age, where consumers are turning to friends for product advice and their smartphone and tablet to make purchases," said Craig Hayman, general manager, IBM Industry Solutions. "As this momentum continues, CMOs must trade in more traditional tactics in favor of smarter approaches that extend their personalization capabilities beyond the PC."

IBM began working on its Smarter Commerce play 12 to 18 months before announcing it to the world, and Big Blue expected to maintain a 12- to 18-month lead on competitors, but Hayman said he believes the company's lead is longer than that.

Moreover, Smarter Commerce is a pet project of IBM chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty, he said. "Her first external event as CEO was a conference in New York about how CMOs and CIOs can better work together," said Hayman. "It was all about Smarter Commerce."

Today, 83 percent of midmarket CIOs surveyed by IBM have identified analytics, the ability to extract actionable insights from big data as their top-priority investment area. Meanwhile, IBM's Retail Online Index identifies several trends of importance to chief marketing officers (CMO), e-commerce leaders and customer service professionals. Part of IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative, the Retail Online Index draws data and insights from IBM's big data offerings to provide a look into the pulse of online retail through traditional and social media channels.

Meanwhile, IBM created a Customer Experience Suite to give marketing professionals the power to manage and integrate all types of data on their Websites and then analyze it for deeper insight into customer buying patterns and sentiment.

"The benefits we are able to see from using this advanced IBM analytics technology are that it will give us the ability to put the right message in front of the right customer at the best time and in the best channel," said Justin Croft, manager of marketing campaigns and promotions at C Spire, a leading telecommunications service provider and the eighth-largest wireless provider in the United States.


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