IBM's Cloud Consulting Services Portfolio Expands

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-12-05

IBM's Cloud Consulting Services Portfolio Expands

IBM has announced the expansion of its Cloud Consulting Services portfolio with a customizable cloud strategy offering for industry and the line-of-business buyer.

This move, announced Dec. 5, extends IBM's high-value portfolio of cloud software and services. The company is also developing a catalog of fast-start industry offerings delivered as a service for cloud-based applications.

"Delivering more personalized services to customers with greater speed is a significant priority for businesses today," Sanjay Rishi, managing partner for IBM Cloud Consulting Services, said in a statement. "In the era of cloud, the agenda of front-office decision-makers places a premium on flexibility and the ability to experiment. With these new cloud offerings, IBM will help front-office leaders rapidly deploy business content for business value."

This announcement follows a recent independent evaluation by IDC that named IBM an industry leader in cloud professional services in the IDC MarketScape on cloud professional services. IDC forecasts the worldwide cloud professional services market to show a five-year compound annual growth rate of 24.8 percent between 2012 and 2017.

The IBM fast-start industry solutions—hosted on a private cloud using SoftLayer and offered as a managed service through IBM Global Business Services—are designed to meet the growing customer demand for rapid deployment, implementation and experimentation.

IBM will deliver this as-a-service model to help customers in vertical industries—such as banking, insurance, retail, telecom and energy and utilities—have key business applications up and running very quickly without the need to provision additional infrastructure and compute power. This can reduce the time it takes to deploy new applications from weeks or months to a matter of hours or days, IBM said. The solutions draw on the expertise of IBM business consultants in vertical industries, domain and business processes, open standards and IT infrastructure.

IBM said, to date, the IT industry has primarily focused on one-size-fits-all approaches to migrating workloads and applications to the cloud—scalable computing purchased on a usage model. This shift extends the value of cloud to line-of-business leaders as an engine for growth that can accelerate business outcomes.

In fact, a recent IBM survey indicates that during the next three years, the cloud's strategic importance to top decision-makers, from CEOs and chief marketing officers (CMOs) to HR, finance and procurement executives, is poised to double from 34 percent to 72 percent—surpassing their IT counterparts at 58 percent.

To help enterprises convert to a cloud environment, IBM offers a cloud adoption framework and the IBM Cloud Workload Analysis Tool to analyze an existing environment and determine the cloud computing model best suited for the business model. Using the tool, IBM consultants help the client identify and prioritize the business areas and workloads that, when migrated to a cloud computing model, deliver the most benefit by reducing costs and improving service delivery.


IBM's Cloud Consulting Services Portfolio Expands

To further jump-start a client's deployment to the cloud, IBM is building out its catalog of pre-integrated solutions that address priority business needs industry by industry, while making cloud easier to adopt and consume for line of business leaders.

Indeed, a prime example of the fast-start industry solutions is the IBM Insurance Service Hub Cloud – a communication platform on the cloud that connects health insurance companies with multiple data providers such as clinics and physicians, as well as customers via their mobile devices. Managed and hosted by IBM, the Insurance Service Hub Cloud replaces the traditional paper-based data exchange with digital information delivered in one standardized interface. The platform provides a secure, reliable base of data to drive faster, more efficient business processes, such as invoice provisioning, claims processing and reimbursement.

The cloud computing platform comes with analytics for semantic analysis of diagnostic texts, and with a mobile communication infrastructure that is fundamental to an insurer's ability to redefine customer relationships and improve the customer experience.

More than a dozen clients are currently using the IBM Insurance Service Hub Cloud's pay-per-use model.

Human resources is one of the major operational functions inside organizations that are being transformed by cloud technology. Globalization, mobility, acquisitions and entry into new markets are dramatically changing the workplace. As a result, chief human resource officers (CHROs) are becoming key partners in delivering value and competitive advantage in support of the business' strategy and growth. Software as a service (SaaS) solutions and other cloud-based services for human capital management (HCM) are enabling HR departments to meet rapidly changing needs, reshaping how they recruit, train, engage, evaluate and reward employees.

To help HR departments justify a move to the cloud, IBM is developing an HR cloud accelerator, which is designed to provide CHROs with a strategy and roadmap for deploying a cloud-based HCM solution versus staying with their existing on-premise solution.

For example, IBM helped a global supermarket chain with more than 68,000 employees move from a highly customized on-premise HCM tool to single global cloud-based solution to support the client's future growth plans. As result, the client has been able to launch self-service talent management processes; improved performance, compensation and succession planning, and enhanced its workforce analytics capabilities, all while reducing overall costs.

IBM's fast-start industry solutions join its growing portfolio of cloud services and capabilities, including the recent launch of its Cloud Suites for the C-Suite, a catalog of 110 role-based SaaS applications that help C-suite leaders and their departments drive better business results from cloud offerings tailored to their functions.

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