IBM Cloud Analytics, Mobile Initiatives Launch for Business Partners

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-02-26

IBM Cloud Analytics, Mobile Initiatives Launch for Business Partners

LAS VEGAS — IBM announced that it is launching a new set of global initiatives to arm its ecosystem of business partners to embrace cloud, mobile and big data analytics technologies to generate new revenue streams with new buyers such as the chief marketing officer, chief of police and the chief financial officer.

IBM made this announcement at its PartnerWorld Leadership Conference 2013 here. IBM is making a significant commitment to help its business partners build innovative solutions that capitalize on advanced technologies enabling clients to tackle the next wave of data-intensive business challenges.

According to IDC, the IT industry has been transitioning to a new era of computing built on mobile, cloud services, social networking and big data analytics. In 2013, spending will exceed $2.1 trillion, driven by double-digit growth in mobile, cloud, big data and social technologies—and by growth in emerging markets. These are all key factors in IBM's overall growth strategy and core targets for Big Blue's 2015 road map.

IBM is launching a set of initiatives to prepare its global ecosystem to capture this growing market opportunity. As the digital consumer continues to demand a unique and personalized experience across multiple channels, IBM offers CMOs and marketers the tools necessary to turn mounds of big data into actionable insights. IBM is empowering its business partners with tools and new services to maximize the efficiency of their own digital marketing efforts and better serve their clients, especially small and midsize businesses in emerging markets such as India and Africa.

For instance, IBM is making a significant commitment to help its business partners build innovative solutions that take advantage of advanced technologies enabling clients to tackle the next wave of data-intensive business challenges.

IBM will now offer business partners one year of free access to cloud-based IBM Digital Analytics technology that helps businesses analyze big data to identify patterns in customer preferences and transform real-time marketing strategies to target the individual consumer more effectively. With this capability, businesses can mine data on interactions via Web, mobile and other digital channels, including interactions referred from all major social networks, to better adjust and personalize market campaigns based on that insight.

Also with this initiative, business partners will now have free access to this cloud-based technology to apply deep analytics to mine big data and enable them to compete in today's digital and social environment. IBM business partners in this program will also receive access to services to help them capture, qualify, prioritize and assign client leads more effectively, IBM officials said.

Meanwhile, the proliferation of 10 billion-plus mobile devices by 2020 is creating a sea change in the way businesses are engaging the consumer. IBM is launching a program to help business partners capture the growing mobile opportunity. The new initiative called Ready for IBM MobileFirst is designed to help IBM's business develop the right skills to bring innovative mobile solutions to the market in a variety of industries.

In health care, providing access to patient information via mobile devices can provide a more efficient and orchestrated care response, and in some cases, lead to more rapid or accurate diagnoses. With the Ready for IBM MobileFirst program, ISVs will be able to embed mobile technologies into their solutions with the Software Value Plus program, an initiative that rewards business partners who distinguish themselves through industry skills and solutions. IBM will also offer mobile certifications, workshops and incentives for resellers and systems integrators.

"As the retail environment has dramatically changed with the proliferation of mobile devices and social media, this is presenting new opportunities for our clients in the retail industry to engage with their consumers in new ways," said Teresa Zobrist, CEO of Zobrist Consulting. "We see IBM taking another significant step in providing its business partners with unmatched skills, technology and expertise to capture new market opportunities, evolve and innovate as the markets do."

IBM Cloud Analytics, Mobile Initiatives Launch for Business Partners

IBM and Zobrist Consulting's joint clients are seeing a difference. Online retailer Bishop Co. recently created a stronger online presence to develop a unique shopping experience to meet the needs of a younger generation of socially savvy consumers. The site has become the driving force in its growth using IBM Smarter Commerce, enabling its marketing executives to apply deep analytics to promote the right products while quickly responding to changing consumer trends. As a result, Bishop Co.'s online sales have increased 200 percent.

"We stock over 2,500 different products, so our catalogs were extremely expensive to produce, both in terms of time and money," said Keith McCormick, president of Bishop Co. "We had to employ a number of staff to take telephone orders. Compared with online sales techniques, it was quite inefficient, but our e-commerce platform wasn't up to the task."

However, with IBM's technology and Zobrist's help, "the new e-commerce site has many new features that we're really excited about," McCormick said. "There's now an easy-to-access 'compare' box that allows customers to drag and drop the products they're interested in buying. We've also streamlined the checkout process to minimize card abandonment and drive up customer conversion rates."

Meanwhile, IBM is collaborating with its business partner Sproxil in leveraging mobile and cloud technologies to help manufacturers view and analyze real-time consumer data to detect and prevent drug counterfeiting. Consumers in emerging markets such as India, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria can verify the authenticity of prescriptions in seconds with their own mobile phones any time, anywhere securely through the cloud, IBM said. Consumer feedback on product genuineness, as well as other comments they may have about the product, allows companies to make prescription drugs safer for millions of people who live in areas where counterfeiting is rampant.

"Mobile represents a significant growth area for the pharmaceutical industry," Sproxil CEO Ashifi Gogo, said in a statement. "As the use of smartphones and tablets surges, the pharmaceutical industry needs a strategic understanding of how mobile can play to drive innovation. IBM's focus on arming business partners with the right initiatives to bring innovative mobile solutions will be key to help pharma companies manufacture and market safer products more effectively to health care providers."

IBM will provide business partners with new skill-building capabilities and access to its technical experts at its global network of 42 global IBM Innovation Centers in 36 countries  to nurture growth for development of new mobile capabilities while meeting IBM's mobile integration standards. IBM is also enabling IBM business partners to help credit-qualified clients take advantage of simple, flexible lease and loan packages for the Ready for IBM MobileFirst portfolio and big data analytics, starting at as low as 0 percent interest for 12 months with no upfront costs. IBM will also provide marketing support to business partners to help reach new buyers in this space.

Additionally, IBM announced initiatives designed to help business partners build their solution, selling capabilities around expert integrated systems. IBM will increase its dedicated channel sales and technical sales specialists by 50 percent in 2013 to assist business partners in closing more solution opportunities.

In addition, IBM Power Systems is further strengthening its business partner incentives. IBM continues to strengthen and launch new PartnerWorld Specialty and Certification Programs for IBM System x, PureFlex and Flex Systems to assist business partners in developing specialized skills to help deliver innovative solutions for clients.

"The interdependence of mobile, social, big data and cloud is undeniable, and will only multiply as data growth and mobile use continue," said Mark Hennessy, general manager of IBM Global Business Partners, in a statement. "We are committed to the success of our business partners in this shift in the way we do business across industries and around the globe. To seize this big data opportunity, IBM has laid the foundation for a comprehensive set of initiatives for IBM business partners, who are key to our growth strategy, [and] can help these clients address their business needs as the business grows."

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