IBM Builds Cloud Base on New Deals, Investments

IBM closes new deals that build on the company's base of 30,000-plus clients and more than $10 billion in cloud-related investments.

IBM has announced a series of deals that build on its recent cloud investments, including a new, five-year multimillion dollar cloud agreement with Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA), which operates in the Asia-Pacific region.

The cloud project will streamline CCA's operations and processes across the South Pacific region and is expected to drive significant operational costs out of the business, IBM said.

As the bottler and distributor of one of the world's most iconic brands, CCA operates in six countries including Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and Samoa. Australia and Indonesia will be the first countries to use the IBM cloud platform to optimize and streamline CCA's order management and distribution processes, and increase operational efficiencies across the two geographies.

"We have a complex distribution network which requires our systems to be very efficient," said CCA's CIO Barry Simpson, in a statement. "Indonesia is a vastly different market to Australia, as it has a more diverse trade to support across both modern and traditional channels. By using a common cloud platform across Australia and Indonesia, we will be able standardize and automate our operations and bring a consistent level of efficiency to our Indonesian business. This will enable us to focus on growing our market share in Indonesia -- which is a major opportunity for us in 2014."

Under the agreement, IBM will manage CCA's SAP infrastructure in a cloud environment hosted in IBM's data center in Sydney, Australia, which will eventually act as a cloud hub for the rest of CCA's South Pacific operations.

"CCA's plans to have Sydney serve as a cloud hub for its entire South Pacific footprint via IBM's cloud platform will bring enhanced operational efficiency to its entire organization," said Grant Thomson, cloud business leader at IBM, in a statement. "CCA will be able to leverage best-practice processes from its Australian operation and apply them to the rest of the South Pacific region."

The partnership with Coca-Cola is among the latest developments in IBM's cloud momentum, which also includes the company's $1 billion to launch a new business unit for Watson that will deliver cognitive computing through the cloud—running on SoftLayer, as well as $1.2 billion to expand IBM's global cloud computing footprint to 40 datacenters worldwide offering SoftLayer capabilities, starting with the recent addition of a datacenter in Hong Kong.

IBM also announced a $1 billion investment to transform IBM software into cloud services and launch a new Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) called IBM BlueMix, which Pitney Bowes and GameStop are leveraging to innovate cloud services to engage with their customers in new ways via mobile and social channels and drive new revenue streams.

In addition, IBM said SoftLayer has reached more than 3,500 clients in its nine months since IBM acquired the Dallas-based company for $2 billion last June—growing twice as fast as it had been before. SoftLayer now has more than 20,000 clients to date, IBM officials said.

At the end of March, Pitney Bowes announced a collaboration on IBM's "BlueMix" PaaS to develop new hybrid cloud location services to help businesses find deeper connections between their customers, their geography, and their networks to deliver more personalized services and contextually relevant experiences.

IBM's BlueMix helps developers speed the adoption of hybrid clouds. The initiative combines the strength of IBM software, third-party and open technologies. BlueMix provides DevOps in the cloud. Pitney Bowes was among the first third-party solutions available to developers and companies on the IBM BlueMix PaaS.

More than 1.2 billion people use Pitney Bowes' location intelligence solutions when they check in or use location-sharing features on major social media platforms. Pitney Bowes' location intelligence suite of products enables businesses to visualize spatial data and understand relationships between specific locations. Using the location data, insurers can improve underwriting decisions, telecommunications providers can better analyze network coverage and retailers can deliver more targeted promotions to consumers, based on when and where they are most likely to buy, IBM said.