Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, said he believes the IBM/FB partnership is interesting for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it should provide both companies opportunities to visibly differentiate their services and skills from competitors, an important issue in a marketplace for online advertising that's still in an early state, he said.
However, "The relative exclusivity of Facebook's community might also mean that results from highly personalized campaigns would have greater value for advertising customers than those conducted by more general means in larger environments—like, say, via search engines," King said. "That's an interesting value proposition but it also carries some risk in case IBM and Facebook can't deliver the goods they are promising. All in all, though, the deal could well spark a fundamental step forward in the quality and effectiveness of online advertising. If the partnership works as advertised, pun intended, it could redefine the way that ads are designed and delivered to consumers."
Meanwhile, IBM Commerce THINKLab's methodology is designed to accelerate innovations that address specific client needs—such as price optimization or inventory analytics—and quickly put them into practice to advance customer service excellence. Cross-functional teams work side by side to analyze data sets, conduct user research, map out approaches and test them in the marketplace. Real-time market feedback allows the teams to explore and combine new technologies into a single integrated solution that addresses a client’s unique challenge and delivers immediate value to their business.
This is not IBM's first foray into social media. Last October, IBM and Twitter announced a major deal that enables IBM to tap into Twitter's data feed to make that data available to businesses to use to make better decisions.
IBM is offering Twitter data as part of select cloud-based services, including IBM Watson Analytics, IBM's cognitive service in the palm of your hand that brings intuitive visualization and predictive capabilities to business users; and a cloud-based data refinery service that enables application developers to embed data services in applications. Entrepreneurs and software developers also are able to integrate Twitter data into new cloud services they are building with IBM's Watson Developer Cloud or IBM Bluemix platform-as-a-service (PaaS) technology.
Then in March, the companies built upon their partnership by announcing several new cloud-data services to help businesses more efficiently listen to consumer Twitter conversations to identify insights and to make better business decisions.
"The unprecedented partnership between IBM and Twitter helps businesses tap into billions of real-time conversations to make smarter decisions," said Glenn Finch, global leader of Big Data & Analytics for IBM Global Business Services. "Through unique expertise, curation and insights Twitter data is now able to inform decision-making far inside organizations."
IBM said it is able to isolate important information from "noise" on Twitter by enriching and analyzing Twitter data in combination with millions of data points from other streams of public and business data, such as weather forecasts, sales information and product inventory stats. This helps to uncover powerful correlations that drive more actionable insights.
"So much of business decision making relies on internal data such as sales, promotion and inventory. Now with Twitter data, customer feedback can easily be incorporated into decision making," said Chris Moody, vice president of Data Strategy at Twitter. "IBM's unique capabilities can help businesses leverage this valuable data, and we expect to see rapid demand in retail, telecommunications, finance and more."