Partnerships Solidify IBM's Cloud Ecosystem - Page 2

IBM officials said this SugarCRM deal is significant for organizations in regulated industries, such as banking, health care and financial services, which must follow strict mandates and internal policies for how security, compliance and sensitive customer data is handled outside their corporate networks. On IBM Cloud, Sugar can be deployed across bare-metal cloud servers, dedicated off-premises clouds or private cloud environments behind the firewall.

"IT strategy should not be held hostage by vendors who offer a proprietary, multi-tenant cloud configuration as the only option," Clint Oram, co-founder and CTO at SugarCRM, said in a statement. "Instead, choice should be the rule of the day for cloud deployments, so organizations can implement systems in a way that fits their business and IT needs. SugarCRM customers who are looking for greater control over their data, more deployment options and a reliable infrastructure should consider IBM Cloud as their platform of choice."

Chicago-based SugarCRM partner Highland Solutions is already using Sugar on IBM Cloud for several clients. For one university, it has deployed a HIPAA-enabled solution that allows the organization to manage a self-administered health care plan combining data from multiple systems.

"The most valued type of data that organizations have in the enterprise is their customer data," Bill Karpovich, general manager of IBM Cloud Platform, said in a statement. "Having the right deployment options that meet security concerns, regulatory requirements and risk mitigation [is] top-of-mind for any business choosing a cloud infrastructure."

Also, by using IBM Cloud's bare-metal cloud servers, Sugar customers can eliminate any issues with multi-tenant "noisy neighbors" cloud environments or the performance lag of a hypervisor.

"These announcements build on a much broader trend where companies are turning to the IBM Cloud for choice and consistency across public, private and hybrid environments," Jim Comfort, CTO of IBM Cloud, told eWEEK. "We're the backbone enabling these new cloud services because we can give customers the global reach, capacity and scale they need. And it runs the gamut, from providing mobile users with access to apps and data from any device to running open-source CRM applications on secure bare-metal servers. Our cloud is incredibly versatile."

Judith Hurwitz, president and CEO of Hurwitz & Associates, said IBM is intent on firmly establishing an ecosystem to support its cloud platform.

"It is also focused on partnering with enterprise vendors who provide services to large corporations," she said. "That is IBM's sweet spot. It is clear that a lot of the cloud companies are trying to find their way into the enterprise. IBM is already there and building an ecosystem of enterprise software customers."

Moreover, in a slightly different kind of deal, IBM and Acxiom recently announced a new partnership to empower data scientists to make faster and more accurate predictions by providing analytics tools and curated data on IBM Cloud.

IBM said data scientists typically spend up to 80 percent of their time and effort on data preparation, which leaves them little time to derive insights from their data. However, this alliance is expected to bring together capabilities, such as curated data sets, a client's customer data and IBM configurable predictive models to reduce the time to action for data scientists.

IBM recently announced a cloud-based development environment for near-real-time, high-performance analytics. Available on IBM's Bluemix cloud platform, the Data Science Experience provides 250 curated data sets, open-source tools and a collaborative workspace to help data scientists uncover insights.

"As clients look for speed and accuracy to improve outcomes, the journey is not just about rich, curated customer profile data but how you can predict customer behavior and engage them in interactions relevant to them," Alistair Rennie, general manager of solutions for IBM Analytics, said in a statement. "In order to drive faster time to value, it is necessary to develop ecosystems that provide data and analytics solutions to deliver the best possible decision making in the face of a dynamic marketplace. Our customer analytics strategy is to help clients with their data, analytics, actions and outcomes."

Combining the benefits of IBM's and Acxiom's solutions will help data scientists better understand their customers and predict future behaviors.