After years of talking up Information On Demand, on Sept. 2 a new phrase came out of IBM's collective lips-"Information Agenda." But far from being a change in direction, the latest announcement is about helping businesses better manage and gain deeper insight into data.
The initiative shows the maturity of IBM's Information On Demand strategy, a course the company embarked on a few years ago. As part of the announcement, IBM introduced a number of software tools and industry-specific data models, blueprints and consulting services to help enterprises draw more value from business data.
"These foundational software tools were designed to allow business and IT to collaborate," explained Tom Inman, vice president of Information On Demand Acceleration.
To hear IBM tell it, though most businesses have a strategy to guide their business processes and applications, the data that supports their processes is often not shared across the organization. According to IBM, access to information is often restricted due to data being tightly associated with the applications it was created for, which in turn curtails new insights into the data to improve business performance.
To help enterprises get around this, IBM is pushing a number of new and better-integrated tools, including Rational Data Architect and InfoSphere Information Analyzer. IBM is also offering industry-specific Information Agenda guides and workshops to help businesses create information strategies and road maps for better business performance, as well as Information On Demand Competency Centers to help companies build internal expertise.
The effort is focused on 18 industries, including banking, electronics, and the aerospace and defense industries. The decision to target specific industries recognizes the specific needs and processes each industry has to contend with when it comes to data management.
Forrester Research analyst Mervyn Adrian said IBM is making substantial investments in product, delivery and marketing here in an effort to anchor its data management offerings by increasing interdependence across its portfolio and demonstrating its value at a strategic level.
On the whole, analysts agreed that the announcement shows that IBM's Information On Demand strategy is expanding to meet customer needs.
"It's a substantial initiative," Adrian said. "All the major software vendors are adding 'industry awareness' to their portfolios as a way to demonstrate better business value and communication to the strategic thinkers in their customers and prospects. IBM is communicating that the IOD (Information On Demand) message and portfolio are maturing, and that their efforts to rationalize their portfolio have reached a point where they can raise the bar."