IBM Opens Three Data Analytics Research Centers in Europe

The three IBM Analytics Solution Centers, in Zurich, Budapest and Vienna, will focus on financial services, green technology and Smarter Cities.

IBM opened three new analytics centers in Europe on Sept. 23, strengthening its offerings in the growing business analytics market.

The announcement follows just days after IBM's $1.7 billion acquisition of Marlborough, Mass.-based Netezza, a data warehousing and analytics appliance vendor. Last week, IBM also acquired OpenPages, another Massachusetts company with an analytics package designed to help companies identify and manage risk.

"Today business leaders need to move beyond intuition to a more predictive decision making capability and more certainty about business outcomes," said Adam Klaber, general manager of IBM Global Business Services, in a statement.

The new centers are in Zurich, Switzerland; Budapest, Hungary; and Vienna, Austria, and will focus on a variety of markets, including logistics, financial services, public safety, telecommunications and transportation. All the centers are expected to open by the end of 2010.

The center in Zurich will focus on financial services and public sector analytics and will be located on the campus of IBM's current Zurich research lab, in close proximity with IBM scientists specializing in business optimization and data analytics.

The center will initially work on risk and fraud analytics, financial analytics, brand and reputation analytics, marketing optimization, enterprise business analytics strategy, and traffic management. The center will also partner with local governments as part of the company's "Smarter Cities" program to improve city infrastructures.

Budapest will focus on green infrastructure and transportation, as well as function as a career recruitment center for students interested in business optimization and operations research. Housed at ELTE University, the Center for Applied Mathematics will focus on infrastructure, transportation, telecommunications and logistics. Vienna will focus on energy grids, supply chain optimization, strategy management, planning optimization and Smarter Cities.

IBM has seven other advanced analytics solution centers worldwide, two of which are in Europe. Located in Berlin, Beijing, London, New York, Dallas, Tokyo and Washington, D.C., the global analytics network has more than 6000 IBM consultants dedicated to data analytics.

"These new centers will allow our clients to collaborate with IBM on systems that see patterns in vast amounts of data, extract critical insights, and deliver a new level of enterprise intelligence," said Klaber in the statement.

IBM predicts it will report $16 billion in business analytics and optimization revenue by 2015. While the number sounds lofty, IBM has been throwing a lot of money at its analytics business over the past four years to meet that goal. In addition to investing $12 billion and opening up analytics centers worldwide, the company has completed 23 analytics-related acquisitions, including Web analytics software and services provider Coremetrics, business intelligence software provider Cognos, statistical software giant SPSS and the most recent, Netezza. The company is already seeing growth in the area as its software and service analytics revenue grew 14 percent in the second quarter of this year.

Oracle is IBM's biggest competitor in this market, but the Redwood City, Calif.-based company hasn't been on the kind of spending spree in the analytics sector to match IBM's.

A former IBM partner, Netezza makes data warehouse appliances using IBM BladeCenter blade servers and IBM software that are fast and easy to deploy.