With that in mind, IBM Research entered the services business in force last year and helped close more than $100 million worth of contracts, Horn said. "But more important than the numbers, we want to build the services practices of the future," he said. "We want to be creating the future of the IBM company. Thats our ultimate mission."
Amy Wohl, president of Wohl Associates, of Narberth, Pa., said IBM is looking for ways to put its expertise to use. "They have a lot of assignments where they take something and use a service engagement to figure out how you really solve the problem and then try to boil that down to a product or technology or framework or something that can be used in future service engagements or something that can be used repeatedly," Wohl said. "Expertise can be used as a resource. The idea is to more fully use [IBMs] resources."
In addition, Wohl said working with services "is good experience for the researchers and for the customers. It makes IBM look like it has resources that arent available elsewhere."
Peggy Kennelly, vice president of ODIS, said ODIS has three main goals. One is to help IBMs clients solve complicated business problems and become on-demand businesses. The second is to help the consulting division become successful. The third is adding value to research.
"But now that IBM is half Global Services and half in the services business, its not as clear how we add value to services as we have to hardware and software," Kennelly said. "And that is something that Research is dedicated to doing. ODIS was created specifically to focus on how can we add value to the consulting business, which is one of the divisions within IBM Global Services. So how do we add value? We do it in two ways. We bill our time on their projects. We look like a subcontractor and help them drive revenue and profit."