IBM Launches Smarter Commerce Strategy

IBM has launched a new top-level initiative known as "Smarter Commerce" that will leverage $2.5 billion in acquisitions to deliver an end-to-end commerce solution for customers.

IBM has launched a new initiative called "Smarter Commerce" that draws upon Big Blue's software and services expertise to define a new market to meet new commerce challenges clients are facing in today's social media and mobile computing landscape.

Under this initiative, IBM announced new software and the creation of a new consulting practice dedicated to the emerging category of smarter commerce, which is focused on helping companies swiftly adapt to rising customer demands in today's digitally transformed marketplace.

Craig Hayman, general manager of IBM Software Industry Solutions, told eWEEK the Smarter Commerce effort began two years ago and is "the amalgamation of $2.5 billion in acquisitions we made in 2010, along with some organic technology we put in."

Indeed, IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative builds on the foundation of the WebSphere Commerce platform and the company's $2.5 billion investment in on-premises and cloud-based software from IBM's acquisitions of Sterling Commerce, Unica and Coremetrics. IBM acquired Sterling Commerce for its order management and supply chain optimization technology. IBM bought Coremetrics for its capabilities for analyzing customer behavior. And the company purchased Unica for its software for managing marketing campaigns from beginning to end.

"Although we had established this vision two years ago, as we announced these acquisitions we deliberately only told a piece of the story because we were still putting it together," Hayman said.

The new Smarter Commerce consulting practice leverages IBM's leadership and investments in business analytics and optimization. The new software and services offerings, supported by global sales and marketing resources, will address the spectrum of enterprise commerce activities-new ways to buy, sell and secure greater customer loyalty in the era of mobile and social networks.

Looking at the potential market opportunity, Hayman said IBM estimates the smarter commerce market to be worth up to $70 billion, driven by demand from clients that must bring new levels of automation to marketing, customer engagement and sales, as well as core processes for production, fulfillment and service for much more immediate responses to changes in markets and buying trends.

IBM's overall Smarter Commerce strategy includes:

  • A new global business services consulting practice offering deep insights into Smarter Commerce.
  • New cloud analytics software that enables companies to monitor their brands presence in real time through social media channels to better assess the effectiveness of new services and product offerings, fine-tune marketing campaigns and create sales initiatives in real time.
  • Software that automates a company's ability to design and deliver a personalized shopping experience, campaigns and promotions on new services and products online, or through mobile devices.
  • An "IBM University" that will provide educational resources for sellers and partners to build the job skills required for the Smarter Commerce marketplace.

"Smarter Commerce is an approach of how we're making Smarter Planet real around a specific domain-buying and selling of goods and services," Hayman told eWEEK.