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Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

BusinessWeek: IBM Roars into Business Consulting

IBM earlier today unveiled a new services practice within IBM Global Services (GBS), focused on Business Analytics and Optimization.  This is an important move, as it is the first new service line launched since GBS was formed in 2002 (following the acquisition of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting).  

From BusinessWeek's coverage of the announcement:

In IBM's biggest foray in business consulting since it acquired PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting in 2002, the company announced on Apr. 14 that it is setting up a 4,000-person organization focused on helping corporations analyze data better and make smarter decisions. The consultants will mine IBM's research and software divisions for innovations.

In the press release for the announcement, IBM Senior Vice President Frank Kern describes what we're hearing from clients that led to the creation of this service line:
"Our clients understand they're operating in a competitive environment where more than ever before, in addition to being fast, they have to be right. That requires something beyond the traditional notion of 'sense and respond,'" said Frank Kern, senior vice president, IBM Global Business Services. "That drives the need to speed business decisions, understand the consequences of any decision and predict outcomes with more certainty -- in short, moving to a new level of enterprise intelligence."

As to why the launch of this practice is so important, I think IDC analyst Dan Vesset, quoted in BusinessWeek sums it up well. "Now more than ever, leaders need to know what's really going on in their businesses."

There will be more than 4,000 consultants focused on this effort, and they will be working in conjunction with more than 200 mathematicians and advanced analytics experts from IBM Research, the only private industry research department specifically devoted to this field.  The new service also will draw on IBM's Information Management portfolio, including technologies from the recent acquisitions of Cognos and iLog, as well as assets and expertise built up in focusing on these solutions over the past ten years.

Here's a video that provides a little more background on today's announcement.