Complexity to curation to context: IBM decommoditizes IT

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“Never confuse a clear view for a short distance,” IBM Global Managing Partner of Strategy & Analytics Shanker Ramamurthy said at the IBM Big Data and Analytics Summit 2014 while articulating the vision prompting IBM to merge its Analytics, Strategy and IBM Interactive Experience consultants into one practice in Global Business Services (GBS). Ramamurthy also succinctly captured an undercurrent from two days of talk about big data and analytics: IBM has the vision (and capabilities) but appreciates the distance the company and its clients still need to travel. Leading with strategy — and following through with analytics — enables IBM to appeal to non-IT department buyers, potentially diminishing the time between identifying a business problem and applying an IT based, analytics-enhanced solution. IBM repeatedly stressed that the technologies, from Watson to Cloud Business Solutions, fold complex data science into a simplified user experience. Echoing Smarter Commerce, IBM’s big data and analytics team recognized that “in the moment” insights, with context based on business-specific issues, could come from diligently curating data and collaborating across the entire enterprise. As clients buy into IBM’s longterm vision, the company’s Global Business Services unit will not only accelerate revenue growth, but also will widen the gap between IBM and its competitors in portfolio capabilities, mitigating the impact of commoditization in the IT services market.

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Complexity to curation to context: IBM decommoditizes IT

  1. 1. TBRT ECH N O LO G Y B U SIN ESS RESEARCH , IN C. TBR EVENT PERSPECTIVE Complexity to curation to context: IBM decommoditizes IT IBM Big Data and Analytics Analyst Summit 2014 New York, June 11-12, 2014 Authors: Patrick Heffernan (patrick.heffernan@tbri.com), IT Services Practice Manager and Principal Analyst Geoff Woollacott (geoff.woollacott@tbri.com), Engagement Services Senior Analyst Jennifer Hamel (jennifer.hamel@tbri.com), Professional Services Analyst TBR Perspective “Never confuse a clear view for a short distance,” IBM Global Managing Partner of Strategy & Analytics Shanker Ramamurthy said at the IBM Big Data and Analytics Summit 2014 while articulating the vision prompting IBM to merge its Analytics, Strategy and IBM Interactive Experience consultants into one practice in Global Business Services (GBS). Ramamurthy also succinctly captured an undercurrent from two days of talk about big data and analytics: IBM has the vision (and capabilities) but appreciates the distance the company and its clients still need to travel. Leading with strategy — and following through with analytics — enables IBM to appeal to non-IT department buyers, potentially diminishing the time between identifying a business problem and applying an IT- based, analytics-enhanced solution. IBM repeatedly stressed that the technologies, from Watson to Cloud Business Solutions, fold complex data science into a simplified user experience. Echoing Smarter Commerce, IBM’s big data and analytics team recognized that “in the moment” insights, with context based on business-specific issues, could come from diligently curating data and collaborating across the entire enterprise. As clients buy into IBM’s long- term vision, the company’s Global Business Services unit will not only accelerate revenue growth, but also will widen the gap between IBM and its competitors in portfolio capabilities, mitigating the impact of commoditization in the IT services market. Event Overview TBR attended the IBM Big Data and Analytics Analyst Summit 2014 in New York on June 11 and 12. The conference outlined IBM’s intention to accelerate business value by packaging powerful data and analytics technologies, cloud-based delivery, and mobile- and social-enabled systems of engagement into business solutions. To achieve
  2. 2. www.tbri.com TBR this long-term strategy, IBM invests along four key tracks, each of which the company highlighted in keynote presentations and breakout sessions:  Redefine the experience: By removing barriers to analytics adoption, IBM aims to make deep analytics capabilities accessible to a broader spectrum of organizational roles, reaching beyond IT to knowledge workers and line-of-business users.  Deepen business relevance: IBM targets individual C-Suite executives with solutions that address role- specific business problems such as risk management (chief financial officer, chief risk officer), customer engagement (chief marketing officer) and fraud (chief operating officer).  Continually curate information: The company uses IP-based tools to build a constantly flowing architecture — what IBM terms the “data refinery” — that gathers and stores data from multiple sources, maintains compliance with data governance policies and adds context to generate insights that are meaningful and actionable, in real time.  Transform adoption with cloud: IBM looks to accelerate organizational buy-in for analytics programs with cloud-based offerings designed for each level of IT sophistication, from BlueMix (PaaS) for application developers to Cloud Business Solutions (Business Process as a Service) for line-of-business users. Wrapped around IBM’s technology innovations are transformation and managed services delivered by the company’s recently integrated Strategy and Analytics practice, several leaders of which were on hand to discuss case studies and ongoing innovation initiatives. TBR also interacted one-on-one with IBM executives and customers throughout the event. Impact and Opportunities IBM pairs consulting and technology to tailor analytics solutions to a broader set of buyers beyond the chief information officer IBM recognizes the roadblocks clients face when considering whether to adopt big data and analytics tools: lack of coding skills among business users, prolonged queues for IT resources to configure and implement software, and lack of clarity around the business value that analytics can deliver. With these barriers in mind, the company is aligning analytics offerings to address the needs of business first, rather than IT, and marketing prebuilt solutions directly to line-of-business and C-Suite buyers. The central themes permeating nearly all of the solutions discussed at the conference were ease of operability by novice technology users, ability to tie powerful data insights to discrete business actions and reduction of time-to-value for analytics investments. Beyond the technology, IBM highlighted its ability to design transformation road maps for clients that emphasize the business case for analytics programs rather than the IT architecture. TBR believes IBM’s go-to-market focus on business strategy over cost savings is the company’s best bet to monetize its broad analytics investments and maintain its sometimes premium pricing. By appealing to line-of- business users striving to stay ahead of competitors, acquire and retain customers, and comply with evolving regulations at (nearly) any cost, the company distinguishes itself from lower-priced vendors that have yet to match IBM’s deep integration of technology, process optimization and industry-oriented consulting. New IT buyers means a substantial shift in the IT market IBM executives and big data experts articulated a clear and cogent view of where the IT industry is headed and how IBM is working diligently to organize the breadth and depth of its assets for the evolving ways businesses prefer to acquire information technology. According to IBM, buyers assume operability and expect ever faster results. The rising influence of line-of-business buyers has started shifting the marketing and monetization strategy IT vendors must follow. As cloud increasingly proves software and analytics can more cost-effectively deliver business outcomes, the IT industry’s evolutionary cycle will permanently reshape the way commercial enterprises
  3. 3. www.tbri.com TBR consume IT. Internal capabilities around infrastructure construction will become less of a competitive differentiator within business value chains, while the speed at which business can generate value through mining data with analytics will rise in importance. This shift presents a compelling argument for organizations to outsource IT infrastructure and rely on trusted advisers with deep analytics and industry knowledge to advise their lines of business on how best to generate desired outcomes. And who will be the “trusted advisers”? IBM outlined a clear view of the evolutionary journey the company — and the rest of the industry — is on. IBM Watson: Clarifying ambiguity within context Watson Group Chief Technology Officer Rob High espoused an unorthodox take on the differences between computing as we have known it since 1947 and IBM’s developments around cognitive learning. Previously, computing involved mathematical formulas built for mathematicians. Today, machines scan written words, run algorithms and search for contextual inferences to deliver a series of probable results. Previously, machines accelerated our scientific development. Today, Watson accelerates our creative thinking by providing a variety of combinations that users might not have discovered on their own. For example, Watson challenges medical experts to think about a series of symptoms differently or chefs to think about a combination of ingredients in a new way. Machines can perform the investigative research for us, and computing can shorten the investigatory phase of human thinking to increase the pace at which we can innovate. This acceleration addresses a variety of aspects of our daily lives. It can likewise challenge the way business operates by enabling companies to mine data to shape their strategy rather than have their strategy determine the data business wants to capture. IBM has a very clear view of Watson’s power and knows it is not a short distance, but rather a journey, to unleash Watson’s complete potential to reshape our daily lives in rich and profound ways. Technology Business Research, Inc. is a leading independent technology market research and consulting firm specializing in the business and financial analyses of hardware, software, professional services, telecom and enterprise network vendors, and operators. Serving a global clientele, TBR provides timely and actionable market research and business intelligence in a format that is uniquely tailored to clients’ needs. Our analysts are available to further address client-specific issues or information needs on an inquiry or proprietary consulting basis. TBR has been empowering corporate decision makers since 1996. For more information please visit www.tbri.com. ©2014 Technology Business Research Inc. This report is based on information made available to the public by the vendor and other public sources. No representation is made that this information is accurate or complete. Technology Business Research will not be held liable or responsible for any decisions that are made based on this information. The information contained in this report and all other TBR products is not and should not be construed to be investment advice. TBR does not make any recommendations or provide any advice regarding the value, purchase, sale or retention of securities. This report is copyright-protected and supplied for the sole use of the recipient. Contact Technology Business Research, Inc. for permission to reproduce.

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