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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.