On Tuesday IBM introduced a set of cloud applications intended to help C-suite executives accelerate innovation around customer experience for the purpose of meeting their business objectives in concert with their company’s IT strategy. First out will be a Big Data and social analytics application that chief marketing officers (CMOs) can use to get an emotional reading on how customers view their brand.
Anyone who attended IBM Edge 2013 couldn’t walk away without realizing how pervasive cloud thinking has become at IBM. Over 30 sessions dealt specifically with cloud computing as well as the many other sessions that included cloud references. DancingDinosaur expects to take up Clod Barrera’s excellent session on cloud storage design in an upcoming post.
Of course, the cloud is not new to the System z. The z is a strong candidate for a private cloud and IBM even offers the IBM Smart Analytics Cloud for System z. But IBM’s current cloud interest is generally platform agnostic; Watson, at the moment, may be the exception.
Having identified 100 cloud applications, IBM is not leaving out any C-Suite executive. Executives responsible for customer care and support will get the IBM Watson Engagement Advisor, which uses cognitive computing to enable personalized customer conversations. The head of HR is targeted for the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business, which promises to find, analyze, source and acquire the best talent. Supply chain execs, chief procurement officers, the CFO, and even the CIO have been targeted.
The CIO, according to IBM, will get cloud solutions needed by various lines-of-business as part of a comprehensive IT strategy to ensure security, flexibility in deployment options, and hybrid environment integrations. The CFO and corporate treasury function will be able to tap cloud analytics to make more analytical, risk-aware decisions supporting revenue, expenses, and compensation processes.
To support the announcement, IBM lined up a handful of customers as examples. For instance, London-based Speedo, the big swimwear brand, is using cloud-based digital analytics software from IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative to improve the customer’s shopping experience, which has resulted in cross-selling revenue gains of more than 10% in online sales and is generating six times more revenue per average order.
Nielsen Media taps the cloud–based IBM Watson Engagement Advisor to crunch big data in record time to transform the way they engage clients in key functions such as customer service, marketing, and sales. Watson gives the company a cognitive computing assistant that learns, adapts and understands the company’s data quickly and easily, and through learning the tool increases its knowledge and value over time.
Rent-a-Center, a leading rent-to-own operator, opted for a procurement application from IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative with business partner Coupa Software. It optimizes and centralizes its purchasing process in the cloud, reportedly resulting in millions of dollars in savings.
Apparently, cloud computing has piqued the interest of C-suite executives, which IBM intends to use to advance its various cloud-based offerings. The C-suite is adopting cloud computing because execs see its ability to transform their front office processes –marketing, procurement, supplier management, human resources, and legal. In fact, Gartner estimates that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs.
Making cloud offerings particularly interesting to C-level executives is the nature of cloud computing itself, which allows organizations to start small, pay for what they use, and combine it with their traditional IT systems. If Edge 2013 and the new C-Suite cloud initiative is any indication, expect to see more cloud in everything IBM does.
Tags: analytics, C-Suite, CFO, chief procurement officers, CIO, cloud storage, cognitive computing, corporate treasury function, HR, human resources, IBM, IBM Edge 2013, mainframe, procurement, Smart Analytics Cloud, SmartCloud for Social Business, Smarter Commerce, software, supply chain, System z, technology, Watson Engagement Advisor, zEnterprise