Helping customers use information

The IBM journey towards information-led transformation

In 2007 Business Intelligence (BI) and Performance Management (PM) vendor Cognos was acquired by ICT giant IBM. This move marked the first step on IBM’s journey towards being able to provide its customers with a fully integrated offering comprising hardware, software and solutions to enable new intelligence through a journey of Information-led Transformation.

For Cognos this has been an incredibly positive change,” says David McWilliam, Regional Manager: BI and PM, IBM Software Group Sub-Saharan Africa. “By leveraging the strengths of the two companies we have been able to add the power of information integration, data warehousing and management; and data and content management, through IBM’s Infosphere products, to the traditional Cognos components of BI and PM.”

For customers, this means a more complete offering to enable them to derive better business outcomes. As globalisation continues to affect the way people live their lives and do business, the speed of business transactions has increased dramatically. This has highlighted a driving need for new intelligence coupled with predictive analytics to enable organisations to understand and harness the sheer volumes of data generated on a daily basis.

“The speed of doing business in the modern world combined with an explosion of information provides both challenges and opportunities. The key to taking advantage of opportunities that arise is the ability to transform your organisation using the information that is available,” says Christoph Kaderli, EMEA Strategy Initiatives at IBM. “The most common issues experienced by businesses are a lack of insight; inefficient access to information; and the inability to predict future outcomes.”

The integration of the Cognos suite into the IBM Infosphere offering enables the strategic application of BI and analytics to allow organisations to benefit from consistent, better quality information for smarter decision making. IBM Cognos 8, the result of this collaboration, offers universal BI and performance management capabilities, flexibility and access to interactivity, business modelling and an enterprise class SOA platform.

This helps organisations change the way they look at information, gain more insight from data and drive better, faster and more efficient decision making.

“Incorporating Cognos into our offering has enabled IBM to offer the entire IBM stack, from hardware to software to services, as a holistic solution that integrates fully and allows customers to select the tools they need and build customised solutions for greater return an investment and enhanced value,” adds Kaderli.

This collaboration also enabled IBM Software to develop Cognos Express, launched in September 2009, which is an integrated, pre-packaged solution aimed at the mid-market, offering integrated reporting, analysis and planning out of the box for ease of implementation and accelerated return on investment.

The recent acquisition of SPSS, leaders in predictive analytics, will further cement IBM’s ability to provide complete information management solutions. This comprehensive offering includes data collection, text and data mining, advanced statistics and predictive analytics, to enable businesses to understand information more completely than ever before, predict future events and understand their impact on business before they happen.

“Combining the capabilities of Cognos, IBM and SPSS allows us to offer customers a fully comprehensive solution that is fully integrated, enabling them to make better use of information to make smarter decisions, increase competitive edge and drive more value from their technology,” says Kaderli.

Going forward, and bearing in mind the changing needs of customers, IBM is moving towards providing content management solutions to combine both structured and unstructured data for more complete and contextual information, delivering insight to users, applications and processes and providing market insight, customer intelligence and early warning of events.

IBM is also currently developing mobile platforms for its Information-led transformation offerings to truly enable users to access information wherever they are and whenever they need it.

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Helping customers use information