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Analytics will be bigger than CRM, says IBM

4th Nov 2009
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Business analytics will be bigger than ERP and CRM combined, according to IBM. So after acquiring SPSS and Cognos, and launching its new business intelligence tools, what next for the IT giant in this space?

Business analytics and 'information-driven transformation' will become bigger and more important than CRM or ERP, according to senior IBM executives.

IBM has been putting its money where its mouth is with the acquisition of SPSS for $1.2 billion after spending $5 bilion on Cognos in 2007.

IBM general manager for business analytics Ambuj Goyal said: "Our investment in this particular space will continue and we will build by partner. Information-led transformation has just begun. We are way ahead, but to me we are just beginning, because everybody is going to follow us. I say this is bigger than ERP and CRM combined. What ERP did 20 years ago, this will be bigger than that.”

With that in mind, IBM lifted the lid on new business intelligence tools at its Information On Demand conference in Las Vegas.

New offerings include:

  • IBM Cognos Customer Performance Sales Analytics to provide insight on sales performance that extends across sales reps and customers to the order itself. This visibility helps businesses recognise and anticipate emerging market trends. It also helps create an integrated view of performance that extends beyond the sales department.
  • IBM Cognos Workforce Performance Talent Analytics  to  enable assessment of recruitment and learning performance.
  • IBM Cognos Supply Chain Performance Procurement Analytics to provide procurement professionals with the ability to assess the performance of suppliers' capacity to provide products and services in accordance with the contractual obligations and the business goals of the organisation.

The company also rolled out a significant new update to its InfoSphere product line IBM’s Master Information Hub, which will be offered as an optional add-on to the newly released InfoSphere Master Data Management Server 9.0. This is intended to give organisations one single view of the common information they have sitting across many applications throughout their business.

“Cognos software is now the central brand of IBM's BI and analytics universe. It forms the hub of most of IBM's BI tools, packaged analytics solutions and appliance bundles,” noted Madan Sheina of research house Ovum.  “Cognos figures strongly in at least half of the above product announcements. However, IBM had little to say about how its newly acquired SPSS advanced predictive analysis set would be used in the future - apart from promising tighter integration with Cognos products. To be fair to IBM, the deal only closed in October. We expect that IBM's vision of 'micro-optimisation' backed by predictive decision-making at the point of impact will breed a new set of product offerings around SPSS.”

Sheina noted IBM's claims for analytics being bigger than CRM and ERP.  “The company is now poised to funnel even more of its profits into BI and analytics over the coming years, anticipating that they will be bigger than the ERP market two decades prior - the tipping point being a shift from business automation to business optimisation,” said Sheina. “The company has spent $12 billion on analytics technologies. However, it's not just about loading up on technology. IBM recognises that analytics doesn't work as a black box. For that reason, IBM recently launched its Business Analytics & Optimisation services, staffed by over 4,000 consultants. It is also planning to launch a financial analytics centre in London.”

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