IBM Unveils Business Analytics, Optimization Consulting Services


IBM believes that what you don't know can hurt you, and Tuesday launched a new consulting service that aims to curb businesses from making bad decisions out of ignorance.

Big Blue unveiled the IBM Business Analytics and Optimization Services business at the T.J. Watson Research Center in Hawthorne, N.Y. The services collect and analyze data from disparate sources, including blogs, and return the information that would have previously been unusable and unquantifiable, according to IBM.

"Businesses make decisions and then look at the consequences," said Fran Kerns, senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services. "But what if you could look at virtually all the ways information is processed and make more predictive decisions?"

The new IBM Business Analytics and Optimization service line will address five core areas, including strategy; business intelligence and business performance management; advanced analytics and optimization; enterprise information management; and content management.

IBM is working with 4,000 consultants, 200 mathematicians and a slew of advanced analytics experts on the consulting service. The new service is the first business launch from IBM's Global Business Services since it was formed in 2002 following the acquisition of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting.

The solutions are aimed at addressing the current climate of a crisis of confidence, according to Fred Balboni, Leader, IBM Business Analytics and Optimization.

"There are too many organizations operating in blind spots," Balboni said. "One out of three business leaders make critical decisions using information that they don't trust."

Balboni said that the old paradigm of "sense and response" is out the window and needs to be replaced with "perceive and predict."

To illustrate that point, IBM brought in speakers from businesses and industry organizations, but perhaps the most compelling presentation was made by Bill Eimicke, the deputy commissioner of the Fire Department of New York City, which is using IBM Business Analytics and Optimization Services.

"There were many lessons learned from 9/11," Eimicke said. "We need to be better prepared and try to prevent events before they happen."

Eimicke said that there is an increasing amount of information that is available but that can't be accessed by the FDNY. By using IBM Business Analytics and Optimization Services, Eimicke said that information can be pooled from disparate sources and possibly change the way the FDNY operates.

"The information is out there, but we need to be able to not just find risks, but prioritize them and not just assess them. I'd like to change the orientation of the department from first responders to prevention."