Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘acquisitions’ Category

IBM Furthers Focus On Marketers

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The Wall Street Journal just posted this article in advance of IBM’s 2Q earnings announcement tomorrow, leading with this sentence: “Technology companies have found a new customer—the marketing department.”

The story goes on to highlight the fact that marketing organizations are increasingly taking the lead in technology acquisition, and that “Companies are deemphasizing traditional productivity tools like PCs and standard business software in favor of advanced programs that help them boost revenue, for example by tracking customers across channels and better targeting offers and advertising.”

The article reminded me of a post I wrote back in May leading up to IBM’s Smarter Commerce Summit in Madrid, Spain – entitled “No More Business As Usual” — which I’ll quote freely from again below:

Today, circa 2012, we find ourselves at another inflection point in the history of commerce, one which begins and ends with the customer. Today’s commerce environment features a customer who is dictating a new set of terms in the dynamic between buyers and sellers, and these are very smart consumers, ones empowered by technology, transparency, and an abundance of information.

Just simply walk through your closest local retailer or your nearest airport, and you’ll see signs of this new and smarter consumer. Via smartphones and other mobile devices, they are connected real-time to an absurd amount of information that empowers them as buyers, and, in turn, requires an accelerated sophistication on the part of sellers, no matter the product or service.

These consumers expect to engage with companies when and how they want, through physical, digital, and mobile means, and they want a consistent experience across all channels.

Because they are empowered and connected, they can compare notes, quickly, and they can champion a brand or sully a reputation with the click of a mouse or the stroke of their tablet computer.

In the Journal article, author Spencer Ante points out that Gartner recently predicted by 2017, the chief marketing officer will control more technology spending than the company CIO.  Gartner estimates that around a third of marketing department expense budgets is devoted to purchases such as systems to manage customer relationships, predict customer behavior, and run online storefronts, and that the global spend on marketing software already rose from $20 billion to $25 billion over the past year.

Yuchun Lee, an IBM vice president who is one of the “Smarter Commerce” strategy’s architects and who was quoted in the article, says that “IBM is making investments in technology that could help clients manage online customer interactions, analyze social media data and craft targeted pitches.”

Specifically, IBM has spent some $3 billion making acquisitions in this growing market over the past several years, including the acquisitions of Coremetrics, DemandTec, TeaLeaf, and Unica.

Following is an interview my compadre, Scott Laningham, conducted with Yuchun in Madrid on the topic of smarter commerce.

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Madrid: IBM Product Manager Mark Frigon On Smarter Web Analytics & Privacy

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Mark Frigon is a senior product manager with IBM’s Enterprise Marketing Management organization, a key group involved in leading IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative. Mark’s specialties are in Web analytics (he joined IBM as part of its acquisition of Coremetrics) and Internet privacy, an issue that has come to the forefront in recent years for digital marketers around the globe.

Effective Web metrics are critical to the success of businesses looking to succeed in e-commerce and digital marketing these days, and IBM has a number of experts who spend a lot of their time in this area.

One of those here in Madrid at the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit, Mark Frigon, is a senior product manager for Web analytics in IBM’s Enterprise Marketing Management organization.

Mark sat down with me to discuss the changing nature of Web analytics, and how dramatically it has evolved as a discipline over the past few years, including the increased focus by marketers on “attribution,” the ability to directly correlate a Web marketing action and the desired result.

Mark also spoke at the event about the importance for digital marketers around the globe to be more privacy-aware, a topic we also discussed in our time together, calling out in particular the “Do-Not-Track” industry self-regulatory effort that intends to put privacy controls in the hands of consumers.

If you spend any time thinking about Internet privacy or Web analytics, or both, this is a conversation you won’t want to miss.

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Madrid: Dr. Kareem Yusuf On Smarter Commerce and Cities Acquisitions

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When Scott Laningham and I sat down with Dr. Kareem Yusuf yesterday, we didn’t realize what we were bargaining for.  As IBM’s executive responsible for both strategy and mergers and acquisitions for the Industry Solutions Division, Kareem’s responsibilities range from the formulation and prioritization of strategic plays to the execution of M&A in support of the business strategy

Also central to Kareem’s responsibilities have been the Smarter Commerce and Smarter Cities initiatives, along with the acquisitions that have been executed to support them.

Prior to this role, Kareem was focused on Decision Support Systems for Civil Engineering construction as he completed his Ph.D from the University of Leeds, and also spent some time providing Level 3 support for IBM’s WebSphere MQ technology, specializing in Java-based messaging.

Our discussion was far-ranging, with Kareem providing a beautifully-worded explanation of IBM Software’s Smarter Commerce acquisition strategy, along with some words about the new Smarter Cities technology buyer (the Mayor, the Police Chief, etc.) and also an update on what IBM has been focusing on most recently around the Smarter Cities initiatives.

All this and more coming to a stadium near you and soon!

IBM Business Analytics: Preventing Fraud, Predicting Profits

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Scott Laningham and I are starting to think about repacking our suitcases and preparing to head back out on the road, this time across the pond to Madrid for the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit May 22-24.

In Madrid, we expect to hear quite a bit about IBM’s investment in the analytics space, but that doesn’t mean we have to wait to visit the Prado to relate some interesting details about business analytics.

Specifically, predictive analytics that can help companies across the span of industries to prevent fraud.

Here’s a sound byte you may not have yet heard: Did you know that insurance fraud has reached an estimated $80 billion per year in the U.S. alone??

And in South Africa, the rate of short-term insurance fraud is about 15 percent of all premium costs.

And yet, we’ve also found that organizations that effectively apply predictive analytics are 2.2 times more likely to outperform their peers.

One such client of IBM is Santam, South Africa’s leading short term insurance company, which has saved $2.4 million on fraudulent claims in the first four months of using IBM business analytics software.

This new analytics solution has not only enhanced Santam’s fraud detection capabilities, however — it has also enabled faster payouts for legitimate claims.

In partnering with IBM, Santam’s claims division developed a new operating model for processing claims, depending on varying risk levels. IBM’s predictive analytics software has enabled Santam to automatically assess if there is any fraud risk associated with incoming claims and allows the insurer to distribute claims to the appropriate processing channel for immediate settlement or further investigation, which in turn optimizes Santam’s operational efficiency.

In turn, Santam is able to reduce the number of claims that need to be assessed by mobile operatives visiting the customer or claim site, resulting in further considerable cost savings for the company.

IBM: Investing In Analytics, Predicting Results

In the last five years, IBM has invested more than $14 billion in acquisitions. With investments in SPSS, Clarity, OpenPages, i2 and Algorithmics, and others, IBM is building business analytics solutions providing clients with capabilities for managing fraud, risk and threat. In addition, IBM has assembled almost 9,000 dedicated analytics consultants with industry expertise, and created a network of eight global analytics solution centers.

The Santam project also illustrates IBM’s leadership in analytics in Africa. IBM is also actively laying the foundations for a major presence throughout the African continent, with offices in more than 20 African countries, where the company is assisting businesses and governments in building strategies, expertise, solutions, frameworks and operating procedures to help improve performance.

You can learn more about Santam here, and their new predictive analytics solution in the video below.  You can learn more about IBM business analytics solutions here.

IBM ImpactTV 2012 Instant Replay: IBM’s Mike Rhodin On Big Data, Smarter Commerce, And The Emerging LOB Tech Buyer

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Our first interview at IBM Impact 2012 this year was with IBM senior vice president, IBM Software Solutions Group, Mike Rhodin.  This was also our first ever opportunity to interview Mike, so we were especially excited about this particular interview.

Mike leads an organization which focuses on delivering integrated offerings that target high-growth opportunities, including business analytics, collaboration, and industry solutions.  As a senior vice president, Mike is responsible for a $5 billion business portfolio which represents one of the fastest growing and most acquisitive.

In our interview, Mike explained that his business is reaching more of a non-traditional technology buyer, the senior “line of business” executives who have played a much more dominant role in tech acquisition through the economic downturn, and who are looking for solutions that can help their organizations differentiate themselves in the marketplace, and and even more readily empower front-line executives and decision makers.

He also brought us up to date on what IBM’s Watson has been up to over the past year, explaining that Watson finally got a “real” job — actually, a couple of them!

In his former IBM lives, Mike has served as the general manager of IBM’s Northeast Europe organization, as well as the GM of IBM’s Lotus Software division, a stint in which he led a team to create the “human side” of IBM’s software strategy by developing IBM’s collaborative technology and solutions which integrate people, data, and business processes.

IBM ImpactTV 2012 Instant Replay: IBM’s Steve Mills On Big Data Analytics, PureSystems, And The Continued Importance Of Transaction Processing

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At last week’s IBM Impact 2012 event at the Venetian in Las Vegas, my collaborator and fellow blogger Scott Laningham and I spent much of our week interviewing thought leaders from IBM, our Business Partners, our clients, and even our keynoters, and to help spread the word, we’ll be incorporating some of those interviews in our respective blogs over the next days and weeks.

First up, the big man himself, IBM senior vice president and group executive, Software and Systems, Steve Mills.

If you’ve been in or around the software or IT industry for any length of time, it’s very likely you’ve heard from Steve.  And, as you well know, Steve always delivers — to customers, and to audiences.

This time around, Steve reminded us about the importance of transaction processing, explained the economic drivers that led to the development of IBM’s new PureSystems line of technology, and debriefed us on two recent IBM Software acquisitions in the big data analytics realm.

IBM To Acquire Mobile Analytics Provider TeaLeaf Technology

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IBM yesterday announced a definitive agreement to acquire Tealeaf Technology, Inc., a leading provider of customer experience analytics software that helps organizations to gain intelligence and react more swiftly to consumer trends in today’s digitally transformed marketplace.

Financial details were not disclosed. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearance and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012.

The need to deliver a seamless mobile experience has become increasingly critical to CMOs with global online commerce expected to hit $1 trillion by 2014 and mobile commerce $200 billion by 2015.  Organizations today are struggling to meet the demands created by the rapidly shifting buying patterns of their customers, who increasingly turn to online, social and mobile channels to gather information, make purchases and receive services.

This new digital marketplace requires companies to be highly responsive to their customers’ behaviors in order to both compete and grow. The opportunity to better understand a customer’s experience on websites and mobile devices presents a major competitive advantage for businesses.

Mobile Analytics On The Go

With this agreement, IBM extends its Smarter Commerce initiative by adding qualitative analytics capabilities that provide chief marketing officers (CMOs), e-commerce and customer service professionals with real-time and automated insights into online customer buying experiences across online and mobile devices.

As a result, organizations can gain actionable insight that allows them to improve customer support, transform site usability, tailor marketing campaigns and increase online conversion rates.

Tealeaf provides a full suite of customer experience management software, which records and analyzes a customer’s website and mobile interactions. As a result, marketers can spot patterns and address issues in website and mobile application design and provide a more streamlined online customer experience that leads to improved revenue, customer satisfaction, customer service productivity, and profitability.

TeaLeaf: Over 450 Customers Worldwide

Tealeaf has over 450 customers worldwide including 30 of the Fortune 100 companies. These customers are predominantly in financial services, travel, retail and communications services. Current clients include: Dell, Wells Fargo, Air Canada, GEICO, Orbitz, Crate & Barrel, Neiman Marcus, Expedia, Zappos, ING Direct, Best Buy, DirecTV, McKesson and StubHub.

Tealeaf will extend IBM’s leadership in Smarter Commerce by giving companies qualitative web and digital analytics capabilities, allowing them to capture and replay a customer’s web and mobile interactions to provide a more granular and richer view of a customer’s experience.

This insightful view helps marketers answer the question of “why” customers interact as they do and thus provide a more optimized online customer experience leading to improved revenue, customer satisfaction, customer service productivity and profitability.

Tealeaf is based in San Francisco, California with additional offices in Europe.

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