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

Archive for October 21st, 2010

White Christmas

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Here comes Santa Claus, Here Comes Santa Claus, right down Best Buy lane!

I made a quick visit to Best Buy today at lunch to look at electronic wares after I saw the news from an IBM analytics-based forecast that said holiday sales of consumer electronics and appliances in U.S. retail stores are expected to get an early start this year, and that consumers would spend a larger-than-usual share in November, the penultimate month before the race begins through stores in December for holiday shoppers.

Proven to be accurate to 99 percent, the forecast relies on 19 years of historical data and sophisticated analytics software developed by IBM to analyze both long-term trends and seasonal peaks.

IBM consultants use these predictive techniques to help clients improve performance by addressing complex issues of supply and demand. These techniques also aid clients in planning product mix and new store locations.

According to the forecast, sales of consumer electronics and appliances are predicted to total $10.164 billion this November, representing a four percent increase over November 2009. Consumer electronics is expected to total $8.688 billion with appliances coming in at $1.476 billion.

In December, sales of consumer electronics and appliances are predicted to total $13.800 billion, representing a four percent increase over December 2009. The December 2010 forecast breaks down as follows: $12.197 billion for consumer electronics and $1.603 billion for appliances.

Especially important is the forecast’s analysis of the change in sales from month to month, a strong predictor of relative strength.

This year, the sales momentum going from October into November is expected to be much stronger than in previous years, while the momentum from November to December is forecast to be weaker than in the past.

Momentum Index: U.S. Retail Electronics and Appliance Sales

This chart illustrates the relative strength of U.S. retail electronics and appliance sales in November and December during the years 2001 to 2010. The trend shows that in recent years, November sales are becoming relatively stronger at the expense of December sales. The bars represent the percentage increase in sales for November and December over the previous month.

“The forecast indicates that retailers should be ready for a robust Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” said Global Business Services partner and IBM retail analytics leader Michael Haydock, referring to the Friday and Monday following Thanksgiving. “Retailers that staff up and stock up for November and invest in advertising are likely to have a substantial advantage in the marketplace.”

Following is the month-to-month breakdown of the November/December forecast for consumer electronics and appliances (numbers in billions):

Retail electronics and appliances

November December 2-month total
2008 (actual) $10.129 $13.639 $23.768
2009 (actual) $9.754 $13.252 $23.006
2010 (forecast) $10.164 $13.800 $23.964

Following is the month-to-month breakdown for consumer electronics only (numbers in billions):

Retail electronics

November December 2-month total
2008 (actual) $8.671 $12.041 $20.712
2009 (actual) $8.289 $11.687 $19.976
2010 (forecast) $8.688 $12.197 $20.885

Following is the month-to-month breakdown for appliances only (numbers in billions):

Retail appliances

November December 2-month total
2008 (actual) $1.458 $1.598 $3.056
2009 (actual) $1.465 $1.565 $3.030
2010 (forecast) $1.476 $1.603 $3.079

Haydock noted that disposable income, as reported by the U.S. Commerce Department is on the rise, as is the household savings rate, perhaps indicating pent-up consumer demand.

In producing the forecast, IBM uses economic data gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau. T

he data is derived from a survey of retail store establishments engaged in electronics and appliances as their major line of business.

These store establishments are a representative sample and are not inclusive of all industry activity in this category. Products include TVs, cell phones, personal computers and tablet computers, radios and stereos, refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, and other devices.

For more information, visit www.ibm.com/gbs/bao.

And don’t forget to be nice to Santa!

Written by turbotodd

October 21, 2010 at 11:42 pm

IBM Acquires Governance Software Firm Clarity Systems

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IBM announced today it has acquired Clarity Systems, a privately-held company based in Toronto, Canada.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Clarity Systems delivers financial governance software that enables organizations to automate the process of collecting, preparing, certifying and controlling financial statements for electronic filing, in support of mandates by the SEC and other financial regulatory agencies.

To significantly reduce the risks of potential error and the lengthy times required to create and file financial documents, Clarity Systems software allows finance professionals to seamlessly integrate information for more efficient planning, consolidation and financial reporting.

The acquisition of Clarity Systems extends IBM’s business analytics initiatives, and represents IBM’s commitment to address financial governance and risk management challenges faced by financial departments in virtually every industry.

With today’s news, IBM now has a comprehensive portfolio of business analytics software for financial professionals to plan, forecast and analyze performance, identify and manage key business risks, and report to external stakeholders with confidence.

The Backdrop: Need For Improved Financial Risk Management, Forecasting

Finance departments in organizations are relied upon to provide accurate data more quickly, improve risk management and forecasting decisions, and meet financial business goals. To address these demands, CFOs and finance managers are increasingly relying on business analytics software to make faster decisions to anticipate performance gaps, prioritize resources, and gain insight into profit and growth.

A recent IBM study of 1,900 global CFOs and senior finance leaders revealed enterprises that have adopted standards and increased finance efficiency are performing 25 percent better by strengthening compliance programs and internal controls. The study also indicated that enforcing data standards, integrating information and applying business analytics are key capabilities that enable improved business insight and risk management.

With Clarity Systems, organizations will be able to more easily combine financial statements, operational details, commentary, notes, charts and pictures – virtually an unlimited assortment of content – into a single document.

By integrating all of these information resources, customers are able to reduce the possibility of errors and late filings, and quickly and easily produce documents for external filing.

Current Clarity Customers

Today, 600 global clients across multiple industry segments are using Clarity Systems software to improve business processes and increase efficiency and accountability.

In fact, some of the world’s largest transportation, financial services, and energy and utility organizations address financial reporting and risk management with Clarity Systems software, including British Airways, WSFS Financial Corporation, Young & Co.’s Brewery plc, Five Star Quality Care, Inc., Oglethorpe Power Corporation and Sempra Energy Utilities.

“Smarter decisions thrive on accurate financial information, and it is therefore imperative that financial governance systems reduce risk of error and provide confidence in the external reporting process,” said Rob Ashe, general manager, business analytics, IBM. “Clarity Systems extends IBM’s business analytics capabilities to the office of finance by enabling organizations to help businesses automate complex governance processes, improve data accuracy and provide the foundation for addressing a wide array of regulatory reporting mandates.”

Closing The Loop On OpenPages

Clarity Systems complements IBM’s recent acquisition of OpenPages that helps companies more easily identify and manage governance, risk and compliance activities across the enterprise through a single management system. The addition of Clarity Systems and OpenPages gives the office of the CFO a comprehensive set of solutions for financial performance and strategy management, risk management and compliance, and financial governance.

“Clarity System’s unified approach offers the flexibility, security, and control needed to make more informed business decisions while meeting compliance requirements,” said Mark Nashman, president & CTO, Clarity Systems. “As a part of IBM, we can bring our leading financial governance solution to an established set of customers who need to effectively and efficiently execute the creation and delivery of external regulatory filings.”

Clarity Systems also has strong capabilities in core performance management, such as budgeting, planning and forecasting. Client and partner investments in existing IBM and Clarity Systems technologies will be preserved, allowing customers to take advantage of the broader set of capabilities without the need to replace existing systems.

With the deal, IBM adds more than 400 financial management experts across products, sales, services, and support, and a growing network of financial governance and performance management partners worldwide.

IBM will integrate Clarity Systems within its Business Analytics software portfolio.

In just four years, IBM has invested more than $14 billion in 24 analytics related acquisitions, dedicated 7,000 consultants and opened eight analytics Centers of Excellence around the world to help clients uncover hidden insights within their data.

Written by turbotodd

October 21, 2010 at 3:39 pm

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