Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘globalization’ Category

One Big MOOC

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Our CEO, Ginny Rometty, has taken to updating the IBM workforce via some nifty video blogs since she took the helm last year.

In her most recent update, she encouraged the IBM workforce to recommit to continuing to build our skills, and so asked each of us to pursue 40 hours of continuing education in 2013, and that IBM would foot the bill for the additional costs (travel, books, etc.)

Back in 2001-2003, I pursued and completed my MBA in technology management from one of the world’s first for-profit continuing education institution’s, the Apollo Group’s University of Phoenix Online.

This was still the way early days for online learning. Most of the learning was done through traditional books and Phoenix’s proprietary equivalent newsgroup software, where I would exchange asynchronous messages with my professors and fellow students. We also participated in a few self-directed teleconference calls and lots of instant messaging meetings, as there were loads of team projects that required coordination with other students.

One course in particular that I remember wishing I had had a longer course schedule beyond the traditional six weeks (which is how long Phoenix’s courses lasted at the time) was corporate finance. Half the reason I had pursued the MBA was to expand beyond my right brain-oriented BA and MA in English and Radio/TV/Film respectively, and take on more left brain pursuits.

The finance course was exactly the kind of stuff I’d been wanting to learn, but again, in six weeks, it just moved too quickly to completely grok such a vast expanse of information.

So, flash forward to 2013 and my new learning mandate from our CEO. It just so happened last fall I had stumbled onto massive online open course (MOOC) provider Coursera, which has been offering a wealth of classes from a variety of higher learning institutions, and it just so happened they were also going to be offering a corporate finance class through the University of Michigan.

Voila, problem solved. I could now return to revisiting my finance love and spend a little more deliberate time learning it from the ground up, this time over the course of 16 weeks and at no cost to myself or to IBM (other than by taking a little of my time).

This time around, however, I have a professor explaining many of the concepts through online video, snippets of which I can watch in my spare moments or in binge viewing on the weekends. I also have access to more sophisticated online messaging collaboration tools to learn from my fellow students.

And, I do believe, I’m starting to see some technological foundations laid that could completely disrupt the traditional bastions of higher learning, much the way Napster disrupted the recorded music industry.

Good education requires some basic Sophoclean give and take, to be sure, but who says such give and take has to be in a physical classroom with way too many students and not enough personal attention?

I remember courses from my own baccalaureate matriculation at the University of North Texas that filled entire stadium classrooms, and I probably said nary a word to many of those professors, other than answering a few questions over the course of the semester.

What if I could have an even more personalized learning experience, at my own pace, through a MOOC?

Who’s to say a MOOC, in partnership with some of the best professors in the world, couldn’t create their own virtual university, one that isn’t undermined by the increasingly failing economics of brick and mortar learning institutions?

One that, if put together with the right forethought and technology could charge far less than most state and private universities today, and yet still hire the best-of-the-best when it comes to instructors.

If you haven’t heard about MOOCs, you’re definitely not keeping up with the learning Joneses.

Many MOOC courses these days are attracting multiple tens of thousands of students. In fact, Coursera was developed by Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller after Stanford University offered three MOOC courses in the fall of 2012 and each averaged an enrollment of around 100,000 students.

Yes, 100,000 each!

Will MOOCs scale to the needs of higher education aspirants everywhere?  Possibly.

But what if it were able to address just a quarter of the higher education needs?  Last fall, an estimated 21 million new college students were headed to universities, many incurring absurd amounts of debt and often experiencing an overhang from the mortgage debt crisis.

In fact, a Wall Street Journal article from January 30 found that credit bureau TransUnion had discovered that 33 percent of the almost $900 billion in outstanding student loans was held by subprime, or the “riskiest,” borrowers as of March of last year.

I suspect that new MOOC-oriented firms like Coursera, Udacity, edX — and probably more to come — are just one avenue that future college students may well want to pursue for a higher level of education at a fraction of today’s traditional university price, and of course they are no silver bullet.

On the other hand, the avaricious appetite for the early MOOC courses from students around the globe would suggest the higher education market is not even close to meeting the inherent demand, and it was that great learned scholar, Aristotle, who taught us that “nature abhors a vacuum.”

 

Written by turbotodd

February 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm

IBM 4Q 2012 Earnings Rise On Software Sales

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IBM announced this afternoon fourth-quarter 2012 diluted earnings of $5.13 per share, compared with diluted earnings of $4.62 per share in the fourth quarter of 2011, an increase of 11 percent.

Fourth-quarter net income was $5.8 billion compared with $5.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, an increase of 6 percent. Total revenues for the fourth quarter of 2012 of $29.3 billion decreased 1 percent (flat adjusting for currency) from the fourth quarter of 2011.

“We achieved record profit, earnings per share and free cash flow in 2012. Our performance in the fourth quarter and for the full year was driven by our strategic growth initiatives — growth markets, analytics, cloud computing, Smarter Planet solutions — which support our continued shift to higher-value businesses,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer.

“Looking ahead, we continue to invest to deliver innovations for the enterprise in key areas such as big data, mobile solutions, social business and security, while expanding into new markets and reaching new clients. We are well on track toward our long-term roadmap for operating EPS of at least $20 in 2015.”

Following are key details of 4Q 2012 earnings:

Fourth-Quarter 2012

Diluted EPS:

GAAP: $5.13, up 11 percent;

Operating (non-GAAP): $5.39, up 14 percent;

Net income:

GAAP: $5.8 billion, up 6 percent;

Operating (non-GAAP): $6.1 billion, up 10 percent;

Gross profit margin:

GAAP: 51.8 percent, up 1.8 points;

Operating (non-GAAP): 52.3 percent, up 2.1 points;

Revenue of $29.3 billion, down 1 percent, flat adjusting for currency:

Up 1 percent excluding divested RSS business adjusting for currency;

Free cash flow of $9.5 billion, up $0.6 billion;

Software revenue up 3 percent, up 4 percent adjusting for currency;

Services revenue down 2 percent, down 1 percent adjusting for currency;

Services backlog of $140 billion, flat, up $1 billion adjusting for currency;

Systems and Technology revenue down 1 percent, up 4 percent excluding RSS:

System z mainframe up 56 percent.

Full Year 2012

Diluted EPS, up double-digits for 10th consecutive year:

GAAP: $14.37, up 10 percent;

Operating (non-GAAP): $15.25, up 13 percent;

Net income:

GAAP: $16.6 billion, up 5 percent;

Operating (non-GAAP): $17.6 billion, up 8 percent;

Revenue of $104.5 billion, down 2 percent, flat adjusting for currency;

Free cash flow of $18.2 billion, up $1.6 billion;

Growth markets revenue up 4 percent, up 7 percent adjusting for currency:

BRIC countries up 7 percent, up 12 percent adjusting for currency;

Business analytics revenue up 13 percent;

Smarter Planet revenue up more than 25 percent;

Cloud revenue up 80 percent.

Full-Year 2013 Expectation:

GAAP EPS of at least $15.53 and operating (non-GAAP) EPS of at least $16.70.

Written by turbotodd

January 22, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Live @ Information On Demand 2012: Analyze This

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Jason Silva explains to the gathered IBM Information On Demand 2012 his utopic vision of a technology-rich future, one where everything is connected to everything else.

Techno DJ futurist Jason Silva (formerly of Al Gore’s Current TV) kicked off the Information On Demand 2012 event here at the Mandalay Bay Arena by telling us all to “Think Big.”

Though I’d known this was the conference theme, I didn’t realize how big big was until the small, but limber, Silva gave his big presentation.

As he kickstarted the event with a blend of hyper animations and visualizations reeling behind him on a huge video screen in post-MTV fashion, I wanted to stop him and explain that to talk about big things so rapidly would allow a lot of his big ideas to disappear into the ether and to just slow downnnnn.

Jason’s look at the big picture was an interesting one, wherein he described a world that was “hyperconnected,” where we extended sensors into everything…on planes, bridges…even our conference IDs for IOD!

But Silva’s utopian vision could easily merge into a dystopia, if proffered without regard to some of the more realistic and mundane issues presented in a Big Data universe.

Small, and petty human concerns like agendas, and greed, and lack of privacy, and bias, and the other nasty little buggers which make us human.

So, though I wanted to go along with Silva’s optimistic joy ride snowblind to those considerations, someone has to be the buzz kill at this emerging Big Data party and explain there are some very real and concerning issues that will need to be dealt with, none of which Silva seemed even to allude to.

Steve Mills explains to the Information On Demand 2012 press conference Monday morning how economics has made big data not only possible, but inevitable.

But, as techno joy rides go, his was fun even as it went by in the blink of an eye.

Once he blinked, it was IBM Software vice president Robert LeBlanc who really set the stage for the week’s tidings, explaining to the gathered audience of 12,000+ in the Mandalay Bay arena how smarter analytics would be required in the new era of computing.

As always, Leblanc started with some facts: Like how Big Analytics is what’s driving innovation and market growth in IBM’s recent CTO study.

How “technology factors” has risen to the top of the CEO agenda as the number one issue during the study’s last six years.

And how it’s no matter what part of the world you inhabit or what industry you’re in…all and everywhere will be impacted by the need for smarter analytics.  This kind of transformational change is a movie we’ve seen before, first with transaction processing in the 1960s, with Internet-enabled e-business in the mid-1990s, and now, the move towards analytics becoming foundational to computing.

Two IBM customers provided two very different, yet compelling, views into this future, one they’re each already living.

ConocoPhillips principal scientist Dr. Phil Anno explained how his organization is utilizing big data analysis to maximize the economic performance of petroleum extraction in the Arctic (and prevent damage to their drilling rigs by shifting ice flows!)

Keith Figlioli, senior VP with Premier, a U.S.-based healthcare IT provider, explained how they’re using IBM technologies to drive substantial costs out of the U.S. healthcare system (he explained that 30 cents on every dollar is wasted on unneeded care and fraud in the U.S.)

Also in the opening general session, we heard from Inhi Cho Suh, VP of Information Management at IBM, who gave an excellent, if quick, summary of the three PureData systems options.

Deepak Advani, who gave an excellent flyover of how big data analytics is bringing about the rapid integration of structured and unstructured data, also highlighted www.analyticszone.com, where you can download some free tools for conducting your own personal analytics.

As the general session concluded, I scooted on over to the day one press conference, where I heard some opening comments from IBM senior vice president Steve Mills.

Mills explained how IT economics laid the red carpet for big data, that it wouldn’t have been possible had the economics of hardware, in particular, been driven down to such an affordable level so as to enable these higher performing systems required for big data analytics.

Mills also highlighted the fact that smarter analytics is a delivery of the real promise of information technology, that now customers are “buying outcomes, and time to value,” as opposed to systems and processes, and that it made sense for them to invest in such projects.

More on the actual announcements as details emerge…

IBM Announces 3Q 2012 Earnings

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IBM’s 3Q 2012 earnings were just announced, with diluted earnings of $3.33 per share, a year-to-year increase of 4 percent, or $3.44 per share, up 8 percent excluding the impact of UK pension-related charges.

Operating (non-GAAP) diluted earnings were $3.62 per share, compared with operating diluted earnings of $3.28 per share in the third quarter of 2011, an increase of 10 percent.

Total revenues for the third quarter of 2012 of $24.7 billion were down 5 percent (down 2 percent, adjusting for currency) from the third quarter of 2011. Currency negatively impacted revenue growth by nearly $1 billion.

IBM chairman, president, and CEO Ginny Rometty had this to say about the quarter’s financial performance: “In the third quarter, we continued to drive margin, profit, and earnings growth through our focus on higher-value businesses, strategic growth initiatives, and productivity.

“Looking ahead, we see good opportunity with a strong product lineup heading into this quarter and annuity businesses that provide a solid base of revenue, profit, and cash. We are reiterating our full-year 2012 operating earnings per share expectation of at least $15.10.”

Following are further highlights from the quarter:

Diluted EPS:

  • GAAP: $3.33, up 4 percent; $3.44, up 8 percent excluding UK pension-related charges;
  • Operating (non-GAAP): $3.62, up 10 percent;

Net income:

  • GAAP: $3.8 billion, flat; $3.9 billion, up 3 percent excluding UK pension-related charges;
  • Operating (non-GAAP): $4.2 billion, up 5 percent;

Gross profit margin:

  • GAAP: 47.4 percent, up 0.9 points;
  • Operating (non-GAAP): 48.1 percent, up 1.2 points;

Revenue: $24.7 billion, down 5 percent, down 2 percent adjusting for currency;

  • Negative currency impact of nearly $1 billion;
  • Divestiture of Retail Store Solutions (RSS) reduced revenue by 1 percent;

Software revenue down 1 percent, up 3 percent adjusting for currency;

Services revenue down 5 percent, flat adjusting for currency;

Services backlog of $138 billion, up 1 percent;

Systems and Technology revenue down 13 percent, down 12 percent adjusting for currency;

Growth markets revenue down 1 percent, up 4 percent adjusting for currency;

  • BRIC countries up 4 percent, up 11 percent adjusting for currency;

Business analytics revenue up 14 percent year to date;

Smarter Planet revenue up more than 20 percent year to date

Cloud revenue year to date has exceeded full-year 2011 revenue;

Reiterating full-year 2012 operating (non-GAAP) EPS expectation of at least $15.10.

Written by turbotodd

October 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm

IBM Survey: Social Media Impacting Threats From Reputational Risk

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More than 400 respondents in 23 industries across the globe agree: managing reputational risk is crucial to their business, and managing IT risk is a major part of their efforts. And, social media is cited as a major factor for those shifting more focus to their reputational risk management efforts. Learn what these respondents are doing — and what they’re overlooking — in the 2012 IBM Global Reputational Risk and IT study report.

So here’s a question for you?  What is your organization doing to more effectively manage its risk profile?

IBM recently released its 2012 Global Reputational Risk and IT Study, and the findings suggest that companies are viewing their IT investments through a new lens.

First, some background, and then a summary of the findings.

This study is an investigation of how organizations around the world are managing their reputations in today’s digital era, where IT is an integral part of their operations and where IT failures can result in reputational damage.

The report was written by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which both executed an online survey and conducted client executive interviews.

That included 427 senior executive responses from around the world, 42 percent of those being C-level, with 33 percent of respondents coming from North America, 29 percent from Europe, and 26 percent from Asia-Pacific.

The survey included industries that ran the gamut, including banking, IT, energy and utilities, and insurance.

Impact of Social Media On Risk

Corporate reputations are especially difficult to manage in an era when anyone with a smartphone and Internet connection can file their complaint with a single touch.

With social media sites like Facebook and Twitter boasting over 1.4 million people combined, there is now a highly visible and immediate alterative to a company’s own communications regarding its reputation.

Because of that, more organizations have introduced reputational risk as a distinct category within their enterprise risk management frameworks.

The study suggests that companies have begun to pay closer attention to the links between IT failures and reputational damage, and also examines how executives are attempting to protect their brands from what could arguably be called “a preventable glitch.”

So, drum roll, please.  Here’s a summary of some of the key findings:

  • IT risk management and investment directly supports a company’s reputation.  Reputational risk has evolved into an asset that is fundamentally supported by IT planning and investment.  78 percent say they included reputational risk in their own IT risk planning, and 75 percent say their budget will grow due to concerns for such. Eighteen percent indicate that spend will increase by more than 20 percent in the next 12 months.
  • The CEO owns it but shares it. When asked to name the top 3 C-level execs who owned reputational risk, close to two-thirds say it was shared across the C-suite. 80 percent of CEOs indicated it was theirs to win, followed by 31 percent of CFOs, 27 percent of CIOs, 23 percent of CROs (Chief Risk Officers), and 22 percent of CMOs.
  • Five characteristics of highly effective companies — they get reputational risk and invest in it. Of those who do, 83 percent indicated they have integrated IT into their reputational risk management regimes. They also perceive stronger links between IT threats and key elements of reputation (especially customer sat and brand reputation), and they also say they have strong or very strong IT risk management capacity (84 percent). Seventy-seven percent indicated they have well-resourced IT risk management functions, and are more likely to require vendors and supply chain partners to meet the same levels of control as they require internally.

Improving Reputational Risk Management: Best Practices

So what’s a concerned C-level exec to do? The study revealed several core strategies:

  • Be proactive rather than reactive. That is, be prepared to invest in developing comprehensive reputational risk management strategies that include robust controls on IT risks, particularly those related to security, business continuity and tech support.
  • Create an organization where IT managers collaborate with other risk management specialists. Together, they should be tasked with presenting a comprehensive profile of organization-wide reputational risks to senior management.
  • Engage in scenario analysis, especially with new and emerging technology. Don’t wait for the worst to happen — there are plenty of case studies to be used as a basis for “what-if” planning.
  • Assess risks across the entire supply chain. A failure by a downstream supplier can be just as devastating as an internal problem, and risk controls can be harmonized among key players.

A More Integrated, Holistic Approach

This more integrated, enterprise-wide approach to risk management — led by the C-suite on down — can help your organization increase the attention being paid to the direct reputational impact of IT risks, and help you mitigate those risks (including those stemming from the use of new technologies).

To learn more and to gain access to the full study, go here.

Boxed In In Bangalore: Analyzing Sentiment On Indian Traffic Congestion

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Click to enlarge. With a population of more than 1.2 billion, India is projected to be the world’s most populous country by 2025. By 2050, it is estimated that India’s urban population will constitute nearly half of that country’s total population, straining an already stressed infrastructure. The good news: Urbanization is an indicator of positive economic development. With improved urban planning, India can tackle urbanization challenges and increasing population to create a country that is poised for sustainable growth.

We heard a number of discussions about the potential for social listening intelligence last week at the Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Orlando.

This is an area I’ve been involved in within the IBM team for several years now, starting with some early explorations for how social data could be informative for our marketing efforts stretching all the way back to 2008.

It’s been exciting to watch this space evolve and mature, and with the advent of the IBM Social Sentiment index, we’re starting to see very practical uses of social data for better understanding if not the wisdom, then certainly the perspectives, of the crowd.

Yesterday, IBM held a Smarter Cities Forum in New Delhi, India, where we unveiled a new social sentiment capability to assist our customers in their Smarter Cities engagements.

We also unveiled findings from the latest IBM Social Sentiment Index on traffic, which looked at public sentiment across India’s largest cities — Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai.

Boxed In In Bangalore

If you’ve never experienced traffic in India, you can get a taste of the Sunday traffic in this video I shot during my first visit in June 2010.

But the recent analysis of publically available social media showed that the worst congestion in India is primarily caused by accidents and bad weather (three out of four times) when looking at the three cities together.

It also indicated some interesting variations between the three. For example, social conversation in Mumbai about stress around traffic is about half as high as Bangalore and New Delhi; references to the impact of rush hour on congestion in New Delhi are between five and seven times more negative than in Bangalore and Mumbai.

With a wealth of online content and public commentary on social channels such as Twitter and Facebook, city officials need new ways to measure positive, neutral and negative opinions shared by citizens regarding important city issues.

IBM’s advanced analytics and natural language processing technologies used to analyze large volumes of public social media data in order to assess and understand citizen opinions are now available to city governments around the world via new capabilities delivered with the IBM Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) for Smarter Cities.

Making Cities Smarter: The IBM Intelligent Operations Center

The IOC — which combines IBM software and services to integrate city operations through a single dashboard view to help cities improve efficiency — is now augmented with social media analytics capabilities that will help city officials make more informed decisions by looking at unfiltered citizen attitudes and actions, distinguishing between sincerity and sarcasm and even predicting trends as they surface online.

Combining the knowledge that population will rapidly increase in Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai in the coming years, with sentiment on commuters’ preferred mode of transportation, could help these cities more accurately plan for needed investments in transportation infrastructure and its potential impact.

City officials could also gauge where public awareness campaigns need to be administered to shift commuters to different modes of transport in order to alleviate growing traffic congestion.

The IBM Social Sentiment Index on transportation in India’s three largest cities surfaced several insights including:

  • The top three factors impacting traffic congestion that citizens in each city talked about most online were diverse. Delhites chattered about public transportation, weather and the stress of commuting, while Bangaloreans show more concern for their overall driving experience, construction and parking issues, and Mumbaikars are talking about private transportation, accidents and pollution more often.
  • Conversation in Bangalore around parking is viewed three times more negatively than in the other cities. Despite recent infrastructure improvements, less pollution and a solid public transit system, Delhites are experiencing a far higher amount of stress (50 percent) than those in Mumbai (29 percent) or Bangalore (34 percent). Most likely, this can be explained by an uptick in rallies and weather events this year, as well as the recent power outage.
  • Surprisingly, sentiment on the topic of construction was relatively positive in Bangalore and New Delhi, and positive and negative sentiment on infrastructure in each was relatively even. Together, these may suggest that the transportation infrastructure improvements being made over the last two years in each city are beginning to positively impact citizens.
  • Analysis shows that the relative negative sentiment for rush hour (35 percent) is one of the key drivers impacting traffic in New Delhi, which may explain why citizens talk about stress significantly more than commuters in Mumbai or Bangalore.

By applying analytics capabilities to the area of social media sentiment, organizations are able to better understand public opinions, and city officials can gain additional insights in order to draw logical conclusions about where they should focus their attentions and resources.

For example:

  • Take Bangalore, the technology hub of India. Understanding that most commuters prefer private transportation despite negative sentiment around parking and construction may indicate that city officials should consider if it makes sense to advocate for more commuters to use mass transit and invest in infrastructure that will keep up with demand as more companies locate there.
  • Since Dehlite’s indicate that public transportation is the preferred mode of transportation, city officials could use this insight to study which areas have high ridership and less road traffic and then implement similar actions in highly congested areas.
  • In Mumbai, negative sentiment around traffic and weather at the peak of monsoon season (August) generated 5.5 times more chatter than in November. If the city could measure the fluctuation of public sentiment on these potential causes over time combined with specific weather data like rainfall or temperature, it might be able to better prepare to divert traffic during monsoon season or determine areas where a public safety campaign is needed.

“Like all rapidly growing cities across the world, there are infrastructure growing pains in many Indian cities,” said Guru Banavar, vice president and chief technology officer, Smarter Cities, IBM. “However, when city officials can factor public sentiment — positive, negative or otherwise — around city services like transportation, they can more quickly pinpoint and prioritize areas that are top of mind for their citizens. This could mean more targeted investment, improving a particular city service, more effective communication about a service that is offered, and even surfacing best practices and successful efforts that could be applied to other zones of a city.”

Methodology: IBM Cognos Consumer Insights And 168,000+ Discussions

Public social media content was analyzed by IBM Cognos Consumer Insight, which assessed 168,330 online discussions from September 2011 to September 2012 across social platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Forums and News Sources and derived 54,234 High Value Snippets through a series of advanced filtration techniques for insight analysis.

The IBM Social Sentiment Index helps companies tap into consumer desires and make more informed decisions by looking at unfiltered consumer attitudes and actions, distinguishing between sincerity and sarcasm, and even predicting trends.

About the IBM Social Sentiment Index

The IBM Social Sentiment Index uses advanced analytics and natural language processing technologies to analyze large volumes of social media data in order to assess public opinions. The Index can identify and measure positive, negative and neutral sentiments shared in public forums such as Twitter, blogs, message boards and other social media, and provide quick insights into consumer conversations about issues, products and services.

Representing a new form of market research, social sentiment analyses offer organizations new insights that can help them better understand and respond to consumer trends. For more information about IBM Business Analytics go here.

You can also follow the conversation at #IBMIndex on Twitter.

For more information about IBM Smarter Cities go here, and follow the conversation at #smartercities on Twitter.

IBM And Mobily: Spoken Like A True, Modern Mobile Network

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IBM’s mobile computing juggernaut continues with a new deal just announced in Saudia Arabia.

Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) and IBM announced today a 5-year agreement worth approximately $280 million to provide comprehensive IT solutions for the Saudi Arabian company.

Saudi Arabia: 870,000 Square Miles

Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama (Source: Wikipedia) IBM and Mobily, the Saudi Arabian telecommunications firm, will collaborate on future innovation with the help of IBM Research, using IBM’s Spoken Web solution. The basic principle of Spoken Web uses speech to create voice sites using the mobile phone network to establish a spoken version of the internet. The opportunity to collaborate with leading IBM researchers has become a key differentiator for IBM.

Saudi Arabia is a big place, encompassing some 870,000 square miles with a population approaching 30 million people.  Mobily, as the fastest growing telecommunications company in Saudia Arabia, has experienced an explosion in demand from the growing number of subscribers using mobile devices, and so in turn needed to boost its IT capacity and innovation in the market.

This new agreement with IBM will provide Mobily with faster, targeted access to new technologies and expertise so it can build a strong infrastructure to keep up with the company’s business growth.

As Mobily gears up for further expansion, it wanted to improve the quality and speed of its operations using IBM best practices.

As part of the agreement, Mobily and IBM will collaborate on future innovation with the help of IBM Research, for example, using IBM’s Spoken Web solution.

The basic principle of Spoken Web uses speech to create voice sites using the mobile phone network to establish a spoken version of the internet. The opportunity to collaborate with leading IBM researchers has become a key differentiator for IBM.

IBM’s Growth Market Strategy

The agreement highlights IBM’s continued geographic expansion initiative to strategically increase its presence in key growth markets like Saudi Arabia in support of its global growth strategy.

IBM is ramping up its investment across the Middle East and Africa, harnessing the company’s Smarter Planet initiative to help both public and private sector clients do more with fewer resources.

The strategic management of IT remains with Mobily, ensuring continuation of its standards of excellence and cutting-edge architecture, and enabling Mobily to meet the explosion in demand it is seeing from the growing number of subscribers using mobile devices.

“Partnering with one of the largest technology companies in the world offers Mobily a broad portfolio of modern IT solutions that will have a positive impact on our customers in terms of the quality of products and innovative services, in addition to solutions that will enrich their lives. We are pleased to sign with IBM, which has a significant presence in this strategic sector,” said Khalid Al Kaf, CEO, Mobily.

“The agreement is part of our efforts and vision of transforming Mobily into an integrated telecommunications operator. It also supports the Saudi government’s initiative of creating a knowledge-based community, adopting state of the art services and solutions” Al Kaf added.

IBM And Saudi Arabia: Remaking The Kingdom’s Future

IBM is involved in a range of key initiatives in Saudi Arabia, including a joint project with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology using innovative membrane technology and solar power to address the shortage of drinking water.

In another project, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and IBM are collaborating using the most complex, high performance computing system in the region.

The agreement with Mobily was signed in August 2012.

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