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Last week, we saw that Big Blue had a pretty good quarter in Q4 and a good year overall in 2011. IBM attributed the success to a number of core areas, analytics being one of them. Netezza was one of the purchased products that contributed to the results, and has announced a new release that should help IBM do well in 2012.

IBM, Netezza

It wouldn’t be fair to attribute all IBM’s analytics success to Netezza, but the company, which it bought in September, and which made the first analytics release based on that acquisition in June of last year, specializes in Big Data analysis and this new release is all about that.

Actually, it's not just analytics; it also incorporates some of its Smarter Commerce business to produce a product that offers retailers the ability to take business intelligence out of their sales and incorporate customer intelligence into their business strategy.

Specifically, the new application analyzes petabytes of data, including shopping trends and sales data, to give retailers actionable insight into buying patterns.

Netezza Customer Intelligence Appliance

Called the Netezza Customer Intelligence Appliance, it combines technologies that it bought from Aginity, and the other analytics vendor Cognos, which it bought over four years ago, to provide one view of individual customers across a number of channels and sales touch points.

Information from mobile sales and use, as well as details from online shopping stores, are used into this to predict buying habits and propose products based on that information.

Pretty smart when you take into account that only this week, Forrester identified personalized Customer Experience Management as one of the major technology must-haves of the coming years.

But it’s more than just choosing products. Retailers with this, IBM says, will also be able to develop customer promotions as well as improve store design and pricing to suit individuals.

And in its trial period, Bass Pro Shops has already adopted it to analyze its customers and, if you are to believe the marketing schmooze around the release, they were happy with it.

So while it’s taken a while, IBM’s strategy with its new acquisition is finally starting to emerge. Analytics is a key part of IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative, which the company reckons will grow to a market worth US$ 20 billion this year alone.

Netezza and the Big Data market have grown considerably in the last year too -- in the case of Netezza, by about 70%, according to IBM. With Big Data getting bigger, it’s likely we’ll be hearing a lot more about Netezza in the coming year.