IBM is going vertical in its analytics platform. 

The Armonk, N.Y.-based software giant just released 20 new industry-specific solutions with pre-built predictive analytics capabilities. Solutions include pre-built predictive analytic modeling patterns and interfaces for specific verticals and data preparation capabilities to manage data.

Marc Andrews, vice president of industry analytic solutions at IBM, told CMSWire that historical analytics vendors offer a collection of products with partial integration, an implementation blueprint and an army of consultants.

“This announcement,” he said, “is significant because these are pre-built, pre-integrated solutions that include out-of-the-box interactive apps and dashboards to deliver predictive insights directly to line of business users. Each of the solutions target different, very industry specific use cases.”

Industry Trend?

One research firm has IBM’s back on this. Officials at Boston-based Nucleus Research told CMSWire in a conversation earlier this year that vendors offering vertical-specific solutions will win.

Anne Moxie and Rebecca Wettemann, researchers at Nucleus, also wrote in a report today that analytics and data visualization solutions have exploded in recent years. They earlier in the year predicted vendors’ capabilities would be increasingly commoditized unless they were able to compete on vertical-specific functionality and industry expertise.

They later found that verticalized solutions deliver a 57 percent faster payback, lower support costs by an average of one third and reduce initial consulting costs by 65 percent.

“In turn, this affords the opportunity to shift those consulting savings to higher-value activities, such as strategic prioritization or development of company-specific analytic models,” they wrote.

When customers have access to prebuilt capabilities and integrations, they spend less time building custom code that requires additional debugging, testing and quality assurance cycles, according to the researchers.

“With IBM’s prebuilt capabilities,” they wrote, “customers will achieve these benefits as well as the benefits of IBM’s expertise and experience in building custom solutions for thousands of customers for more than a decade. Rather than recreating the wheel they can take advantage of the expertise of IBM, its customers and partners that have already identified the best models, data mappings and algorithms to address their specific industry challenges.”

Inside the Tech

In his interview with CMSWire, Andrews cited IBM’s Lift Analytics for Retail, which targets merchandising managers and regional/store managers to answer critical questions: Which products they should continue carrying? How important it is to ensure certain products are always in stock? What products should be promoted together? 

“While retailers can easily get a view of the revenue for an individual product, that doesn't necessarily represent the total value of carrying that product in their stores,” Andrews said. “Often times an individual product can drive significantly more lift for the business based on the other products that are typically purchased with that one.”

The solutions include out-of-the-box interactive apps and dashboards for the users to explore and analyze business insights. IBM officials also included in this release pre-built integration into marketing and asset management systems. This helps users access customer insights to generate an offer, determine who is targeted for a campaign or what a customer sees when they connect to a website. 

Learning Opportunities

“This will help companies get started more quickly,” Andrews said, “with fewer resources, and leverage the industry and domain expertise we have gained from over 50,000 analytics client engagements.”

Why IBM?

Andrews said the differentiator for IBM in a flooded tech space is it goes beyond traditional reporting and "descriptive" analytics to deliver predictive business insights.

“We have been optimizing these analytics models,” he said, “based on real world data to provide immediate value to clients.” Most competitors offer “multiple poorly integrated products, an implementation blueprint to bring them together, and then to add industry customizations via services work.” 

IBM, he said, has a "clear value proposition with pre-built solutions in that initial costs and implementation times are reduced, enabling organizations to get started more quickly and go further in their implementations.”

Asked about implementation, Andrews said that depends largely upon data availability.Organizations, provided data is available, could start to leverage the IBM new solutions immediately out of the box.

The majority of these solutions are available now or will be available within the next three to four weeks. A small number of them will be made available in Q3. The underlying analytics platform components are updated and released on varying schedules. This is the first release of the Industry Analytics Solutions. IBM will be adding additional industry solutions throughout 2015 and 2016, and updating all of them periodically.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by Boudewijn Berends.

Simpler Media Grouo, 2015

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