IBM (news, site) has been braving the strong winds of the analytics industry lately, trying to propose a better way of managing unstructured and structured content in combination with analytics used for business intelligence and more insight into web content.

Several new analytics offerings were released as a result, including IBM Cognos Content Analytics and IBM InfoSphere Content Assessment.

IBM Smart Analytics Cloud (and more investment) is the latest one to be released as part of the new service line -- IBM Business Analytics and Optimization Services.

Structured and Unstructured Data, or Why Analytics?

IBM is looking at business and content analytics alongside their Information Management arm. With the new products, the Big Blue wants to help customers manage and control data in a better way, while also providing the ability to access and analyze unstructured information in the tsunami of organizational content.

A good selling point here that many of us can relate to is the volumes of structured and unstructured data on web sites, social media sites and in files stored on WebSphere Portal, Microsoft SharePoint, etc.

According to IBM, typically, companies manage their unstructured data separately from their structured data (the one that resides in applications and databases). The solution proposed by IBM is to look at those two types of data in a unified way and analyze them both in order to change the way companies do business.

Using analytics products, organizations can control any type of content by extracting, sorting, filtering and categorizing key data. The ultimate goal is to be able to turn unstructured content -- such as e-mails, documents and some web content -- into relevant business information.

IBM Cognos Content Analytics

And this is where this new product comes in. Cognos Content Analytics is used to discover, refine and deliver new information viable to businesses by analyzing unstructured and structured data. Using focused navigation, customers can pin down trends and patterns, allowing them to be proactive rather than re-active in their decisions.

Since all content is different per industry/vertical, IBM plans to expand the IBM Cognos Content Analytics suite and add new modules that will deal with specific industries and business requirements.

IBM InfoSphere Content Assessment

Using content analytics, this new product can be used to assess unmanaged content to identify sensitive content that needs to be secured and retained. This, let’s admit it, goes nicely with the already existing IBM products in the GRC sphere, such as IBM InfoSphere eDiscovery Manager and IBMInfoSphere eDiscovery Analyzer.

IBM Smart Analytics Cloud

This product has just been released, and supports the analytics theme and further investment by IBM into the business analytics sector. The new analytics product is touted as the “largest private cloud computing environment for business analytics in the world,” launching internally with more than a petabyte of information under a project called Blue Insight.

"This new model of cloud computing will provide our employees with a single place to access real business insights, improve standards compliance, and create a repository of best practices throughout the company," said IBM CIO Pat Toole.

Externally, this offering is available as a scalable, private, cloud-based IBM Smart Analytics Cloud that incorporates business intelligence and analytics tools from IBM Cognos. The product can be used to import data and transform it into business insights with the ability to run reports, dashboards and scorecards for further monitoring and analysis.

With many other players already in the cloud -- Microsoft, Google and Amazon – it is only expected for the Big Blue to pay a certain amount of attention to this area as well and cater to those companies who think of the cloud as a more efficient and secure than traditional way to host applications and data.

If it still doesn’t look like IBM is *really* into analytics, here’s another bit of info. As TechCrunch reports, during IBM’s Q3 earnings call, two acquisitions were announced: of data analytics company SPSS for US$1.2 billion and business analytics firm RedPill.