IDC Viewpoint: IBM's Smarter Analytics: Good Move, but Enterprises Need More Help Justifying BI

A product launch confirms IBM's strong position in business analytics, but vendors need to do more to make this technology compelling and useful
(PresseBox) (Frankfurt am Main, ) IBM recently announced a range of new software and services for analytics, branded as "IBM Smarter Analytics Signature Solutions". These offerings blend multiple analytic products, including IBM's Big Data platform, with supporting services from IBM Global Business Services (GBS), to solve end-user problems in fraud detection, financial performance analysis, and customer insight for next best action.

Bottom Line for ICT Buyers:

1. Despite vendor hype about business analytics being the top priority of the CXO suite, the reality is that most organizations currently have other - more pressing - priorities, such as controlling cash flow and cutting costs. While (ironically) analytics technology can help achieving these goals, it requires an initial investment that needs to be rigorously cost/benefit justified. Although vendors are right to claim that more organizations should be implementing business analytics, they need to do more to help organizations realistically quantify the expected costs and benefits. Currently, too many organizations implementing analytics don't achieve the returns they expected.

2. European organizations vary greatly in business analytics maturity. Though the most mature organizations are world-leading, the average maturity lags that of equivalent North American organizations. In part this is due to the linguistic and legislative fragmentation of European organizations compared with their American counterparts. Therefore, for many European organizations, business analytics is more about a "how to get started" than about scaling the dizzy heights that can be achieved. For every advanced user of BI such as Citibank or Vestas (cited by IBM in its launch event), there are tens of thousands of organizations wrestling with spreadsheets, unwieldy BI silos, and poor data quality.

3. As for IBM itself, this latest launch confirms its strong position; it is nigh on impossible to identify gaps in IBM's products or services for business analytics. Likewise, its Big Data platform, as it includes the IBM Streams complex event processing (CEP) product, is highly comprehensive - most competitors' Big Data platforms are more focused propositions. Bringing the software and services groups together also adds implementation and change management experience. That doesn't mean that IBM is the default choice here, but it's a good starting point.

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