The month of March was a busy one at IBM with a flurry of announcements in hardware, software, services, acquisitions, and strategic alliances. The complete index of IBM Happenings (by year and month) is here. One of the major focus areas for IBM in 2009 will continue to be related to a “smarter planet“. See Sam Palmisano’s letter to investors for the full story on why the company is so optimistic. The Internet has made the world much smaller and “flatter” and now the next turn of the crank will make the world “smarter”. IBM has a vision about introducing intelligence into the way the world actually works — into the systems and processes that enable goods to be developed, manufactured, sold, bought, transported, and serviced.
IBM intends to help make business decision makers “smarter” too. The company has announced the creation of a new consulting organization that will focus on “advanced business analytics and business optimization”. What a mouthful. IBM Business Analytics and Optimization Services will draw on the company’s deep expertise in vertical industries, mathematics and information management to help clients improve the speed and quality of business decisions. The service is designed to help decision makers understand the consequences of actions under consideration and actually see business outcomes that will result.
The IBM experts and their arsenal of tools are able to construct a digital model of the client’s business or a functional aspect of their business. For example, some companies have handled their distribution channel in a certain way, well because they have always handled it that way. With a digital model of their distribution channel the IBM experts could then help clients simulate the many “what if” questions. What if we used trains instead of planes, company trucks instead of overnight delivery company trucks, a central distribution center or one in each region, or outsourced distribution centers managed by the overnight delivery companies. Etc. By connecting multiple digital models of the processes of a business, decision makers can see their next year’s annual report in advance and in fact see hundreds of them each based on a different combination of “what ifs”. While the planet is getting smarter — with IBM’s help — business leaders can too.