IBM Global Services Preps ‘Solution Portfolios&' For Info Management Push


IBM&'s three-year plan to invest $1 billion in information management calls for its giant IT services arm to create a half-dozen “solution portfolios” that bundle software and services.

Working closely with IBM Software, headed by group executive Steve Mills, IBM Global Services is slated to form solution practices in risk and compliance, business analytics and discovery, business performance and process management, master data management, business process innovation and workforce productivity, IBM said Thursday at a press conference in New York. The event was designed to showcase the strides that IBM's consulting and software organizations have made in linking their resources to jointly tackle client projects.

"We've staked out a set of areas that we think represent very significant pain points in the marketplace and said, 'How are we going to double down together?' " Mills said. "We think the opportunity is much greater than anyone has previously estimated."

"We're about to scale something now that couldn't have been scaled before," said Ginni Rometty, senior vice president of IBM Global Services' enterprise business services group.

In practical terms, IBM's information management push entails throwing more resources at opportunities in that technology arena. The Armonk, N.Y.-based company currently has 15,000 employees working on information management-related activities, and executives said Big Blue aims to grow that figure by 65 percent over the next three years, partially by redeploying existing employees.

i3Archive has seen firsthand IBM&'s services drive into information management. The medical records storage technology developer began working with IBM two years ago on its National Digital Medical Archive (NDMA) system, for which IBM provided hardware, software and consulting services. Initially, i3Archive worked mainly with IBM's storage and grid computing groups, but last year IBM Global Services began reaching out to inquire about more partnership opportunities, i3Archive President Derek Danois said.

"We've seen the change in IBM's mentality. They've certainly decided to concentrate on services in this market and to apply that more aggressively," Danois said.

For i3Archive, the extra attention from IBM Global Services will help fuel its international expansion. Danois said he intends to draw on IBM's expertise and contacts in Europe and Canada. IBM has also helped i3Archive expand into the consumer market with the recent launch of a user-focused medical data portal called myNDMA.

"That came from discussions [with IBM] about focusing on a broader range of opportunities in health care," Danois said.

Also on Thursday, IBM introduced new software geared for information management, WebSphere Content Discovery and WebSphere Information Server.

WebSphere Content Discovery Server marries IBM technology with software that the company obtained via its November acquisition of search developer iPhrase. WebSphere Information Server, now in beta testing, incorporates technology from Ascential into a product aimed at easing integration of heterogeneous enterprise data.

IBM has made more than a dozen acquisitions in recent years to fill out its information management software portfolio, including its $1.1 billion Ascential buy last year. Other recent deals include portal development tools maker Bowstreet, Web services infrastructure vendor DataPower and integration software developer DWL.