infoTECH Feature

June 18, 2013

IBM to Sell Cloud Directly to Senior-Level Executives

Taking its cloud strategy to another level, International Business Machines (IBM (News - Alert)) unveiled new cloud services the company plans to market directly to senior-level executives beyond the traditional model of doing business with chief information officers (CIOs).

The Armonk, N.Y.-based company’s SmartCloud Solutions portfolio now includes more than 100 applications that will be offered to the C-suite. The new cloud services are currently being developed and deployed in the IBM Customer Experience Lab.

The announcement comes less than two weeks after IBM announced it will acquire Dallas-based cloud infrastructure company SoftLayer Technologies, a cloud-computing storage provider that will help the firm compete with (News - Alert).

Among IBM’s newest cloud business offerings is a big data andsocial analytics solution that chief marketing officers (CMOs) can use to get an emotional reading on how customers view their brand.

Historically, technology decisions have been made by CIOs and IT department heads, however, the C-suite is adopting cloud computing because they see its ability to transform their front office processes, from marketing, procurement and supplier management to human resources and legal, according to Paul Papas, global leader of smarter commerce at IBM Global Business Services.

In fact, Gartner (News - Alert) estimates that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs. 

“The cloud opportunity is helping C-suite leaders reshape customer experience,” Papas said in a statement. “As part of IBM’s digital front office strategy, we see these 100 cloud applications as a way for business leaders to improve customer experience, reach new customers, generate new revenue streams and become more competitive in their industry.” 

To date, IBM has invested $4 billion in software-as-a-service (SaaS (News - Alert)) acquisitions, including Coremetrics for web analytics, Unica for marketing operations, Sterling Commerce for B2B commerce, DemandTec for price optimization, Emptoris for strategic spend management and Kenexa for human capital management.

IBM officials said the company’s cloud computing revenue grew by 80 percent in 2012, and will continue to focus on “higher value” cloud services.

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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