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22nd June 2012

IBM, Analytics, social media and financial services

This week IBM made a number of announcements seeking to promote and inform on their Analytics capabilities. Whilst not specific to financial services the comments are highly relevant to both large banks and large insurers. A main theme is the combining of different forms of data with special attention given to combining social media with conventional internal data. IBM rightly emphasises that information is only of value when acted upon:

"In addition to generating insights on internal data in a matter of seconds, the software measures the impact of social networking channels and factors this information into organizational decision making.

"The software represents a new class of Decision Management capabilities that revolutionizes the way organizations gain, share and take action based on information gathered as part of business processes such as marketing, claims processing and fraud detection. In these, and other data-rich areas - where anywhere from a thousand to five billion decisions are made daily - the software will put forward the next best action to front-line employees ensuring optimal interactions and outcomes."

Deepak Advani, vice president business analytics products and solutions said:
"In today's marketplace, when a customer says they're not happy, companies must decide how to react - not later that day, or in an hour, but instantly. With these new technologies, winning organizations can embed analytics into under-served areas of their business, empowering all employees to make information based decisions."

IBM also discusses the recently launched Entity Analytics:

"For the first time, businesses can take advantage of Entity Analytics as part of the Decision Management Platform. This feature, especially well suited for big data environments, is a unique analytics engine that enables identification and matching for all entities - people, places, or things - making systems smarter as more information becomes available. Unlike traditional methods, the IBM Entity Analytics capabilities are context based and accumulate knowledge, resulting in a more accurate picture, better models, and better outcomes. This ability to understand how the data is related delivers higher quality models and helps to ultimately produce smarter decisions."

IBM has approximately 9,000 business analytics and optimisation consultants and 400 researchers. It has created global analytics solution centers in Berlin, Beijing, Dallas, London, New York, Tokyo, Washington and Zurich. IBM has acquired more than 30 companies in the sector and projects $16bn in analytics revenues by 2015.

IBM reported on the "State of Marketing 2012 survey" recently completed. Emphasised is that successful companies combine marketing and operating data more often than unsuccessful ones. This remains a fraught issue however with, "Fully 60 percent of marketers point to their lack of alignment with the company's IT department as the biggest obstacle to reaching today's consumers".

“This research indicates that as new channels continue to mature and consumer habits evolve, marketing and IT have no alternative but to emerge from their traditional silos and form a strong partnership that puts the business in a position to succeed,” said Yuchun Lee, Vice President, IBM Enterprise Marketing Management Group. “CMOs and CIOs, an 'odd couple' in some respects, will be the catalysts in forging this union and enabling the types of personalized multichannel brand relationships that today’s customers demand.”