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11/10/2009
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IBM Pushes Business Analytics To Feds

Big Blue's newest research center focused on tools to improve decision making in D.C.

IBM continued its push into the business analytics market Tuesday with the opening of a research center dedicated to developing tools designed to give federal agencies and other government organizations the means to more efficiently use data in public policy decision making.

The IBM Analytics Solution Center, in Washington, D.C., will employ more than 400 consultants with expertise in social services, education, transportation, border management and other areas of concern to policy makers. It will also house a research staff that focuses on advanced software architectures and related technical specialties.

The goal is to help government decision makers improve delivery of public services, IBM officials said.

"Just as analytics is being widely adopted in corporate America to help companies achieve their business goals, there are almost limitless opportunities for the public sector to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and overall performance through analytics," said Anne Altman, general manager for IBM's Global Public Sector group, in a statement.

"This center will enable greater collaboration on projects that leverage data in real time to aid in decision making and enhance citizens' lives," said Altman.

Business analytics combines database mining with statistical analysis and other techniques to help organizations detect important patterns and trends from raw information such as sales, inventory levels, loss frequency, and returns. 83% of CIOs surveyed in a recent IBM study said business analytics was their top priority in terms of enhancing their employers' competitiveness.

Among the business analytics-driven projects IBM has undertaken with the federal government is an effort under which the company teamed with the Social Security Administration and MedVirginia to develop an electronic records exchange system.

The system uses predictive modeling to identify the disability claims that can be processed most quickly. IBM said the setup could reduce the time applicants must wait for a decision on disability payments from months to weeks.

The D.C. center joins other IBM facilities focused on applying business analytics to various industries. The company last week announced the opening of a research center dedicated to developing tools that will allow healthcare professionals to more efficiently use data in medical decision making.

IBM's Health Analytics Solution Center, based in Dallas, will employ more than 100 experts in healthcare analytics, technical architectures, and other, related specialties. IBM earlier this week announced the opening of a business analytics center in Bangalore, India.

IBM operates, or plans to operate, other such centers in Berlin, Beijing, New York, Tokyo, and London.

Read InformationWeek's first-ever analysis of top CIOs in federal, state, and local government, and how they're embracing new expectations. Download the report here (registration required).

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