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IBM Expands Its Information On Demand Strategy

The updated software tools help position the company as a provider of all of a business' data management needs, including content management, data cleansing, and data integration.
IBM launched a host of new software tools and consulting services Tuesday in hopes of helping customers better understand and utilize its Information On Demand business.

"It's about slamming our foot on the accelerator to help accelerate our client adoption" of Information On Demand technologies and services, said IBM VP Tom Inman in an interview.

IBM's Information On Demand (IOD) strategy, launched more than two years ago by Steve Mills, senior VP of software, was intended to position the company as a provider of all of a business' data management needs, including content management, data cleansing, data integration, search, and business intelligence tools that help customers understand data. IBM's acquisitions of Cognos, Ascential, and FileNet, among others, are part of the strategy.

Now IBM seems to be trying to make this broad concept a bit more understandable and usable for customers. The announcement includes the availability of tools to allow customers to better understand and make use of data, called IBM Foundation tools; the plan for industry-specific workshops to help companies develop a strategy for using IBM IOD offerings; and new research and development resources that help companies build internal expertise on information management.

Business analysts might use the Foundation Tools, for example, to define business definitions of data -- such as what is a product or a customer -- which IT personnel can use during the cleansing and reconciliation of data within many types of IT systems. Inman said the new software offerings include both repackaging of existing technologies and new software code developed in-house at IBM.

But perhaps more important is IBM's stronger vertical industry focus with its IOD effort, developing tools and consulting services for 18 specific industries.

"We're maniacally focused on helping clients realize the value of Information On Demand," Inman said.

Apparently not just for customers' benefit, but to prove that IBM's IOD concept is something the business world can grasp and put into practical use.