If it's software, it can be delivered as a service. That's the script IBM seems to be following these days, and the act played out yet again on Tuesday as IBM announced cloud-based offerings around IBM Concert, IBM Project Catalyst, and OpenPages.
All three of these offerings have roots in on-premises software. IBM Concert, for example, evolved out of TM1 performance-management software acquired along with Cognos in 2007. That software was geared to CFOs and financial analysts, but more recently IBM spun out Concert as a way to make that budgeting, planning, and forecasting software more accessible to sales, marketing, and incentive-compensation decision makers.
The new release of Concert integrates additional sales and compensation-management capabilities from Vericent, acquired by IBM in 2012, and it's being made available as a service through the IBM Cloud Marketplace. Service options include budgeting and planning, forecasting, and incentive-compensation management for sales and marketing.
[Want more on IBM's SoftLayer bet? Read IBM Bets Big On Global Datacenter Network.]
Project Catalyst has yet to be released as an on-premises offering, but its roots are in the SPSS Modeling and Statistics Analytics Server. The idea is to bring these advanced analytics capabilities to the masses by using technology to automatically find correlations and trends in data and helping business users to explore and make sense of data.
"You just upload your data and Catalyst comes up with suggested visualizations as well as descriptions, in English, of what stands out in the data," said Erick Brethenoux, IBM director, business analytics & decision management strategy, in a phone interview with InformationWeek.
A Catalyst analysis of employee data, for example, might explains that "attrition is linked to seniority and compensation issues." The interface would also offer multiple visualizations of attrition, seniority, and compensation data. IBM is bringing Project Catalyst to the cloud through Analyticszone.com, which is IBM's cloud-based home for all things analytics.
IBM's third move to the cloud is the offering of its OpenPages governance, risk-management, and compliance application as a managed service on SoftLayer. IBM made the Concert, Catalyst, and OpenPages announcements at Vision 2014, a conference for finance, risk management, and sales compensation professionals held in Orlando, Fla.
It was nearly one year ago that IBM paid $2 billion for SoftLayer, which has since become the cornerstone of the company's cloud strategy. IBM announced in January that it will pour another $1 billion into expanding the x86-dominated SoftLayer architecture across yet more IBM data centers. IBM is clearly counting on the SoftLayer IP and expertise to accelerate its push into cloud computing.
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