IBM Cloud Analytics, Mobile Initiatives Launch for Business Partners

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Print this article Print

At its IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference, Big Blue announced a series of cloud-based big data analytics and mobile initiatives for its global business partners.

IBM and Zobrist Consulting's joint clients are seeing a difference. Online retailer Bishop Co. recently created a stronger online presence to develop a unique shopping experience to meet the needs of a younger generation of socially savvy consumers. The site has become the driving force in its growth using IBM Smarter Commerce, enabling its marketing executives to apply deep analytics to promote the right products while quickly responding to changing consumer trends. As a result, Bishop Co.'s online sales have increased 200 percent.

"We stock over 2,500 different products, so our catalogs were extremely expensive to produce, both in terms of time and money," said Keith McCormick, president of Bishop Co. "We had to employ a number of staff to take telephone orders. Compared with online sales techniques, it was quite inefficient, but our e-commerce platform wasn't up to the task."

However, with IBM's technology and Zobrist's help, "the new e-commerce site has many new features that we're really excited about," McCormick said. "There's now an easy-to-access 'compare' box that allows customers to drag and drop the products they're interested in buying. We've also streamlined the checkout process to minimize card abandonment and drive up customer conversion rates."

Meanwhile, IBM is collaborating with its business partner Sproxil in leveraging mobile and cloud technologies to help manufacturers view and analyze real-time consumer data to detect and prevent drug counterfeiting. Consumers in emerging markets such as India, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria can verify the authenticity of prescriptions in seconds with their own mobile phones any time, anywhere securely through the cloud, IBM said. Consumer feedback on product genuineness, as well as other comments they may have about the product, allows companies to make prescription drugs safer for millions of people who live in areas where counterfeiting is rampant.

"Mobile represents a significant growth area for the pharmaceutical industry," Sproxil CEO Ashifi Gogo, said in a statement. "As the use of smartphones and tablets surges, the pharmaceutical industry needs a strategic understanding of how mobile can play to drive innovation. IBM's focus on arming business partners with the right initiatives to bring innovative mobile solutions will be key to help pharma companies manufacture and market safer products more effectively to health care providers."

IBM will provide business partners with new skill-building capabilities and access to its technical experts at its global network of 42 global IBM Innovation Centers in 36 countries  to nurture growth for development of new mobile capabilities while meeting IBM's mobile integration standards. IBM is also enabling IBM business partners to help credit-qualified clients take advantage of simple, flexible lease and loan packages for the Ready for IBM MobileFirst portfolio and big data analytics, starting at as low as 0 percent interest for 12 months with no upfront costs. IBM will also provide marketing support to business partners to help reach new buyers in this space.

Additionally, IBM announced initiatives designed to help business partners build their solution, selling capabilities around expert integrated systems. IBM will increase its dedicated channel sales and technical sales specialists by 50 percent in 2013 to assist business partners in closing more solution opportunities.

In addition, IBM Power Systems is further strengthening its business partner incentives. IBM continues to strengthen and launch new PartnerWorld Specialty and Certification Programs for IBM System x, PureFlex and Flex Systems to assist business partners in developing specialized skills to help deliver innovative solutions for clients.

"The interdependence of mobile, social, big data and cloud is undeniable, and will only multiply as data growth and mobile use continue," said Mark Hennessy, general manager of IBM Global Business Partners, in a statement. "We are committed to the success of our business partners in this shift in the way we do business across industries and around the globe. To seize this big data opportunity, IBM has laid the foundation for a comprehensive set of initiatives for IBM business partners, who are key to our growth strategy, [and] can help these clients address their business needs as the business grows."