Unlike most providers of cloud computing services, just about everything IBM does in the cloud comes with a healthy dose of analytics attached.
This isn’t just because IBM has spent over $14 billion acquiring analytics intellectual property. IBM sees cloud computing as a way to embed the company’s services at a level so deep inside an organization that replacing the company as a cloud provider would be nearly impossible.
For example, the two latest cloud offerings from IBM are its Predictive Analytics for Assets, which identifies problems in manufacturing processes, and a raft of social networking services that includes an email service that not only delivers email, but lets people keep track of activity streams related to any given team of people associated with a particular project.
Marc Dietz, director of SmartCloud Solutions for IBM, says the company’s overall cloud computing strategy is clearly focused on business processes. Rather than merely being just another deployment option for IT, IBM envisions a world where cloud computing is the vehicle through which any number of services stemming from the application of analytics is delivered. In essence, IBM wants to deliver cloud services that are “sticky” compared to rivals that slug it out in commodity infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings. In IBM parlance, Dietz says these offerings are known as “Signature Solutions.”
Another good example of those kinds of services, says Dietz, are all the software-as-a-service offerings that IBM has assembled around its Smarter Commerce initiative, which at its core is nothing less than an ambitious attempt to transform the buy, market, sell and service business processes across an organization.
The fact that IBM wants to embed itself deeper into the business processes of your organization is not a bad thing. It’s just that when it comes to cloud computing, you need to understand that IBM is not quite playing the same game as everyone else.