- The company is shifting its focus to enabling the front office. Bridget van Kralingen, SVP at GBS, noted that, like many of its competitors, IBM recognises the importance of the “front office” to technology decisions. It’s placing more emphasis on serving parts of the business that drive better customer interactions, create better products, and inform better marketing decisions.
As an example, IBM highlighted the links between its more “front office”-focused IBM Interactive marketing organisation and its more traditional outsourcing work. To me, connecting the front office to more traditional IT capabilities is a welcome strategy — one that aligns with Forrester’s view of business technology.
- BAO is leading in a real services market. Almost 3 years ago, when I wrote about the launch of IBM’s Business Analytics and Optimisation (BAO) services group, I loved the aspiration but was a bit skeptical about the core value proposition. Fred Balboni, Worldwide BAO Leader, made a case that his BAO services group is well beyond experimental mode and now in a growth position.
This position is confirmed by Forrester’s own Liz Herbert and Boris Evelson, who explored the BI Services marketplace and positioned IBM as a Leader in Forrester’s recent Business Intelligence Services, Q4 2012 Services Wave.
- Analytics can change outsourcing relationships. A topic that is very near to my heart is innovation in services relationships. Mark Chapman, the Global Leader of Strategy and Transformation Services, led a discussion that focused on the power of analytics in outsourcing.
Mark and his IBM panel made a case that we are moving from a focus on “outsourcing for efficiency” towards “outsourcing for effectiveness,” and that the ability to use analytics to improve traditional application and maintenance work will be a critical part of services innovation.
This focus on analytics and business outcomes is distinct from some of IBM’s competitors, who are more focused on IP sharing as their differentiators (there's overlap here, but at the core the ability to apply analytics capabilities is different from just developing software solutions).
Or are those two things now the same thing? For now, the answer to those questions may depend on who you are speaking with. Overall, I'd say IBM GBS is doing a good job positioning itself, with a distinct value proposition, for the future of business technology.