The move comes at a time when IBM has been reporting consecutive losses in its quarterly revenues. Fourth-quarter net income from continuing operations was $4.5 billion compared with $5.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014, down 19 percent. Operating (non-GAAP) net income was $4.7 billion compared with $5.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014, down 19 percent. Cloud and data analytics have been verticals that narrowed its losses. In 2015, the company’s “strategic imperatives” of cloud, analytics, mobile, social and security grew 26 percent to $29 billion and now represent 35 percent of its total revenue.
The new hybrid cloud services can be deployed across multiple cloud providers and are based on open source technologies, open ecosystems that include company and third-party data, and open architectures that allows data to easily flow amongst the different services.
Open for Data
The company alongside announced a new positioning for its cloud and data services: “Open for Data”. Derek Schoettle, General Manager, IBM Analytics Platform and Cloud Data Services, IBM, wrote on his blog:
“Data has rapidly become the most valuable currency in today’s enterprise. Data is the common thread that binds every function—from the CIO to the road warrior—enabling them to achieve more in a day than would have been possible in a week, just a few years ago.
“In short, we’re all in the data business. But with these new opportunities come a new set of challenges; namely, how do we harness this new natural resource (data) in a way that makes our lives easier, more efficient and more productive? How do we find the signal—the data insight—that will give our business the edge it needs?
Announcing the new positioning, he further wrote:
“Today, IBM Cloud Data Services is announcing that we’re officially open for data. Consider us the store that never closes—up and running 24/7, enabling you to do more with your data, with fewer resources (#sleepMore). Our new range of cloud-based tools is designed squarely to address not only the challenges of the modern enterprise, but also the new breed of data handlers driving the enterprise forward. These offerings build on IBM’s significant investment in open-source technologies such as Apache Spark, and further our commitment to bringing the benefits of open-source architecture to enterprises worldwide.”
IBM aims at inventing and re-inventing digital experience for users by customization and modelling of the already existing Cloud services. IT architects can benefit the most, claims the organization.
Besides the 25 new services, IBM also announced four new products:
IBM Compose Enterprise: It is a platform designed to help development teams build modern, web-scale apps faster by enabling them to install business-ready open source databases in minutes on their own dedicated cloud servers.
IBM Graph: It is a graph database service built on Apache TinkerPop for business-ready apps with real-time recommendations, fraud detection, IoT and network analysis uses. IBM Graph helps remove the complexities traditionally associated with moving data from existing databases to graph architectures.
IBM Predictive Analytics: It is a service that allows developers to easily self-build machine learning models from a broad library into applications. This is useful, as it delivers product use case predictions without needing the assistance of a data analyst.
IBM Analytics Exchange: It is an open data exchange that includes a catalogue of more than 150 publicly available datasets that can be used for analysis or integrated into applications.
On a shopping spree
By using IBM’s Watson functionality, coder communities can tap into IBM Cloud Data Services to openly and freely move data in, across and out of the services on open source ecosystems. Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and CEO, IBM, said in a statement announcing the fourth quarter results, “We strengthened our existing portfolio while investing aggressively in new opportunities like Watson Health, Watson Internet of Things and hybrid cloud. As we transform to a cognitive solutions and cloud platform company, we are well positioned to continue delivering greater value to our clients and returning capital to our shareholders.”
IBM has been on a buying spree lately. It recently, acquired cloud-based video services provider, Clearleap, and computing system, Merge Healthcare. The Merge Healthcare transaction cost a handsome deal of $1 billion, but for this sum IBM got a cognitive computing system, named Watson.
IBM alongside announcing the new services, also released new bundled datasets made possible by the recent acquisition of The Weather Company’s product and technology businesses. The “unique and proprietary data” will be customized for specific industries, enabling customers to glean true business insight from decades of data that The Weather Company and IBM have amassed. For example, these data packages can help insurers alert policyholders ahead of hail storms, help utility companies forecast demand and help identify likely service outages, or empower retailers to optimize operations ahead of weather changes.
“These new tools and services have all been developed with one goal in mind: to help you get more out of your data, no matter where it comes from or how you access it. As we move into even more data-rich environments, from the Internet of Things to the connected enterprise, data will no longer neatly fit into traditional buckets—the tools we use to interact with them cannot either,” Schoettle concludes on his blog.