IBM has broadened its e-commerce offerings with a new range of digital marketing and customer analytics that can be provided through on premises software or via a cloud service that customers appear increasingly open to adopting.
IBM's ExperienceOne suite of 10 applications is aimed at giving enterprises a way to manage either business-to-business or business-to-consumer interactions via the Web, including across mobile platforms. As such, it's IBM's largest expansion into digital commerce in the few years since it established its Industry Cloud Solutions group. In addition to the ExperienceOne suite, IBM said it's investing roughly $100 million in building what it calls Interactive Experience Labs in the heart of New York and nine other major cities globally where creative design and production staff will work with customers to create digital content for their businesses, uploading and managing it to cloud services from those lab environments. IBM expects to add 1,000 employees for this.
The New York-based IBM Interactive Experience Lab is expected to be opened in August on Astor Place, collocated with IBM Watson headquarters. Paul Pappas, managing partner with the IBM Interactive Experience team, said the focus is on showing IBM's digital commerce expertise, including how it provides customer analytics and data as a service. But it's also a production environment where design teams and system integrators will work on specific customer assignments.
IBM's push into e-commerce has been fueled through a series of acquisitions that include the Sterling Commerce business-to-business network, Tealeaf, Coremetrics, Unica, Demandtec, Xtify and just this week, the buyout of cloud-based marketing company Silverpop. Earlier this year, IBM purchased Aspera, whose software is used for high-speed secure transmissions of large amounts of digital content using its FASP protocol. The Aspera secure-content transmission capability is being integrated into IBM e-commerce products and services, including its long-established WebSphere, used as a business commerce platform to handle the electronic ordering and fulfillment process.
There wasn't much more than WebSphere three years ago when Craig Hayman took over as general manager of IBM's Industry Cloud Solutions, and oversaw the Sterling Commerce acquisition.
"It's not just about how you sell something," says Hayman. "You have to market to people, [including] the support people." Mobile is now an important component in this, he adds.
The idea behind IBM's Industry Cloud Solutions is that much of the functionality provided today in on premises software can be made available as a cloud service, or both together.
IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit
At the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit held in Tampa this week, and attended by over 4,000 IBM enterprise customers, several e-commerce managers shared experiences they had in setting up new online marketing operations.
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