Analyst says IBM’s social consulting shouldn’t worry channel

ORLANDOIBM has announced that it is building a global consulting practice that offers business strategy, design and data expertise.

The new IBM Interactive Experience offers a suite of services that bring together Big Blue’s design capabilities, knowledge from experts at IBM Interactive, a digital agency, and IBM’s data expertise.

The practice is meant to help organizations to pull insights from big data that will help c-suite executives make faster and more accurate decisions, according to Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice-president of IBM global business services.

“When data is vague, vast quantities of it are required by organizations to crack the code and read insights from it,” she said during a presentation at the IBM Connect 2014 conference. “For years it has been about technology…now it is about personalization, humanization and the market of one.”

At least one industry analyst said IBM channel partners should not be worried about the development.

Larry Hawes, principal analyst at Dow Brooks Advisory Services, said IBM is likely not encroaching onto the turf of valued-added resellers or system integrators.

“Many of IBM’s partners are into one or two things only, such as helping customers look into big data or helping customers use social apps; none are focusing on behavioural patterns,” he said. “It’s too early to tell but I think IBM will be offering something broader.”

“It’s a next step in IBM’s evolution from selling products to selling solutions,” Hawes added. “IBM has been good at putting out technology…finally it is stepping up with providing its customers support for social business.”

He said that this offers a big opportunity for IBM as it can draw a lot of knowledge and experience from its broad analytics capabilities.

The customer personalization model has been used by several IBM customers such as Jaguar Land Rover, Rinao, an insurance company in Peru and Australian retailer David Jones.

Underscoring how IBM Interactive Experience can help organizations analyze big data, Van Kralingen said IBM has more than 100 researchers in its Customer Experience lab “using psycholinguistic analytics to decipher the meaning of tweets of some 100 million people” in order to find out how a sample segment might think about a product or company.

Psycholinguistic analytics uses algorithms that combine the psychology of language with social media data to understand the inherent personality traits of individuals and clarify their preferences. The method can help identify how individuals prefer to receive and consume information and marketing offers.

IBM Interactive Experience will also employ life event detection. This analyzes unstructured social media data to detect important events in people’s lives and make correlations to a range of financial decisions.

The consulting service will also use behavioural pricing techniques. This makes use of an algorithm that combines behavioural models on consumer responses to pricing (think about how many customers are excited by the announcement of a special sale or discount). Combining behavioural models with historical transactional data will help retailers design personalized pricing strategies that help consumers make purchasing decisions and improve customer experience.

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Nestor Arellano
Nestor Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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