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IBM Launches Analytics-focused Consulting Practice

IBM has launched IBM Business Analytics and Optimization Services, a large analytics-focused practice within its Global Business Services group.

IBM Global Business Services, the Armonk, N.Y.-based company's consulting arm, announced on Tuesday that it has established a new consulting practice dedicated to advanced business analytics and business optimization. It marks the first new service line launch for the Global Business Services group since its formation in 2002, following IBM's acquisition of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting.

The new service line, IBM Business Analytics and Optimization Services, will draw on what the company calls its information management portfolio, which includes technologies from the recent acquisitions of Cognos and iLog. Over 4,000 consultants will be dedicated to the service line, as well as more than 200 mathematicians and advanced analytics experts from IBM Research, company sources said.

IBM expects that data analytics will become a more pervasive force in how businesses operate going forward, said Fred Balboni, global leader for the newly formed Business Analytics and Optimization Services practice. "The business paradigm is changing," Balboni said at a press event held at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center in Hawthorne, N.Y. "It's not about sense and respond. It's not about read and react. It's about being able to predict and land exactly where you need to."

Formerly the leader of IBM's retail industry consulting practice, Balboni will lead a core team of analytics experts within each industry that IBM serves. The group will address five core areas: strategy, business intelligence and business performance management; advance analytics and optimization; enterprise information management; and content management.

Frank Kern, IBM senior vice president, Global Business Services, called the newly formed practice a serious investment of IBM resources and skills that addresses an interconnected business world that has become riskier and more data intensive.

"This announcement today formalizes, institutionalizes and operationalizes our commitment to a new category of client work that is based on analytics and business optimization," Kern said. "We could not even have considered doing something like this years ago but, at this point in time, IBM has spent many years and billions of dollars in investment and created a business model that's engineered around collaboration and co-development between IBM consulting, IBM software and IBM research."

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