IBM’s ‘click to buy’ consulting services look beyond just IT

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7 August 2014 | 0

IBM hopes to expand its customer base and sell to executives outside of IT with a new set of consulting services that can be bought online with a credit card.

IBM introduced five offerings as part of its new Global Business Services Online. Just one of this initial group is targeted at non-IT users, but IBM says it will offer more services in future that are aimed at workers in other areas of the business.

The first service that looks beyond IT is called Social Media Analytics and Customer Insights, for analysing what’s being said about a company’s brands, products and competitors on social media.

The other four services cover an analysis of a customer’s software development environment; migrating mobile applications to IBM’s Worklight platform; a ‘technical healthcheck’ for SAP applications; and a ‘performance roadmap’ for Oracle applications.

In February, Forrester Research predicted that the percentage of IT purchases made “primarily or exclusively” by CIOs and their staff will fall from 55% this year to 47% next year.

IBM will take advantage of the trend by adding more services aimed at line of business executives outside of IT, according to Sarah Diamond, general manager of IBM global consulting services.

First wave
“We’ve just started with this first grouping to test the way our current clients respond,” Diamond said. “By design, this is very much just a first wave. While the CIO remains central to buying decisions, it’s no longer the CIO alone.”

The services are fixed-price, although the actual cost will depend on the options customers select. Availability is limited for now to the US and UK, although IBM has plans to offer them globally, Diamond said.

Some prerequisites apply. For example, customers interested in the social media analysis service will need to have a subscription to IBM’s social media analytics software as a service. In other cases, like the SAP health check, customers will have to supply some historical data, provide access to subject matter experts, and install tools from IBM or its partners.

Chris Kanaracus, IDG News Service

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