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Business News/ Industry / Infotech/  IBM, Twitter data deal will help Indian firms cut costs

IBM, Twitter data deal will help Indian firms cut costs

The deal will help mid-sized Indian firms reduce capital expenditure when investing in social, mobility, cloud and analytics (SMAC) technologies

On Wednesday, IBM said it plans to offer Twitter data as part of select cloud-based services, including IBM Watson Analytics. Photo: ReutersPremium
On Wednesday, IBM said it plans to offer Twitter data as part of select cloud-based services, including IBM Watson Analytics. Photo: Reuters

Mumbai: The International Business Machine Corp. (IBM) move to offer Twitter data as part of select cloud-based services will especially help mid-sized Indian firms reduce capital expenditure when investing in social, mobility, cloud and analytics (SMAC) technologies, say experts, while helping IBM strengthen its SMAC service offerings to clients worldwide.

On 15 July, IBM had announced an exclusive partnership with Apple Inc. to introduce a new class of business apps, bringing IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities to the iPhone and iPad in a bid to capture the enterprise mobility market.

On Wednesday, IBM said it plans to offer Twitter data as part of select cloud-based services, including IBM Watson Analytics—a new cognitive service that brings intuitive visualization and predictive capabilities to business users. Entrepreneurs and software developers will also be able to integrate Twitter data into new cloud services they are building with IBM’s Watson Developer Cloud or IBM Bluemix platform-as-a-service, IBM said in a note on 30 October.

“It (the partnership with Twitter) will help IBM offer a new range of services both globally and in India. Since the services will be on the cloud, not only would it result in reducing capex, especially for mid-sized companies, it will also help firms use global benchmarks," said Amit Khanna, partner at consulting firm KPMG India.

IBM has established its lead on analytics globally. On 17 July, Pratt and Whitney, a United Technologies Corp. company, announced a partnership with IBM to enhance engine fleet management and health solutions that it offers its customers. A single engine can generate half a terabyte of data in one flight, according to Pratt and Whitney, and the idea was to use IBM’s help to broaden its current performance monitoring capabilities of more than 4,000 operational commercial engines.

The choice of IBM as the analytics partner, perhaps, also lies in the fact that the firm has invested $24 billion to build its capabilities in big data and analytics through research and development (R&D) and more than 30 acquisitions. IBM currently has about 15,000 analytics consultants, 6,000 industry solution business partners, and 400 IBM mathematicians are helping clients use big data to transform their organizations.

About half of these analytics consultants are in India, Vanitha Narayanan, managing director, IBM India Pvt. Ltd, told Mint in an 18 April interview.

IBM also has 5,000 mobile experts and has secured more than 4,300 patents in mobile, social and security.

“Post IBM’s deal with Apple a few months ago, IBM’s new partnership with Twitter comes across as one of the most important deals to capture customer sentiments real time. With Netiza, SPSS (an IBM product) and Watson to analyse, crunch and visualize data, the sentiment of users on Twitter can be captured easily.

“This activity has been an expensive affair in the past for many organizations. Capturing customer sentiment is very important; IBM is offering a cloud solution to organizations that will not have to face a high TCO (total cost of ownership) and learning curve," said Sanchit Gogia, founder-chief executive, Greyhound Research.

The analytics market in India is in its infancy, and pegged at about $2 billion currently by software lobby Nasscom.

IBM India aggressively promotes its “Smarter Planet" and “Smarter Cities" concepts, and is working with private developers who are building townships for both commercial as well as residential services. Cloud gives them another option in terms of how they leverage services and capabilities.

IBM is already in the process of setting up its first cloud data centre in India. It also has a partnership with SAP, whereby it can allow the latter to offer its cloud-based platform to Indian customers.

“By marrying internal data with third-party social media sources such as Facebook and Twitter, enterprises can arrive at much richer time series and sentiment analysis. Finally, analysing sentiments of Twitter messages on one’s own and competing brands allows for enterprise to reach real time alignment with the external world," said Alok Shende, co-founder and principal analyst with Ascentius Consulting.

Strengthening its SMAC services will also help IBM build its digital image, which is under continuous threat by companies such as Google and Inc.

Apple, Google, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, Microsoft Corp. and IBM are the top five “steady innovators", respectively, as ranked by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in its October report: The Most Innovative Companies 2014: Breaking Through Is Hard to Do’.

While Apple has claimed the No.1 position consistently since the rankings were launched in 2005, IBM has seen a few ups and downs--ranked 7 in 2005, 12 in 2008, and 6 in 2012 and 2013 to rise up a rank in 2014. Amazon was ranked 6th in 2014.

The BCG report noted that the innovations of these five companies and those of other digital innovators are, in many sectors, raising the bar for all companies in areas such as big data and mobile.

For instance, consumers who have been educated by the likes of Apple, Amazon, and Google in the possibilities of digital technologies, have moved quickly up the adoption curve. Similarly, big data leaders generate 12% higher revenue than those who do not experiment with big data, the report argued. These leaders, it added, are also twice as likely as their peers (81% compared with 41%) to credit big data with making them more innovative.

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Leslie D'Monte
Leslie D'Monte has been a journalist for almost three decades. He specialises in technology and science writing, having worked with leading media groups--both as a reporter and an editor. He is passionate about digital transformation and deep-tech topics including artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, crypto, metaverses, quantum computing, genetics, fintech, electric vehicles, solar power and autonomous vehicles. Leslie is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Knight Science Journalism Fellow (2010-11). In his other avatar, he curates tech events and moderates panels.
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Published: 31 Oct 2014, 12:47 AM IST
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