IBM spends billions on information management

IBM to continue spending billions on technology that helps businesses analyze data in real-time and use that data to mitigate risk and create new business opportunities.

Two years after pledging to spend US$1 billion on information management technologies, IBM says it has exceeded that total several times over.

"We've invested many billions of dollars in acquisitions to enhance [IBM's Information on Demand product and service line]," IBM software chief Steve Mills said during a teleconference Monday. "It's been a very big investment, far more than the $1 billion we first talked about. We essentially ran through that first billion in six months and have spent several billion more since."

A full US$5 billion of that investment went toward IBM's purchase of BI vendor Cognos this year. At this week's Information on Demand conference in Las Vegas, Mills unveiled several product updates and promised to continue spending billions of dollars on technology that helps businesses analyze data in real-time and use that data to mitigate risk and create new business opportunities.

Businesses are investing enormous amounts of money to build intelligence around physical assets, and need better ways to make sense of all the information they've collected, Mills said. Moreover, Mills said that 75 percent of the world's data comes from replication of existing information. "Think of the cost of replicating information over and over again to all sorts of servers and storage devices," Mills said. "It's a huge opportunity to gain efficiencies."

Among other announcements Monday, IBM provided an update on the solidDB Universal Cache, an in-memory database technology resulting from IBM's December 2007 acquisition of a Finnish company called Solid Information Technology. The database accelerates both IBM's own relational databases and those from competitors such as Oracle and Sybase. The next version of solidDB will ship in December and support for Microsoft SQL Server will be available in the first quarter of 2009.

"An industry first, solidDB Universal Cache relies on relational, in-memory database software to accelerate IBM's own DB2 and Informix Dynamic Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and Sybase, increasing their performance up to ten times," IBM said.

IBM also said it has enhanced its InfoSphere software line by building tighter integrations with Cognos and enhancing master data management capabilities. IBM combined InfoSphere's Master Data Management Server with the InfoSphere Information Server to help customers combine data from a variety of systems into one management console.

Cognos 8 BI has been added to InfoSphere Balanced Warehouse, a data warehousing system, in a package targeted at small and medium-sized businesses.

IBM also announced several updates to its content management portfolio, and said it is launching new performance management software and services for finance, pharmaceuticals, internal controls, sales and operations planning, municipal scorecarding and business reporting.

IBM's software business has helped the company ride out a financial storm that has seen numerous IT vendors report disappointing earnings. IBM software revenue in the third quarter increased 12 percent over the previous year, with information management revenue increasing 26 percent.

Software remains as the bedrock for IBM in difficult financial times, states a recent Technology Business Research analysis.

"We anticipate spending growth will remain in the high single digits during the next year as IBM Software continues to invest in a number of growth initiatives to support its business over the next decade," TBR writes.

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Tags IBMinformation management

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