IBM Expands Cloud Delivery of Smarter Commerce

San Diego—Sept. 20, 2011—IBM has announced new cloud and on-premise offerings that will help organizations respond automatically to shifting consumer and business trends. The new solutions, Commerce-as-a-Service and Social Media Marketing, combine technology from key acquisitions such as Unica, Coremetrics and Sterling Commerce with IBM research and development.  

These new software solutions are designed to help companies intelligently automate supplier and trading partner interactions, automatically turn marketplace insights into marketing and sales actions and connect online, mobile and social channels to physical stores. 

With its Smarter Commerce initiative, IBM is defining and leading a new market that it estimates to be worth $20 billion in software alone. Smarter Commerce transforms how companies manage and adapt to customer and industry trends such as online, social and mobile shopping and purchasing.  

"Smarter Commerce allows customers to shop or buy easily regardless of medium, channel or device," said Craig Hayman, General Manager, IBM Industry Solutions. "Informed by deep customer insights, companies can provide a personalized customer experience that feels like a service to consumers."

The new offerings introduced today include:

The Commerce-as-a-Service, which accelerates and extends the delivery of Smarter Commerce capabilities with:

 

  • A Cloud-based Configure, Price, Quote offering that simplifies the “quote-to-cash” process by allowing clients to quickly drive new revenue streams by bundling offers automatically.
  • A Cross-Channel Selling offering which connects Web store fronts to mobile devices, social networks and other channels. This enables companies to generate new revenue streams by connecting products offered online to in-store purchasing and delivery.  This software is optimized for IBM POWER7 Systems, allowing high-volume retailers to personalize customers’ online shopping experiences, and handle online sales surges during peak shopping seasons without loss of performance. In addition, the systems integrate customer buying information across all sales channels, including online, mobile, in-store, POS and kiosks.
  • A Payments & Settlement solution that delivers a highly flexible and secure PCI compliant payment capability at customer checkout.
  • A Supplier Integration & Management offering that connects and automates supplier interactions, providing clients with a dashboard view of activity as it happens.
  • A Cloud-based File Transfer capability for moving large customer and partner data within and across businesses to support critical commerce needs faster and more efficiently.

 

Social Media Marketing, which delivers deep analysis of natural language processing of consumer sentiment in social media. This allows customers to receive tailored, one-to-one marketing offers automatically in real time.

 

IBM has enhanced its cloud-based Digital Marketing Optimization offering by adding a digital data exchange for the tagging, collection and syndication of customer data.   IBM is also adding capabilities to more simply analyze multiple enterprise Web sites and speed the ability to optimize email communications and reporting from creation, to deployment, to social sharing.

 

New Smarter Commerce Consulting Services

 

IBM also announced the launch of a new Global Center of Competence for Smarter Commerce.  The new Center of Competence will be part of IBM Global Business Services and is comprised of highly skilled Smarter Commerce consulting experts who will help clients worldwide solve their most complex buying, marketing, selling and servicing business problems.  Additionally, IBM Global Business Services is introducing three new "quick-start" Smarter Commerce accelerator offerings.  These new service offerings include rapid consulting engagements that help clients define measurable business outcomes they can achieve through Smarter Commerce and a roadmap to achieve them.  They include:

 

  • Business Analytics and Optimization - Customer Analytics Diagnostic  -- which analyzes a company's approach to sales and marketing segmentation in order to provide recommendations on how to deliver the right message, at the right time to the right customer segment.  
  • Smarter Commerce Enterprise Marketing Management Assessment, which assesses an enterprises' overall marketing approach and provides a specific roadmap for improving customer engagement, cross-channel integration and marketing operations. 
  • Supply Chain Visibility Assessment, which develops a blueprint for improved supply chain visibility to shorten the time between order and fulfillment.

 

How Smarter Commerce Works: a Scenario 

An electronics manufacturer for example, could use IBM Smarter Commerce integrated solutions for buying supplies, marketing products and services, and transacting sales as well as delivery and customer service. 

Initially, the electronics company would use the Supplier Integration & Management solution to identify the right suppliers, manage complex relationships and contracts, and collaborate and monitor supplier performance to ensure timely and efficient delivery of raw materials.  Once ready to take its new line of products to market, the company would use the Customer Awareness & Analytics solution to determine unique insights about its consumers to better shape targeted marketing campaigns. 

The company would also call on the Cross-channel Campaign Management solution to define customer segments and target marketing campaigns. By employing Digital Marketing Optimization, the company could create the right marketing mix across different channels of interaction such as mobile, social, Web and in-store.  

Next, the company would prepare to sell its new line of products via on-line and retail store channels by deploying the Cross-channel Selling and Store Solutions finely tuned for IBM POWER7 servers.  The company would also use Sterling Configure-Price-Quote and Retail Store Solutions Point of Service (POS) to provide buyers with the convenience of shopping online through a flexible delivery model that includes in-store pickup. 

Finally, the company would deploy after-sale service to ensure timely delivery and ongoing customer support using the IBM Delivery, Service, and Support solution. IBM Case Manager is available for more complex service requests.

For more information on IBM Smarter Commerce, visit:  http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/smarter_commerce/overview/.

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