December 4, 2012
When it comes to data, these days IBM (NYSE: IBM) is talking big, really big. The vendor, which claims some 27,000 of its channel partners (here’s a list of some impact players) are involved in data analytics in one capacity or another, has opened the doors on a new facility devoted to research, development, customer services and skills training associated with analytics technology and cognitive computing.
The Advanced Analytics Center in Columbus, Ohio, will be run by Ron Lovell, a 23-year IBM veteran and company vice president, according to this local report. The physical plant is the former campus of Sterling Commerce, which IBM bought two years ago. The vendor plans to spend more than $3 million renovating the place and will retain 671 existing jobs, the report said.
IBM is positioning the center as its analytics hub. As such, it won’t only be Big Data floating around here but also some big money: Researcher Gartner projects $28 billion will be spent globally on analytics this year, growing to $34 billion next year, with nearly half of future spending through 2016 aimed at social network and content analysis. In large measure, huge consulting opportunities are and will be available for partners in analytics–the trickle is just starting now.
The vendor already maintains eight solution centers for analytics and 200 customer centers worldwide, but this effort, while tied to those facilities in concept, shouldn’t be taken merely as an additional facility. Aside from IBM, the key players are Information Control (ICC) an analytics-centric IBM Premier Business Partner, The Ohio State University (OSU), JobsOhio, Columbus 2020 and other business entities.
For starters, IBM believes its analytics center will create some 500 new analytics jobs in the next three years and prompt further economic develop in the region. In part, that’s where OSU, JobsOhio and Columbus 2020 come in. Planned jobs include analytics consultants and research development professionals homing in on IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence, Smarter Commerce and Social Business initiatives.
Secondly, the R&D idea behind the analytics center is to craft new technologies and techniques to handle Big Data, establish a delivery and testing environment for customers to check out advanced analytics and cognitive systems, expand awareness and build skills in analytics capabilities. To the extent that opportunities for partners to mine sales associated with Big Data is tied to R&D, this is, of course, all good.
And, lastly, if you’re going to seed and continue to build a market for data analytics, teaming at the academic level is pretty much a necessity. IBM will partner with OSU to develop job-ready graduates through new course curriculum in its graduate and undergraduate programs, providing curriculum materials, relevant case studies, access to software solutions, guest speakers and faculty awards.
“This center will have a tremendous amount to offer: world-class educational institutions, a highly educated workforce, industry-leading businesses and, perhaps most important of all, will serve as the foundation of a community of innovators that will transform industries around the world,” said Mike Rhodin, IBM Software Solutions Group senior vice president.
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