IBM has rolled out new cloud-based commerce-as-a-service and social media marketing offerings that are the result of recent acquisitions of software developers such as Unica, Coremetrics and Sterling Commerce.
The aim of the platforms is to help businesses automate supplier and trading partner interactions, translate marketing and sales actions and connect online, mobile and social channels to physical stores. The platforms are part of IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative, the stated goal of which is to help businesses transform how companies manage and adapt to customer and industry trends such as online, social and mobile shopping and purchasing.
In an article on BusinessWeek’s website, Craig Hayman, who oversees Smarter Commerce as general manager of IBM Industry Solutions, describes the Smarter Commerce initiative as:
… part of a push to make $7 billion by 2015 from cloud computing, which allows a company to store and access data from IBM's servers, the company said. IBM, based in Armonk, New York, has made “heavy investments” in the area, including $2.5 billion in acquisitions and hundreds of millions of dollars in research …
The commerce-as-a-service platform includes a cloud-based configure, price and quote feature meant to simplify the quote process by allowing companies to bundle offers automatically. A cross-channel selling offering connects online storefronts to mobile devices, social networks and other channels. The 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.
The company’s social media marketing offering provides analysis of natural language processing to measure consumer sentiment in social media.