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IBM Helps Global Industry Leaders Connect with the Chief Executive Customer

IBM Predicts Intelligent-Guided Future

ORLANDO - 06 Sep 2012: Today, from the Smarter Commerce Global Summit, IBM (NYSE: IBM)  is helping a range of global business leaders across major industries, such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, Bank of America, ConocoPhillips, Expedia.com, Office Depot, Radio Shack, and Virgin Atlantic Airways. Customers are looking for new ways to connect with their customers accelerating key business processes such as marketing, sales, supply chain and customer service, driving faster business results.

IBM is also forecasting key Smarter Commerce trends including the prevalence of intelligent-guided customer experiences, mobile-first business strategies and the growth of hybrid cloud computing as the primary means for entering new markets. 

From procurement and supply chain, marketing and sales, to customer service, companies are re-engineering key business processes to meet the preferences of their increasingly powerful and demanding clients, essentially their new chief executives. 

IBM is helping more than 2,000 global brands transform operations centered around their customers. A variety of chief marketing officers (CMOs), chief information officers (CIOs) and other business leaders from many companies such as Husqvarna, Lenovo, Norwegian Cruise Line, SHOP.CA, Staples, Urban Outfitters and Wacoal will join IBM at the summit and present the business results they have achieved after working with IBM and shifting to a Smarter Commerce approach. 

"The old adage 'the customer is always right' has evolved.  The customer is dictating the terms under which commerce is conducted," said Craig Hayman, general manager, IBM Industry Solutions. "The new 'chief executive customer' expect companies to respect their time, preferences, values and privacy. Meeting these expectations requires insight, innovation and a system of engagement that delivers an intelligent guided customer experience at every touchpoint." 

IBM Predicts Intelligent-Guided Future  

Smarter Commerce is a growing market opportunity in excess of $20 billion per year in software alone that centers on the customer experience.  In five years, intelligent-guided marketing and selling will routinely put the ultimate control in the hands of customers, allowing them to indicate what they are in the market for.  In this new normal, businesses will have the ability to scan who is looking for what and make offers to customers to meet their preferences. Consumers will expect at most to wait just minutes or seconds for offers to come in and select the one they like.    Bearing today's reality and this vision in mind, here are key trends IBM predicts will contribute to the evolution and expansion of Smarter Commerce: 

1)         Everything will be Data Driven

Stemming from buying behavior, social media interactions, and advanced analytics -- essentially the application of Big Data, customers will project what they are in the market for instead of settling for what's available on the shelf.  Companies will respond within seconds essentially bidding for each individual's business.  Sharpening analytics will help businesses across all industries anticipate and predict what customers want. The vision of marketing to a universe of one is realized.

 2)         Businesses Go Mobile First as Devices Proliferate and Channels Merge

Businesses will primarily design applications and processes for mobile deployment instead of PCs as individuals center their lives around smart phones and device use explodes exponentially.   Location-based services will expand individualized offers; drive acceleration of business processes and reduction of costs.  Frictionless payments will remove obstacles to impulse buying, leading to less predictable market shifts in consumer demand and requiring greater analytics to decipher. 

3)         Cloud Computing will Lead Businesses to New Markets

Established companies will deploy a hybrid cloud model for rapid expansion to new markets while newer players will use the cloud in a virtual inventory model to start up quickly and cost-effectively compete against larger competitors.  Businesses realize immediate returns with instant deployments, reducing capital budgets.  Cloud technology will serve as the primary means for people to quickly connect with social and collaborative business networks, bringing intellectual capital to bear for business more rapidly and in new ways.

The Future Starts Now 

Many companies are on the path toward Smarter Commerce today, meeting the expectations of the chief executive customer.  To help organizations realize the full potential of Smarter Commerce, IBM is teaming up with First Data in a consortium of industry leaders including Kohl's, Nordstrom, CardSpring, Citi and others that bring together retail, financial and technology institutions to share and establish best practices in retail commerce. 

RadioShack, a leading U.S. retailer of mobile and technology products, services and accessories, is working with IBM’s DemandTec cloud solutions designed to help CMOs and their teams improve price image and pricing operations throughout the entire pricing lifecycle.  

Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. engaged IBM Web analytics and strategic consulting services to better understand its customers’ online preferences and enable more precise marketing activities.  Virgin Atlantic has been able to cater more effectively to customers and successfully evaluate and monitor site performance. 

SHOP.CA is a case study in hybrid cloud technology deployment. Canada’s online marketplace retailer is using IBM Web analytics, a cloud solution, integrated with on-premise instances of WebSphere Commerce.  The online retailer selected IBM's technology as the e-commerce engine to power its consumer storefront, multi-merchant product catalog and Shop.ca Rewards program. IBM is also providing analytics on visitor preferences and interactions, as well as analyzing their searching and buying histories. This data will give Shop.ca insight on how, when and where to reach shoppers with content and offers personalized to their tastes and preferences via mobile or social vehicles.

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

 To join the conversation, follow hashtags #smartercommerce and #IBMSCGS

Contact(s) information

Mike Azzi
IBM Media Relations
914-766-1561
azzi@us.ibm.com

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