IBM Bolsters Cloud Arsenal With Social Media

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The chief marketing officer's growing appetite for technology and the chief information officer's rigorous attention to risk and costs have created mounting friction between the two business groups. However, that's been a welcome challenge for IBM , according to Marc Dietz, the San Francisco Bay Area-based director of IBM SmartCloud Solutions.

"To be so bold, I think we've finally alleviated that concern," said Dietz during a phone interview earlier this week.

Dietz said IBM's portfolio of 100 cloud solutions applications is just what's needed to diffuse this tension because the comprehensiveness of the suite caters to multiple lines of business executives.

Combined with IBM's deep experience working with both CMO and CIO, the conditions for compromise have been laid in place, Dietz explained. IBM's cloud solutions offer everything from software as a service and infrastructure as a service, to managed services.

The very newest member of IBM's family of cloud applications is the IBM Social Media Analytics tool, launched this week by IBM. The company said that this new feature provides a very compelling cost value proposition by offering access to a wealth of untapped consumer data "ripe" for analysis. The tool automatically tracks activity on all external social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to provide executives with unfiltered insight into what the consumer is saying about their company so that they can make swift changes accordingly to boost their bottom lines.

"Organizations are now really able to analyze consumer sentiment," said Dietz.

Cloud is one of the top growth areas for IBM, and the company has spent more than $4.5 billion since 2007 to acquire cloud computing services. In early June, the company reached a deal to buy cloud infrastructure provider SoftLayer Technologies for a reported $2 billion. The firm's goal is to generate $7 billion a year in cloud revenue by 2015.

IBM now has more than 5,000 private cloud customers and has experienced a more than 100% year-to-year increase in private cloud customer wins in 2012. Its total cloud revenue grew by 80% last year.

One of its customers, top, London-based swimwear company Speedo which uses IBM's cloud-based digital analytics software, is reporting seeing a 10% increase in online sales and the generation of six times more revenue per average order.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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