Many IBM clients, partners and employees are gathering this week in San Diego for our first Smarter Commerce Global Summit. Smarter Commerce is about finding smarter business processes related to the buying of goods and services, the selling of those goods and services, the marketing that occurs before they are sold, and the servicing of the customers after they’ve purchased them – the “buy, market, sell, service” cycle of commerce. When IBM started looking at this two years ago, we saw an amazing amount of inefficiences in these processes with disparate and siloed systems that required a lot of manual labor to connect them. We decided to fix it.
IBM embarked on a journey where we spent around $2.5 billion in acquisitions and pulled together roughly 4,000 people around what we are now calling Smarter Commerce and introducing all over the world in 170 countries. One of the great things about IBM is that are able to create markets like Smarter Commerce. We did it with eBusiness. We did it with business analytics. And now we’re doing it today with Smarter Commerce. The minute we explain what Smarter Commerce is, everyone says, “Yes, that’s exactly what I want” because it resonates so well with them. It’s a problem they already had but no one had articulated as crisply as we have with Smarter Commerce. And more importantly, no one had fixed the problem before us.
IBM is uniquely positioned to fix these problems by enabling Smarter Commerce. It takes all of our strengths and layers them on top of each other. We can take our shopping-basket or consumer- behavior analytics and apply them to our optimized hardware platforms and engagement systems combined with our Global Business Services offerings. Further, we can now complement our organic Websphere offerings with technologies we’ve acquired from Sterling Commerce, Unica and Coremetrics to form the most comprehensive overall Smarter Commerce capabilities in the market. And we believe this Smarter Commerce market represents a $70 billion opportunity.
As I mentioned, Smarter Commerce spans the buy, market, sell and service processes related to commerce. Using the marketing area as an example, here’s just one story about how Smarter Commerce works: When a consumer is navigating a website, we are able to tag that website and capture information on behavior, using it to predict what the consumer will do next even if we don’t know who he or she is. On any given day we capture about 1.5 billion pieces of data because this capability runs as a service in the cloud. From this data, we can figure out if the consumer opened an e-mail or responded to an e-mail. We can also tell if the consumer responded to an e-mail and landed on a webpage, ended up buying something or added it to a cart and didn’t buy something. Then we can re-target that consumer with another e-mail. When the consumer has purchased goods, we can follow up with a survey and understand the process all the way from the initial marketing of the product through the post-sales service process to provide our clients true insight on the behavior of their customers. Our clients can the use this insight to optimize their buying, marketing, selling and service commerce process.
Said more simply, when commerce moves from intruding on consumers’ time to delivering them the right offer at the right time and the right place while treating them exactly as they want to be treated based on their personal preferences and behavior … that’s Smarter Commerce. And that’s what we’re all about at the first annual Smarter Commerce Global Summit in San Diego this week.
Craig Hayman, General Manager, IBM Industry Solutions