By Mel Duvall
IBM has made a big push into Web analytics with a newly announced deal to buy privately held Coremetrics. The purchase, for an undisclosed sum, gives IBM a strong position in the market to track customer interactions online via a cloud-based model
"With this acquisition, we are extending our capabilities to give clients greater insight about customer behavior and sentiment about products and services, and give true foresight into their future buying patterns," said Craig Hayman, IBM's general manager for WebSphere. "Marketing departments can benefit from these capabilities very quickly because we are delivering this in a software-as-a service model."
IBM noted that in its 2010 CEO Study, 88 percent of chief executives said they planned to focus on getting closer to their customers in the next five years. In addition, 82 percent of CEOs said they want to better understand their customer needs, and 85 percent said they require more visibility into their businesses.
The Web is seen as a key source of information to accomplish those goals. IBM said that today approximately 70 percent of a consumer's first interaction with a product takes place online.
Through its purchase of Coremetrics, IBM is gaining the ability to help businesses rapidly understand consumer interactions on social networks and online stores. It will work to integrate that intelligence through a cloud-based model into companies' business systems to enable smarter, more effective marketing campaigns.
Coremetrics, headquartered in San Mateo, Calif., says it offers Web analytics to more than 2,100 companies in the retail, financial services, media, publishing, travel and hospitality, and education sectors. Its customers include Bank of America, Holiday Inn, PETCO, 1-800 Flowers, Office Depot, Victoria's Secret, Virgin Atlantic and Seton Hall University.
For its part, Coremetrics said the deal made sense because companies increasingly need to integrate the knowledge they gain from Web interactions into their business processes to make "split-second decisions based on real time data."
"The combination of Coremetrics and IBM will deliver deeper business insights to address the real challenges and opportunities all companies face in an increasingly digital world," Coremetrics CEO Joe Davis said in a statement.
Coremetric's approximately 230 employees will be integrated into IBM's WebSphere business unit. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2010.
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