Following on the heels of its $1.2 billion purchase of predictive analytics and data mining company SPSS, IBM has announced the formation of a new practice aimed at delivering analytical offerings to public sector clients. The company says its goal is to expand its work with federal, state and local government organizations, as well as fast-growing markets in such areas as healthcare and education.
In July IBM sealed a deal to acquire Chicago-based SPSS in an all-cash bid. The purchase immediately made IBM a major player in the fast-growing market for analytics. Research firm IDC estimates that the worldwide market for business analytics software will grow to $25 billion in 2009, a 4% gain over 2008. IBM followed up the SPSS deal by announcing its "Smart Analytics" strategy, a packaging of software and hardware designed to get companies up and running with analytics in a hurry.
Further developing that strategy, the company now says it will look to capitalize on economic stimulus spending by governments around the world through the new government analytics practice.
"The ability to use more sophisticated approaches in analyzing information, extracting insights and optimizing that information can help public sector organizations make more informed decisions, better manage their resources, and achieve greater accountability," said Charles Prow, head of the IBM public sector initiative, in a statement announcing the formation of the practice.
Governments around the globe have initiated a wide range of projects to stimulate economies and to build public infrastructure such as smart utility grids, electronic medical records, and high-speed train projects. These smarter, plugged-in systems produce an enormous amount of digital information, which in turn can be analyzed to make better decisions and improve performance.
As an example of the work being performed, IBM says it is partnering with the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) and MedVirginia to develop a first-of-its-kind electronic records exchange system to shave the amount of time required to process requests for medical records needed for disability claims from months to minutes. IBM also worked with the SSA to build a predictive analytical model to reduce the time needed to review applications from months to weeks.
IBM said it is also working with governments to create real-time dashboards that monitor and track stimulus spending in order to meet federally mandated guidelines. The state of Arkansas is working with IBM to use the dashboards to manage its use of economic recovery grants for improving education programs.
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