IBM Lays Out ‘Digital Experience’ Strategy, Takes Aim At Marketers

IBM-logoIBM unveiled today a new initiative, Digital Experience, that allows organizations to create customized versions of IBM products.

Noting that clients want the option of deploying either on-premise or in the cloud, this initiative is a reaction to new purchase patterns, explained Gary Dolsen, director of IBM’s digital experience software.

“What we’ve found is customers don’t want to buy everything at once,” Dolsen said. “They want to be able to support a specific communication pattern and then have available to them the other pieces in a pre-integrated way when they’re ready for more.”

The new initiative applies to software aimed at marketers that includes social media, mobile, analytics and web content management capabilities.

The Digital Experience is “a strategy with a set of products, some of which are going through a major revision and others that are brand new,” Dolsen said. “You might recognize products like [customer experience analytics software] Tealeaf or [marketing software provider] Unica in this launch and we’re adding new capabilities as well.”

The company, according to Dolsen, is making investments in mobile technology, web analytics, rich media and other areas to provide a richer omnichannel experience for customers.

On the ad tech side, IBM offers a number of solutions, such as AdTarget, that help marketers deliver relevant ads and measure their effectiveness. While these products are not directly tied to the new launch, the demand for greater flexibility and cross-channel offerings affects these product developments as well, according to IBM strategy program director Jay Henderson.

“One of the big trends is the convergence of paid, owned and earned media within cross-channel marketing and so we’re continuing to assemble technology that lets you weave in different channels and understand how they work together,” Henderson said.

The 102-year-old company will have to move fast to keep up with younger competitors. Companies like Adobe, Oracle and have been busy acquiring their way into the marketing space. And while they are not direct competitors, lean startups that offer niche technologies are also scooping up market share.

In addition to these pressures, IBM missed its earning estimates for the first time in eight years in this year’s first quarter. It also launched a restructuring effort that will cost the company an estimated $1 billion in severance and other expenses related to trimming its workforce. Its Q2 earnings results included a slim silver lining: systems and technology revenue was down 12% for the quarter, yet the company beat analyst expectations.

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