Hoping to jump out in front of providers of generic cloud services, IBM has launched a portfolio of cloud packages, called IBM Cloud Business Solutions, designed to run specific business processes such as asset management and customer care.
Each service is composed of a mixture of IBM consulting services, software, analysis tools, support and cloud infrastructure, and is tuned and customized to meet specific uses.
The move to offer these services takes the company a step beyond the usual IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) or PaaS (platform-as-a-service) offerings from competitors such as Amazon, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft.
"To date, the cloud has been about ready-made, as opposed to custom-made. But we believe there will be a big shift in how consulting and systems integration services are consumed," said Kelly Chambliss, CTO of IBM's Global Business Services unit, explaining how the portfolio enables organizations to work with IBM to customize cloud services.
"Systems of engagement require a degree of personalization to tailor them to their environment, their processes and for competitive advantage," Chambliss said.
Initially, IBM Cloud Business Solutions will offer 12 packages, with another eight promised by year's end.
The idea behind the packages is to provide functionality for some common tasks within an enterprise. Clients start with a base set of technologies, which IBM and the organization can alter to meet individual needs.
Among the initial packages available are those for managing patient-care coordination, customer data, mobile systems and predictive asset optimization.
The patient-care package lets caregivers coordinate with patients across different systems.
The customer-data package aggregates multiple external and internal data sources and analyzes them to provide insights for marketing and operations.
Mobile systems is for organizations that need to develop more interactive mobile applications for their customers and employees.
Predictive asset optimization provides monitoring and analysis to track equipment, predict when components fail and mitigate against failed equipment through advance planning.
TP Vision, which manufactures Philips-branded televisions, provides an example of how the cloud packages can be used. The company is an early user of the IBM Customer Data Cloud Business Solution, capturing and analyzing user data from its smart TV services for a better understanding of customer preferences.
Pricing for IBM Cloud Business Solutions will be based on a subscription model, with an up-front setup fee.