IBM pumps up big data offering on its cloud marketplace with ECM

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

IBM has announced a new big data service available on its app-store-esque IBM Cloud Marketplace from today, called IBM Navigator on Cloud.

The service, an IBM press release boasts, “is transforming how organisations engage with business content and make it more usable and interactive across the enterprise to deliver better results and improve decision making.” In plain English, this means employees can synchronise data and content across any browser, desktop and mobile device.

“IBM is fulfilling an unmet need in the marketplace by providing a new service that combines enterprise grade security, governance and integration with mobile and web apps that are easy to interact with and use,” said enterprise content management general manager Doug Hunt in a statement.

Navigator on Cloud is built on SoftLayer, and utilises enterprise content management (ECM), which theoretically gives employees that consumerisation-of-IT feel through file sharing without making any compromise on security. It’s a concept which has been around since the start of the millennium but, like a lot of trends, ECM today comprises cloud, social and mobile. IBM and Microsoft are the two biggest players in the space, according to the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant.

2014 is seeing a litany of big IT vendors perform an about turn to become an agile, cloud-based brand. IBM and HP have both committed billions of dollars in investment for this very purpose, while SAP continues to assert its desire to be “THE cloud company”, capitalisation and all.

Not coincidentally, SAP and IBM occupied the plumb stands by the entrance for the Cloud World Forum (CWF) event in London last week, which CloudTech attended, while HP sponsored the keynote arena and was the event’s principal sponsor.

IBM is backing up its big talk, however, with a series of plays designed to make the 100 year old firm more agile, with the Cloud Marketplace one of them. SoftLayer was a perfect fit for the company being a pure IaaS play, while developer-friendly BlueMix enhanced IBM’s PaaS offering. Throw in Watson to the mix and you’ve got a potent cocktail – so much so that, as UK&I cloud leader Doug Clark explained to CloudTech, it’s almost as if it’s ‘IBM-as-a-service’.

Naturally, such an ambitious undertaking means the road ahead isn’t entirely smooth, with resource actions – job layoffs by any other name – still being felt in the IBM employee community.

Nevertheless, there’s a definite assuredness and confidence at IBM in both their roadmap and ability to execute. An offhanded remark from an exec at CWF, when asked about the prime position of IBM’s stand – a shrug of the shoulders inferring this was to be expected – sums up the situation. They’ve made a big bet on cloud, they’ll keep releasing and iterating, they’ll double down if necessary, and they’re confident about what the future holds.

Navigator on Cloud is just the latest example of this – and you can bet it won’t be the last.

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