Practical Analytics for IBM i Users

Business Intelligence
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Make informed decisions about the different BI technologies and architectures you may be considering.


Editor's note: This article introduces the white paper "Practical Analytics for IBM i Users" available free at the MC White Paper Center.


Over the past decade, IBM has kept up a nearly constant barrage of announcements about business intelligence (BI) and analytics software and services. Ironically, considering the topic, the frequency and variety of these announcements has created a serious case of information overload for many IBM customers who don't have the time to read and interpret what all these offerings and strategies might mean to their business. Numerous customers, Business Partners, and members of the press have asked New Generation Software, Inc. (NGS) for our analysis because of our position as an IBM Premier Business Partner and independent developer of reporting and BI software for the IBM i (System i, iSeries, AS/400) operating system. We've done the research and summarized it in this White Paper to help you make informed decisions about the different BI technologies and architectures you may be considering.


To understand IBM's strategy, we need to recognize that IBM has shifted over the past two decades from a "hardware" company to a company that primarily generates revenue from software and services. IBM made this shift clear in 2010 when it reorganized and moved the IBM Systems and Technology Group (STG) underneath the IBM Software Group (SWG) in the organizational reporting structure. That was followed in 2014 with the sale of the x86 hardware business to Lenovo and then in 2015 by the sale of the microelectronics business to Global Foundries. IBM Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Virginia Rometty, described these parts of the business as "empty calories" in her cover letter to investors in IBM's 2014 Annual Report. Today's IBM is focused on what management believes is required to be a leader in the market segments they call cloud, analytics, mobile, social, and security.


In 2014, IBM generated $54.9 billion, or 59% of its total revenue, from its Global Technology and Global Business Services divisions. Global Technology Services is IBM's information technology consulting business. Global Business Services is IBM's management consulting arm. IBM software generated $25.4 billion in 2014, representing 27.4% of the company's revenue.


The evolution in IBM's business model can be seen in the IBM i software market by the way IBM has moved from embracing and promoting independent software vendors (ISVs) of high availability, application development, reporting, analytics, and automated operations software to investing billions to acquire competing solutions in these and other market niches.


It's important to note that despite this business strategy and investment, IBM has yet to find much success selling its software and services to the large base of small to mid-size IBM i customers. IBM i customers have continued to overwhelmingly depend on independent consultants, small consulting firms, ISVs, and local IBM Business Partners for professional services. IBM hopes to change that. Over the past three years, IBM has refocused many of its IBM i developers and technology experts from customer/partner education and support to billable services projects, usually tied to the deployment and use of IBM software products. Reasonably, we can assume IBM will continue to expand its efforts in this area and increasingly compete with independent consultants and IBM Business Partners.


This White Paper closes with a section to help IBM i customers defend the platform and DB2 for IBM i against some of the most common misconceptions that are held by those who would prefer to use other computing platforms for BI.


Want to Know More?

Download the free white paper "Practical Analytics for IBM i Users" from the MC White Paper Center.