IBM is going gangbusters in the Big Data world. Its IBM Big Data Web site is a major resource, its TV commercials project authority and its products are entrenched in the space. But, for me, it took a discussion yesterday with Deepak Advani, IBM’s Vice President for Business Analytics Products and Solutions, to appreciate IBM’s Big Data play in all its depth.
Maybe old dogs do the best new tricks
IBM is a 101-year old company, based on the East Coast. It once made typewriters. It still makes mainframes. Its products interoperate with open source technology, but most of its products are anything but free. And many of those products have come through an array of acquisitions the company has made over the course of its history. On top of all that, IBM is a services company, with teams of consultants working around the globe.
Most Big Data startups have a lean team, are just a few years old, based on the West Coast, offer their core technology as open source software running on commodity hardware, and have built their IP organically. Yet IBM is still a major player in the Big Data and analytics world. How can this be when so many of its vital statistics appear counter to playing in the space? Talking to Advani reminded me of several reasons why, and he pointed out some others that were new to me. He helped me connect the dots and then added a few more.