IBM's cloud computing strategy is apparent to some extent with Cognos 10, the latest release of the business intelligence platform.
As part of Cognos 10, IBM is delivering a cloud-based service they call Cognos 10 in the Cloud.
It's a hosted service for companies that want to transfer its license to the cloud or solely host online.
The approach gives some insight into the IBM Software Group's approach to cloud computing.
We see three distinctions to the Cognos approach and how it reflects on IBM's approach.
Hosted, not SaaS
The service has the same features that comes with Cognos 10, arguably the spotlight of IBM's Information on Demand conference. It features predictive analytics and social collaboration capabilities through its integration with Lotus Connections.
Cognos 10 in the Cloud is not in the vein of a traditonal SaaS service. You pay a license fee for hosting your license. Customers may switch the license from on-premise to the IBM Cloud. Customers may also opt to purchase a hosted license without investing in the on-premise service.
Streaming Data from the Cloud
Cognos 10 is a heavy duty analytics engine. SPSS is baked in. It pulls in data from the cloud, including unstructured data. Users can use third-party data to get a historical analysis, see a real-time stream or do "what if," analysis.
Less About Cloud, More About Delivery
It's questionable if there is demand for a pure cloud computing service. Companies have deep investments in data centers but they are seeking ways to extend to a cloud environment. That's a trend we see a lot from SAP, VMware, Microsoft and a host of others.
IBM says it's approach with Cognos 10 is less about the cloud than delivery. Customers want a place to put their software license. That's the delivery IBM is making with Cognos 10 in the Cloud.
We have questions about the IBM approach. it's just a small part of IBM's cloud offering but it's illustrative of a larger strategy to use the cloud as an alternative delivery model for traditional software offerings.