IBM creates 4,000-strong division to make governments smarter

12 Aug 2009

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IBM has created a new practice consisting of 4,000 consultants focused on giving local and national governments greater intelligence and analytical tools to make smarter decisions, especially around healthcare and education.

The technology giant said last night that stimulus and economic recovery investments around the world are accelerating the development and deployment of smarter systems such as intelligent utility grids, electronic medical records, improved transportation systems and food traceability.

These smarter systems require advanced analytics to turn data into predictive intelligence, which enable these new digital infrastructures to improve the speed and quality of decision making.

The new IBM Business Analytics and Optimisation Services for Public Sector team will include experts with deep knowledge in areas such as healthcare, transportation, social services, public safety, regulatory systems, customs and border management, defense, logistics, cyber-security and education.

These professionals will also collaborate with IBM researchers and tap into mathematics and information management capabilities across IBM.

“The ability to use more sophisticated approaches in analyzing information, extracting insights, and optimising that information can help public sector organizations make more informed decisions, better manage their resources, and achieve greater accountability,” said Charles Prow, managing partner of Global Business Services for IBM Public Sector.

“IBM sees an enormous opportunity to help our clients improve program delivery by gaining access into real-time information that will aid decision making and ultimately improve their efforts to serve citizens,” Pow added.

IBM’s portfolio of analytics services will include automated healthcare solutions. In the area of claim and benefit management, the company has worked with the U.S Social Security Administration (SSA) and MedVirginia, to develop a first-of-a-kind electronic records exchange system to shave the amount of time to process requests for medical records associated with disability claims from months to minutes.

In addition, IBM worked with SSA to build a predictive model using text analytics to reduce the total time needed to review applications for disability from months to weeks. IBM also developed another set of predictive models to save the SSA approximately US$200m annually over the last 10 years in reduced doctor review costs for disability benefit renewals.

IBM is also working with governments to create real-time dashboards that monitor and track stimulus spending in order to meet federally mandated guidelines. For example, the State of Arkansas is using IBM technology and services to monitor and manage the use of economic recovery grants for improving education programs.

In the area of education, the company is helping to improve student progress and school effectiveness for Alabama’s largest school district, Mobile County Public Schools System, with a system that leverages analytics to prevent or resolve issues before they escalate, helping to steer students on the right path and monitoring their progress moving forward.

Other focus areas for IBM will include public safety. The company is working with the New York City Police and Fire Departments to better assess, predict and prevent crime and fire incidents.

The new public sector effort is part of the corporation’s larger focus on analytics, highlighted by IBM’s recently announced new Business Analytics and Optimization Services organisation.

The practice includes more than 4,000 consultants, as well as approximately 200 mathematicians and advanced analytics experts from IBM Research laboratories. The new service also draws on IBM’s vast Information Management portfolio, including technologies from the recent acquisitions of Cognos and iLog.

By John Kennedy

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com