With new lab, IBM puts the CIO on notice

With new lab, IBM puts the CIO on notice

Summary: IBM's new Customer Experience Lab will help CEOs, CMOs, CFOs, heads of sales and other senior executives learn how to solve problems with technology. Ruh roh.


This morning, IBM announced the creation of what it calls its "Customer Experience Lab," intended to help business leaders -- such as CEOs, CMOs, CFOs, sales heads and other senior executives -- use technology to solve problems.

One acronym that didn't make it into the list? The CIO.

It's no secret that technology buying power is increasingly filtering through the upper ranks of the enterprise; here, we can see a resource dedicated explicitly to helping address that. 

IBM's new lab gives its CxO audience access to "a virtual team of 100 researchers" and business consultants that will help "co-create" bespoke -- that is, customized -- systems using all the hot technologies of the day: mobile, social, cloud, analytics and big data.

(Do you feel engaged with all those buzzwords? I'm feeling so very engaged.)

The lab's mission dovetails perfectly with IBM's core mission to use data to help businesses make better decisions; that's not the news here. The notable aspect of this announcement is that the chief information officer is -- at least in name -- a waning part of that vision.

It's all about transforming the front office: technology touches everything now; it's not a departmental specialty anymore.

As businesses move to personalize their own activity in terms of their customers, so IBM is moving to personalize its activity with its somewhat new target customers. It all comes down to more cost-effective, engaged (see? told you!), and profitable business interactions.

The cross-disciplinary lab will be headquartered at IBM's Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., and its first clients will be the Nationwide Building Society in the U.K. and Banorte, a major bank in Mexico.

Topics: CXO, IBM

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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  • What a waste of time

    Seriously, do you have any background in technology? Your article might carry a little weight if you actually looked at what they are doing and saw that they are looking to show how to use their products in a business context. This is independent of any enterprise level planning and management that the CIO would have to do to implement the system. You know, things like avoiding silos, data management, SDLC, etc.
  • Nonsense...

    I still carry the CIO title on my business card - next to Executive VP.
    CEOs, CFOs, CMOs, C-anything-O will not be able to implement technology to solve business problems unless THEY THEMSELVES are knowledgeable in the technology(s) involved AND have a grip on the particular business' operation. If not, they must partner with SOMEBODY (CIO?, real consultant?) to get the job done.
    Try calling any ONE of "a virtual team of 100 researchers" for a chat. Let me know how that works out for you.