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Instant Analysis: International Business Machines Corp Inks Another Cloud Analytics Deal

By Tim Brugger - Feb 23, 2016 at 7:40PM

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Big Blue is at it again, acquiring yet another cloud-based analytics provider to bolster its transition efforts.

What happened?
For the fourth time in less than a year, IBM (IBM 0.69%) has acquired a "health-data" provider. IBM's latest deal to boost its new-ish Watson Health cognitive computing and analytics unit is its $2.6 billion acquisition of privately held Truven Health Analytics. IBM expects to bring Truven into the fold by the end of year, along with its "more than 8,500" clients.

Truven is a provider of cloud-based healthcare data and analytics, and after assimilating its latest Watson Health acquisition, IBM's extensive "health cloud" will house data on nearly "300 million lives." The forming of IBM's Watson Health division, along with its multiple acquisitions, brings its investment in the unit to over $4 billion.

Does it matter?
Rometty and team have put their collective eggs into IBM's "strategic imperatives" basket. Along with Watson health and related analytics, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), security, and cognitive computing are the focus of Rometty's strategic imperatives. A bright spot of IBM's somewhat dismal 2015 was growth in IBM's key areas, led by an impressive jump in cloud sales.

At an annual run-rate of $5.3 billion, IBM's cloud revenue climbed about 50% year over year. Granted, Microsoft (MSFT 0.53%) and its more than $9.4 billion in commercial cloud revenue annually puts it in some rarified air in the fast-growing market. But what IBM cedes to longtime competitor Microsoft, it makes up for with its fast growing analytics revenue.

Last quarter's $17.9 billion in business analytics sales -- a key component of IBM's strategic imperatives, which also includes Watson revenue -- was a 16% improvement year over year, after factoring in currency.

IBM's transition efforts are slowly taking hold, and its latest deal for Truven should move it even closer to Rometty's goal of generating 40% of total revenue from its strategic imperatives by 2018.


Tim Brugger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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