IBM on Tuesday announced the creation of a new Business Analytics Centre of Competency in Bangalore, as part of its efforts to strengthen its capabilities in the fast-growing area of analytics and optimization.

The competency centre, with a planned staff level of 200 consultants possessing advanced analytics skills, will be able to provide support to clients anywhere in the world, and come up with solutions to information-based challenges.

As an example of how industry perceives the issue, IBM points out that in its Global CIO Study, 83 per cent of Chief Information Officers of companies identified business intelligence and analytics (which provide the ability to see patterns in vast amounts of data and to evolve actionable insights) as their top priority for enhanced competitiveness. The study indicated that half of the decision-makers did not have the tools needed to make the decisions that they did, and one in three decisions was made without the necessary information being available.

Business analytics and optimization is a $ 105 billion market including hardware, software and services; it is witnessing growth of 8 per cent, according to IBM.

“The new Business Analytics Centre of Competency is an important component in our rapidly expanding and unmatched portfolio of business analytics capabilities,” Fred Balboni, Global Leader, IBM Business Analytics and Optimisation, said, after the announcement was made by the company to a group of invited journalists.

IBM has also been opening global Business Analytics Solutions Centres in Berlin, Beijing, New York and Tokyo, with Washington DC and London to be added to the list soon. These solutions centres have specializations in different areas, such as making cities smarter, achieving higher efficiencies in transport and helping governments improve their functioning. The experience gained in each of these centres creates a base for other clients to tap into.

As part of its growth focus, IBM has invested over $ 12 billion over a five-year period on analytics and information management, both organically and in the form of acquisitions. This includes its recent agreement to acquire SPSS Inc at a cost of $ 1.2 billion.