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  IBM has announced a company-wide initiative that combines its software and industry consulting expertise to help clients better access their own corporate information.
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This week BearingPoint said it would form a corporate consulting practice to apply Google's search techniques inside businesses.

IBM said it will make a $1 billion investment over the next three years to expand its information management software development. IBM will also expand its commitment to helping clients deliver more business value from innovative uses of information by dedicating 15,000 skilled practitioners globally to this opportunity and growing this base of expertise by 65 percent over the next three years.

"While there's no shortage of individual piece-part products out there to help manage, search, secure and store information, companies drowning in data need a holistic approach if they have any hope of using their information for real business advantage,” said Steve Mills, senior vice president, IBM Software Group. “By combining our software and consulting expertise, IBM is helping clients unlock the real value of their business information," he added.

IBM is further aligning its software and consulting arms to address an emerging business opportunity estimated to reach $69 billion by 2009 (18% CAGR), driven by a convergence of emerging challenges facing businesses today – including globalization, mergers and acquisitions and regulatory compliance.

Additionally, IBM is announcing six new solution portfolios and new software products to help clients transform their businesses from an outdated model in which data is managed as an afterthought from within applications, to an environment in which information is set free and managed as a strategic asset and to drive better decision making. IBM is also introducing step-by-step assessment tools and a new center of excellence to help clients quickly assess and tackle their individual information requirements.

The closer alignment and combination of IBM's middleware portfolio and consulting expertise will help clients rapidly plan and deploy new initiatives that unlock information from departmental silos and use it in innovative ways across their enterprises.

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