IBM on Tuesday took another step into Big Data analytics, offering new consulting services and software on the predictive analytics front. The new software targets C-suite decision makers who need to make high priority decisions.

IBM helps these execs tap into Big Data to manage financial operations, decrease fraud and nurture customer relationships.

Big Blue is drawing from its experience with more than 20,000 analytics engagements, as well as IBM Research innovations and predictive technologies from dozens of companies it has acquired, to offer the service and software -- and the company is on the cusp of an opportunity.

IDC estimates enterprises will invest more than $120 billion by 2015 to capture the business impact of analytics, across hardware, software and services. IBM has itself expanded its multibillion-dollar investment in business analytics to address three issues it sees as vital: fraud detection, financial operations and customer service.

A Three-Pronged Approach

As IBM sees it, enterprises across all industries are under increased pressure to extract new insights from the explosion of available data. Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president at IBM Global Business Services, said the "new capabilities target the agendas of global business leaders operating in a world of accelerating complexity, unpredictability and massively available information."

The FBI reports health care fraud tops $250 billion a year -- and tax fraud costs billions more. IBM's Smarter Analytics Signature anti-fraud, waste and abuse solution embeds advanced algorithms directly into business processes, providing government agencies and insurers with the ability to detect fraud in real time -- before funds are paid out.

IBM's software also aims to help organizations gain a comprehensive view of a customer, derived from traditional enterprise Relevant Products/Services data and customer sentiment gleaned from social networks, logged customer service interactions and Web click-stream data. Then, real-time analytics predicts customer behavior and preferences to inform decisions on the next best action on behalf of that customer.

For CFO performance insight, tools work to help execs tackle the growing mountain of financial information and increase visibility and control over financial performance with predictive capabilities applied to key metrics and data on past performance.

Doing More with More

Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, described IBM's latest Smarter Analytics solutions as the next step in the active evolution of business analytics.

"In the classic sense of business analytics, companies would take business data they had collected, such as customer sales data, and in classic data mining fashion dig into that information to see if they could find any particular trends that indicated a problem or a missed opportunity that could be seized," King said.

"Over the past 12 to 18 months, IBM has moved more deeply into analytics. During that time, IBM has developed ways to slice and dice company information in much finer and faster ways and also to leverage data in new ways."