Data is the new content. With IBM’s $2.6B investment in Truven Health Analytics, we are seeing the beginnings of a massive bet on the data business. IBM has always made its paycheck with data processing hardware and consulting. Sure they’ve sold software but in this age of cloud computing, where software will kinda go away, IBM seems to be appreciating that data ownership is the ticket. Watson Health (into which Truven will be folded) is more than big iron and a log-in, it will be a repository of data that will make a manifold improvement in the quality of health worldwide.
The Obama administration has pushed for EMRs (electronic medical records), which was a brilliant first step. But as is the way in free enterprise societies there are now 70-ish EMRs available, most of which don’t talk to one another. Where’s the big data “learn” from that? Truven Heatlh Analytics owns treatment data from 200 million patients. Data. Not sequestered software records. This is an analytics mother lode. This is Google scale stuff — but with a mission that goes way beyond Ad Words revenue. We’re talking “saving lives and transforming care” here.
IBM and Watson are not washing their hands of big iron and consulting, but they are def getting into the data business — in a low hanging fruit sector. Watch out Google. Watch out.