News

IBM to expand global cloud offering

BY Dan Berthiaume

Armonk, N.Y. – IBM plans to commit more than $1.2 billion to significantly expand its global cloud footprint. This investment includes a network of data centers designed to bring clients greater flexibility, transparency and control of how they manage their data, run their businesses and deploy their IT operations in the cloud.

IBM plans to deliver cloud services from 40 data centers worldwide in 15 countries and five continents globally, including North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. IBM will open 15 new centers worldwide, adding to the existing global footprint of 13 global data centers from SoftLayer and 12 from IBM. Among the newest data centers to launch are China, Washington, D.C., Hong Kong, London, Japan, India, Canada, Mexico City, and Dallas. With this announcement, IBM plans to have data centers in all major geographies and financial centers with plans to expand in the Middle East and Africa in 2015.

IBM plans to establish SoftLayer, an automated cloud hosting services provider it acquired in 2013, as the foundation of its cloud portfolio. The SoftLayer infrastructure will provide a scalable, secure base for the global delivery of cloud services spanning IBM’s middleware and SaaS solutions. IBM recently established the IBM Watson Group, a new business unit dedicated to the development and commercialization of cloud-delivered cognitive and Big Data innovations. As part of this initiative IBM will also deploy Watson on SoftLayer.

"IBM is continuing to invest in high growth areas," said Erich Clementi, senior VP of IBM Global Technology Services. "Last year, IBM made a big investment adding the $2 billion acquisition of SoftLayer to its existing high value cloud portfolio. Today’s announcement is another major step in driving a global expansion of IBM’s cloud footprint and helping clients drive transformation."

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FINANCE

Weather hits Dollarama December sales

BY Dan Berthiaume

Montreal – Adverse weather conditions as well as power outages in some of Dollarama’s core markets throughout the month of December 2013 resulted in a significant reduction in store traffic and the temporary closure of approximately 80 stores, for periods ranging from a few hours to two consecutive days. The majority of the impacted days occurred during the two weekends leading up to Dec. 25.

Taking into account the 8.4% increase in comparable store sales for the month of November and the 7.5% decrease for December, same-stores sales for the months of November and December combined decreased by 1.4% compared to the previous year. Dollarama believes the decline in December sales to be an exceptional event as sales are now trending back to normal levels in January.

Dollarama will provide additional details when it releases its financial statements in spring 2014 for the fiscal year ending Feb. 2, 2014. The company does not intend to provide updates or guidance for future interim periods in respect of same-store sales figures.

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ePrize becomes HelloWorld, releases SaaS platform

BY Dan Berthiaume

Pleasant Ridge, Mich. – Digital engagement firm ePrize today announced a new name, “HelloWorld.” HelloWorld is also releasing a SaaS-based rich engagement platform including the following solutions that can be deployed across microsites, SMS, social, mobile sites, apps and in-store.

● Mobile marketing: SMS, in-app push notifications, custom mobile app experiences, mobile clubs, alerts, mobile coupons and location-based services.

● Live event activation: Jumbotron games, photos, tweets and texts to screen, for concert tours, sporting events, tradeshows and retail.

● Promotions: Sweepstakes, instant-wins, trivia, photo contests and advergames.

● Loyalty programs: Points-based, social engagement or advocacy programs with a range of reward options and prize catalogs.

● In-store activation: Digital coupons, scavenger hunts, mobile clubs, and POS integration.

"Rapidly-evolving technology like smart phones and social networks have created marketing opportunities, but have also made engaging with consumers complicated with multiple vendors and complex software," said HelloWorld CEO Matt Wise."In the same way Salesforce.com and Oracle solved this problem for CRM, the HelloWorld SaaS platform solves this problem for rich consumer engagement. It was time to reinvent the way things are done and build one platform to help brands connect with consumers across channels. We’re proud to pave the way for brands to take advantage of this exciting and evolving medium.”

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