At a time when the largest software and IT services (SITS) suppliers to the UK public sector are  looking to prove their value to UK Government, IBM’s involvement with the Hartree Centre at Daresbury, run by the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC), looks like a smart move. In November 2014, the Autumn Statement committed the Government to investing £113m to expand the Hartree Centre over the next five years. It has now been revealed that IBM will provide further support to the project, including a package of technology and onsite expertise, worth up to £200m. IBM will base 24 researchers at the Hartree Centre to work side by side with existing researchers.

With an increasingly strong brand around cognitive computing and data centric computing research, including the development of the Watson cognitive computing platform (see IBM supertanker beginning to make headway), this move will position IBM well to differentiate the company and highlight the difference it, as  large company with substantial funds to invest, can make. According to releases, the two organisations will commercialise IP assets produced through the partnership together, benefitting both the UK (academia and industry) and IBM. Already the Hartree Centre has worked with several industries to help them discover the potential of a Big Data technology solution. For example, it has worked with KnowNow Information, an IBM business partner, to help local government Emergency Services providers improve their decision making and resourced planning. And it has helped healthcare providers perform analytics on hospital performance records. In our PublicSectorViews research, we have highlighted analytics as one of the key drivers for growth in the UK public sector market over the next few years. It looks as if IBM is committed to positioning the company at the heart of those developments.