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How Much Truven Could Enhance IBM’s Position in Healthcare?


Mar. 2 2016, Updated 10:06 a.m. ET

IBM’s Watson Health Cloud employee base

Previously in this series, we discussed IBM’s (IBM) recent acquisition of Truven Health Analytics in the healthcare space, which IBM hopes will spruce up its Watson Health Cloud. With Truven in its acquisition portfolio, IBM’s Watson business will be able to boast of 5,000 employees including clinicians, statisticians, epidemiologists, healthcare administrators, consultants, and policy experts.

IBM has not only poured ~$4 billion into establishing its Watson artificial intelligence system but has also entered into partnerships with Apple (AAPL), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), and Medtronic (MDT). In late 2014, IBM also entered into a data analytics partnership with Twitter (TWTR).

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Data access drives IBM’s acquisitions and partnerships in healthcare

According to the Wall Street Journal, with all these acquisitions and partnerships, IBM intends to get its hands on more data. IBM has stated that analysts estimate that 80% of the world’s data is unstructured, and IBM is targeting this “big data” space with Watson. As the above chart shows, IBM has made several acquisitions with a broad focus on big data, cloud, machine learning, and cognitive computing in 2015, and this trend so far has continued into 2016, too.

IBM has always been quick to expand and strengthen its reach and expertise through strategic acquisitions and partnerships. With the latest announcement of the Truven acquisition, it’s clear that IBM is leaving no stone unturned. If we look at IBM’s prior acquisition of Merge Healthcare, for example, we can note that the deal targeted specialization in medical image technology. And with Phytel and Explorys, IBM got access to clinical data on more than 50 million patients.

Investors interested in exposure to IBM might consider investing in the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK), which has about 38% exposure to application software and invests almost 3.1% of its holdings in IBM.

In the next part, we’ll get more specific about how IBM plans to use Truven’s data.


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