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IBM pumps resources into banking, software labs

New facilities, called Banking Centers of Excellence, are designed to meet changing needs of IBM's financial services clients.

IBM announced Wednesday that it has launched three new facilities at laboratories it calls Banking Centers of Excellence (BCOE), whose goal is to help clients in the financial services industry modernize their systems and create new business models to improve customer relations. Two of the BCOEs are integrated into existing IBM labs--one in Silicon Valley, the other in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The third is part of the company's newly opened Software Solutions Laboratory in Seoul, South Korea. IBM said it has invested a total of $25 million in the two U.S.-based centers. Financial figures were not disclosed for the new Korean center, which also encompasses a High Performance On Demand Solutions Center for solving particularly complex IT problems, a service-oriented architecture solutions center, and a Ubiquitous Innovation Center for developing individual clients' technology and business strategies.

IBM said it opened the BCOE facilities to deal with new challenges that banks and other financial services institutions now need to address, including consumer dissatisfaction and indifference, tighter competition around the world, and rising costs of operation. Understanding the overall customer experience, IBM has said, is integral to developing successful new strategies.