IBM will be investing US$1 billion over the next three years to expand its information management software development efforts. To support the initiative, the company will be dedicating 15,000 skilled practitioners globally and hopes to grow this base by 65 percent over the same period.Big Blue is further aligning its software and consulting arms to address an emerging business opportunity estimated to reach $69 billion by 2009 (18 percent CAGR), driven by a convergence of emerging challenges facing businesses today\u2014including globalization, mergers and acquisitions, and regulatory compliance. These factors, IBM said, have ignited client demand for new insight and technology to enable them to innovate and grow their business.\u201cNext to people, information is a company\u2019s greatest asset, but its value can\u2019t be realized if it\u2019s not effectively managed and delivered to the right people, business applications and processes," said Steve Mills, senior vice president, IBM Software Group. "While there\u2019s no shortage of individual piece-part products out there to help manage, search, secure and store information, companies drowning in data need a holistic approach if they have any hope of using their information for real business advantage. By combining our software and consulting expertise, IBM is helping clients unlock the real value of their business information."Additionally, IBM is announcing six new solution portfolios and new software products to help clients transform their businesses from an outdated model in which data is managed as an afterthought from within applications, to an environment in which information is set free and managed as a strategic asset and to drive better decision making. IBM is also introducing step-by-step assessment tools and a new center of excellence to help clients quickly assess and tackle their individual information requirements.-Computerworld Philippines staff, Computerworld PhilippinesCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.