Twitter partners with IBM to get its data into the enterprise

Twitter has been pushing the value of its data to the entertainment industry for years, and now it’s taking the message to the enterprise via a new partnership with IBM. The deal, announced Wednesday morning, will integrate Twitter’s data into various IBM software products (including Watson) and cloud computing services, and will lead to 10,000 IBM consultants trained and certified on how to best use Twitter data and build systems to analyze it.

It’s a good deal for [company]IBM[/company], which is trying to stake a claim in the new worlds of cloud computing and analytics, but it seems like a much bigger deal for [company]Twitter[/company]. It’s much younger and and generating much less money, and it needs new revenue streams to keep shareholders happy. The developer tools it announced last week were a first step, and now it’s working its way into the lucrative enterprise IT space, as well.

During a keynote at the IBM Insight conference, IBM CEO Ginny Rometty and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo both appeared via video feed and said they worked on the partnership personally. Companies have been talking about the value of Twitter data for a while, but “we know businesses have only scratched the surface of what’s possible,” Costolo said. Yeah, there’s customer service and sentiment analysis, but he’s talking about things like logistics and product development, too.

That type of stuff was theoretically possible before, but was difficult because of limits on the Twitter API and, presumably, lack of knowledge about third-party services such as Datasift and Gnip. Running web scrapes or other kludge systems to gather tweets is only useful up to a certain point. Twitter bought Gnip in April, and now is giving IBM customers access to its firehose feed — and all the metadata that comes with it — directly through their analytics and application tools.

Unless IBM really sweetened the pot and this is an exclusive deal, Twitter has to be considering other similar partnerships and alternative avenues to make its way into the enterprise. IBM has been a hugely important IT company over the decades, but businesses today run on a lot more than IBM software — you just know a deal with Amazon Web Services or Microsoft, for example, would expand the potential reach of Twitter data manyfold.