IBM Launches Watson Analytics for Business Users

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2014-09-16 Print this article Print
Watson analytics

Watson Analytics provides a unified experience that brings together a complete set of self-service enterprise data and analytics capabilities on the cloud. Business professionals identify their problem and Watson Analytics helps them source the data, cleanse and refine it, discover insights, predict outcomes, visualize results, create reports or dashboards, and collaborate with others.

The service's predictive analytics automatically surfaces the most relevant facts and uncovers unforeseen patterns and relationships. This process sparks new questions and better insight, directing users to variables or parts of their business that matter most.

And because of its natural language capabilities, Watson Analytics speaks the language of business and people by enabling users to simply type in what they would like to see. Watson Analytics produces results that explain why things happened and what's likely to happen, all in familiar business terms. And as business professionals interact with the results, they can continuously fine-tune questions to get to the heart of the matter.

"Watson Analytics is designed to help all business people – from sales reps on the road to company CEOs – see patterns, pursue ideas and improve all types of decisions," said Bob Picciano, senior vice president of the Information and Analytics Group at IBM, in a statement. "We have eliminated the barrier between the answers they seek, the analytics they want and the data in the form they need. The combination of Watson-fueled analytics to magnify human cognition, the vast potential of big data, and cloud-scale delivery to PCs, smart phones and other devices is transformational.”

IBM said most analytic offerings assume users have data ready for analysis, a clear idea of the type of analysis needed, and the skills and time to build a model for analysis. However, most business users have none of these things. Data prep and loading can represent 60 percent or more of the time in an analysis project. Business users can then struggle with figuring out what analysis would be relevant and how to tell the story in a report or diagram. Watson Analytics automates these steps to accelerate a users' ability to get to the answers they’re seeking, IBM said.

"We see this as something for a motivated user who wants to do analysis," Sall said. "And this motivation is based on the technology we use in our personal lives where we’re able to find an answer to anything very quickly. But that's not always readily available in your work environment. That's what Watson Analytics brings. There’s a new attitude for people in companies to be more self-reliant."

User organizations upload their data to the service, which then automatically begins to find relevant information about the data, Sall said. "We'll also be making data available from external data sources as well as from internal ones," he said. "And within large companies their IT departments can create trusted data sources and make them available to Watson Analytics users."

Watson Analytics delivers a unified analytics and data experience on the cloud. Like other IBM Cloud solutions, it will be hosted on SoftLayer and available through the IBM Cloud Marketplace.


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