IBM has upgraded its Watson Analytics cognitive computing solution with a new user interface and a handful of other new features to make it easier to use.
Watson Analytics is a cloud service that takes IBM's Watson cognitive computing technology and the company's predictive analytics capabilities and puts them in the hands of business users.
In short, Watson Analytics helps to empower citizen data analysts. Citizen analysts can use the technology in a self-service fashion to gain new insights from big data. IBM Watson Analytics helps users unlock the value of data they already have in their systems, as well as new, valuable external data sources they may not even know they need.
Of the new Watson Analytics interface, Forsyth Alexander, a content marketing strategist in the IBM Information and Analysts Group, said, "I'm now free to move about my analytics without having to close one feature to open another. Watson Analytics has done some things that have never been done before, all while making everything just so much simpler."
Alexander said she mainly wanted an easier way to get her data into the tool, discover insights and display the findings. In the newly updated Watson Analytics, she has all three.
At its Vision 2016 conference this week in Orlando, Florida, IBM announced the redesigned Watson Analytics and said anyone who registers for Watson Analytics also would be able to try Watson Analytics Professional for free.
"This new version of Watson Analytics also provides me with folders for organizing my data and my work," Alexander said. "I can keep some work to myself in a personal folder, communicate my insights in a shared folder and view what others are doing. And with the new ability to search data sets, it's much easier to find things now."
Alexander said she has the option of using Datawatch Monarch for IBM Analytics first to handle complicated data preparation tasks such as cleansing data, joining data sets and more.
Earlier this year, IBM and Datawatch, a maker of self-service data preparation and visualization tools, teamed to help users quickly gain insight from structured and unstructured data using Datawatch Monarch and IBM's Watson Analytics and Cognos Analytics.
As part of the partnership, IBM committed to resell Datawatch Monarch, which enables citizen analysts by making it easy to access, manipulate and blend data from a variety of sources.
Robin Grosset, IBM distinguished engineer and chief architect of IBM Watson Analytics, told eWEEK that with Datawatch Monarch, IBM Watson Analytics and Cognos Analytics users can quickly prepare data from almost any information source—from traditional databases to multi-structured documents such as PDF and text reports, Web pages, JSON and log files—and gain insight from it.
Alexander said one of the biggest impediments to accurate analytics is data preparation. However, DataWatch Monarch for IBM Analytics takes care of this.
"To further enable people to turn data into trusted and interesting results for themselves and their organizations, IBM and Datawatch have launched Datawatch Monarch for IBM Analytics," Alexander said in a separate blog post. "This new, self-service data preparation tool blends and preps structured and unstructured data for analysis in both Cognos Analytics and Watson Analytics."
In her post, titled, "7 Reasons Why I'm Adding Datawatch Monarch for IBM Analytics to Watson Analytics," Alexander lays out her strategy for enhancing her Watson Analytics experience.
Her first reason for using DataWatch Monarch for IBM Analytics: "It was built for business users like me. It's intuitive, and no scripting or technical skills are required which means I can quickly get data ready for analysis."
The last reason Alexander gave for wanting to add Datawatch Monarch for IBM Analytics to Watson Analytics: "It enables Watson Analytics to automatically create exquisite visualizations."