IBM Watson Analytics Empowers 'Citizen Analysts'

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2015-10-15 Print this article Print
IBM big data

  • Nucleus Research – a StoryBook that enables users to benchmark projects for return on investment (ROI) and to project expected returns for proposed technology projects based on Nucleus Research data from more than 500 ROI case studies.
  • MarketShare -- a Storybook that helps users achieve a clear understanding of how their investment strategy compares to industry standards, as well as a view into how to optimize investments across online and offline media channels such as TV, paid search, digital display, online video, radio, print, and others.
  • Intangent -- a Storybook that will help finance managers examine the relationships between pay, performance, and credit risk in lending to better align incentive compensation with risk taking.
Andy Rice, vice president of products and analytics at The Weather Company, said because weather plays such an important role in so many different things such as sales, event attendance, traffic patterns and more, his organization’s data is in high demand each day, all day. In fact, Rice said The Weather Company receives 15 billion forecast requests per day.

Derek Chapin, visitor services supervisor at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wash., said the zoo uses Watson Analytics to track when the most tickets are sold, when to collect garbage, how much food to prepare for sale, when to clean restrooms, and what impact the weather has on attendance.

Chapin noted that the zoo's operational staff, particularly those who work closely with the animals, has adopted analytics, but getting the business side of the house to sign on has been a challenge.

"We've had a big struggle with a lot of the managers adopting analytics," he said. "But the line-level staff are bringing in and using analytics and pushing that data up to the management."

For his part, IBM's Picciano said Watson Analytics enables an entire generation of "citizen analysts" that can use the technology in a self-service fashion to conjure up data on all manner of things.

Because it is so easy to use and approachable, "Watson Analytics gives people in every corner of the organization access to deep analytical information," he said.

"While the rapid uptake and popularity of Watson Analytics is certainly impressive and underscores market research suggesting that data analysis is shifting rapidly to self-service models, the program’s half a million sign-ups represent just a small fraction of the business professionals that IBM’s corporate customers employ," Pund-IT's King said.

"Overall, Expert Storybooks qualify as a logical next step in the evolution of Watson Analytics," King added. "The journey to fully empowering citizen data scientists will be neither short nor simple. But making hard work easy has long been a specialty of IBM’s. That Watson Analytics should become part of this tradition, with the help of Expert Storybook developers, seems both appropriate and entirely likely."

IBM also introduced Watson Analytics for Social Media, which is expected to be available in early December, said Walt Altshuller, IBM's vice president of Watson Analytics. Elcenora Martinez, director of social media analytic solutions at IBM, said the new solution helps businesses gain a better understanding of their markets, customers and competition, and to also glean actionable insights from all the social media big data generated each day by millions of online sources.

"I think this is a critical resource that could provide real value for businesses," King said. "If you look at how social media has impacted companies and individuals -- usually negatively -- over the past three to four years, tracking/analyzing social sentiment is an increasingly critical part of brand management. More than that, I believe that social-savvy companies are far less inclined to shoot themselves in the foot than those ignoring Twitter, etc. IBM understands that issue and is providing innovative and value tools to help businesses manage those processes."

The new data connectors and Expert Storybooks for Watson Analytics will be available in beta in November 2015.



Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel