Navigating Big Data to Uncover the Right Information Is a Key Challenge for Enterprises

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-04-25

IBM Adding Vivisimo to Big Blue's Analytics Arsenal

IBM continues to amass an arsenal of analytics expertise, this time with the acquisition of Vivisimo, an information optimization and analytics company.

Big Blue, on April 25 announced a definitive agreement to acquire Pittsburgh-based Vivisimo, which provides federated discovery and navigation software to help organizations access and analyze big data across the enterprise. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Meanwhile, IBM also announced that its big data platform will now run on Cloudera€™s distribution of Hadoop.

Vivisimo€™s claim to fame is its ability to capture and deliver information across a broad range of data sources, no matter what format it is, or where it resides. The software automates the discovery of data and helps employees navigate it with a single view across the enterprise, providing insights that drive better decision making.

IBM said the move to acquire Vivisimo accelerates IBM's big data analytics initiatives with advanced federated capabilities, allowing organizations to access, navigate, and analyze their structured and unstructured data without having to move it.

The combination of IBM's big data analytics capabilities with Vivisimo software will further IBM's efforts to automate the flow of data into business analytics applications, helping clients better understand consumer behavior, manage customer churn and network performance, detect fraud in real-time, and perform data-intensive marketing campaigns, the company said

"Navigating big data to uncover the right information is a key challenge for all industries," Arvind Krishna, general manager of information management for the IBM Software Group, said in a statement. "The winners in the era of big data will be those who unlock their information assets to drive innovation, make real-time decisions and gain actionable insights to be more competitive."

"Businesses need a faster and more accurate way to discover and navigate big data for analysis," said John Kealey, CEO of Vivisimo, also in a statement. "As part of IBM, we can bring clients the quickest and most accurate access to information necessary to drive growth initiatives that increase customer satisfaction, streamline processes and boost sales."

Boris Evelson, an analyst with Forrester Research, said his firm€™s research shows that 1 to 5 percent of all enterprise data is in a structured, modeled format. But he said there is a chicken-and-egg phenomenon at play.

€œBefore you can put your data into a structure, like a database, you need to understand what€™s out there and what structures do or may exist,€ Evelson said in a blog post. €œBut in order for you to explore the data in the first place, traditional data integration technologies require some structures to even start the exploration (like tables, columns, etc). So how do you explore something without a structure, without a model, without preconceived notions? That€™s where big data exploration and discovery technologies like Hadoop or Vivisimo (and many others, like Oracle Endeca, Attivio, Saffron Technology) come into play.€

Navigating Big Data to Uncover the Right Information Is a Key Challenge for Enterprises

IBM estimates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day from a variety of sources, including sensors, social media and billions of mobile devices around the world, making it difficult for businesses to navigate and analyze it.

IDC estimates the market for big data technology and services will grow at an annual rate of nearly 40 percent to reach $16.9 billion by 2015.

Vivisimo has more than a decade of experience and innovation in data navigation and visualization technologies for both structured and unstructured data. And Vivisimo€™s ability to index and search data across multiple repositories is a distinguishing capability, IBM said.

€œOnce you discover a pattern using a product like Vivisimo, you may need to productionalize or persist your findings in a traditional DW [data warehouse], and then build reports and dashboards for further analysis using traditional BI technologies,€ Evelson said. €œThis is where IBM may be looking to integrate Vivisimo with their InfoSphere and Cognos products.€

€œVivisimo€™s Velocity search complements IBM€™s analytic tools for discovering the information €˜nuggets€™ that are often obscured by the rapidly increasing volumes of corporate and associated social media data,€ said Mike Davis, a senior analyst at Ovum.

Vivisimo has more than 140 customers in industries such as government, life sciences, manufacturing, electronics, consumer goods and financial services. Clients include Airbus, U.S. Air Force, Social Security Administration, Defense Intelligence Agency, U.S. Navy, Procter & Gamble, Bupa and LexisNexis.

Upon the closing of the acquisition, approximately 120 Vivisimo employees will join IBM's Software Group. IBM will incorporate Vivisimo technology into its big data platform.

IBM's announcement of its plans to acquire Vivisimo comes just weeks after its last analytics acquisition. On April 13 IBM announced an agreement to acquire Varicent, a provider of analytics software for compensation and sales performance management solutions. IBM has made a host of prior analytics-related acquisitions, including Algorithmics, Clarity Systems, OpenPages, Cognos and SPSS.

IBM anticipates business-analytics revenue for the company will reach $16 billion by 2015. Big Blue has been building its R&D and acquisition assets to define this new business opportunity.

The IBM big data platform is based on the open-source Apache Hadoop framework, which enables applications to work with thousands of computational independent computers and petabytes of data. The IBM platform makes it easier for data-intensive applications to manage and analyze petabytes of big data by providing users with an integrated approach to analytics, helping them turn information into insights.

The IBM big data platform provides users with an array of advanced business analytics, Hadoop-based analytics, stream computing, data warehousing, integration, visualization, systems management, governance and consulting services.

IBM is expanding its big data platform to run on other distributions of Hadoop, beginning with Cloudera. Cloudera is a top contributor to the Hadoop development community, and an early provider of Hadoop-based systems to clients across a broad range of industries, including financial services, government, telecommunications, media, retail, energy and health care. As a result, Cloudera Hadoop clients can now take advantage of IBM's big data platform to perform complex analytics and build a new generation of software applications.

€œAs predicted in our 2012 Trends to Watch research, vendors are now clearly seeing the benefits of investing in tools to help organizations navigate big data,€ Ovum€™s Davis said. €œSince its inception, we€™ve highly rated the search technology from privately held Vivisimo. Cloudera is respected for providing not only a distribution of the open-source Hadoop platform for big data, but also for delivering the support, professional services and training that enterprises require before they will deploy open-source software.€


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