IBM, Twitter Deliver Data Services for Business Pros, Developers

IBM and Twitter launched a set of new data services that merge Twitter data with IBM's Watson Analytics.

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Building on their landmark partnership announced in October, IBM and Twitter announced several new cloud-data services to help businesses more efficiently listen to consumer Twitter conversations to identify insights and to make better business decisions.

By merging Twitter data with Watson Analytics, users can more easily identify and explain hidden patterns and relationships, the companies said. Bluemix, IBM’s cloud-based developer environment combined with Twitter, will help developers and entrepreneurs create a variety of social data-enabled apps.

The IBM and Twitter partnership aims to help enterprise clients apply social data to business decisions. More than 100 customers are using the software in early engagements.

IBM said Twitter is like no other data source in the world. It is a real-time, public, conversational and global information platform where voices from around the world are speaking about every topic imaginable.

“The unprecedented partnership between IBM and Twitter helps businesses tap into billions of real-time conversations to make smarter decisions,” said Glenn Finch, global leader of Big Data & Analytics for IBM Global Business Services, in a statement. “Through unique expertise, curation and insights Twitter data is now able to inform decision-making far inside organizations.

IBM said it is able to isolate important information from “noise” on Twitter by enriching and analyzing Twitter data in combination with millions of data points from other streams of public and business data – such as weather forecasts, sales information and product inventory stats. This helps to uncover powerful correlations that drive more actionable insights.

“So much of business decision making relies on internal data such as sales, promotion and inventory. Now with Twitter data, customer feedback can easily be incorporated into decision making,” said Chris Moody, vice president of Data Strategy at Twitter, in a statement. “IBM’s unique capabilities can help businesses leverage this valuable data, and we expect to see rapid demand in retail, telecommunications, finance and more.”

The new IBM analytics services on the cloud will help businesses and developers create social data-enabled apps, merge predictive analytics with Twitter data and more easily analyze Twitter data, the companies said. Also, by automating the steps of data curation, predictive analysis and visual storytelling, Watson Analytics gives users the ability to immediately pull Twitter data into any project in order identify and explain hidden patterns and relationships. Bluemix also enables users to combine Twitter data with IBM’s Enterprise Hadoop-as-a-Service offering.

Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, said he believes the IBM/Twitter partnership is significant for both companies. “As we've seen before -- notably with the Apple partnership -- IBM carries an enterprise imprimatur that most other vendors can only dream of. As a result of this deal and the seriousness of the collaboration, Twitter should be able to gain entry to a host of new large- scale prospects. But the deal should also allow IBM to prove that it is far more than a purveyor of traditional business computing solutions and services. Truly unlocking the value of Twitter data is critically important for both the company's finances and its credibility as an innovator.”

Dave Schubmehl, a research director at IDC noted that the partnership opens up many opportunities for both IBM and Twitter to use Twitter data to gain insights in many areas for IBM’s enterprise customers.

More than 4,000 IBM professionals now have access to Twitter data and are trained to enrich the data with analytics capabilities from IBM industry solutions and cloud-based services, IBM said.

IBM seems to be taking this very seriously, Schubmehl said. “IBM and Twitter announced this partnership at the end of October and in a little over four months, they’re got over 100 client engagements and thousands of their services people trained on developing - insights using Twitter,” he noted.