IBM, Datawatch Team Up on Data Preparation for Watson Analytics

With Datawatch Monitor, citizen analysts can now tap the power of cognitive computing by feeding data into IBM's Watson Analytics.

IBM Watson

IBM and Datawatch, a maker of self-service data preparation and visualization tools, have teamed up 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 will resell Datawatch Monitor, which enables so-called citizen analysts by making it easy to access, manipulate and blend data from a variety of sources.

With Datawatch Monarch, IBM Watson Analytics and Cognos Analytics users can quickly prepare data and gain insight from almost any information source—from traditional databases to multi-structured documents, such as PDF and text reports, Web pages, JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) and log files, said Robin Grosset, IBM distinguished engineer and chief architect of IBM Watson Analytics.

"This partnership is driven by some interesting patterns that are occurring in the industry," Grosset told eWEEK. "What we're seeing is while organizations really love their enterprise data warehouses and using evidence-based decision-making, what's happening is they want to start pulling in more types of information. And often the key differentiation or key business insights are held in types of storage or unstructured means that aren't in their enterprise data warehouse. And they're not part of the corpus of information that's easily acceptable to everyday people."

Data that had previously been inaccessible or locked away can now be rapidly prepared for analysis using Datawatch, Grosset said.

"What we're seeing is people want to use different types of data in combination to come up with novel insights," Grosset noted. "And what Datawatch and their Monarch tool enables is your line-of-business, your knowledge worker to pull in data that could be on their desktop in a spreadsheet. It could even be in a PDF document or a JSON document, and they want to pull that in and start to do analysis on it. That's become a really predominant use case."

Datawatch Monarch enables users to place a file or document on a prep canvas, and the tool will make the data available in rows and columns. It features more than 80 pre-built functions to transform and manipulate data. The tool also enables users to combine disparate data types for analysis.

"Datawatch's intuitive self-service data preparation technology was specifically designed for the everyday business user and is a perfect complement to IBM's modern business intelligence system," Michael Morrison, president and CEO of Datawatch, said in a statement. "Users can now spend their time in high-value analytic activities and harness the full power of IBM's cognitive capabilities to derive new insights that have the potential to innovate and transform their business."

Meanwhile, Grosset stated that the pattern in the industry with data discovery is that more and more it's not the professional analysts doing the initial analysis; it's the everyday people in an organization. These are often managers of departments. They have some data and they want to understand it better. These types of individuals—these knowledge workers—have an idea but they need to base their decision-making on some evidence. So they pull all the data together with their corporate information and they can start to make correlations to prove or disprove their hypotheses, he said.