IBM has dipped into its bag of technologies and come up with a new cloud-based data solution that very well may be a winner.
IBM introduced an effort known as Project DataWorks, which is a Watson-based initiative that taps the cognitive capabilities of IBM’s Watson to help users integrate all types of data and make more informed, artificial intelligence-enhanced decisions.
Big Blue has a knack for integrating technologies from its vast portfolio of older, legacy resources along with new innovations and open-source components. The Project DataWorks platform is meant to simplify the process of collecting, organizing, governing and securing data for everyday users.
“In essence, the DataWorks project is designed to ingest and integrate all types of data, make it easy to collect, organize, govern and secure information for projects, and enable enhanced decision making with IBM’s cognitive-assisted artificial intelligence (AI) tools and services,” said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, in the Pund-IT review newsletter.
The new solution automates the deployment of all types of data on the IBM Cloud using machine learning and Apache Spark.
“We are at an inflection point with data and analytics,” said Bob Picciano, senior vice president of IBM Analytics, in a statement. “We know that clients spend up to 80 percent of their time on data preparation, no matter the task, even when they are preparing to take advantage of today’s advanced AI and machine learning approaches. Project DataWorks helps transform this challenge by tapping into cognitive capabilities to integrate all data sources on one common platform, enabling individuals to get the data ready for insight and action, faster than ever before.”
Indeed, getting the proper insights from reams of data is the hard part for organizations seeking a competitive advantage. They typically would require the work of a team of data scientists to glean insights from their data.
However, Project DataWorks can help businesses overcome these limitations by connecting all data and insights for their users. The solution enables users to work together on an integrated, self-service platform, sharing common datasets.
In addition to Project DataWorks, IBM also introduced its new DataFirst Method. The IBM DataFirst Method is a methodology that enables organizations to assess the skills and roadmap needed to transform into a cognitive business that is driven by insight. Picciano said IBM’s more than 2,000 big data practitioners will use the method in client engagements.
The DataFirst Method is a blend of practical applications and strategic messaging around IBM cognitive computing, Pund-IT’s King told eWEEK.
“The company is one of few vendors talking about the subject of cognitive computing—most others discuss similar offerings in terms of advanced analytics, AI, machine/deep learning, etc. So it’s important for IBM to be hands on in ensuring customers understand what cognitive means and how it can be implemented to benefit their businesses. IBM says there are 2,000-plus global services pros involved in the effort but I expect they’ll spend a good deal, at least initially, of time evangelizing Project DataWorks and educating customers about its central value proposition.”
IBM Launches Watson-Based Project DataWorks
Project DataWorks is available on Bluemix, IBM’s Cloud platform. “That means it can be accessed from virtually anywhere and easily configured to support most business processes, strategies or use cases,” King said. “DataWorks also leverages a number of innovative open source technologies, including Apache Spark, as well as IBM Watson Analytics and IBM Data Science Experience.”
Because of its use of Watson cognitive computing along with machine learning and Apache Spark, IBM said Project DataWorks can ingest data from 50 to hundreds of gigabytes per second, and can accept any type of data including data from enterprise databases, internet of things data, weather data and social media.
IBM launched the Project DataWorks effort with an ecosystem of more than 20 partners and technologies, such as Confluent, Continuum Analytics, Galvanize, Alation, NumFOCUS, RStudio, Skymind and others.
“IBM noted that DataWorks was designed with the same approach used by The Weather Channel, whose digital assets IBM acquired last October,” King said in his newsletter. “Those include a flexible data architecture, rapid ingestion of multiple data sources and Internet-scale data processing and analytics complemented by IBM’s Watson cognitive technologies and services.”
Meanwhile, companies such as Dimagi, KollaCode, nViso, Quetzal, RSG Media, Runkeeper, SeniorAdvisor.com and TabTor Math are already tapping into the benefits of Project DataWorks. Some of them were on hand at IBM’s launch event in New York for the project.
“Runkeeper, now part of the ASICS family, is committed to providing a highly personalized experience for each of our 50 million global users to help them achieve their fitness goals,” said Jason Jacobs, founder of Runkeeper, in a statement. “Project DataWorks offers a comprehensive cloud-based data and analytics platform that provides the perfect environment for us to experiment with and roll out new offerings for our users.”
In addition, RSG Media, a provider of analytical software and services to media and entertainment companies, is using Project DataWorks to perform analytics across first- and third-party data sets. These include monitoring cross-platform content and advertising viewership, and identifying individual viewing behaviors while cross-analyzing demographic, lifestyle and social insights, IBM said. RSG Media’s goal is to help its clients gain greater insights on audience preferences and develop optimized programming schedules.
“We realized that we needed more than just a cloud infrastructure provider,” said Mukesh Sehgal, founder and CEO of RSG Media, in a statement. “We needed a partner to help us manage data on an unprecedented scale, and empower our clients to turn that data into insight. IBM is the only cloud vendor who offers an integrated set of capabilities for building advanced analytics applications that would allow us to quickly and cost-effectively bring new offerings to market.”