Putting IBM's Watson Analytics to Work—From Law to Universities

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Putting IBM's Watson Analytics to Work—From Law to Universities

More than 1 million users have signed up for IBM's Watson Analytics since its launch. We highlight several examples of how the service is being put to use.

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One of the Asia-Pacific region's largest multinational law firms, MinterEllison is using Watson Analytics to identify new business opportunities. The company is integrating and analyzing financial data from the Australian Stock Exchange with client performance data, and in doing so, is uncovering correlations between a slowdown in revenue generation from several clients with a slowdown in their particular industry sector. Watson Analytics is also able to help identify which industries would be more profitable for the firm to enter, which has led it to redirect resources to pursue more profitable client opportunities.

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Mears Group

A social-housing repair and health care provider in the UK, Mears Group is using Watson Analytics to analyze injury reports to improve safety for its workers. The company maintains a database of more than 600 million records, including accident reports on injuries, which it recently moved into Watson Analytics to identify correlations that would lead to safer working conditions. Using natural-language processing, Mears Group followed different lines of questions to reveal where, how and when its operatives and caregivers were sustaining a disproportionate amount of injuries and near-miss events. The senior health and safety team used the analysis to develop its health and safety strategy for the next 12 months, with specific task teams made accountable for newly identified areas of concern. Watson Analytics is now part of the quarterly agenda for the health and safety meetings, covering all...

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Caliber Patient Care

Caliber provides patient transport services for clients between their homes and hospices, hospitals and treatment facilities. With more than 30 franchisees across the United States, the company's drivers cover 75,000 miles per month, with data on each trip tracked in Caliber's fleet management system. The company recently moved that data into Watson Analytics to help identify new routes and processes that could be implemented to cut costs and optimize travel time. Watson Analytics helped Caliber Patient Care more quickly identify the cause of missed revenue and enabled the company to make data-driven decisions about company policies that will help it charge for the missed miles. As a result, Caliber expects to earn an additional $750,000 in revenue by year's end.

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Paschall Truck Lines (PTL)

PTL, based in Murray, Ky., is looking to Watson Analytics to build predictive models that will help the trucking company identify reasons that lead to employee churn and geospatial turnover before it happens. The company processes 5,000 applications and hires 200 drivers per month, collecting data on everything from a driver's past experience and work history to geolocations and more. By moving that data into Watson Analytics, hiring managers will be able to draw correlations between hiring areas and retention terms, and will look for insights on the performance of their drivers that will lead them to restructure hiring patterns, reduce turnover and increase retention.

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Kristalytics, a marketing analytics company, is identifying trends in consumer behavior and building customized reports for its clients using Watson Analytics' prediction and data visualization capabilities. By integrating and analyzing a mix of client revenue data with publicly available consumer data, the team provides deep insights on market behavior that its clients can use to inform their marketing strategies. The company recently moved its data into Watson Analytics to help build predictions and gain new insights that it could share with clients, and it immediately identified reasons behind one client's underperformance: Watson Analytics drew correlations between gender, age and proprietary Kristalytics data that showed that the client was underperforming with males.

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Mueller, a manufacturer of metal roofing doing business across the central and southwest United States, is using Watson Analytics to improve and streamline its revenue forecasting. Before using Watson Analytics, the company used a manual review process to develop revenue projections, which proved to be inaccurate and time-consuming. By moving its revenue analysis into Watson Analytics, Mueller was able to add more variables into the equation—including invoice data, the number of ongoing projects and even the number of phone calls it received to develop more accurate forecasts, faster. The insight that the organization has gained has enabled a realignment of staffing for projects in real time to remain within budget.

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Benco Dental

Benco Dental, a U.S. dental supply distributor, is using the natural language querying power of Watson Analytics to determine the effectiveness of specific promotional programs and to disprove its long-held belief in traditional marketing tactics. By uploading its sales data into Watson Analytics, Benco Dental found that its sales structure was not compelling customers to buy its products. This led to an initiative to redefine pricing strategy for its entire inventory. Watson Analytics was able to unearth hidden insights that were simply out of reach due to the volume of sales data and provide visualizations that the dental supplier can present to colleagues to validate recommendations.

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Legends, a hospitality and planning services firm for professional and college sporting events, uses Watson Analytics to gain fast insights on the performance of its concession stands and make real-time adjustments to sales strategies. By uploading data on transaction times, attendance, number of stands open and even the weather, Legends was able to get a better understanding of which factors were driving success at its most successful stands. Legends is using this data to standardize the most successful sales practices across all of its stands to increase sales.

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University of Connecticut

UConn is integrating Watson Analytics into several MBA courses taught by Professor Girish Punj, including Digital Marketing and Big Data and Strategy Marketing classes, to teach future marketing professionals how to analyze data without the help of a data scientist. With Watson Analytics, students are learning how to build long-term marketing plans based on insights that they are extracting from sources including Facebook and Twitter.

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University of West Florida

The University of West Florida is integrating Watson Analytics into a Healthcare Informatics class to conduct data analysis on an asthma data set and a data set covering EPA reports across all 67 Florida counties. Through advanced data visualization and natural language processing, students are also learning how to uncover insights on correlations between behavior and obesity, which they could use to make more informed recommendations about how to treat patients in the real world.

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Iowa State University

Iowa State University is integrating Watson Analytics into a series of management information systems classes to teach students how to leverage social media sentiment to make more informed decisions about sales offerings and product lifecycle management. Using Twitter sentiment analysis available through Watson Analytics, students are uncovering relationships between Twitter discussions and sales data that they can use to adjust marketing campaigns in real time.

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University of Memphis

The University of Memphis' Fogelman College of Business and Economics has hundreds of undergraduate students using Watson Analytics as part of their initial introduction to business analytics as a component of the required Critical Thinking and Project Management course. With guided data discovery, Watson Analytics allows students with different analytical backgrounds, from advanced to novice, to quickly unveil insights and build advanced visualizations.

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Northwestern University

Northwestern University is building Watson Analytics into the curriculum of its Predictive Analytics, Marketing Mix Models and Entertainment Marketing classes to help its students build visualizations and learn about social media sentiment analysis. Students are analyzing data provided by an online retailer, using manual analysis before moving the data sets into Watson Analytics. By comparing results, they are learning to remove personal bias from their analysis while learning to communicate their results with advanced visualizations.

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Auburn University

At Auburn University, Professor Dianne Hall is integrating Watson Analytics into the university's introductory statistics class, a required course for every business student, as well as several other predictive modeling and big data courses. Students are learning to analyze social media data from Twitter as well as real-life data sets from across the university using data visualizations to better interpret their results.

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The College of William and Mary

Students at The College of William and Mary are using Watson Analytics in Professor Dorothea La Abraham's Developing Business Intelligence course and as a Health Analytics module in a health-focused business course. Prof. Abraham is building lesson plans using sample data and workbooks available through Big Data University, allowing her students to explore the data through natural language processing.

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8 Reasons to Consider Open-Source Databases for Your Business

Over the past decade, the database market has undergone a transformation that affects both the IT and the finance departments. In fact, as data becomes increasingly vital to business success, some of the most enduring collaborations in many organizations are being formed between finance (which must keep data management on budget) and IT (which must manage the data effectively). These teams are increasingly working together to streamline IT operations and make IT more efficient, freeing up financial resources that can be applied to other areas of the business. In particular, the cost of infrastructure, especially of databases, has been seen as a capital expenditure that may be better spent elsewhere within the organization. Historically, expensive commercial databases have dominated the data management landscape, but this adoption of open-source database systems is growing rapidly. This eWEEK...
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