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IBM Insight 2015: Analytic insights for the entire spectrum of users

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Program Director, Analytics Platform Marketing, IBM

To derive business value from data, you need to extract insight from it—and to do that, you need analytics. That’s why analytics will be front and center at IBM Insight 2015. I think one of the key takeaways from the conference will be the rich variety of analytics that’s available to apply to different types of data in various ways, depending on the problem you need to solve or the insight you’re hoping to glean.

I recently heard an IBM executive talking about analytics as analogous to everyday thinking, in the sense that analytics offers multiple ways of understanding data and getting insight from it, just we all have numerous ways of thinking and considering information. For example, there’s the kind of thinking you do when you’re sitting by a stream on vacation and contemplating what you want to be doing in 20 years. And that’s not at all like the kind of thinking you do when you’re sitting at your desk on a Monday and deciding what you’ll be doing at 3 o’clock.

As different as those two kinds of thinking may be, they’re similar in one important way; they’re both concerned with looking ahead and making informed decisions. And that’s what predictive analytics is all about: taking the information that’s available to you and applying it to assess what’s likely to happen in the future. That assessment can then lead to actions that yield important benefits for your organization. 

In predictive analytics, much of the data that’s analyzed and the insights that are applied to forecast the future actually come from the past, through the examination of historical data. That’s comparable to the kind of thinking you do when you’re trying to get a sense of what your life has meant so far, as well as the thinking you do on the commute home from work about the day you had and what you learned from it. In both cases, the insights you have will influence what you do next. http://www.ibmbigdatahub.com/sites/default/files/analyticsinsight_embed.jpg

Somewhere between future predictions and past experiences is what’s happening right now. In analytics, that’s the world of real time, when data flowing in from a source is being analyzed on the fly to help with an immediate decision. And that could be about anything, from what offer to make a customer on a website, to how to distribute energy optimally in the moment on the smart grid. 

The point is that analytics works in several ways, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish and which tools you have at your disposal. It’s also challenging, because today there are so many different kinds of people who use data in their work. For example, there are data scientists who need tools that enable them to dive deeply into the mechanics of analytics, and there are everyday business users who need tools that support insights without requiring a deep understanding of the underlying technology. 

One great strength of the IBM Analytics platform is the breadth of analytics it supports to address the entire spectrum of users and their needs. We offer an open platform that enables organizations to tap into the best of open source solutions and integrate those into their environments as well. And you’ll have the opportunity to see it all at work when you register to join us at IBM Insight 2015