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Analytics Enable Businesses and Bring Dreams to Life

Senior Director, Product Marketing, Analytics, Netezza, an IBM Company

I’m pretty jazzed about what I do because analytics truly drives business – unlike most IT solutions, analytics helps increase the top line (revenue), not just reducing the bottom line (cost). But I was recently blown away as I read an article in the MIT Technology Review magazine entitled, The TR35, that highlighted the magazine’s top 35 innovators under the age of 35. Many of the top 35 innovators leveraged analytics to produce their award-winning technologies and businesses.

We typically associate analytics with the high-tech computing industry. But Paul Wicks’ healthcare-related social network company, PatientsLikeMe, use analytics to help patients with serious conditions gain greater insight. In addition to providing patients with access to tools normally reserved for physicians, the PatientsLikeMe site provides “algorithms that can predict, from the progression of the disease and other factors, how long someone is likely to live.” Broad access to analytics in healthcare is changing the lives of thousands of people.

Gert Lanckriet uses analytics to classify the mood associated with music. He wants computers to tell us if a song is considered happy or sad, and the application of this technology is vast. For example, this classification could be added to popular internet search engines so that people could find energizing music during workouts or romantic music during candlelight dinners. Lanckriet is also researching how this might be used with smart phones. He adds more data to train his music classification algorithm through a Facebook game called Herd It. If you get a chance you should try it out!

June Andronick is working at Australia’s national IT research center (NICTA) to “use mathematical analysis to prove that a piece of software is reliable”. Andronick wants to apply this analytics technique to elevate the reliability of computer chips used in medical devices, vehicles, and operating systems. She believes these algorithms could help fight cyber-crime by detecting and blocking unauthorized commands.

These innovators, and many more profiled in The TR35 article, are pushing the envelope of analytics by combining their passion, creativity and domain expertise. IBM Netezza customers have also used their creativity, passion and expertise to transform their businesses with analytics. If you are interested in an in-depth case study, I recommend reading a recent report by Forrester Research, The Total Economic Impact Of IBM’s Netezza Data Warehouse Appliance With Advanced Analytics. This report explores the application and results of analytics on Epsilon’s (a multichannel marketing services provider) business. All of these examples show the power of analytics – it’s the reason I love my job!