Be essential, be brilliant and be bold

Business Analytics announcements at Insight 2014

VP, Products and Solutions, Business Analytics, IBM

The customers and Business Partners I’ve been speaking with at Insight 2014 have had a lot to say about the trends they see in the marketplace. It’s been gratifying to learn that they, too, recognize the convergence of cloud, new design paradigms and advances in analytics—and know that this means that data-driven decisions can now be an essential daily activity for everyone in their organizations.

I’m pleased to say that the announcements we’ve made at Insight this year have underscored this point.  BA has made our enhancements to our entire portfolio over the past few quarters, and will be continuing that momentum with several new key announcements this week. And we continue to invest in developing solutions designed to address the biggest challenges customers face in their role and in their industry—or “solutions with an opinion,” as I like to call them.

In this post, though, I’d like to highlight three announcements that show how the combination of cloud technologies, new approaches to design and analytic advances will benefit our customers.


Bringing business intelligence to the cloud

IBM Cognos Business Intelligence has long been a market leader, and more than 100 sessions, hands-on labs and design studio sessions at Insight were crammed with people wanting to see what’s new and what’s coming for this product suite. The latest release (v10.2.2), available November 21, offers capabilities to streamline report creation, empower users with increased personalization and allow IT to meet the self-service needs of a diverse group of business users. In addition to its reporting, dashboarding, collaborative and mobile capabilities, Cognos Business Intelligence can also include predictive analytics, and we’ve seen a number of businesses benefit from these forward-looking capabilities.

The big news is that, in 2015, we plan to make Cognos Business Intelligence available on the cloud, enabling organizations to extend their capabilities throughout the enterprise in agile and cost-effective ways. Businesses can quickly use the insights gained from cloud-based analytics solutions to implement innovative new services, drive corporate performance and manage governance, risk and compliance. Developers can leverage analytic services, such as reporting, in their applications through Bluemix, IBM’s leading cloud application platform.

Putting predictive analytics everywhere

IBM SPSS Modeler Gold on Cloud, available November 18, enables organizations to extend predictive analytics capabilities across the enterprise easily and cost-effectively so that more people in more places can uncover hidden patterns and relationships in data to guide decision making. Our clients have achieved fantastic results using our predictive analytics suite, but have been hampered by bringing analytics to the masses. Those with extended operations are the most likely to see the value in cloud deployment, but the agility and cost-effectiveness of cloud deployment will also likely appeal to our current and prospective midmarket customers.

And there’s more: to help organizations take better advantage of the extensive array of data available to them, we are adding new algorithms purpose-built for analysis at a massive scale. Looking ahead, we plan to bring in geo-spatial analytics to integrate, explore and model location and time data to make sense of new data sources.

Finding what matters most to your business

One of the focal points of the conference is IBM Watson Analytics, which was first announced in September and is in beta testing now. This new cloud-based service brings a world of advanced analytics to all business users. It provides a full range of predictive analytics and storytelling, including access to easy-to-use data refinement and data warehousing services, making it easier for business users to acquire, prepare, analyze and visualize data—uncovering actionable insights in relatable business terms.

Clients who’ve beta tested Watson Analytics spoke to the changes it will make possible in their organizations. For example, C Spire Wireless and insurer Ameritas have described how Watson Analytics could help them give more people in their organizations the ability to analyze customer and operational data to inform on-the-spot decisions.

IBM has announced that the core capabilities of Watson Analytics will be available at no charge so that individuals can discover for themselves how easy it is to discover useful insights from their data. Additional storage and analytic capabilities will be available at various price points.

Putting you ahead of the pack

One of the great pleasures of working at IBM is having such a wealth of research capabilities available, both during the software development process and throughout the marketing, sales and services phases of our interactions with clients. Here, I’d like to point to a study on analytics, released at Insight by our colleagues in the IBM Institute for Business Value. 

The study, “Analytics: The Speed Advantage,” points out that some organizations (what it calls “front runners”) do things differently from their competitive peers. They have implemented technologies and business models to acquire, analyze and act on data with speed and agility. They have honed their data management and analysis processes, enabled employees to access and act on insights at every opportunity and begun to transform their organizations through end-to-end actions that combine digital interactions with business process re-invention. Because of this, their performance far outpaces that of other organizations.

That’s exactly what I hope you’ll use our business analytics products and solutions for—to give your organization the kind of widespread analytical power that will lead to superior performance, allowing you to be essential to your customers and partners, be brilliant in the ways you find and use insight and be bold in your business strategies and tactics.