Chief takeaways from the IBM DataFirst Launch Event

Big Data Evangelist, IBM

IBM hosted an exciting event for data and analytics leaders and practitioners this week in New York. At the IBM DataFirst Launch Event, we unveiled new solutions, tools, and approaches for organizations to transform themselves through cognitive computing.

Before a packed audience of customers and partners in Manhattan’s fast-developing Hudson Yards neighborhood, IBM made several announcements that mark a new milestone in the development of team-based data science as a new business differentiator. Specifically, we announced the industry’s first cloud-based self-service platform that can simplify and accelerate the process of integrating all data types to drive cognitively powered decision making.

With the focus clearly on powering team-based data science, the chief takeaways from the event were the following announcements:

  • IBM Project DataWorks with Watson: This is a new cloud-based platform that simplifies and automates data-driven business innovation. Available on IBM’s Bluemix platform and demonstrated at the event, DataWorks provides a self-service environment for teams of data scientists, data engineers, and other professionals to collaboratively develop, iterate, and deploy sophisticated AI, cognitive computing, machine learning, and other advanced analytics. It enables data professionals to rapidly discover, collect and organize data from all sources; share common datasets and models; and ensure strong data security and governance. It includes role-focused user experiences, which enable individual data professionals—such as data scientists, data engineers, and application developers--to put data to work in an environment built for their particular skill levels and responsibilities. It also includes solution Blueprints, which package the integration and smarts for specific scenarios—such as data lakes—thereby simplifying development and speeding time to value.
  • IBM Data Science Experience (DSX): Announced this past June and now in open beta, this is an integrated development environment for data scientists. Integrated closely with DataWorks, DSX is a cloud-based, self-service, social workspace that helps data scientists consolidate their use of and collaborate across multiple open source tools such as R, Python, and Apache Spark. It provides productivity tools to accelerate data scientists’ creation of cognitive, predictive, machine learning, and other advanced analytics for cloud-based deployment. It also include a rich catalog of learning resources for teams of data-science professionals to deepen their understanding of tools, techniques, languages, methodologies, and other key success enablers. 
  • DataFirst Method: This is a new consultative methodology that enables companies to assess their readiness and chart a roadmap to becoming a cognitive business. IBM’s more than 2,000 global practitioners use the DataFirst Method to help clients transform their processes for data discovery, handling and analytics. The method can help clients with every phase of their data maturity, from efficiency all the way to modernization, democratization, and monetization.

Demonstrating broad community support for these announcements was the wide range of IBM business partners present at the event. The open partner ecosystem surrounding DataWorks includes Continuum Analytics, Galvanize, Alation, NumFOCUS, RStudio, and Skymind. Many of these were demoing their offerings at the event and several discussed their roadmaps in the main session and in video interviews being conducted in conjunction with the event. Likewise, IBM customers are already tapping into the benefits of IBM Project DataWorks with Watson, with many of them available that evening to discuss their plans and experiences. Customers RSG Media and Delhaize America spoke in the main session.

For more information and perspective on these announcements, please visit these digital resources: