Distinguish your business: Compete by driving real-time, high quality insights

Worldwide Portfolio Marketing Manager, IBM z Systems Big Data and Analytics, IBM

IBM Insight 2015 included a new session format called the “super” session: bigger than a breakout but smaller than a keynote, these 500-seat sessions were added to the agenda to enable additional points of view to be expressed at the conference.

The IBM z Systems super session was focused on describing use cases, backed by client success stories, where the integration of analytics directly into operational systems can help businesses excel with superior customer service as they begin their journey into the Cognitive Era.

It’s rather hard to put on a show in Vegas without at least a little entertainment, so the z Systems team kicked off their session with a little acoustic number by Australian indie band The Preatures, who would later entertain over 1,500 Insight attendees at the annual Rock the Mainframe event that evening.

Getting down to business, IBM z Systems General Manager Ross Mauri opened the session with some thoughts on what it takes to make customer service truly stand out in the Cognitive Era. Forward-looking analytics, deeply embedded into operational systems, is one of the keys to success. After challenging data scientists to take a hard look at why they feel it’s necessary to spend up to 80 percent of their time moving data around for analysis, Ross turned the program over to a set of speakers who showed the sort of results that are being achieved by analyzing z Systems data in-place, without the cost or security exposure of moving that data somewhere else for analysis.

Each segment of the session began with a business provocation, and these provocations became increasingly complex—and valuable—as the session progressed.

What if you could have your questions answered now?

Namik Hrle, IBM Distinguished Engineer and CTO of z Systems Analytics, spoke about how z Systems has been delighting business analysts for years by delivering near-instantaneous insights into current and historical data combined. A short video featuring Swiss Re, The Fillmore Group, Swiss Mobiliar and Banca Carige illustrated how these and many more clients are achieving success by keeping z Systems data in-place for analysis using the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator appliance.

What if you could continuously change the rules?

Many banks use rules-based systems to help combat fraud. But success depends on being able to adjust those rules frequently to keep up with new fraud schemes. Considering the huge volumes of data held by most banks, moving this data for analysis cannot produce insights in the time frame required. Jeeban Panigrahi, Vice President and Lead Architect, Barclays UK, explained why Barclays chose in-place analysis with the DB2 Analytics Accelerator over both traditional and big data (Hadoop) distributed analysis options.

What if you could always anticipate your customer needs?

Namik returned to the stage to talk about how IBM worked with Petrol, a major European oil supplier and retailer, on a first-of-a-kind project using new advanced analytics features of the DB2 Analytics Accelerator. The ability to build predictive models without moving data allows Petrol to be very accurate in real-time, point-of-sale suggest-sell recommendations. Earlier work with Petrol on z Systems-based analysis resulted in a 5 percent increase in top-line revenue; Petrol expects to drive an even greater margin with this new technology.

What if you could gain insights from all your data, with ease?

Can this concept of analyzing data in-place hold if all the data required is not in the same place? Yes, it can! The answer is Apache Spark, and Mythili Venkatakrishnan, IBM Senior Technical Staff, z Systems Analytics Technology and Architecture Lead, explained how Spark is being brought to both the IBM z/OS and Linux on z Systems environments. She showed a very compelling demo illustrating how data from z/OS, Linux on z and distributed sources can be combined to deliver valuable real-time business insights without any of the data having to be moved from its point of origin.

What if you could predictively alter every transaction?

Most transactional service-level agreements are so tight it is assumed that a predictive analysis cannot be executed in real time while a transaction is still in flight. Dr. Michael Zeller, Co-Founder and CEO of IBM Business Partner Zementis, showed how Zementis on z Systems can integrate with existing transactional systems and deliver predictive insights within mere milliseconds—allowing any transactional system to be transformed into a decision management system.

Ross concluded by summarizing the talk, introducing other new capabilities that were not discussed and giving out a few backstage passes to meet The Preatures. Overall, it was a very fast-paced, content-rich session that established the role z Systems has to play as our clients begin their transformations in the Cognitive Era.

For more details, take a look at this session replay, and find out more about Apache Spark.