IBM Insight 2015, day 1: Business Partners and SPSS

Independent Consultant

At IBM Insight 2015, the busy conference week begins for many of us when the EXPO opens on the first night. But for the IBM Business Partner community, Insight 2015 began a day earlier. A portion of the Business Partners community plays a critical role in helping new users acquire IBM SPSS Modeler and helping them with their first implementations. Although this group of organizations is too large and diverse to completely describe in this post, here is an overview of the role they play. In addition, five of them are giving SPSS-related presentations at Insight 2015.

A community for predictive analytics

The Business Partner activities began with an award ceremony Saturday night and a special general session and keynote presentation on Sunday morning. Two themes that were emphasized were the emergence of the Internet of Things and bundled solutions. Solutions such as predictive maintenance and quality (PMQ) offer a powerful combination of several technologies. Determining when SPSS Modeler may be playing a role can be challenging, but generally it is involved in predictive analytics. Clearly, Insight 2015 is emphasizing many such solutions in the predictive analytics portfolio such as predictive customer intelligence (PCI) and IBM Safer Planet.

Craig Wacaser, sales executive at IBM, was asked about the Business Partner community. Wacaser’s team assists Business Partners in their efforts to increase the effective adoption of these technologies. He identified more than 70 SPSS Business Partners at Insight 2015, and among them more than two dozen have developed a significant SPSS Predictive Analytics Enterprise practice. An additional 20–30 are working with Wacaser and his team to build their predictive analytics consulting capability.

Wacaser was asked to describe what role his team plays in supporting these companies. “My team develops and supports the channel ecosystem in North America for SPSS Enterprise,” Wacaser said, “which includes Modeler and Modeler Gold—not SPSS Statistics. The SPSS Enterprise channel partner ecosystem expands the capability, breadth and reach of IBM SPSS Predictive Analytics in the market. SPSS channel partners provide tremendous skills to help customers purchase the right software solutions and optimize returns from their software investments. They also deliver consulting services to help integrate analytics with customers’ operational systems to enable customers to identify actionable insight to make the best business decisions.”

For those who may be new to SPSS, where do you go to acquire SPSS Modeler? What determines if you might want to seek out a Business Partner in your area or in a particular specialty to help you with your implementation of predictive analytics?

“Midmarket and some enterprise customers leverage SPSS partners for their capability to provide local and knowledgeable resources for predictive modeling services and training,” Wacaser said. “The IBM-stated direction is to sell most midmarket Modeler opportunities through the channel. SPSS channel partners provide very competitive consulting rates and unmatched project flexibility, and many have experience with specific analytics solutions and industry domains.” Partner presence

Dozens of Business Partners have a presence at the EXPO, and many are speaking about a variety of topics, but some of the talks that focus on SPSS are noteworthy. I’ve posted several blogs about SPSS talks presented by SPSS employees at Insight 2015.

Rex Washburn of eCapital Advisors and his co-presenters host “How a Digital Media Firm Uses PureData System for Analytics, Cognos and SPSS to Hone Creative Marketing.” ECapital is a well-established partner in the midwest that is leveraging its Cognos capabilities and expanding into predictive analytics.

Greg Bonnette of Ironside Group, a prominent partner in the northeast, is presenting “Real World Predictive Policing: Examining a Case of Predictive Policing Using Predictive Analytics” on Wednesday, 28 October 2015. The subject is in keeping with the theme of combining software technologies to provide a comprehensive solution. Ironside Group was among the award winners announced Saturday night.

Three other SPSS-related talks will be presented on Thursday, 29 October 2015. Steve Poulin, an SPSS trainer and consultant since the late 1990s, will be describing how he and his colleagues from Aviana used the combination of SPSS Modeler and Cognos TM1 to automate forecasts for the makers of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. Poulin said that there are 10,330 combinations of product types and locations to consider. To make the forecasts work, his team used the Python scripting feature in SPSS Modeler, and in his presentation Poulin explains the details.

John McDonald, CEO of CloudOne, a partner that has specialized in the Internet of Things, explains how SPSS played a role in a solution at Cummins in a presentation also taking place on Thursday. Then Ram Himmatraopet at Smarter Data, and I present a case study. This client reference looks at how we mentored a client team throughout their first SPSS Modeler implementation, so they can leverage their existing resources to overcome the limits of time, resources, and budget. Medium-sized businesses frequently run into these limitations when they take on the challenge of predictive analytics. In the presentation Himmatraopet explains how his agile approach to the problem can apply to many client situations.

Also, Keith McCormick, an independent data-mining consultant, trainer and author, will hold a book signing at the conference bookstore on Wednesday, and he is speaking on Thursday. Learn more about predictive analytics, statistical analysis and IBM analytics resources.