Predictive business: Tools for bending the future in your direction

Big Data Evangelist, IBM

Predictive business: Tools for bending the future in your directionThe future is always a gamble.

Businesses are always wagering that the odds are in their favor. Or, if the likelihood of success of their next product launch or channel strategy is in serious doubt, organizations focus intently on strategies for swinging the risk versus reward tables in their direction.

You can’t sustain a successful business on luck alone. You need to cultivate predictive smarts and infuse predictive tools throughout the organization, from the executive level on down. Predictive strategies, and the analytics to back them up, must pervade every level of operations. Your marketing team needs to have confidence that the consumer demand they’re counting on will in fact materialize. Your manufacturing teams needs confidence that the skilled personnel and raw materials they require will be available in sufficient quantities at the right time, place and price to fulfill orders. Your financial team needs predictive confidence, grounded in historical data and evidence-based forecasts, to give them confidence that factor costs and currency exchange rates won’t eat up all of your profit when you bring your new offering to market.

High-quality predictive analytics, statistical modeling and data mining tools are the heart of a well-run modern organization. In a blog a few years ago, I examined the role of predictive modeling in building confidence in business decisions. Organizations of all sizes, in all sectors and geographies, are using these tools to drive evidence-based predictions into the full range of business processes, operations and decision points. Not just that, but the technology has been eagerly embraced by a new breed of data scientists as their core power tools for sifting through big data to find historical trends, chart alternate predictive scenarios, drive real-world experiments, flag potential risks and identify new opportunities.

As discussed in this recent Forrester Wave, you can source predictive analytics tools from a wide range of providers, including IBM, which, I should note, remains a market leader, in the estimation of this independent analyst and market research firm. If you haven’t yet chosen a provider of predictive analytics tools, you’ll find this Forrester report an excellent tool for clarifying your business priorities and shortlisting the available commercial offerings.

If you’re already using a predictive modeling tool, be it from a commercial source or an open source community, this report will help you assess whether you’ve made the right decision and, if need be, whether it might make sense to consider alternatives. Even if you’re fully invested and committed to a strategic provider of predictive tools, the Wave will help you assess where that vendor—or another source—stands in today’s fiercely competitive market in terms of features, usability, price and other key solution attributes.

Download The Forrester Wave: Big Data Predictive Analytics Solutions, Q2 2015