Want to compete? Master the data renaissance

General Manager, IBM Data and AI, IBM

If you joined us or tuned in for IBM’s Fast Track Your Data broadcast from Munich last week, you heard us talk about the history of cars – a most appropriate location for the discussion. After all, the first car – the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, which looked like a large, rickety tricycle – was built in Germany in 1885.  But it wasn’t until Henry Ford and the assembly line over twenty years later that the automobile was advanced enough to gain mass appeal – and transform the world. 

We’re now at a similar defining moment in the history of data.  Just like we can’t go through life today without cars, we have now reached the moment where businesses simply can’t compete without mastering data and machine learning.  Today, companies must be tech companies, and companies must be data companies. The data renaissance is here – and IBM is leading the way.

We’ve known for a long time that advances in data science and machine learning have the potential to dramatically change how we do business. But until now, even as data became the most valuable asset for established businesses, most people didn’t have tools to efficiently access it, analyze it, and use it.  Now, we’re at the start of a data renaissance where data science is available to everyone, just as Henry Ford’s assembly line did for the automobile.  

At IBM’s Fast Track Your Data broadcast, host Kate Silverton and I talked about some of the tools IBM is debuting in five essential areas of analytics that define the data renaissance.

First: there’s data science and machine learning.  Other companies may make you use their own frameworks and models.  Not IBM.  We believe data science should be open, fast, and simple.  That’s why we’re bringing Data Science Experience to London, building a machine learning hub in Germany, and expanding our open source and SPSS download-and-go offerings.  All of these will make finding competitive insights in the data simpler and faster.

Second: governance.  Your data is valuable. Governance today is not just about complying with regulations – it is also about helping you get a clearer line of sight into your data.  Our Information Governance Catalog Download & Go lets you download, install and run specific governance tools directly to your systems, quickly and easily.  We’re also giving you tools to help you as you comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), to quickly find and manage private and personal information within the data, and lead the way on open governance. 

Third: visualizing your data.  Until now, data science has tended to be the realm of data scientists.  That’s a shame because getting the most valuable insights out of data means asking the right questions.  It’s why IBM believes being competitive in the data renaissance means pioneering visualization – giving more people the tools to help them see and understand data.  That can mean more collaboration, more insights, and more success.  

Fourth: hybrid data management.  The data renaissance means you need things fast and simple.  With IBM, you’re in luck.  Our platform now has JSON integration and a new download-and-go deployment.  That means you get database management designed to be easy to use – and even easier to set up. 

Fifth, open source.  We believe analytics should be based on open source, which can increase your options and brings a whole community of talent and creativity to finding insights.  That’s why we’re making sure to integrate your favorite open source tools every step of the way – and why we’re making extensive investments in Hadoop, Spark, Atlas, and other projects. 

Taken together, all of these tools make it easier to compete in the data renaissance.  It’s now easier to access and share data so that you can find business value out of the insights in your data.  And it’s now easy to deploy three key technology strategies: machine learning, open source, and multiple clouds.  

In 1904, just shy of twenty years after the first automobile, the editor of a trade publication for horse-drawn carriage builders predicted: “the carriage builder of 1944 will be a prince in the handicrafts, and his workmanship will be a source of joy to thousands”1.  By 1944, the industry was long gone.

Here’s what the carriage builders didn’t understand: just because the automobile was the realm of the few didn’t mean that it wouldn’t one day become the choice of the many.  

Data has reached its Henry Ford moment.  With IBM on your side, you’ll have the tools you need to help you get ahead of the coming data renaissance – and compete in the 21st century.

You can still check out some videos of key Fast Track sessions, announcements and demos and keep the conversation going on @IBMAnalytics.

1Kinney, Thomas A.  The Carriage Trade: Making Horse-Drawn Vehicles in America  (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 2004) 272