IBM Big Data & Analytics Summit: Redefine the Experience
I was in New York City for the IBM Big Data & Analytics Summit earlier this month. I wanted to bring you some of the useful information about strategy and the (expected) new and upcoming IBM products I heard about.
Alistair Rennie, General Manager, Business Analytics at IBM, with help from various product specialists, led one such excellent session. This was on redefining the experience that is delivered to customers, a recurring theme throughout the presentations and a real game-changer in the current economy.
Alistair said there were 2 types of workers. One is the information worker trying to do things in the expectation of the moment – nothing momentous. The other worker is working at scale, continuously curating information. SMB user communities tend to bifurcate this way as well. The underlying infrastructure must be at scale and fueled by having a complete view to meet the needs of the all users.
Improving this user experience is 4 pronged for IBM: simplify engagements, simplify consumption, simplify action and speeding time to value.
The audience for the IBM strategy is very broad. The target is every human working in context of an organization. Having information at their fingertips is critical. It’s about putting more data and more context across this broad set of users. Today it’s a fragmented task. Engagement is about putting power in the hands of the expert as well as a broad set of users and making the insights work together.
We saw IBM Concert, which is collaborative decision-making tool for performance management. It’s a fabric for sharing and collaboration. It has a useful way to look at a business plan and related analytics using tiles. SMB business plans could be posted in Concert and the task lists will be delivered to and collaborated over by all who need to contribute.
Also demonstrated was Project Catalyst Insight – “a data scientist always there to guide you.” Its goals are to guide and automate analysis to lower the barrier for predictive analytics, discover and present key drivers and relationships using interactive visuals and plain language and be self reliant without the need to write scripts or call IT for answers. Tools like Project Catalyst help to bridge the gap to data science in SMBs that lack robust data science.
It does pipeline assist and shows the key drivers of the pipeline, including the relevant combinations of variables.
Project Catalyst is also designed for predictive analytics. It embeds data and analytics in a single product.
IBM Concert as well as Content Navigator Search are ways of making predictive analytics more understandable to non-data scientists in an organization.
Speaking of data science, next up was Watson Analytics, which, after extensive analysis, will suggest data visualizations like infographics for various mediums.
Alistair expressed interest in embedding this technology in many IBM products. IBM has moved some of its Watson technology to entry-level servers for the SMB. The Summit made clear that Watson is way more than a one-off Jeopardy contestant to IBM.
Finally, Project Gemini is about communicating and visualizing the information in various forms. This was demonstrated on a tablet.
The system generates the visualization using the “best default” visualization. The visualization adapts to the data and can provides many SMBs visualization experiences they may not have without visualization experts and trial-and-error approaches. It also allows for “old school” customization of the visualization by changing the templates.
It may seem like a dizzying array of visualization and information products (and I didn’t include them all), but the development is nicely aligned with a relevant vision from IBM to improve the user experience by simplifying engagements, consumption, and action, all while speeding time to value.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.