Smarter Analytics: Actionable Insights from the Data Tsunami
Wes Simonds 120000EFD6 firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  wes smarter-analytics simonds 2012 intelligence cebit information-insights mike rhodin business-analytics business analytics smarter
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Every so often you experience an eye-opening moment that brings into clear focus the realities of the world around you. I experienced such a moment recently reading a quote from Google's chairman Eric Schmidt. It was this: ‘Every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization until 2003.’
My goodness. We've become quite the information-creating monsters, haven't we? And we’ve got technology to thank for it.
Granted, some of this has to do with a dramatic population increase, and some of it has to do with the fact that as a society we’re addicted to instantaneous communications.
Still, it seems to me the biggest difference between now and the dawn of society is that our lives, personal and otherwise, rely on an infrastructure of zeros and ones as much as they do wood and steel - perhaps even more so. This modern infrastructure that we’ve recently built is both the source of, and answer to, the complexities of this brave new world.
When IBM talks about the world becoming a smarter planet , this, indeed, is the sort of thing it has in mind. Beyond the obvious tech underpinnings -- desktops, laptops, servers -- think of all those billions of smart phones and millions of tablets out there, not to mention embedded processors, device sensors, switches and routers, RFID tags, software applications, device drivers, middleware and innumerable other instances of binary tech.
Each creates and sends data in some form. And all of it, combined, is the information Mr. Schmidt is talking about. We don't just create information ourselves, directly; we've created tools on a vast scale that, in turn, create information, too.
The question is: What are we doing with all that information? What could, and should, we do with it? And what might be the benefits, if we did?
IBM is determined to infuse analytics smarts everywhere it can -- almost literally boosting the Earth’s IQ
I found out recently that I'm not the only one impressed by the Schmidt quote or the volume of data that seemingly permeates our daily lives. It is one of the core topics that Mike Rhodin, Senior Vice President for IBM Software Solutions Group, talked about at the IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference in New Orleans.
Mr. Rhodin also brought up a number of related points during a recent keynote address at CeBIT 2012 that may be worth your consideration:
Enter IBM Smarter Analytics -- a new strategic initiative from IBM that turns information into insight and insight into business outcomes. Basically, it helps organizations transform big data into big business opportunity.
As part of this initiative, IBM is releasing a suite of signature solutions – outcome-based, industry-focused analysis of mass data volumes. These solutions are specifically designed to tackle some of the most pressing analytics challenges organizations face today (reducing fraud, managing financial risk and accelerating consumer intelligence) that drive better outcomes through better insight.
According to Rhodin, solutions of this type are not just needed, they’re critical for long-term success. And IBM has really stepped up by putting analytics front-and-center in its strategy.
Today IBM is weaving advanced analytics capabilities into the fabric of its products and services to support our evolving digital infrastructure and the nearly limitless things we use it to do.
‘The role of big data and advanced analytics does not just sit at the center of this evolution -- it permeates it – through every computing system, process, connection and data source,’ said Rhodin. ‘On a smarter planet, analytics becomes the central nervous system through which information is received, analyzed and acted on, in a single fluid motion.’
Get on board with analytics, and you and your customers will both win
According to recent studies conducted by IBM and the MIT Sloan Management Review, some 57 percent of responders cited analytics as a key competitive advantage.
Organizations with advanced analytics were cited as 260 percent more likely to substantially outperform analytics ‘beginners.’ And top-tier performers were 84 percent more likely to have analytics already integrated into both core strategies and day-to-day operations.
The lesson seems clear: If you're not up to speed on analytics, you're probably falling behind your peers. It's not simply an IT topic, but, increasingly, the IT topic -- the one of highest priority, because it informs and optimizes everything you do.
Rhodin concurs. ‘When we first launched Smarter Planet a few years back, we knew advanced analytics would have a fundamental role to play,’ he said. ‘[But] it has quickly become the silver thread woven throughout our portfolio.
‘Analytics is no longer advancing single organizations, it is transforming entire industries,’ added Rhodin.
And the new IBM Smarter Analytics solutions prove that point in no uncertain terms. Consider the following, very diverse examples:
Here’s the pudding. See the proof?
If all that seems a little abstract to you, bear in mind that many of these solutions -- albeit in earlier versions -- have already been deployed by, and have created incredible value for, all kinds of organizations in all kinds of ways.
Take the case of Vestas Wind Systems , for instance. It routinely uses IBM InfoSphere BigInsights to sift through two petabytes of weather data and thus determine exactly where their turbines should go -- as well as roll those turbines out faster, and keep them up and running longer.
Or look at a wildly different case of XO Communications. By using IBM Business Analytics and an IBM Netezza analytic appliance, they were able to reduce its customer churn rates by nearly 50 percent and helped save XO millions of dollars by uncovering deeper insights into customer behaviors, spotting trends and identifying those likely to defect. With a better overall customer experience, XO is now able to stay competitive against other carriers and improve its overall satisfaction.
And if private sector instances aren’t enough for you, ponder the Sonoma County Water Agency. They are using IBM's Smarter Analytics solutions to optimize pressure valves throughout a distribution network that delivers water to more than 600,000 people all over the California wine country -- reducing needless water loss and predicting future problems with equal ease.
In what areas is your organization using analytics? And how has it improved your business?
Get smarter about Smarter Analytics
Listen to the replay of the IBM Smarter Analytics Leadership Summit
Join the IBM Smarter Analytics conversations on…
Hear Mike Rhodin’s keynote speech at CeBIT 2012
Guest blogger Wes Simonds worked in IT for seven years before becoming a technology writer on topics including virtualization, cloud computing and service management. He lives in sunny Austin, Texas and believes Mexican food should always be served with queso.