Guest post from John Hagerty, Program Director, Big Data & Analytics, IBM Software.
At the CeBIT exhibition held in Germany earlier this month, which was attended by more than 250,000 people, IBM had a major presence. Aside from serious discussions about technology and business issues, we also offered an app in our booth that allowed people to create a personal event avatar. Simply by choosing a few traits and preferences, they were able to create an alter-ego – instantly. Many booth visitors may have privately wished that analyzing their business and personal data were that easy. Well, that’s about to happen.
I'll be speaking next week, at the Gartner Business Intelligence & Analytics Summit in Las Vegas and, all through March, at many Business Analytics Summit 2014 events across North America, describing how the future of analytics is here…right now. One of the most exciting developments is Watson Analytics – a new product that, when it becomes available later this year, will act as a personal guide, enabling anyone to creatively explore patterns and connections in data and easily share what they find with others.
Watson Analytics enables people of any skill level to quickly and independently analyze data and share findings and get immediate answers to urgent questions – without having to depend on others. It addresses the critical skills gap that studies show will continue to grow, as demand for data scientists outpaces available talent.
That’s because there is a growing appetite in business, government and other fields for solutions that can help test ideas and support decision making. And there’s nothing else quite like Watson Analytics out there.
You simply type in a question and get meaningful insights immediately.
It automatically suggests the most compelling graphs and visuals to communicate these insights.
Then it automatically presents related facts and insights, and recommends other areas and ideas to explore.
Like other Watson offerings, Watson Analytics has built-in “smarts” that get smarter with use. As you load a data set, Watson Analytics is already studying it – reading semantic clues to understand what types of data it contains. That’s why it can immediately suggest questions you might want to ask.
As you frame your first natural language question, Watson Analytics analyzes the question and chooses data that will provide a meaningful answer. No need to specify date or time ranges, or select rows or columns, or do any script-writing. If you have several data sets available, Watson Analytics will choose the one best suited to providing the answer you need. Then Watson Analytics uses built-in predictive capabilities to look for interesting clusters, associations or anomalies in the data that may hide the insight you need, in order to solve a business problem.
I’ve demonstrated this system at a several events already, and the response has been the same everywhere—WOW! With Watson Analytics, seeing is believing. My suggestion: Stop by Booth #401 at the Gartner Business Intelligence & Analytics Summit. Or register for an upcoming Business Analytics Summit. The series in North America runs through June and similar series are planned for Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.
Experience Watson Analytics yourself. Or even participate in beta testing. A limited beta test of this product is under way, with an expanded beta planned for later this year. If you’re interested, let us know via the AnalyticsZone.
Any and all comments appreciated. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through Twitter @jfhagerty.