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Elementary my dear Watson... IBM launches biggest analytics release in 10 years

23 Sep 14

IBM has unveiled Watson Analytics, unveiled as a breakthrough natural language-based cognitive service that can provide instant access to powerful predictive and visual analytic tools for businesses.

According to analysts, only a small fraction of business people use powerful analytics tools as part of their decision making today.

Billed as IBM’s biggest announcement in a decade as a leader in analytics, Watson Analytics is designed to make advanced and predictive analytics easy to acquire and use.

“Watson Analytics is designed to help all business people – from sales reps on the road to company CEOs – see patterns, pursue ideas and improve all types of decisions,” says Bob Picciano, Senior Vice President, Information and Analytics Group, IBM.

"We have eliminated the barrier between the answers they seek, the analytics they want and the data in the form they need.

“The combination of Watson-fueled analytics to magnify human cognition, the vast potential of big data, and cloud-scale delivery to PCs, smart phones and other devices is transformational.”

The first release of Watson Analytics will include a freemium version of its cloud-based service designed to run on desktop and mobile devices.

Watson Analytics offers a full range of self-service analytics, including access to easy-to-use data refinement and data warehousing services that make it easier for business users to acquire and prepare data – beyond simple spreadsheets – for analysis and visualisation that can be acted upon and interacted with.

Benefits for business…

Designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind, business users can gain instant access to persona-based business scenarios specific to their role.

Instead of fumbling over data, searching for answers or testing hypotheses, the user can focus on understanding the business and effectively communicating results to stakeholders.

Most analytic offerings assume users have data ready for analysis, a clear idea of the type of analysis needed, and the skills and time to build a model for analysis.

However, most business users have none of these things. Finding and validating data can represent 50 percent or more of the time in an analysis project.

Business users often then struggle with figuring out what analysis would be relevant and how to tell the story in a report or diagram.

Watson Analytics automates these steps to accelerate users’ ability to get to the answers they’re seeking, quickly and on their own, while also incorporating natural language processing so business users can ask the right questions and get results in terms familiar to their business that can be read and understood or interacted with.

As users interact with the results, they can fine-tune their questions and the data to surface the most relevant facts and uncover unforeseen patterns and relationships, which will enable predictive decision making for all levels of users.

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