Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

Steve Mills, IBM Senior Vice President & Group Executive, Software & Systems

By Steve Mills

The opportunities of Big Data are limitless for making business, the global economy and our society work better. The new reality is that Big Data has become one of our most valuable emerging natural resources.

This is due in large part to the economics around lower computing costs and the enormous advancements we’ve made in developing new technologies that can analyze data regardless of what kind, where it resides or how fast it is moving.

In financial services, Wall Street firms are generating five new research documents every minute. Nearly $100 billion in total sales are missed each year because retailers don’t have the right products in stock to meet customer demand. Earlier this month, the United Nations issued a report stating that the world has nearly as many cell phone subscribers as inhabitants.

These six billion global mobile phone subscribers are demanding unique and personalized offerings that match their individual lifestyles.

Applying analytics to these challenges is boosting economic competitiveness and defining new winners across business and government. Just think of a chief marketing officer who can glean valuable information on consumer sentiment from streaming social media as it happens. Using that information, the CMO can adjust marketing campaigns accordingly.

Big Data is a term that is used to describe the onslaught of information the world faces daily, and explores the growing volume, velocity, veracity and variety of data. While Big Data implies “a lot of data,” it also means being able to discern useful information from noise, trends from incomplete data, and the need to look at multiple facets of the data. 

These are exactly the types of challenges that IBM will be discussing this week at our seventh annual IBM Information on Demand and Business Analytics Forum (IOD12). The conference brings together more than 11,000 of the world’s leading experts to share insights and lessons gained by applying information management and analytics to Big Data. We’ll feature 700 technical sessions across several key tracks, 110 hands-on labs, and more than 300 client speakers exploring how Big Data is helping them gain competitive advantage.

In addition, we will introduce a series of new products and services to help clients continue to make sense of their data and use it in new and more meaningful ways. This includes predictive analytics software for healthcare providers that helps identify early intervention and coordinate patient care; a digital marketing analytics appliance for CMO’s to create more targeted campaigns; and new streaming analytics software that allows communications service providers to analyze network data 90 percent faster to reduce customer churn.

These new capabilities, combined with IBM’s newest member of the PureSystem family, PureData System, are helping businesses better meet their growing data challenges by reducing complexity and improving IT economics.

We recently released a study with Oxford University around Big Data adoption, validating these same key themes. The research showed that early adopters are gaining a competitive advantage with 63 percent of respondents citing Big Data and analytics as a competitive advantage. However, less than half are currently analyzing social media data.

Earlier this month, I had an opportunity to present a report from the TechAmerica Foundation Big Data Commission, of which I am co-chair, in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the report, entitled “Demystifying Big Data: A Practical Guide to Transforming the Business of Government,” was to provide guidance to senior U.S. policy and decision makers on the promise of Big Data and the value it can deliver to governments and its citizens.

These findings suggest that governments and businesses are taking a pragmatic approach to Big Data by first focusing on the tremendous untapped value still locked away in internal systems. This is why the market for business analytics is growing faster than the overall IT industry. IDC estimates enterprises will invest more than $120 billion by 2015 to capture the impact of analytics across hardware, software, and services.

What was clear in our findings is universal for both government and business. Combining analytics and Big Data makes it easier for leaders of all types to understand the world around them better than ever before, predict what’s likely to happen in the future, and use that knowledge to make more informed decisions.

By the end of IOD 2012, I hope we will have shared IBM’s deep industry knowledge and showcased our leadership in Big Data and analytics. We have the opportunity to help businesses, governments, healthcare systems, and educational institutions take advantage of all of the information right in front of them, and make better, more effective decisions for themselves and the people they serve.

Join in on the conversation at #ibmiod. 

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