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September, 16th 2014

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IBM Big Data and Analytics Vice president Inhi Cho Suh demonstrates Watson Analytics, a new cloud service the company launched today that is powered by IBM's Watson cognitive computing technology.

IBM Big Data and Analytics Vice president Inhi Cho Suh demonstrates Watson Analytics, a new cloud service powered by IBM’s Watson cognitive computing technology.

By Alistair Rennie

Just as programmable computing changed the human landscape over the past 60 years, IBM is defining a new era of computing that will dramatically transform the way people live, work and learn.

IBM’s new Watson Analytics, announced today, puts the power of advanced analytics at the fingertips of virtually every employee in every business though a freemium cloud-based service.

Organizations across industries can now capture and make sense of growing data volumes in real time while enabling more employees to make better and faster decisions anywhere, anytime.

The goal is to give every business professional access to advanced cognitive powered predictive analytics, coupled with new forms of data. Doing this will create new markets and transform professions.

There are powerful tools available today to answer any question a business user has, but these tools are not being exploited to their full potential because they’re not as easily accessible as they could be.

Analysts say only a small fraction of business professionals use analytics tools as part of their decision making today primarily because the tools are too complex, hard to access, or require the skill set of a data scientist.

This is where Watson Analytics breaks new ground. We’ve created a new category that puts serious business analytics into the hand of every professional. We’ve taken a set of powerful analytics tools and put a highly accessible interface that makes them available to all business users. It’s like putting a high-powered lense on a  microscope and viewing things that you’ve never been able to see before.

Now business professionals across data intensive disciplines such as marketing, sales, finance, operations and human resources can ask the right questions and get results in terms that are familiar to their business. What deals are most likely to close and why? What employee benefit increase would improve performance the most?

And because Watson Analytics is cloud based – built on IBM’s SoftLayer technology and available on the IBM Marketplace – we’re able to make the base capability “freemium.” In the freemium business model a product or service is provided free to a large group of users, but a premium is charged for access to more data sources, data storage and enterprise capabilities.

We’ll provide additional enterprise capabilities on top of that for other clients, but the main idea is to open this up to the widest number of users possible.

Alistair Rennie, General Manager, Business Analytics, IBM

Alistair Rennie, General Manager, Business Analytics, IBM

Watson Analytics is yet another example of how IBM is using its expertise to move into entirely new markets and categories from the commercialization of Watson and cognitive computing, the recent collaboration with Apple to re-imagine how work gets done, and now we’re bringing data and analytics into the hands of any professional.

With more than $24 billion invested to date to build IBM’s capabilities in Big Data and Analytics and through partnerships with industry leaders, IBM’s new Watson Analytics service only strengthens our commitment to meeting the needs of all business users.

Beta for the service is expected to launch September, with availability later this year.

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