By Marc Altshuller
The rapidly rising flood of data – and the demand from all types of users for quick access to it – is beyond the capacity of traditional processes today. As a result, big-time bottlenecks exist for those who need the information and those who are tasked with providing it.
How serious is the issue? Studies show that people engaged in analytics today actually spend more than 50 percent of their time finding, moving and storing data and only a quarter of the time doing analysis. Staying on top of processes, having the relevant information at hand, and soliciting feedback from others are time consuming tasks.
On top of that, the expectation for organizations to quickly gain insights into their business is higher than ever. A recent IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) report, for example, shows that 74 percent of respondents anticipate the speed at which business executives expect new data-driven insights will continue to accelerate.
Capabilities that enable an organization to consume data faster – to move from raw data to insight-driven actions – are now key to creating value using data and analytics.
According to the IBM study, 69 percent of organizations that use speed-driven practices created a significant positive impact on business outcomes using data and analytics.
It’s the kind of work that’s creating interest, buzz and increasing demand for things like Watson Analytics, our natural language-based cognitive service, which is now generally available as a freemium service or a paid Personal edition for customers that need larger data sets or more cloud space.
Our goal is to build a community where users can automate steps around data preparation and carry out natural language based discovery, predictive analysis, and visual storytelling, providing business pros across data intensive disciplines new ways of understanding their business.
It’s a new way of working, fueled by new technologies and new ideas that are helping everyone be better at their jobs.
There’s a huge advantage when business users can ask the right questions and get results in terms that are familiar to their business. Questions like: What deals are most likely to close and why? What employee benefits increase would improve performance the most?
And making Watson Analytics available on the cloud has opened it up to all organizations. Without having to incur a large upfront capital expense, businesses can finally be confident about data within their organizations, and in their cloud, to guide their actions.
It’s another step closer toward realizing the goal of providing real-time “analytics for everyone” that will transform how business users perform their roles, collaborate, and make decisions.