Watson Heading To Predictive Analytics
September 22, 2014 Dan Burger
When IBM talks about its cognitive computing brainchild Watson, words like “the future of computing” tumble out of press releases like peanuts from a box of Cracker Jacks. But don’t blame Watson if he comes to the party wearing a hyperbole suit. He’s not just another ordinary language-based cognitive robot. He’s the face of business computing. And he has a last name now: Analytics.
Watson Analytics took a bow looking like a billion dollars, which coincidentally is the amount of money IBM claims is invested in the Watson platform. Since 2011, when young Watson was a mere computer system packed to the gills with artificial intelligence and game show glamor, IBM’s face of the future showpiece has shown flashes of brilliance in more serious pursuits such as medicine and business. Although his resume is impressive, it also appears as though he can’t hold a job.
IBM might say he’s just blazing a path to the future. For now, the future is advanced and predictive analysis.
The first release of Watson Analytics will include a “freemium” version of self-service analytics, including access to data refinement and data warehousing services. The direction this is headed goes well spreadsheets, so don’t focus there. Analysis and visualization that can be acted upon and interacted with is where this is going and Watson is game for answering business questions.
What are the key drivers of my product sales?
Which benefits drive employee retention the most?
Which deals are most likely to close?
And he’ll do it for free. At least for now anyway. That’s the freemium part of the deal.
IBM is inviting companies to upload data to the cloud where Watson Analytics will get predictive with it. In theory, there will be marketing, sales, operations, finance and human resources professionals swooning over the results.
“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,” Bob Picciano, senior vice president, Information and Analytics Group, at IBM, said in a press release. “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.”
An undisclosed portion of Watson Analytics brainpower will be sliced off for beta test users within 30 days. Freemium and premium packages based on the partial smarts will be available later this year.
For more information, visit: ibm.com/watsonanalytics.