LAS VEGAS: IBM is aiming to create an ecosystem of industry-specific analytics products designed to glean 'actionable insights' from diverse big data sets.
Several executives from IBM's analytics division outlined products and objectives in a press briefing at IBM Insight in Las Vegas, designed to carry out actionable analytics with an ecosystem of products across industries and businesses.
"That process of distilling insights from data is a key piece of what we're going to do, bringing in a form of analytics, understanding the uses cases around them and plugging in [products]," said Joel Crawley, general manager of information and insights-as-a-service at IBM.
He explained that part of this goal will be to see how IBM's analytics products are applied to certain industries and note the ‘signals' embedded in datasets that can be used to prompt action on information gleaned from data analysis.
"We are going to try and figure out what is relevant in different industry use cases, and how we package those signals in a way they can be embedded in [products] that can then trigger actionable insights," he explained.
One way to achieve this will be with IBM's new Insight Cloud Services, a collection of data packages, analytics tools and APIs that allow businesses and developers to link internal data with large public datasets, such as weather and social network information, to gain more insight from analytics.
Mike Rhodin, senior vice president at IBM Watson, said that the company will release more APIs to the developer community to allow them to tap into Watson's cognitive computing abilities so that more industry-specific services can be created, thus adding to IBM's developer and app ecosystem.
"As we expose the APIs to our system partners, the time to develop a production business application went from 254 days to 92 days just over the last summer," he added.
Alistair Rennie, general manager of solutions at IBM, said that the firm will keep exploring how different sectors make use of its APIs and products and package them into a collection of industry-centric products.
"If we are going to appeal to a business user environment we have to dramatically increase the consumability and simplicity at which people can get access to analytical insights without going through a long IT project," he said, noting that data analytics processes often work only for the industry in which they are used.
One way IBM will look to achieve this is with a new IBM Analytics on Spark service. Delivered as a managed service through IBM's Bluemix cloud development platform, the combination of IBM analytics tools with Apache Spark integration allows developers to inject real-time analytics powered by Spark's in-memory framework.
These in turn will lead to more use cases of IBM's analytics software and thus the creation of an ecosystem of data analytics-powered tools that can be packaged together or made available as APIs for other developers using Bluemix.
Even as one of the largest technology companies in the world, the breadth and scale of data analytics across industries is too much for IBM to fully cover on its own.
Opening up its APIs, building out a developer ecosystem and partnering with other data-heavy companies such as Twitter and enterprise cloud collaboration companies such as Box, will therefore give IBM more scope to achieve its mission of creating an ecosystem of businesses and apps that tap into actionable analytics.
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