Archive for the ‘business analytics’ Category
IBM made a significant announcement earlier today concerning new technologies designed to help companies and governments tackle Big Data by making it simpler, faster and more economical to analyze massive amounts of data. The new data acceleration innovation results in as much as 25 times faster reporting and analytics.
Today’s announcement, which represents the work of hundreds of IBM developers and researchers in labs around the world, includes an industry-first innovation called “BLU Acceleration,” which combines a number of techniques to dramatically improve analytical performance and simplify administration.
Also announced was the new IBM PureData System for Hadoop, designed to make it easier and faster to deploy Hadoop in the enterprise. Hadoop is the game-changing open-source software used to organize and analyze vast amounts of structured and unstructured data, such as posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, online transaction records, and cell phone location data.
The new system can reduce from weeks to minutes the ramp-up time organizations need to adopt enterprise-class Hadoop technology with powerful, easy-to-use analytic tools and visualization for both business analysts and data scientists.
In addition, it provides enhanced Big Data tools for monitoring, development and integration with many more enterprise systems.
IBM Big Data Innovations: More Accessible, Enterprise-ready
As organizations grapple with a flood of structured and unstructured data generated by computers, mobile devices, sensors and social networks, they’re under unprecedented pressure to analyze much more data at faster speeds and at lower costs to help deepen customer relationships, prevent threat and fraud, and identify new revenue opportunities.
BLU Acceleration enables users to have much faster access to key information, leading to better decision-making. The software extends the capabilities of traditional in-memory systems — which allows data to be loaded into Random Access Memory instead of hard disks for faster performance — by providing in-memory performance even when data sets exceed the size of the memory.
During testing, some queries in a typical analytics workload were more than 1000 times faster when using the combined innovations of BLU Acceleration.
Innovations in BLU Acceleration include “data skipping,” which allows the ability to skip over data that doesn’t need to be analyzed, such as duplicate information; the ability to analyze data in parallel across different processors; and greater ability to analyze data transparently to the application, without the need to develop a separate layer of data modeling.
Another industry-first advance in BLU Acceleration is called “actionable compression,” where data no longer has to be decompressed to be analyzed.
Not IBM’s First Big Data Rodeo
The new offerings expand what is already the industry’s deepest portfolio of Big Data technologies and solutions, spanning software, services, research and hardware. The IBM Big Data platform combines traditional data warehouse technologies with new Big Data techniques, such as Hadoop, stream computing, data exploration, analytics and enterprise integration, to create an integrated solution to address these critical needs.
IBM PureData System for Hadoop is the next step forward in IBM’s overall strategy to deliver a family of systems with built-in expertise that leverages its decades of experience reducing the cost and complexity associated with information technology.
This new system integrates IBM InfoSphere BigInsights, which allows companies of all sizes to cost-effectively manage and analyze data and add administrative, workflow, provisioning and security features, along with best-in-class analytical capabilities from IBM Research.
Today’s announcement also includes the following new versions of IBMs Big Data solutions:
- A new version of InfoSphere BigInsights, IBM’s enterprise-ready Hadoop offering, which makes it simpler to develop applications using existing SQL skills, compliance security and high availability features vital for enterprise applications. BigInsights offers three entry points: free download, enterprise software and now an expert integrated system, IBM PureData System for Hadoop.
- A new version of InfoSphere Streams, unique “stream computing” software that enables massive amounts of data in motion to be analyzed in real-time, with performance improvements, and simplified application development and deployment.
- A new version of Informix including TimeSeries Acceleration for operational reporting and analytics on smart meter and sensor data.
Pricing and Availability
All offerings are available in Q2, except the PureData System for Hadoop, which will start shipping to customers in the second half 2013. Credit-qualified clients can take advantage of simple, flexible lease and loan packages with no up-front payments for the software and systems that deliver a new generation of data analytics.
IBM Global Financing offers attractive leasing programs with 90-day payment deferrals for the PureData System for Hadoop, as well as zero percent loans for the broader portfolio of IBM big data solutions.
While I was out trying to grok all things SXSW Interactive these past several days, IBM continued with its efforts to put IBM Watson to work for the betterment of mankind by turning to the next generation of brilliant young minds to help figure out where Watson should work next.
Imagine a Watson-powered system that could uncover data-driven insights to help medical professionals identify those who may be suffering silently from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Imagine a Watson that could provide lawyers with faster research capabilities to improve their cases.
Imagine a Watson that could help businesses hire the best talent in the job market.
This is the magnitude of ideas sparked by more than 100 University of Southern California students who gathered recently to compete in the IBM Watson Academic Case Competition.
A debut on the West Coast, the Case Competition put USC students in the spotlight to create business plans for applying Watson to pressing business and societal challenges — and IBM business leaders were present and listening carefully.
IBM: Partnering To Learn
IBM partners with thousands of universities to offer curricula, internships and hands-on experiences to help students learn first hand about new technologies in the fields of Big Data, analytics and cognitive computing.
The company is at the forefront of creating a new workforce of Big Data trained professionals, from IBM’s collaboration with Cleveland Clinic, which provides Watson as a collaborative learning tool for medical students, to its public-private partnership with the New York City Department of Education and the City University of New York to create the Pathways in Technology Early College High School program (P-TECH), which allows students to participate in a six year science and technology program and graduate with an associates degree for free in computer science or engineering.
To kick-off the competition at USC’s campus, IBM provided students with a crash course on Watson’s breakthrough capabilities, including a demonstration of how Watson is helping WellPoint, Inc. and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center improve the speed and quality of treatment for cancer patients.
As the first cognitive computing system of its kind in the marketplace, Watson is able to understand and process the subtleties of human questions, sift through vast amounts of data, and use sophisticated analytics to generate fast, accurate answers for its human users.
Watson also learns from its interactions, constantly improving with each use. This represents a major shift in organizations’ ability to quickly analyze, understand and respond to Big Data, in industries such as healthcare — and this is where student minds were put to the test.
As part of the competition, students were assigned into 24 teams and given 48 hours to define a new purpose for Watson, develop a business plan, and present it to a panel of judges comprising school officials, IBM executives and local business leaders.
The challenge was unique among USC competitions because students worked toward a common goal with peers from other disciplines — similar to how IBM combines the talent of business leaders and research scientists to develop its patented innovations.
To foster interdisciplinary collaboration, each team was required to have at least one business and one engineering member, from USC’s Marshall Business School and Viterbi School of Engineering.
What’s Your Business Plan For Watson?
The student teams faced two rounds of judging based on four areas of criteria: how well the concept and supporting plan articulated and supported the team’s vision; the feasibility of bringing the product or service to market and the supporting elements; the extent the proposed solution leverages Watson’s key capabilities; and the team’s presentation. Three winning ideas were selected by a panel of eight industry and faculty judges, including representatives from Bank of America, Ernst & Young, and IBM.
- 1st Place – Legal Research: Let Watson Do the Discovery for Your Next Legal Case – For corporate legal departments, building a case — or defending one’s own — relies heavily on fast and accurate research. Past legal trials, court documents, articles and digital evidence: all of these materials can make or break a case, and together they comprise a sea of unstructured data that is both time-consuming and costly to pore through. The first place USC team proposed using Watson to process its users’ research needs, based on its ability to think like a human, quickly sift through online legal documents for facts, and not only identify evidence to support a case — but forecast its probability of success. The first place team’s viewpoint: by placing Watson in charge of research, firms can recover time and costs, while delivering better legal outcomes. In turn, firms that leverage Watson’s speed and efficiency can address the growing legal trend towards “flat fee” billing and research outsourcing.
- 2nd Place – Employee Training: Watson Uncovers the Keys to Success for Your Employees – According to the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), 41 percent of employees at companies with inadequate training programs plan to leave within a year, versus 12 percent of employees at companies who provide excellent training and professional development programs. Conversely, the ASTD also states that effective employee training can lead to 218 percent higher income per employee and 45 percent higher shareholder return than market average. The second place USC team proposes that corporate human resource departments use Watson to optimize employee training, by crunching data pertaining to the employers’ HR needs, the employees’ career goals, and the range of training options available that can help both parties succeed. The second place team’s viewpoint: by improving employee satisfaction and retention, a Watson-powered employee training system can also drive higher shareholder value.
- 3rd Place – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Watson Helps Doctors Find Patients – It is reported that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder affects nearly 7.7 million U.S. adults aged 18 and older. This includes people who have served in combat, experienced domestic violence, have been in car accidents, or other traumatic events. Many with PTSD suffer silently, including the 400,000+ U.S. veterans who have yet to be identified and treated, per the U.S. Veterans Administration. Thankfully, the catalysts behind this illness need no longer remain invisible — due largely to Big Data. For example, there are now unprecedented amounts of data that accompany soldiers who return from war, from medical histories to information on combat experiences. The third place USC team proposes that physicians use Watson to identify people who may develop PTSD, by uncovering insights from data that can help piece together their personal story and shed light on pain he or she may be experiencing. The team’s viewpoint: by helping physicians find and diagnose those suffering from PTSD, Watson can help medical professionals offer patients the treatment they deserve.
Fueling Innovation While Investing In The Next Generation Of Tech Leaders
This competition is the latest example of how IBM is fueling innovation and working with students in higher education to hone valuable business skills that will shape the next generation of industry leaders.
Due to the overwhelming response from USC students seeking to participate in the Watson Academic Case Competition, students had to join a waiting list, once the 24-team maximum had been reached. One faculty sponsor, noting that the level of interest was unprecedented for a campus case competition, predicted registration could reach 500 next year.
“For USC students, the opportunity to share their own ideas with IBM on how to commercialize Watson is truly a unique experience,” said Ashish Soni, Executive Director of Digital Innovation and Founding Director of the Viterbi Student Innovation Institute at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. “As educators, we’re quite pleased to see students getting excited about cognitive computing innovation, because we know there’s a business demand for the types of skills they get to showcase in Watson Case Competitions.”
Watson — Building a New Big Data Workforce
It’s no secret that employers across the U.S. are seeking job candidates who can analyze and build strategy around Big Data, or the 2.5 quintillion bytes of information gleaned from sensors, mobile devices, online transactions and social networks, to name just a few sources. A recent Gartner report estimates that 1.9 million Big Data jobs will be created in the U.S. by 2015.
The Watson Case Competition at USC, the third in a series hosted by IBM, is the latest example of IBM’s work with academia to advance interest among students in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculums that will lead to high-impact, high-value careers. The competition is in keeping with IBM’s Academic Initiative which delivers course work, case studies and curricula to more than 6,000 universities and 30,000 faculty members worldwide to help students prepare for high-value future job opportunities.
IBM worked closely with academic institutions during the development and introduction of Watson. Eight leading universities around the world participated in the development phase of the system; and more than 10,000 students watched Watson triumph on the Jeopardy! quiz show in February 2011. Most recently, IBM announced it would provide a modified version of an IBM Watson system to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, making it the first university to receive such a system that will enable leading-edge research by faculty and students.
The competition at USC marks the latest collaboration between the university and IBM. Over the last two years, students at the school’s Annenberg Innovation Lab have been using Big Data analytics technologies to conduct social sentiment analyses and determine public engagement on topics such as sports, film, retail and fashion.
Two of the biggest projects looked at Major League Baseball’s World Series and the Academy Awards, projects developed for students to explore and expand their skills as they prepare for new data-intensive careers. IBM also collaborated with the USC Marshall School of Business for “The Great Mind Challenge,” a global academic initiative focused on providing students with an opportunity to turn their social networking savvy into business ready skills to prepare for the jobs of the future.
Good morning, Las Vegas.
You know, I joke about Vegas as my second home, but I really do have to admit, it’s a city that continues to grow on me.
And I’m sure that couldn’t have *anything* to do with the delightful, if dreadfully slow, round of golf I played yesterday at Las Vegas National.
As I mentioned in a post on Friday, this is the very same course (one of three) where Tiger Woods won his first PGA Tour event, the Las Vegas Invitational, back in 1996 (he beat Davis Love III on the first playoff hole to win).
It’s also where Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and others of the infamous “Rat Pack” used to hang out. I was only fifty years late on that front, but nonetheless, I did experience the course in all it’s glory and managed to pull of an 84. Considering Tiger’s 70 in 1996, I figure I was only .77 strokes a hole behind Tiger.
But enough sports analytics, because now all the play is behind me as I get down to work and the matter at hand, IBM Pulse 2013.
Please see my last post for some tips and tricks for navigating this year’s event (oh, did I mention, bring or go buy some comfortable shoes)?
I made my first navigation from the MGM hotel to the Convention Center this morning, and on the way, saw the now annual Burma Shave-like signs reminding us “we’re almost there!”
My favorite: Multitasking is all about doing several things badly all at once (There will be more of those tidbits of wisdom to come in future posts.)
Amen, oh great IBM Tivoli Confucian hallway philosopher!
Of course, this ain’t no Blazing Saddles shindig, so you actually *do* need a stinkin’ badge.
So, I picked mine up and wandered on into the Pulse Business Partner Summit to break a little fast, and chat with some of our partners.
When the lights went down, IBM Tivoli general manager soon hit the stage to “introduce” himself to the gathered wall-to-wall audience.
And it was quite an introduction. I’ve interviewed Deepak a few times now at IBM events, and even I had no idea of his depth of experience at IBM.
He explained he’s once been a UNIX programmer and helped bring TCP/IP to the mainframe, had worked on the SP2 supercomputer that once upon a time outwitted a Soviet chess superpower, and helped implement a number of key high availability and systems management capabilities into IBM’s mainframe line.
More recently, Deepak was the chief marketing officer for Lenovo before returning to the IBM fold to lead our Business Analytics efforts and oversee the acquisition of SPSS.
Deepak warmed the audience to him with a very funny story about having been representing IBM with its new supercomputer at a conference in frigid Rochester. Apparently, the IBM computer was very plain and vanilla looking, and so the competition started making fun of it.
Deepak and his team decided to run out to Wal-Mart and purchase some Christmas lights, which they promptly wrapped around their supercomputer (turned out IBM had the fastest supercomputer, Christmas lights and all).
After establishing his background and bona fides, Deepak got down to business, reaffirming the critical importance of IBM’s partners to the Tivoli and broader IBM business, but explaining none of us in the ecosystem could rest on our laurels.
“We must bring more industry and domain expertise” into our technologies, Deepak asserted, “and we must also bring our line of business and IT audiences more closely together.”
This, of course, observing a theme pervasive within IBM since CEO Ginni Rometty took the helm: We must focus more on our line of business executives.
From CMO to CFO, they are increasingly involved in the IT decision-making process, and the back office has moved to the front, requiring a more collaborative “sell” for both constituencies.
Deepak also acknowledged the pain IT organizations felt these last several years, and explained that’s why IBM has worked to try and free them from operational matters with technologies like PureSystems, so that they can spend more time working with their LOB partners on innovation.
Finally, Deepak walked the audience through a number of key core and growth priorities, ranking among them the continued focus on mainframe and storage evolution, the importance of standars, and looking forward to growth areas like endpoint management and cloud computing.
He talked specifically about the notion of the “portability of workloads,” explain how IBM has taken patterns from PureSystems and moving them to the cloud. (A line of questioning I aspire to take up in my interview tomorrow on the Livestream stage with PureSystems’ Nancy Pearson and Jason Gartner.)
He also tiptoed through the world of “dev-ops,” with specific regard to managing the life cycles of applications.
Finally, Deepak explained we can do more to improve the design and usability of our portfolio, and also use analytics (his old job!) to improve and make better operational decisions.
Pulse 2013 is underway…hold on to your console!
IBM yesterday announced a definitive agreement to acquire the software portfolio of Star Analytics Inc., a privately held business analytics company headquartered in Redwood City, California.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
The combination of IBM and Star Analytics software will further advance IBM’s business analytics initiatives, allowing organizations to gain faster access and real-time insight into specialized data sources.
With growing challenges in gaining a more complete view into varying types of data, companies are increasingly looking for ways to automate and provide business users with self-service access to critical information.
Star Analytics software addresses a rising challenge for organizations — helping to automatically integrate essential information, reporting applications and business intelligence tools across their enterprises, on premise or from cloud computing environments.
The software removes typical custom coding for specialized sources that is hard to maintain. It also eliminates manual processes that are cumbersome and time consuming.
“IBM sees an enormous opportunity for our clients to apply Star Analytics to the information they have stored in their financial applications,” said Leslie J Rechan, General Manager, IBM Business Analytics. “And to then easily access it within their IBM performance management and business intelligence solutions.”
IBM Business Analytics
IBM has established the world’s deepest portfolio of Smarter Analytics and Big Data technologies and industry expertise, including almost 9,000 dedicated business analytics and optimization consultants, and 400 researchers.
Nearly 500 of the patents from IBM’s record breaking 20th year of innovation will serve as the building blocks for future analytics innovations that will help businesses and governments unlock the power of big data.
The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2013.
You can learn more about Star Analytics here.
Well, the introduction of the BlackBerry 10 OS has come and gone, Research In Motion renamed itself as “BlackBerry,” the new company announced two new products, and the market mostly yawned.
Then again, many in the market seemed to find something to love about either the new interface and/or the new devices. David Pogue, the New York Time’s technology columnist (who typically leans towards being a Machead), wrote a surprisingly favorable review . Then again today, he opined again in a post entitled “More Things To Love About The BlackBerry 10.”
With that kind of ink, don’t vote the tribe from Ottawa off of the island just yet!
As I pondered the fate of the BlackBerry milieu, it struck me I hadn’t spilled any ink lately myself about IBM’s Watson, who’s been studying up on several industries since beating the best humans in the world two years ago at “Jeopardy!”
Turns out, Watson’s also been looking to apply to college, most notably, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Yesterday, IBM announced it would be providing a modified version of an IBM Watson system to RPI, making it the first university to receive such a system.
The arrival of Watson will enable RPI students and faculty an opportunity to find new users for Watson and deepen the systems’ cognitive computing capabilities. The firsthand experience of working on the system will also better position RPI students as future leaders in the Big Data, analytics, and cognitive computing realms.
Watson has a unique ability to understand the subtle nuances of human language, sift through vast amounts of data, and provide evidence-based answers to its human users’ questions.
Currently, Watson’s fact-finding prowess is being applied to crucial fields, such as healthcare, where IBM is collaborating with medical providers, hospitals and physicians to help doctors analyze a patient’s history, symptoms and the latest news and medical literature to help physicians make faster, more accurate diagnoses. IBM is also working with financial institutions to help improve and simplify the banking experience.
Rensselaer faculty and students will seek to further sharpen Watson’s reasoning and cognitive abilities, while broadening the volume, types, and sources of data Watson can draw upon to answer questions. Additionally, Rensselaer researchers will look for ways to harness the power of Watson for driving new innovations in finance, information technology, business analytics, and other areas.
With 15 terabytes of hard disk storage, the Watson system at Rensselaer will store roughly the same amount of information as its Jeopardy! predecessor and will allow 20 users to access the system at once — creating an innovation hub for the institutes’ New York campus. Along with faculty researchers and graduate students, undergraduate students at Rensselaer will have opportunities to work directly with the Watson system.This experience will help prepare Rensselaer students for future high-impact, high-value careers in analytics, cognitive computing, and related fields.
Underscoring the value of the partnership between IBM and Rensselaer, Gartner, Inc. estimates that 1.9 million Big Data jobs will be created in the U.S. by 2015.
This workforce — which is in high demand today — will require professionals who understand how to develop and harness data-crunching technologies such as Watson, and put them to use for solving the most pressing of business and societal needs.
As part of a Shared University Research (SUR) Award granted by IBM Research, IBM will provide Rensselaer with Watson hardware, software and training.The ability to use Watson to answer complex questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence has enormous potential to help improve decision making across a variety of industries from health care, to retail, telecommunications and financial services.
IBM and Rensselaer: A History of Collaboration
Originally developed at the company’s Yorktown Heights, N.Y. research facility, IBM’s Watson has deep connections to the Rensselaer community. Several key members of IBM’s Watson project team are graduates of Rensselaer, the oldest technological university in the United States.
Leading up to Watson’s victory on Jeopardy!, Rensselaer was one of eight universities that worked with IBM in 2011 on the development of open architecture that enabled researchers to collaborate on the underlying QA capabilities that help to power Watson.
Watson is the latest collaboration between IBM and Rensselaer, which have worked together for decades to advance the frontiers of high-performance computing, nanoelectronics, advanced materials, artificial intelligence, and other areas. IBM is a key partner of the Rensselaer supercomputing center, the Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations, where the Watson hardware will be located.
Flanked by the avatar of IBM’s Watson computer, IBM Research Scientist Dr. Chris Welty (left) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute student Naveen Sundar discuss potential new ways the famous computer could be used, Wednesday, January 30, 2013 in Troy, NY. IBM donated a version of its Watson system to Rensselaer, making it the first university in the world to receive such a system. Rensselaer students and faculty will explore new uses for Watson and ways to deepen its cognitive computing capabilities. (Philip Kamrass/Feature Photo Service for IBM)
It’s that time of the year.
The year when all the smart, rich, famous and well-connected show up in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.
I’m sure it’s nothing personal, but once again for as many years as I care to remember, my invitation never showed.
That’s okay, as things are pretty busy around here as we get off to a fast start in 2013.
However, I did really enjoy Alison Smale’s big picture set up piece for Davos this in The New York Time’s DealBook.
And if I were in attendance, that’s the type view I would be eagerly seeking — What are the general macroindicators and movements that smart peeps think are going to shape the year?
Some will be currents we can’t yet see, and as Smale observes, “Our footing is uncertain, as on this ski resort’s slithery streets, and we have steep slopes to climb, as the Magic Mountain will remind the global elite this week.”
Troubles in north Africa, the challenge of free information in China, anemic growth in Germany, the averted fiscal cliff but once again looming U.S. debt ceiling…”Crisis, in short,” writes Smale, “is the new normal.”
Speaking of Germany, also increasingly normal is the threat of cyber intrusion, according to a panel at the DLD conference ending today in Munich.
In coverage by Frederic Larinois from TechCrunch of Eugene Kaspersky, founder of Kaspersky Lab, the Internet security firm, and F-Secure’s chief research officer, Mikko Hypponen, it became readily apparent that cyber intrusion sophistication is reaching new levels.
Kaspersky spoke of recent cyber attacks like Stuxnet and Red October, suggesting such efforts have reached the equivalent of the “space station” in terms of their sophistication and impact, while Hypponen said the “happy hacker” of the 80s and 90s was long, and that instead “we now have to deal with criminals who try to make money from their malware and botnets, hacktivists who try to protest and governments attacking their own citizens and other governments for espionage and full-scale cyber warfare.”
The cyber genie, in other words, is well out of the virtual bottle.
So, let’s forget about all these woes for a few, shall we, and go shopping instead?
IBM’s new study of 26,000 global consumers will be coming out soon, and the early skinny has it revealing some interesting insights, including the fact that 35 percent of shoppers are unsure whether they would next shop at a store or online.
Talk about a confused consumer!
It also revealed that nearly half of online purchases result from “showrooming,” a growing trend whereby consumers browse goods at a store, but ultimately buy them online.
You’ve done that before, haven’t you? You just didn’t know there was a fancy name for it!
Ultimately, consumers are seeking an integrated shopping experience. So, in response, retailers need to connect their online and physical stores, blending the benefits of each — from research to purchase to building brand loyalty, to that ultimate golden chalice of retail, repeat sales.
IBM is helping through its analytics capabilities, helping retailers measure sales metrics across digital channels to spot consumer buying patterns and visualizing product display, promotions, and even coupons in new ways.
Visit the IBM Smarter Retail web site to learn how your organization can create an integrated shopping experience.
Me, I’ve got to run down to the Amazon store for some new typewriter ribbons.