Turbotodd

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Big Study On Big Data

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Perfect timing.

In advance of IBM’s massive event next week in Las Vegas featuring all things information management, Information On Demand 2012, IBM and the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford today released a study on Big Data.

According to a new global report from IBM and the Said Business School at the University of Oxford, less than half of the organizations engaged in active Big Data initiatives are currently analyzing external sources of data, like social media.

The headline: Most Big Data initiatives currently being deployed by organizations are aimed at improving the customer experience, yet less than half of the organizations involved in active Big Data initiatives are currently collecting and analyzing external sources of data, like social media.

One reason: Many organizations are struggling to address and manage the uncertainty inherent within certain types of data, such as the weather, the economy, or the sentiment and truthfulness of people expressed on social networks.

Another? Social media and other external data sources are being underutilized due to the skills gap. Having the advanced capabilities required to analyze unstructured data — data that does not fit in traditional databases such as text, sensor data, geospatial data, audio, images and video — as well as streaming data remains a major challenge for most organizations.

The new report, entitled “Analytics: The real-world use of Big Data,” is based on a global survey of 1,144 business and IT professionals from 95 countries and 26 industries. The report provides a global snapshot of how organizations today view Big Data, how they are building essential capabilities to tackle Big Data and to what extent they are currently engaged in using Big Data to benefit their business.

Only 25 percent of the survey respondents say they have the required capabilities to analyze highly unstructured data — a major inhibitor to getting the most value from Big Data.

The increasing business opportunities and benefits of Big Data are clear. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of the survey respondents report that using information, including Big Data, and analytics is creating a competitive advantage for their organizations. This is a 70 percent increase from the 37 percent who cited a competitive advantage in a 2010 IBM study.

Big Data Drivers and Adoption

In addition to customer-centric outcomes, which half (49 percent) of the respondents identified as a top priority, early applications of Big Data are addressing other functional objectives.

Nearly one-fifth (18 percent) cited optimizing operations as a primary objective. Other Big Data applications are focused on risk and financial management (15 percent), enabling new business models (14 percent) and employee collaboration (4 percent).

Three-quarters (76 percent) of the respondents are currently engaged in Big Data development efforts, but the report confirms that the majority (47 percent) are still in the early planning stages.

However, 28 percent are developing pilot projects or have already implemented two or more Big Data solutions at scale. Nearly one quarter (24 percent) of the respondents have not initiated Big Data activities, and are still studying how Big Data will benefit their organizations.

Sources of Big Data

More than half of the survey respondents reported internal data as the primary source of Big Data within their organizations. This suggests that companies are taking a pragmatic approach to Big Data, and also that there is tremendous untapped value still locked away in these internal systems.

Internal data is the most mature, well-understood data available to organizations. The data has been collected, integrated, structured and standardized through years of enterprise resource planning, master data management, business intelligence and other related work.

By applying analytics, internal data extracted from customer transactions, interactions, events and emails can provide valuable insights.

Big Data Capabilities

Today, the majority of organizations engaged in Big Data activities start with analyzing structured data using core analytics capabilities, such as query and reporting (91 percent) and data mining (77 percent).

Two-thirds (67 percent) report using predictive modeling skills.

But Big Data also requires the capability to analyze semi-structured and unstructured data, including a variety of data types that may be entirely new for many organizations.

In more than half of the active Big Data efforts, respondents reported using advanced capabilities designed to analyze text in its natural state, such as the transcripts of call center conversations.

These analytics include the ability to interpret and understand the nuances of language, such as sentiment, slang and intentions. Such data can help companies, like a bank or telco provider, understand the current mood of a customer and gain valuable insights that can be immediately used to drive customer management strategies.

You can download and read the full study here.

Update: Also check out the new IBM Big Data Hub, a compendium of videos, blog posts, podcasts, white papers, and other useful assets centering on this big topic!

Information On Demand 2011 Breaking News: IBM Accelerates Big Data Analytics

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Today, here at Information On Demand 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada, IBM unveiled new software that brings the power of managing and analyzing big data to the workplace.

Whether in the office or on the road, employees can now gain actionable insight anytime, anywhere from the broadest range of data and put it to work in real-time.

IBM Senior VP Steve Mills explains the "why" of business analytics at today's press conference here at Information On Demand 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The new offerings span a wide variety of big data and business analytics technologies across multiple platforms from mobile devices to the data center to IBM’s SmartCloud.

Now employees from any department inside an organization can explore unstructured data such as Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, weather data, log files, genomic data and video, and make sense of it on the fly as part of their everyday work experience.

With today’s news, IBM is placing the power of mobile analytics into the hands of iPad users with a free software download at Apple’s iTunes Store. The new software is designed to help employees in key industries such as financial services, healthcare, government, communications, retail, and travel and transportation use and benefit from business analytics on the go.

Organizations of all sizes are struggling to keep up with the rate and pace of big data and use it in a meaningful way to improve products, services, or the customer experience. 

Every day, people create the equivalent of 2.5 quintillion bytes of data from sensors, mobile devices, online transactions, and social networks; so much that 90 percent of the world’s data has been generated in the past two years.

Every month people send one billion Tweets and post 30 billion messages on Facebook. Meanwhile, more than 1 trillion mobile devices are in use today and mobile commerce is expected to reach $31 billion by 2016.

A 2010 IBM/MIT Sloan Management Review survey of 3,000 executives across 30 industries from 100 countries reveals that 60 percent of respondents said they have more data than they can effectively use.

A new IBM study of 1,700 chief marketing officers from 19 industries and 64 countries further exposes this issue with 71 percent saying their organizations are unprepared to handle the explosion of big data. 

To address these challenges, IBM is delivering new analytics and information management offerings, and skills resources to make it easier to explore and capitalize on big data:

  •  New Hadoop-based analytics software on the cloud that can be up and running in less than 30 minutes.  The new software helps employees tap into massive amounts of unstructured data from a variety of sources including social networks, mobile devices and sensors.
  • New mobile analytics software for iPad users that makes it easy to explore any type of data on the go with location-aware analytics. Clients can download the free app here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ibm-cognos-mobile/id455326089?mt=8
  • New predictive analytics software with a mapping feature that can be used across industries for marketing campaigns, retail store allocation, crime prevention, and academic assessment.
  • New software that sifts through all types of data behind the scenes and ranks its quality, makes it secure, and ensures business decisions are based on trusted data.

Big Data Analytics On The Cloud

IBM InfoSphere BigInsights on the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise makes big data analytics accessible for any user inside an organization.

Like the on-premise version, BigInsights on the cloud analyzes traditional structured data found in databases along with unstructured data — such as text, video, audio, images, social media, click streams, log files, weather data — allowing decision makers to act on it quickly. Bringing big data analytics to the cloud means clients can capture and analyze any data without the need for Hadoop skills, or having to install, run, or maintain hardware and software.

BigInsights on the cloud is available in both basic and enterprise editions with the options of public, private and hybrid cloud deployments. The basic edition is an entry-level offering available at no-charge that helps organizations learn how to do big data analytics including “what-if” scenarios with its BigSheets component.

Clients can seamlessly move to the enterprise edition when ready and set up Hadoop clusters in under 30 minutes to start analyzing data with low usage rates starting at $0.60 (US) per cluster, per hour. Both versions include a developer sandbox where clients can develop a new generation of business analytics applications complete with tools and a test and development environment.

Today, market leaders in banking, insurance, retail, communications and digital entertainment are using BigInsights on the cloud to analyze massive amounts of unstructured data.

These clients are analyzing data flowing from social networks, sensors, mobile devices, log files, and voice and video systems to understand consumer sentiment, make computing networks and smart grids more secure, and create new customer experience programs.

IT professionals and students looking to build Hadoop skills can take advantage of IBM’s BigDataUniversity.com, a new web site where users can learn the basics of Hadoop, stream computing, open source software development, and database management techniques to prepare for careers as Data Scientists.

The site includes hundreds of easy-to-use tutorials, videos, and coding exercises geared to build Hadoop, BigInsights, DB2 and WebSphere skills, and many courses are free. More than 8,000  students worldwide have already registered from countries such as Brazil, Russia, China, India, Korea, and South Africa and the US.

Analytics In The Office And On The Road

IBM continues to advance business analytics for the 21st century workforce by delivering expanded mobile device support with IBM Cognos Mobile software for the iPad.

The software enables mobile workers to take their business analytics on the road whether offline or online, allowing for uninterrupted productivity. iPad users can enjoy a rich, visual business intelligence experience to analyze any data about their business including sales, customer, and financial data with reporting, dashboard and scorecards.

Cognos on iPad is designed to help employees in key industries such as financial services, healthcare, government, communications, retail, and travel and transportation use and benefit from analytics on the go.

For example, doctors and dentists can use it to analyze electronic medical records and show patients customized treatment plans and explain procedures based on that analysis; social workers can check the health and well being of children in foster homes throughout a city and update supervisors, police and courts on their status in real-time; and bankers and insurance agents can use it to analyze loan or policy data to create individual products or services for clients.

Cincinnati Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the United States with more than 1.2 million visitors annually, uses Cognos on iPad to give management instant access, and a single view of visitor and business information to drive new revenue and improve member visits.

The flexibility of mobile business analytics allows managers to bring together sales and attendance data on their iPads from wherever they are inside the park to track purchase patterns and adjust marketing spend based on that information. Using Cognos software, the Zoo has increased in-park spending by 25 percent this year.

IBM Puts Predictive Analytics On The Map 

With today’s news, IBM is delivering new software that allows organizations to gain predictive intelligence on geographic data. Organizations can use the software to understand data, analyze trends, forecast, plan and validate assumptions to drive accurate conclusions.

SPSS Statistics 20.0 software includes a new mapping feature that gives users the ability to add a geographic dimension to analysis and reporting, and allows users to target, forecast, and plan by geographical areas.

This mapping feature can be used across industries to analyze data and create statistics for marketing campaign effectiveness, store allocation decisions in retail, to detect crime hot spots, and for student test score assessments. The software comes with views of the United States, countries, continents, and prebuilt map templates where users can quickly populate them with data including geospatial information from ESRI files.

Healthcare organizations can use the new software to visually pinpoint areas of high accident or illness rates, or identify differences in care across different regions of a state or country.

Government employees can analyze past and present census data by city block or in dense county populations, and identify high crime areas to allocate more law enforcement, or update tax and zoning changes. Direct marketers can locate their most profitable customer base and store locations to allocate advertising resources, and academia can use it to concentrate recruiting and alumni efforts geographically.

The scene from this morning's press conference at IBM Information On Demand 2011 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada.

New Software Speeds Governance of Big Data

Big data analytics can be a competitive advantage, however, the quality of the analysis is only as good as the data it’s fed, and the data itself has to be available to those who can use it.

IBM is the only vendor with a market-leading information integration and governance platform for big data that ensures only trusted information is delivered to business users and applications across the enterprise.

New IBM InfoSphere Information Server 8.7 software enables integration with Big Data as both a source and a target for information integration. The proven performance and parallel engine of Information Server provides the massive scalability required for big data. Also new in this release is a next generation connector to Netezza, built for balanced optimization and high performance, and packaged specifically for Netezza implementations, and an operations console to view system usage across all integration jobs, to improve productivity of integration projects.

New IBM InfoSphere Master Data Management 10 software unifies IBM’s market leading MDM capabilities into a single product that handles any MDM requirement. New features include integration with Business Process Management software for MDM-centric business processes, greater connectivity to consuming applications via adaptable service interfaces, and a shared matching engine that maintains the single version of the truth. MDM technology improves the outcome of Big Data analytics by providing a better understanding of customers, products, suppliers, employees and accounts for further analysis.

Clients Turn To IBM To Analyze Big Data 

With today news, IBM also announced that hundreds of new clients are turning to IBM to gain actionable insight on the broadest range of big data.

Whether it’s collecting data to manage the placement of windfarms, gauge customer sentiment on social media sites, or predict potentially fatal infections in hospitals, IBM is helping clients across every industry to put their data to work.

Clients such as Hertz, Beacon Institute, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Marine Institute Ireland, Technovated, [x+1], TerraEchos, University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Uppsala University are using IBM analytics technologies to address the growing volume, velocity and variety of big data, and use it to make decisions that are transforming their industries.

Additional examples include:

  • Danish energy company Vestas Wind Systems is using IBM’s big data software to analyze petabytes of weather data to improve wind turbine placement for optimal energy output. Analysis that used to take weeks can now be done in under one hour.
  • XO Communications has reduced its customer churn rates by nearly 50 percent using IBM SPSS predictive analytics software. The company can predict customer behaviors, spot trends, and identify those likely to switch to another carrier, allowing them to take steps to keep their most valuable customers.
  • [x+1], an end-to-end digital marketing platform provider, is helping their clients realize a 20 percent growth in digital sales by analyzing massive volumes of advertising data in real-time using IBM Netezza technology.
  • Worldwide advertising agency Ogilvy is using IBM’s analytics software for the iPad to help employees assign resources, track utilization rates, and identify new revenue opportunities on the fly.

To read about more clients that are tackling big data challenges with IBM analytics technologies, download the new IBM Big Data Book at http://www.ibm.com/bigdata.

Follow breaking news from Information On Demand 2011 on Twitter at #iod11.

Information on Demand 2011: Big Data, Bigger Insights

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Greetings from Viva Las Vegas, Nevada.

The CNN Republican debate is long over, the media circus is over, and the information gatherers for IBM Information on Demand 2011 are arriving en masse.

My Webcasting partner-in-crime, Scott Laningham, and I arrived here yesterday mostly without incident. We scoped out the situation, and decided that the Mandalay Bay Race and Sports Book was the perfect venue to sit down, have a burger, and watch the third game of the World Series.

Since baseball and data are going to be an underlying theme in Michael Lewis and Billy Beanes’ keynote about Moneyball later this week, it only seemed appropriate.

And though my Texas Rangers ended up taking a beating, we did witness some new data added to the baseball history books: The Cardinals’ Albert Pujols tied Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson for the most home runs struck in one game of a World Series, the magic number three (to be precise, the Babe did it twice).

And though you may never be able to fully predict the specific outcome of a single baseball game, Billy Beane and his Oakland A’s team proved that you can use past player performance statistics to help build a better team, one that could compete with the “big money” teams.

Okay, so if past prediction can help prove future performance, where does that leave we Information On Demanders for this 2011 event?

Let’s start with the business benefit, which in these tough times are necessary for even the most profitable of enterprises.

IBM studies have demonstrated that the performance gap between those leaders and the laggards and followers is widening: Organizations that apply advanced analytics have 33% more revenue growth and 12X more profit growth.

That ought to get some executive attention.

But we’re also seeing some major shifts in the external environment. Information is exploding. We’ve now got over 1 trillion devices connected to the Internet, and we’re expecting 44X digital data growth through 2020.

And yet we’re also finding that business change is outpacing our ability to keep up with it all: 60% of CEOs agree they have more data than they can use effectively, and yet 4 out of 5 business leaders see information as a vital source of competitive advantage.

So what’s the remedy? Well, those flying in to Vegas have taken the first step, admitting they have a problem (No, not “The Hangover” type problems — you’ll have to talk to Mike Tyson about those).

No, successful organizations are turning all that data into actionable insight by taking a more structured approach through business analytics and optimization (BAO).

They’re embracing it as a transformational imperative, and demonstrating that they can improve visibility throughout the enterprise, enhance their understanding of their customers, and fostering collaborative decision-making while providing those key predictive insights and optimizing real-time decision making.

So, like a good baseball player, or manager, your job over the next several days here in Vegas is to do a few key things, and do them well.

Focus, keep your eye on the ball and on the topics most important and relevant to you.

Listen, including both in the general sessions and individual tracks, but also in those all important hallway conversations — you never know what you might learn.

Participate, particularly in the social media. We IBMers and our key partners want to hear from you, and we’re only a Tweet away. Use conference hashtag #iodgc2011 to speak up, as we’re listening in return.

Commit, to the actions coming out of the event that you think will be helpful to you and your organization, and to bring those business and technology goals into becoming a reality.

And one other thing…have fun! Whatever happens in Vegas may not stay in Vegas…it may even end up on Facebook…but that shouldn’t stop you from having a good time and learning a lot this week.

As for Scott Laningham and myself, we’ll be blogging and covering key sessions, and “livestreaming” from the Expo floor. Stop by and say hello.

Full ACM Interview On Social Intelligence

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I was asked by a reporter for the Association For Computing Machinery (better known as the “ACM”) Web site to do an interview recently on the subject of social intelligence.

You can see the fruits of our interview here.  Paul Hyland, the reporter, did a nice job of synthesizing the essence of what we communicated in our email interview.

However, there were a few things left out that I felt would have been helpful to the audience, so I’m attaching the full email interview exchange below.

Social intelligence as a social media analysis discipline is still in its infancy, but at IBM we’ve been working in this arena for several years. Though I see much analysis and focus in the marketplace around the social analysis tools, there seems to be a deficit on some of the organizational and methodological approaches necessary for effective social intelligence gathering and actionability.

Hopefully the full interview below provides some insights into how many of us are thinking about this space inside IBM, and certainly I welcome comments and others’ observations on the subject!

  • For those ACM News readers who aren’t familiar with the emerging concept of “social intelligence” (SI), can you give me a quick explanation of what it is all about and why it has become so important today? What are a few of the most obvious applications of SI?

I’m not going to try and speak for the entire industry, but will share an explanation of the concept as we’ve started to recognize it inside IBM.

Simply put, social intelligence is the gathering, management, and analysis of business intelligence via the social media.

Business intelligence, of course, can encompass a wide gamut of actionable data and insight that can assist organizations in their decision-making.

To answer the question of why it has become so important, it’s probably best to answer the last part of the question, as to what the most obvious applications of social intelligence are.

The importance is driven by the changing business realities that the advent of the social media represents.  There are now billions of people online around the globe, and those people represent a huge diversity of opinions, preferences, sentiments, and related expressions of interest across an even more diverse set of topics and issues.  That includes expressions that impact brands and organizations around the globe.

Those companies wishing to adapt, learn, and benefit from those expressions are well advised to “listen”to those conversations, and to work to glean useful information and insights from those expressions.

To do that effectively and efficiently requires organizations to establish new ways of gathering market insight and intelligence, this time via the social media, and to structure their social intelligence gathering efforts in a way that maximizes the benefit they get from the data and insight collected there.

Actual examples run the gamut of business functions.  PR and communications may be listening in order to understand the impact of a recent PR initiative…Marketing may be interested in understanding the awareness of a new product or service, or perhaps to understand how the competition is faring…support or CRM in a service business may be wanting to understand how happy customers are, or aren’t, with a new service initiative.  There are a garden variety of social intelligence mining opportunities.

  • Talk to me a bit about the analysis of SI data, which is more import to our readers than is the gathering and management of SI data.  What are the key aspects involved in that analysis?

Great question.  Whenever I talk to people about social intelligence, I like to put it in some kind of a construct to help people get their heads around the opportunity it presents.

I refer to the four “O’s” – organization, opportunity, outcomes, and operations.

With respect to organization, you need to determine where in your company the social intelligence gathering and analysis function should reside, as that will help determine the type of insight and analysis you’re to gather.

Opportunity helps determine what you’ll eventually come to analyze.  If you’re an organization that largely markets products, your social intelligence analysis could well center around gathering product feature insights, or competitive insights.

The outcomes help put the analysis to practical use.  Too often, companies don’t listen with any sort of end in mind.  Establish a hypothesis and outline what it is that you’re looking to ultimately do with the intelligence you gather. That will help focus and bring clarity to how your organization will use its social intelligence.

Finally, operations.  Build an operational framework for taking action on your social intelligence.  Establish an organizational workflow and identify the constituents whom you will share and ask to act on the social intelligence you distribute.

Then, hold them accountable for the actions emerging from those insights.  Otherwise, you may soon find you’re just gathering intelligence for its own sake instead of actively leveraging the insights you gather from it to the betterment of your business.

I find that this is where too many organizations typically start their social intelligence journey, with the tools and vendors as opposed to what is it they wish to elicit from their efforts.

Go back and start with the four O’s above, THEN, as part of your conscious evaluation of what you’re trying to accomplish, you can start to outline what partner vendors or tools will be your best fit.

If you’ve read any of Forrester’s work in this area, you know they break this market into three key areas: Social dashboards, Multichannel Analytics Providers, and Listening Service Partners.

Full disclosure: IBM is in this business, with products like Cognos Consumer Insight (which would fall into the Multichannel Analytics category), but as a practicing marketer as well, we’ve examined and experimented with tools and vendors across this spectrum.

If you’re simply looking for a dashboard that allows you to monitor the landscape, and you’re going to establish a certain self-sufficiency, then the social dashboard approach may fit best for you.

If you need more handholding or professional services, or want a partner that can help you gather, analyze and even summarize your social intelligence, then an LSP would be warranted.

If you’re looking to gather data both in and outside the social media realm, structured and unstructured, then you’ll need a Multi-Channel Analytics Providers’ solution that can accommodate those unique requirements.

There are scores of vendors in each of these areas, and I’d be doing a disservice trying to mention certain tools without identifying specific use cases.  That said, here is a link to a wiki that was put together of some of the more notable social media monitoring solutions.

  • I know that “social intelligence” is also a psychological term. Are you familiar with that term? In order to avoid confusing our readers, is there any connection between the two? I need to draw a distinction.

I was not aware of the psychological orientation of the term until you mentioned it, but upon looking it up on Wikipedia, I would certainly distinguish that original definition with what I’m referring to here.

That definition describes social intelligence as the exclusively human capacity to use very large brains to effectively navigate and negotiate complex social relationships and environments.

Earlier, I set this discussion up with the definition centering around social intelligence being the gathering, management, and analysis of business intelligence via the social media.

The distinction is pretty clear, although I would argue the former definition could be applicable with the social media definition if you were attempting to do a social network analysis of a group of people online, and trying to understand and negotiate the social relationships and environment (read: the social graph).  Otherwise, I think they’re pretty well distinct from one another.

  • Can you provide a “further reading list” of sources of information on social intelligence for those readers who want to learn more.

I have my own personal preferences.  Since this is an emerging area, a lot of the useful insight you’ll find is on blogs and from people in the analyst’s community.

For the latter, I really like the work Forrester’s Zach Hofer Shall puts out around influence and what he refers to as “customer intelligence.”  Note, however, that though his blog is public, much of Forrester’s research is by subscription only.

I also like to keep up with work from the Altimeter Group, notably Jeremiah Owyang and Susan Etlinger.

And of course, it’s also helpful to follow blogs from some of the key vendors in this space.  A few names I’d suggest would include Converseon, Radian6, Cymfony, and Nielsen Online, among others.

  • Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be relevant to our readers concerning SI that we haven’t covered here?

The easiest way to get up to speed on social intelligence is to practice.  Practice definitely makes more perfect in this emerging space.

You can easily practice your own form of simple, DIY social intelligence by establishing a few Google News/Blog alerts.  Perhaps you want to monitor a few keywords relevant to your competition.  Or scan the social media for mentions of your brand.

You don’t have to have a multi-million or –thousand dollar investment to get started, that’s the beauty and economics of social media.  So, do some basic monitoring to get going and build from there.

Also, work to educate your colleagues about the opportunity social intelligence presents by offering them up some insight that nobody has been able to collect.  That will help get and keep their attention, and give you the opportunity to make the case for getting investment to take your social intelligence to the next level.

Memorial Day Travel Whisperer

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Happy Tuesday.

How was your long holiday weekend (for those of you in the U.S.)?

I know, hard to believe Tuesday could come around so quickly.

But let’s wallow in the long weekend just one moment longer.

Question: Have you ever ever wondered what kind of practical insight can be garnered from the social media, by what I like to call “social intelligence”?

Okay then, we’ll use data regarding the Memorial Day weekend travel as an example.

Before the long  weekend, IBM Research and IBM Global Business Services conducted an analysis of blog posts, Tweets, news sites, and other social media in the US which indicated that fewer travelers expected to cancel their Memorial Day Holiday trips compared with last year — and this despite the dramatic rise in the price of gas over the past six months.

During the project, analytics software was used to scan thousands of publicly-available social media postings relating to travel and Memorial Day.

The analysis focused on two six-month periods, November 20 to May 20 in both 2010 and 2011.

It identified more than 11,500 individual references to travel and Memorial Day, and revealed that 1.6 percent of posts in 2011 referenced canceling Memorial Day trips versus 2.8 percent in 2010.

Further analysis suggested that in 2010, with fuel costs hovering in the mid- to upper-$2.00/gallon range, online Memorial Day references tended to focus on the overall cost of travel (driving, hotels, entertainment, etc.)

This year, the references centered around the holiday itself, and references to gas prices were not substantially higher than in 2010.

See the topic cloud below for a visual representation of some of the key mentions from 2011.  In last year’s cloud, “travel cost” was the most mentioned meme.

IBM Fellow and CTO of IBM Global Business Services had this to say about this type of an approach can help businesses:

“As a marketplace of ideas and opinions, the Web can appear raucous and chaotic at times — but there is insight contained in all that data. A better understanding of what people are saying online can help retailers, hoteliers, transportation officials, and others with the extremely complicated process of forecasting demand.”

To learn more visit the IBM business analytics and optimization Website.

Written by turbotodd

May 31, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Unleash Your Intelligence With Cognos 10

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At this afternoon’s Business Analytics session, IBM Software Business Analytics’ general manager Rob Ashe introduced Cognos 10, new software that combines the most sophisticated business analytics and optimization capabilities for today’s evolving workforce.

For the first time, the new offerings combine social networking and collaboration capabilities for the burgeoning mobile workforce, expected to reach more than 1.19 billion by 2013, bringing informed decision-making to people on the front lines.

Call it the democratization of informed decision making.

With this news, IBM is bringing business analytics capabilities to the masses with a new look and feel that more closely mirrors people’s every day use of technology including support for new mobile devices and integrated social networking capabilities for faster, more collaborative decision-making.

The new software takes analytics out of the traditional format of reports and charts to a more interactive design and broader analysis and insight making it easier by providing built-in images and videos to guide business users.

They can now gain instant insight with analytics in an easy to use format anytime, anywhere on their mobile devices.  These new capabilities will have a profound impact on the way all business users interact with their teams, partners, managers and customers around the globe.

Rob Ashe and his team demonstrated some of these new capabilities in the afternoon Business Analytics keynote, providing some very cool demos and an explosive (literally) introduction of the long awaited Cognos 10.

Rob Ashe, General Manager, Business Analytics, IBM Software, prepares to "unbox" the long-awaited Cognos 10 onstage at Information on Demand 2010.

Goin’ Mobile: New Analytics Software Brings Speed to Insight with Social Collaboration and Mobile

Spurred by the growth of mobile transactions, expected to grow by 40 times by 2015, the increase in the rate and pace of data is accelerating the IT opportunity around business analytics and optimization.  When combined with the unprecedented growth of the mobile workforce, this presents an opportunity for businesses to embrace the borderless office and extract intelligence to better interact with customers.

A recent IBM study with 1,900 CFOs globally revealed analytics-driven organizations had 33% more revenue growth with 32% more return on capital invested.

To address these changing market dynamics, IBM announced a set of new business analytics capabilities in the form of Cognos 10.

Cognos 10 is a new version of Cognos software that brings together the power of social collaboration and analytics for business users to gain real-time intelligence in a single, user-friendly interface  — online or through mobile devices such as iPad, iPhones and BlackBerries.

Today, with the launch of Cognos 10, IBM is delivering the most significant analytics offering since the acquisition of Cognos, one of the largest acquisitions in IBM history.

For the first time, this new software brings together the power of social collaboration with Lotus Connections software and business analytics with Cognos in one unified experience with intuitive navigation capabilities and simplified user experience.

This removes the frustration of having to interrupt user train of thought resulting from the need to switch between views to get the right information. The software supports the natural path of seamless views from browsing to investigation to decision making.

End-User Driven Analytics

This new software provides business users with an integrated view of historical information with real-time updates to give users a complete picture of their business.

Now, business users can benefit from accessing information with a range of views from simple real-time information to advanced predictive “what if” analysis.
The integrated social networking capabilities with analytics allow the employees to interact with each other in real time in communities, wikis and blogs.

This combination fuels the exchange of ideas and knowledge that naturally occurs in the decision-making process, but is typically lost in meeting notes, manual processes and emails.  Users can now initiate activities, engage others with their expertise, post messages, files, links, and discuss or review opinions – all in real time for faster, more accurate decision making.

The new Cognos 10 dashboard empowers the end user decision maker to manipulate their reports and make informed business decisions. No visit to the IT back office required (unless you just like making those visits.)

For example, a regional sales manager can spot a spike in sales in a popular pair of shoes with the store manager and marketing team in real time to identify the cause and brainstorm to resolve the issues around managing supply and demand.

Another scenario: Doctors can spot trends for patient treatment of certain diseases, share insight with other doctors, and agree on a preventative course of action and treatment with a team of doctors, all without having to change a single view with this in-depth information.

And yet another: A brand manager sees product sales declining and needs to discuss the issue with the store manager, production department, and marketing team – all at the same time. The manager can instantly set up a decision network to connect the right people and information to share insights and capture annotations.

Rob Ashe explained in his keynote that this was most exhaustive overhaul of the Cognos platform ever, and, appropriately enough, was driven largely by customer feedback and insight.

IBM continues to expand its multi-billion dollar investment in the business analytics and optimization market.

Over the past five years, IBM has invested more than $14 billion in 24 analytics acquisitions. Today, more than 7,000 IBM business consultants are dedicated to analytics.

Written by turbotodd

October 25, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Intelligence Unleashed: One Week To IOD

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Speaking of connecting the dots and intelligence, I’m heading out this weekend to my fourth trip to blog and podcast from the IBM Information on Demand event.

Once again this year, the event will be held at the lovely Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, and latest word is we’re expecting over 9,000 people in attendance.

That’s a whole lot of Flying Elvi, and also a whole bunch of dots to connect.

Which is why this year’s theme is so key: Gain Insight, Optimize Results.

And which is also why we’re excited the Cognos Business Analytics forum will be held concurrent with IOD, and why everybody is excited about the pending, long-awaited announcement of Cognos 10.

I was briefed on the new Cognos portfolio last week from some folks in the Cognos know, and I would tell you what they told me, but then they’ll have me thrown off the top of the longtime Cognos HQ in Ottawa, and that’s a long drop, plus it’s cold, and I’m from Texas, so I’m keeping my mouth shut.

For now.

However, I am going to suggest you tune in to the IBM Business Analytics keynote by our business analytics general manager, Rob Ashe, on the morning of October 25.

You can find more details on that and Cognos 10 here.  That morning, you’ll get all the details on Cognos 10 and more.  Mark your calendars now!

As mentioned, I’ll be blogging the main sessions per usual, and developerWorks’ Scott Laningham and I are also going to be doing some live programming from the show floor this year.

We’ll be talking to a number of the featured subject matter experts speaking at IOD, and also generally just making a nuisance of ourselves.

Be sure to tune into the live stream so as not to miss us smacking any egg on our faces!  There’s nothing like the live Interwebs!

We’ll also have a number of subject matter expert colleagues of ours blogging again from the event, including the Energizer Bunny data expert Adam Gartenberg and digital Cognos know-it-all guru Delaney Turner.

Between they, Scott, and Jennifer Sussin, who helps us all maintain our social media scheduling sanity, we should have close to gavel-t0-gavel coverage.

All that, of course, does NOT include all the Tweeting, videocasting and blogging being done by our business partners, customers, analysts, and the major media.

Know that we look forward to it all, and to help you more carefully monitor the IOD 2010 firehouse (Twitter Hashtag: iodgc and baforum), we’ve pulled together the IOD 2010 Social Media Aggregator.

It’s a lot of information to keep it up with, I know, but that’s why Cognos is going to play such a key role on the information agenda moving forward: To help customers around the globe separate the wheat from the chaff, gain new business insights, and share those insights in their organization with the people who matter most.

We look forward to seeing you in Vegas or for hearing from you across cyberspace — I’ll be the one wearing the gold chains.

Written by turbotodd

October 18, 2010 at 6:53 pm

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