IBM® Vision 2017 shined a spotlight on the ongoing revolution in business analytics, where the creativity of analysts and data scientists is driving competitive advantage and igniting new opportunities for a wide range of organizations in the future.
What’s fueling this resurgence? Vision attendees pointed to a few key ideas:
Better user experiences are driving greater organizational intelligence
Keynote speaker Geoff Colvin painted the macro picture of a friction-free economy, and it’s clear that the IBM Business Analytics portfolio is helping reduce day-to-day friction for data analysts and business users. As Annie Cushing, Chief Data Officer for @outspokenmedia, pointed out, “IBM dashboard tools are much more user friendly than other tools I’ve worked with.” BI tools like IBM Cognos® Analytics make insights easily accessible—and thus more actionable—throughout organizations.
The art of data is as important as the science
Getting the data right is obviously essential, but it’s not enough. Nearly every client session at Vision touched on how to make data and insights more aesthetically pleasing. Everyone—from the business users of Watson AnalyticsTM to the data pros using Planning Analytics—is excited by the wide variety of out-of-the-box visualizations and the emerging capabilities of data storytelling.
The work of data is getting easier
Most analytics experts are finally getting a read on the data they control. Many are thinking about incorporating more data from outside their organization. Few are prepared for the onslaught of data from the internet of things. The good news is that all of these factors are becoming easier to handle. As one example, IBM is making it easier than ever to download and immediately start using weather data to enrich your analysis of internal business results.
And the IBM Cloud is making it easier to leverage cognitive capabilities and connect devices. Christopher Penn, VP Marketing Technology @shiftcomm talked about how everything can come together today: “With tools like IBM Watson®, Node-RED, and Cloud Foundry, we will be partners with the machines rather than losing jobs to them. We’ll be able to construct new, better, and more powerful analytics solutions in less time, freeing us up to dream and build the future.”
Smart data discovery will make us all, well, smarter
If you’re looking for the next big thing in analytics, look no further than smart data discovery. Tools like Watson Analytics are leveraging cognitive capabilities to guide users toward new insights by proactively suggesting connections between data sets. This analysis goes beyond simple correlations—which are inherently biased and misleading—and starts unearthing complex patterns and relationships in data. AI startup advisor Steve Ardire had this to say: “Elcenora Martinez shared the secret sauce at #ibmvision: Being able to understand the WHY… augmented intelligence, where machines and humans work together, will become pervasive.”
The future of analytics is bright
IBM Business Analyst Colin Sumter perhaps summed it up best: “My biggest takeaway [from Vision] was watching the friction-less economic trends. The product demonstrations. And understanding that we’re using the IBM products the way they’re designed to be used.”
While the name Vision implies a future focus, the IBM Business Analytics portfolio is delivering an incredibly impressive and unique set of capabilities today. If you missed Vision, you can still explore the free trials of Watson Analytics, Cognos Analytics, and Planning Analytics to get a flavor of what the future holds with the help of IBM Analytics.