Expert Q&A: Modernize data science with IBM Watson Studio Premium for Cloud Pak for Data

By | 5 minute read | November 12, 2020

The role of Data science and AI as an enabler for business growth has never been more critical. PwC calculates that the “Potential contribution to the global economy by 2030 from AI” would be up to $15.7 trillion1.

Across industries, organizations that have invested in data science are now looking to future-proof these investments to position data science and AI as a key driver of innovation for their next chapters of growth. This is critical because the ability to scale AI at the speed of business, tap into innovation across the ecosystem, manage uncertainty and be agile in decision-making will differentiate the leaders from the rest.

The IBM Watson Data Science portfolio has evolved keeping in mind these needs of our clients. Many IBM clients have been using proven data science tools like IBM SPSS Modeler and IBM Decision Optimization (CPLEX), seeing significant benefits. To help clients maximize value from these investments, IBM now offers the ability to modernize these investments on an multicloud data and AI platform using  IBM Watson Studio Premium for Cloud Pak for Data.

I spoke to Alex Jones, Offering Manager, IBM Data and AI, to discuss how clients can benefit from modernizing their data science with Watson Studio Premium. Alex has been helping our clients accelerate time to AI value by bringing cutting edge data science products to market.

Alex, IBM clients have been using standalone data science offerings like IBM SPSS Modeler and IBM CPLEX for years. Can you tell me why should clients consider modernizing these investments on Watson Studio Premium for Cloud Pak for Data?

Through Watson Studio Premium  for Cloud Pak for Data Modernization Upgrade offer, clients can choose how they want to modernize their data science and AI environments based on their own priorities and timelines.  Through dual use terms, they can continue using their current SPSS Modeler and CPLEX software, while they leverage new benefits found only in Watson Studio Premium and Cloud Pak for Data such as access to open source model building tools and a collaborative project environment where data scientists and analysts can work together on analytic problems.

SPSS Modeler works better together with Watson Studio Premium when streams built with the standalone product are brought into the modern platform for deployment. Also, clients can build more accurate models at spe­­­ed by combining AutoAI and visual modeling capabilities. With Decision Optimization technology available within IBM Watson Studio  Premium for  Cloud Pak for Data, data scientists and operations research specialists can use optimization and predictive models on the same platform which helps improve the speed, accuracy and agility of business decision-making processes by accelerating decision intelligence. 

What benefits does Cloud Pak for Data offer to help clients accelerate their journey to AI?

Within IBM Cloud Pak for Data, IBM embeds a set of tools that make analyzing data and building AI models easier and more accessible for clients. These include IBM Watson Studio and IBM Watson Machine Learning that enables clients to build and deploy AI models. These are fully integrated based on open source frameworks and help simplify AI lifecycle  management , augment your team productivity with AutoAI,  while helping build trust and transparency in AI outcomes.

A Forrester TEI study projects that organizations adopting IBM Cloud Pak for Data can gain data science, machine learning and AI benefits of $1.2 to $3.4 million, as well as container and container-management efficiencies totalling $12.5 million to $14.4 million

You mentioned that the base services included within IBM Cloud Pak for Data provides many data and AI capabilities.  What incremental value does Watson Studio Premium for Cloud Pak for Data bring to clients?

Primarily, Watson Studio Premium broadens the types of users within an organization who can participate in data science projects and the business problems they can address by adding visual modeling and optimization technology to the base services included in Cloud Pak for Data base.  Visual modeling using SPSS Modeler increases the efficiency of data scientists up to 40% and allows much of a project’s analysis work to be performed by Line of Business analysts.

These users can bring in their own business insights to analytic use cases without having to code, all while working seamlessly with data scientists.  Decision Optimization also provided within Watson Studio Premium unlocks the ability to turn predictions into actions by finding the best steps to take based on real world constraints.  Additionally, Hadoop Execution Engine capabilities provide connections from Notebooks and Data Refinery to Hadoop data sources, increasing the performance and efficiency of data scientists working with big data sets.

Can you touch upon the value of Watson Studio Premium Modernization Upgrade offer from a cost-benefit standpoint for existing clients of SPSS Modeler and CPLEX?

Watson Studio Premium Modernization Upgrade enables existing customers of SPSS Modeler or CPLEX to move to a modern data and AI platform very cost effectively.  Customers taking advantage of the Modernization Upgrade receive all the benefits of Watson Studio Premium that we’ve already discussed, and can choose whether to deploy on Cloud Pak for Data right away or move there over time by utilizing dual entitlements to SPSS Modeler, Collaboration and Deployment Services, Analytic Server and CPLEX stand-alone offerings.  Since these parts are priced to reflect the investment customers have already made with IBM, Watson Studio Premium Modernization Upgrade provides customers the ability to future proof their data science investments at a comparatively low cost.

Will SPSS Modeler get the same level of capabilities that they already get with their current SPSS Modeler and CPLEX deployments?

The SPSS Modeler capabilities inside Cloud Pak for Data now provide parity with standalone SPSS Modeler for the vast majority of use cases.  All common streams can now be imported and run within Cloud Pak for Data. In addition, our recently announced Cloud Pak for Data 3.5 release includes the ability to schedule SPSS Modeler flows in Jobs, replacing much of Collaboration and Deployment Services (C&DS) functionality with greatly improved simplicity. In addition, Cloud Pak for Data 3.5 now allows customers to connect SPSS Analytic Server with Cloud Pak for Data to enable pushback from Modeler for faster stream execution against Hadoop data sources.

Watch the “Top 3 benefits of modernizing your data science with IBM Watson Studio Premium” webinar for more details about why to upgrade.

Schedule a free 1X1 consultation with one of our experts about modernization.

1 Source: PwC’s Global Artificial Intelligence Study: Exploiting the AI Revolution