Analytics trends: IBM makes Watson super computer available for business decisions

19/09/2014

IBM has expanded its Watson supercomputer with a new ‘freemium’ analytics service that lets businesses make use of the high powered machine.

Watson became famous for winning the game show Jeapoardy and is even credited for solving agricultural and famine relief problems in Africa. .

Now, IBM has put its supercomputer within reach of everyone with the launch of Watson Analytics.

The natural language interface allows users to ask questions about their company in simple terms and get the answers almost instantaneously in an easily digestable format.

Where Watson Analytics really comes into its own is its ability to make observations, spot patterns and suggest the answers to questions that you didn't realise you wanted answered.

The Watson Analytics tool lets companies upload data to the IBM cloud for free and then receive what the company claims will be predictive insights for businesspeople to use.

If successful, Watson Analytics should work for companies that don’t have a data scientist.

“Watson Analytics is a tool to let every business user harness all the power we can deliver,” says Alistair Rennie, general manager of business analytics at IBM. “What deals am I most likely to win? What sector will be busiest in the next month?”

IBM’s analytics operations are one of the bright spots on the company’s ledgers, one that the company has invested billions in and now projects to make $20 billion in revenue next year. The unit grew 9% last year and has now had 40,000 service engagements.

Watson Analytics is targeted at achieving both those goals by bringing smaller, cheaper companies into the fold through a free and thus lower barrier of entry into using Watson for analytics.

IBM will put up sample data on its Watson Analytics site to help users get started, along with tutorials and guides, and plans to update the tools continuously.

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