May 13, 2015
Marc Altshuller, vice president of Watson Analytics, says this latest version of Watson Analytics Professional provides a multi-user implementation of the artificial intelligence (AI) platform that IBM first made famous on the Jeopardy! game show. Via this iteration, Altshuller says IBM is making it simpler for teams of users within departments, for example, to collaborate on the same analytics project.
In addition, this implementation of Watson Analytics provides integrations with IBM dashDB andIBM DB2 databases along with support for Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) API connectors for SQL databases, IBM SQL Database for Bluemix, and data stored in IBM Cognos 10 business intelligence software.
Finally, Altshuller notes Watson Analytics Professional expands the number of columns and rows that end users can invoke within a Watson Analytics application to 500 and 10 million, respectively.
At this point there are multiple flavors of Watson services running in the IBM SoftLayer cloud. Altshuller says Watson Analytics comes in free, personal and now multi-user editions. Designed primarily for working with structured data generated gathered from flat files and Excel spreadsheets, Altshuller says Watson Analytics enables end user to invoke natural language queries to visually discover trends and patterns they might not otherwise see. The only exception to the set of data, says Altshuller, is that Watson Analytics does provide support for sentiment analysis to run against social media data.
Longer term, Altshuller says IBM intends to make it possible for organizations to share patterns and models they discover via a centralized online store in much the same way organizations can today discover applications on the IBM Watson store.
Since formally releasing Watson Analytics IBM claims that more than 40,000 users have registered to invoke the service. Now that IBM has gained some confidence with delivering Watson Analytics it’s clear that IBM now wants to move Watson Analytics further into the realm of the average enterprise.
Of course, IBM is hardly the only company trying to monetize AI and advanced analytics in the cloud. But IBM is allocating billions of dollars to build an ecosystems of partners around IBM Watson cloud services. While some of those services require a lot of effort to first collect unstructured content and then train Watson on how to identify relationships in that data, Watson Analytics is a much more approachable set of services designed to give organizations access to advanced analytics that should give them more confidence in business decisions they make.
As such, Watson Analytics Professional Edition just might be the entry point through which most IBM partners can finally introduce to their customers in a way that might actually generate some actual real revenue opportunities for them.
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