IBM Watson Analytics Uncovered

By: Phil Hamrick
ibm watson analytics

I recently visited the IBM Analytics Development Center in Ottawa to review the IBM Analytics technical roadmap. IBM has made great strides with their cloud-based analytics platform, Watson Analytics, and have been extremely focused on end user, ease-of-use features.

If you aren’t too familiar with Watson’s Analytics, the best resource is IBM’s website: You can also read reviews such as this one from PC Magazine and this blog has some cool screenshots:

Here are some of my takeaways:

  • The Watson Analytics team has addressed several gaps. For example, Watson Analytics can attach to most leading data repositories now (including Teradata, Oracle, SQL Server, etc. – approx. 20 sources at this time).  Watson Analytics also provides other data content for no subscription fee. IBM has bundled approx. 12 data sources (weather, mapping, postal & geo coding, etc.) and plan to grow other data sources specific to industry verticals.
  • Watson Analytics is still 100% cloud-based. The data transfer from on-prem to cloud is now easier to manage and they solved many of the performance issues.  (As a side note, IBM will move forward with a hybrid model – both cloud and on-prem deployment. A good analogy is Office 365, where you can operate in a SaaS environment and pull down excel data files or Word files to your laptop if you need to work in a “detached” environment.  Watson Analytics will be the cloud portion and Cognos Analytics will be the on-prem portion.  Dual entitlement licensing has also just been announced by IBM.)
  • The Watson for Social Media is a very impressive. The data sources that IBM has bundled into Watson Analytics make this Social Media solution very easy-to-deploy and easy-of-use tool.  With the popularity of social media, no other vendor has the complete portfolio as IBM with Watson for Social Media which includes sentiment analysis, charting, reporting and questioning.
  • Cognos BI, TM1, SPSS and Watson Analytics all in one Product. Cognos Analytics and Watson Analytics are coming together into one product over the next 2 years. IBM will announce dual entitlement licenses for all products starting in July.
  • Lots of energy on PowerPlay developments from Cognos Analytics. This was always a very easy-to-use tool and has made a big comeback.  So, PowerPlay is an excellent cube structure that is easy to build and easy to use.

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