IBM Moves to Democratize Analytics

Mike Vizard
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Advances in the way organizations can view and manipulate data these days seem to be coming fast and furious. At the IBM Vision 2014 conference today, IBM announced a series of analytics initiatives, including previewing the Project Catalyst Insight analytics discovery tools that create predictive models that then present analytics results using interactive visuals, accompanied by plain language descriptions.

Erick Brethenoux, director of business analytics and decision management strategy, IBM, says Project Catalyst Insight is designed to enable people who have never take a statistics class to take advantage of analytics software to make better business decisions. In effect, Project Catalyst Insight should not only increase the usage of analytics, but also reduce dependency on business analysts and data scientists.

While data analysts and scientists will still be required to build very precise analytics applications, Project Catalyst Insight is intended to give end users a set of tools that have provided accuracy confidence in the range of 70 to 80 percent, says Brethenoux. Those analytics applications may not be used to drive a business process, but they will provide enough accuracy to allow business users to make more informed decisions than trying to decipher patterns and trends using traditional spreadsheets.


At the same time today, IBM is unfurling IBM Concert, a set of analytics applications that can now be accessed on the IBM Cloud Marketplace. Designed to provide access to a performance management application that incorporates IBM analytics software, Brethenoux says IBM Concert makes it easier for people in organizations to collaborate around a set of performance management tools that share a common user interface.

Finally, IBM announced today that its governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) suite of applications, called OpenPages, is now available as a managed service that can be managed by IBM.

Like many players in the analytics space, IBM is trying to democratize access to analytics software that was once the purview of a small percentage of business users. In so doing, IBM is hoping that usage of analytics software will not only increase across the enterprise, but that the return on that investment will be more readily achieved because organizations will no longer necessarily have to hire a dedicated business analyst or data scientist to make sense of it all.

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