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Watson returns with mission to make analytics easier

25/09/2014 by


IBM introduced a cloud-based analytics service for Watson, its cognitive computing platform and famed “Jeopardy!” champion. The new offering, Watson Analytics, uses natural language processing to handle some of the complexities of preparing data for business and IT analytics processing.

The firm said Watson Analytics would ease the amount of technical skills and data grooming required, making predictive analytics easier to acquire and use.

Instead of having separate analytics tools for different kinds of data tasks, Watson Analytics broadens the query response in a “seamless, unified experience that brings together a set of self-service enterprise data and analytics capabilities on the cloud,” IBM said in its announcement.

IBM outlined a Watson-enabled process for Watson query response, in which users identify a problem, and Watson begins a series of steps including data sourcing, cleansing and refining, discovering insights, predicting outcomes and visualizing results.

IBM said most analytics offerings assume users have their data ready for processing. “However, most business users have none of these things,” IBM noted, adding that finding and prepping data eat up 50 percent of the time spent on an analytics project.

In contrast, Watson Analytics “automates these steps to accelerate users’ ability to get to the answers they’re seeking, quickly and on their own,” IBM claimed.

IBM pitched its announcement to business professionals, but other disciplines, including government and education users, are potential customers. The company has worked to get earlier versions of Watson technology used in government, especially in the sphere of healthcare analytics.

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