IBM’s Watson Makes Easy Work of ‘Big Data’ Analytics

In what is being described as its most important analytics announcement in a decade, IBM has launched a set of cloud-based data analysis tools using its Watson artificial intelligence technology. The company's goal is to make data analytics -- and business intelligence based on big data -- more accessible to anyone in the enterprise who needs it. The new analytics tools require less technical expertise than traditional analytics, making them a good fit for use by sales and marketing, R&D, customer service, and throughout the enterprise.

IBM named the new analytics service after its Watson artificial intelligence system that earned notoriety for winning the Jeopardy TV game show. Now, IBM is promoting Watson Analytics through a freemium model to help attract more clients.

The initial release of Watson Analytics offers a full range of self-service analytics, including access to easy-to-use data refinement and data warehousing services. These tools make it easier for business users to acquire, prepare, and interpret large quantities of data. The system also provides better analysis tools than simple spreadsheets can offer, and produces data-driven visualizations based on natural language queries. Companies can upload data free of charge to IBMEUs platform.

"I'll Take 'My Best Leads' for $100, Alex"

In comparison with more traditional data analysis systems that are designed for statisticians and researchers, Watson Analytics is intended to be much more intuitive and accessible for the average business person. It automates steps like data preparation, predictive analysis, and visual storytelling for business professionals across data-intensive disciplines, including marketing, sales, operations, finance and human resources.

Enterprise clients can essentially outsource data analysis to IBM, using WatsonEUs ability to parse natural language to ask questions such as EUwhat are the key drivers of my product sales?EU and EUwhich benefits drive employee retention the most?EU

A marketing executive, for example, could use...

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