Talking Big Data And Analytics With IBM

Apr 1 2014, 10:18am CDT | by

Every where we look we are hearing more and more about the growing connectedness in our lives. You’ve likely heard something from Cisco Systems about the Internet of Everything. From the smartphones and tablets we carry to the cars we drive and the homes we live in. It’s not just around us in our personal lives, but also in our work lives. Put those together and there is a significant amount of information that companies can use to improve the customer experience as well as fend off attacks. This move is going to create waves of opportunity for many companies — from wireless chip companies like Qualcomm  to database and information systems companies like Oracle and SAP as well as software and services companies like IBM.

To sort through all of this and discuss the opportunity to be had with what is increasingly called Big Data, I recently spoke with Bob Picciano, senior vice president of IBM’s Information and Analytics Group. While some people still think of IBM as computers and cash registers, the company has been busy transforming itself into a Big Data and Analytics powerhouse during the last few years, and that investment is paying off. The combination of more than $24 billion invested to date to build IBM’s Big Data capabilities, through a combination of R&D initiatives and more than 30 acquisitions, has led to more than 40,000 service engagements for IBM. Recently, the growth in Big Data recently led to IBM upsizing its 2015 revenue target to $20 billion. The original target was $16 billion, but IBM hit that in 2013. That should give you an idea of how fast Big Data is growing and how IBM is performing.

Many people still think of IBM as computers, cash registers and the like, but that was the IBM of old – what is the IBM of today and the IBM of the future? 
Today, not only is IBM a systems provider, but we have continuously transformed the company.  IBM is a dedicated software- and services-led company that provides a vast set of capabilities around helping companies make data-driven decisions by applying analytics to information already at their fingertips. To underscore this point, this year we came out with one of our most compelling visions around cloud, big data and systems of engagement. We see these three areas fusing together and transforming the industry and our clients.

Big Data and Analytics is very much at the center of this transformation and serves as the “silver lining” of IBM’s core business initiatives today. It is woven throughout our entire portfolio of products, services and industry expertise.

This is a market that IBM has invested heavily in, and it’s paying off. Business analytics is now nearly a $16 billion business for IBM, on track to reach $20 billion in 2015.

We have made these investments over time to drive change within the industry, for our clients’ businesses, and within IBM.  No one is more uniquely positioned than IBM to help clients drive top line growth, operational efficiently and intimacy with their own customers, and change the depth of outcomes they are able to drive out of big data.

IBM is a leader in the Big Data & Analytics market, and the company has made many investments in R&D and acquisitions over the years. How does IBM compete in Big Data and differentiate itself from Oracle, Hewlett-Packard and others?  

To meet growing client demands in today’s data intensive industries, IBM has established the world’s deepest and broadest portfolio of Big Data and Analytics technologies and solutions, spanning services, software, research and hardware. Fueling this is the fact that IBM has made a multi-billion dollar investment in big data and analytics — $24 billion since 2005 thru both acquisitions and R&D — to extend its leadership position in this strategic market. These investments have helped IBM bring new leadership assets into our portfolio and deliver new capabilities to our clients.   

Businesses and governments worldwide are being challenged to make sense of data and gather valuable insights from structured and unstructured data that are emerging from a variety of sources such as videos, blogs and social networking sites. We are helping clients tackle these big data challenges in virtually every industry – from public safety to healthcare, retail, automotive, telecommunications, and everything in between.

As evidenced by our broad big data solutions portfolio, consulting services, capabilities around cloud and capabilities around traditional software deliveries, only IBM has the full spectrum of analytics capabilities organizations need to handle big data and extract value from it — from descriptive, predictive and prescriptive to cognitive, including predictive capabilities that allow users to model once and deploy broadly on both structured and unstructured data.

Beyond just providing clients with the turnkey Big Data and Analytics solutions they need to be up and running in a matter of minutes, we also provide them with a varying suite of technologies that enable them to build their own big data platforms that best fit their needs. For instance, Watson Foundations is a key differentiator in the marketplace and provides clients with the core Big Data and Analytics capabilities to fuel their journeys to the next era of computing – cognitive. No other vendor has the breadth and depth of innovations, capabilities and experts to help companies tackle the data deluge of information and put it to use for business value. In fact, further underscoring this leadership, Wikibon recently announced that IBM has been named the market share leader in the big data market for the second consecutive year.

Its clear big data has become the phenomenon of our time.  How do you see big data and analytics transforming industries and professions? Can you share an example or two? 

The world economy produces 2.5 exabytes of data per day. Eighty percent is unstructured, largely untapped with regards to potential. So, our goal is to help clients figure out how to get their arms around this data deluge.

Big Data and Analytics has the huge potential to transform every industry and profession, and as a result many new big data business models are emerging to help organizations to take advantage of it. Effectively harnessing unique insights from big data can drive better business outcomes, helping businesses grow, attract and retain customers, improve the intimacy enterprises have with their clients and understand more about customers – how to anticipate their needs and provide more targeted and relevant marketing and services.

But the number one game changer here is the ability to conduct real-time analytics on data. In transactional systems, speed of thought data analytics can provide critical insight to decision makers around risk and opportunity positions in the moment, and it can also identify things that are going wrong with core infrastructure, enabling users to take action immediately. In other words, fast data is emerging as the key driver of new value in big data use cases.

Industries like retail, telecommunications, financial services, hospitality and healthcare are already benefiting greatly from this phenomenon. 

Take for example today’s traditional neonatal intensive care unit, which generates a vast variety of information about patients from telemetry systems. Today, information is collected and analyzed via a batch process – the doctor or nurse comes by once an hour.  But what we’re recognizing is that there is a continuous set of inputs around blood oxygen levels, pulse, respiration rates and other vital signs that can show potential signs of early onsite infection or patient stress that are missed when data is collected through a batch process. Using specialized Big Data and Analytics technology, doctors and nurses can now monitor vital metrics continuously and apply predictive insights to those inputs to identify critical changes to the health of the patient and intervene with necessary treatment path changes./>/>

We’re also doing a lot of work with companies like BMW Group around connected car and predictive maintenance and quality. Together we are looking at outcomes BMW can improve by understanding more of those real time inputs as they manufacture their automobiles and diagnosis issues that are happening in the field.

When we look at how data is transforming professions, I’d say that data scientists are more in demand than ever before. Gartner estimates that there will be 4.4 million Big Data jobs worldwide by 2015. What we even see happening at the top level is organizations anointing roles like Chief Data Officers and Chief Data Architects.

And what is even more interesting is that many of them are not from traditional data backgrounds. They are more concerned with how business models will change to be able to leverage the wealth of information that companies sit on today. I see that as a key emerging role.

We already have a strong foundation out in the marketplace for these skills, and IBM is also working with over 1,000 universities and business schools around the globe to help ensure our future workforce is armed with the right skills to work with and tackle Big Data and Analytics.

What are some near-term benefits of big data compared to longer-term ones? 

In the roughly 40,000 analytic engagements we’ve had with over ten thousand analytic consultants in this space, we’ve seen the emergence of six very distinct customer value entry points and reasons why they’re looking to take advantage of Big Data and Analytics:

  • To attract, grow and retain customers. Big Data and Analytics enables a 360-degree view of the customer, improving client intimacy.
  • To transform financial processes and management through in-house implementation of analytics. Businesses want to make the best use of their dollars and identify waste or fraud in their organizations.
  • To improve IT economics; using aspects of log analytics to gain insight on data within the computing system to improve the general economics of the IT environment.
  • To optimize threat and fraud and focusing on security patterns. Every organization is focused on minimizing security threats – Big Data and Analytics tools can help detect flaws in the system and potential breaches before they become bigger issues.
  • To improve operational data; real-time cases predicated around analysis of operational data. This goes back to improving their own internal processes to run more efficiently.
  • To create new business models. Many clients are seeing a wealth of information about how they can change the very service they supply to the ecosystem that they serve, not just perhaps with traditional clients but up and down their value chain as they monetize the data they have at their disposal.

You mentioned optimizing thread and fraud and focusing on security patterns as a key benefit of Big Data. Today’s headlines are rampant with stories of fraud and financial crime. Can you explain in more detail about the role that Big Data and Analytics plays in helping organizations get out ahead of these types of threats and how can IBM help? 

Every year, organizations lose $3.5 trillion to fraud and financial crime.  Further, the pace of this threat continues to accelerate – identity fraud impacted more than 12 million individuals in 2012, resulting in theft of nearly $21 billion, and each day the U.S. healthcare industry alone loses $650 million due to medical fraud.  These pervasive threats have quickly moved from an ‘acceptable’ cost of doing business to the top of many c-suite agendas.

But security is not going to be bolstered by simply building fatter firewalls. It’s going to be enhanced by aggregating Big Data and Analytics across a variety of internal and external sources – including mobile, social and online – in order to apply sophisticated, real-time analytics that monitor for patterns of fraud that would otherwise go undetected.  In today’s digital age, the only way private and public organizations can keep up with these evolving threats is through the smarter application of Big Data and Analytics.

Just recently, IBM announced a new initiative to help public and private organizations use analytics to combat this growing threat. The initiative includes new software and services that draws innovation from 500 fraud consulting experts, 290 fraud-related research patents and $24 billion invested in Big Data and Analytics since 2005.  This includes both R&D and acquisitions such as i2, SPSS, SRD, Q1 Labs, Cognos and SoftLayer. These new offerings come at a time when a new generation of criminals is using digital channels – such as mobile devices, social networks and cloud platforms – to probe for weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

Unlike competitors, IBM is unique in its ability to combine market-leading software, services and research capabilities to address the full spectrum of fraud and financial crimes – from tax evasion, money laundering and cyber-attacks to threats from inside the organization.

To listen to my 1-1 conversation with Bob Picciano, senior vice president of IBM’s Information and Analytics Group  CLICK HERE

Source: Forbes Auto

 
 

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