Today was Day 1 of IBM's Analyst Insight Summit. This exclusive event brings together the top industry analysts from around the world to meet with the heads of IBM's software division.
If I had to sum up the event in one word, it would be analytics.
IBM has a vast software portfolio that covers a variety of topics, but at the centre of all of them is IBM's message around using data to gather insights that can lead to better decision making. While IBM has several technologies in the analytics space, the crown jewel is IBM Watson.
Yes, Watson is best known as the computer that played (and won) the TV game show Jeopardy. But Watson is not just a fast computer that knows a lot of trivia. Watson is culmination of years of IBM research into cognitive computing. Explaining that is beyond the scope of this blog entry, but you can read more about it here. Almost everything we heard today had some link back to Watson. From the Watson Analytics tool that enables anyone to upload data (ex: spreadsheet) and instantly gain insights, to the Watson Services for IBM BlueMix than enable application developers to leverage Watson's capabilities in their own applications.
What can analytics (and Watson's features) do? How about:
- Help doctors make decisions using far more information than they could possibly process themselves. (ex: every clinical trial ever conducted + every medical journal + every patient record in milliseconds)
- Enable airlines to predict engine failures before they happen
- Empower financial analysts to see trading patterns
- Assist law enforcement in solving crimes
- over even help a small business owner figure out the needs of their customers
Think of any use case where there is just too much data for a person to possibly process on their own, that's where analytics and tools like Watson come in.
Those of you that follow my work will know I am doing lots of research on how future generation collaboration tools will be able to help us prioritise what to work on and what to avoid doing. How will they do that? Analytics. We can't possibly look at our email, calendar, contacts, chat messages, text messages, social networks, social media, CRM data, inventory, customer requests, competitive news, and a dozen other sources and process all that information... but Watson just might be able to.
Here is a presentation I recently gave about how analytics could be the key to helping people be more effective at work
Are we there yet? Not even close. But IBM has a lot of the right pieces in place to start building the collaboration tools that I envision for our future.