In 2011, IBM’s supercomputer Watson appeared on Jeopardy! to face off against Ken Jennings (he of the longest unbeaten run in show history) and Brad Rutter (all-time biggest prize winner in show history). The computer system dubbed Watson emerged victorious in the two-part match, winning the $1 million prize with a final score of $77,147 .
Watson was developed by IBM’s DeepQA project with the mission of programming a computer system that could analyze unstructured data and answer questions posed in natural human language. Watson was capable of synthesizing millions of pages of information and over four terabytes of data, retrieving the information, and presenting the (hopefully) correct question in the show’s rigid format.
Why are we talking about this in late 2015? Well, IBM engineers have continued to develop Watson’s cognitive computing abilities over the years and deploy the intelligence across a variety of applications. The most interesting for our purposes is Watson Analytics.
What is Watson Analytics?
Watson Analytics is a browser-based platform with an emphasis on predictive analytics and data visualization. With Watson, you can explore, discover, visualize, deploy, predict, and learn from your own data with ease. Let’s explore the advantages:
- Non-technical users can explore and visualize advanced analytics with a completely intuitive and user-friendly platform. This is analytics for everyone.
- All data is collected and synced on the cloud, meaning you can access your analytics from anywhere – desktop, laptop, tablet, even smartphone – no matter where you are in the world.
- Watson Analytics works fast. You can get answers and insights in seconds, and have the confidence to make informed decisions in just minutes.
Watson Analytics has powerful applications across a variety of verticals, from the small business owner who wants to analyze customer data to plan their holiday marketing campaign, to massive Fortune 500 companies who want to streamline processes further. Whether you are in finance, HR, operations, or IT, Watson Analytics can benefit you. However I think the most exciting applications are for sales and marketing.
Ottawa Senators Case Study
The Ottawa Senators, who have long been at the forefront of creative approaches to marketing and sales, are using Watson Analytics to gain insights into fan behaviour, wants, and needs. According to Stuart Lauchlan of Diginomica, the Senators are “tapping into behavior-based, predictive analytics technologies in search of deeper understanding of its fan base, specifically their actions and thinking as individual consumers.” The team will “pool data collected from fan interactions and then crunch those numbers to make sense of attitudes, behaviors and characteristics to help identify individual fan preferences.” With this approach, the Senators can target season ticket holders individually and craft marketing initiatives and sales tactics to match that fan’s interests.
How to Use Watson Analytics
Getting started with Watson Analytics is easy. All you need to do is sign up for an IBM ID, accept the confirmation email, and then log in and get started. There is already a great collection of how-tos and tutorials to guide you through the process so you can start exploring and gaining insights from your data.
Get a better understanding of your data with the Explore function. Ask Watson a question, or choose from a recommended list, and see your data come to life in a vivid visual format that is easy to understand.
Figure out what is most likely to affect (or cause) a target outcome with the Predict function.
Drag and drop your data to tell a story in the most convenient format. Right now, you can display your data on a single page, in a tabbed format, or even in a variety of visually stunning infographic formats. Currently, the “story” features are in beta – create a slide show, vertical slide show, or time journey.
Try out Watson Analytics for yourself using your own data – you might be surprised by what you discover!