Big data development is major move for Big Blue

The phrase “big data,” is all the rage these days and IBM made a major move to drive growth.

The company on Wednesday introduced a new class of predictive analytics software it said places decision making power into every employee’s fingertips regardless of location. The software gives instant insights on big data and helps employees become better salespeople, marketers, human resources managers, procurement experts, and customer service agents, according to IBM. In addition to generating insights on internal data in a matter of seconds, the software measures the impact of social networking channels and factors the information into organizational decision making, according to the company.

Those are some meaningful advances in how retailers and consumer packaged goods companies leverage technology and the expanding array of information inputs that spawned the term, “big data.” IBM contends its new software is a major milestone because it helps clients embed predictive, social, and entity analytics into their decision making, whether on the road, behind a desk or on a mobile device.

“In today's marketplace, when a customer says they’re not happy, companies must decide how to react – not later that day, or in an hour, but instantly,” said Deepak Advani, IBM’s VP of business analytics products and solutions. “With these new technologies, winning organizations can embed analytics into under-served areas of their business, empowering all employees to make information based decisions.”

IBM has a lot riding on it ability to make inroads in the analytics space. The company’s 2015 roadmap shared with investors indicates it will generate $16 billion in new revenue from the analytics business. The latest offering is the culmination of more than a decade of work by IBM Research and dozens of acquisitions of predictive technology companies.

IBM said it spent $14 billion on those acquisitions and the investment is poised to pay off as the new solutions the company offers tap into the big data phenomenon and broaden the company’s potential client base to include digital marketers, chief marketing and risk officers.

What retailers and brand marketers are likely to find especially intriguing is a new social network analytics feature that enables companies to take sentiment analysis a step further by analyzing who the influencers are around any given topic, who exactly is listening, and why people should care. According to IBM, this feature enables decision makers to factor in how customers behave, what they say, and how big their sphere of influence is in a social network. For example, which other customers does this person know? Does this person influence others in their social network? The ability to incorporate social network analytics into the predictive models used in analytical decision management helps organizations identify social leaders who can influence behavior, according to IBM.
The new analytical decision management software, part of a series of IBM smarter analytics initiatives, helps clients apply automated, real-time analytics into any operational data no matter where it resides, and instantly analyze it to uncover trends and expose hidden paths to growth. As a result, IBM said insights can now be automated, socialized and used for predictive decision making.

Wednesday’s announcement builds on the company’s recent release of its Operational Decision Management software and is said to represent the first time that both analytical and operation decision management are provided on a single platform.