There is no question I have a bit of a love affair with IBM’s Watson – the smartest computer on the planet.
Last month, IBM announced IBM® Watson™ Analytics, a natural language-based cognitive service that can provide instant access to powerful predictive and visual analytic tools for businesses. According to analysts, only a small fraction of business people use powerful analytics tools as part of their decision-making today – due to the many barriers to getting this information.
As soon as Monday, you (yes, you and your mid-market or SMB company) can sign up for the Beta offering of IBM® Watson™ Analytics. This cloud-based service could help your team sort through the layers of data your company has compiled from marketing, sales, HR, and elsewhere.
The tool will offer a seamless user experience, predictive analytics, and a natural language dialog to help with answers to the most difficult questions.
"You start by uploading files, and then you either explore the data, type in specific questions, or apply use-case story templates we're creating for common sales, marketing, HR, and operational scenarios," - Eric Sall, IBM's VP of marketing, Business Analytics.
I see three ways Watson will help get company big data issues improved, and possibly help conquer some world issues –
We are rooting for Watson – since the big win on TV’s Jeopardy – showing off how quickly massive amounts of information can be processed and responded to – many besides me fell for this big lunk of a computer. Watson somehow feels more “real” than other machines – and has a big following. We are all waiting to see what Watson will uncover next.
A Freemium Model
The capabilities are there – and in a “freemium” form for individuals to see how predictive and data mining capabilities could work for their business. Suddenly, Watson is available to the corporate masses (I suspect there are upload / analysis limits – but what an exciting time to be able to see the deciphering of your disparate data turn into some type of meaning). Simply upload files, and begin to discover your data through the help of IBM’s suite of tools. There is a premium version for bigger capabilities.
Answering Questions Like, “Which Deals Are Likely to Close?”
Think of the questions sales and marketing needs to get answers to in order to better serve buyers in 2015 and beyond. IBM’s press release last month stated:
Most analytic offerings assume users have data ready for analysis, a clear idea of the type of analysis needed, and the skills and time to build a model for analysis. However, most business users have none of these things. Finding and validating data can represent 50 percent or more of the time in an analysis project. Business users often then struggle with figuring out what analysis would be relevant and how to tell the story in a report or diagram. Watson Analytics automates these steps to accelerate a users’ ability to get to the answers they’re seeking, quickly and on their own.
This is IBM’s biggest announcement in 10 years in analytics – it is a HUGE move and I can’t wait to find companies and individuals using it so we can report about their results. You can sign up for a beta version here: https://www.ibm.com/analytics/watson-analytics/sign-up/index.html?SOURCE=default&S_CMP=wa-microsite
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.
Lori Richardson is recognized on Forbes as one of the "Top 30 Social Sales Influencers" worldwide. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside sales teams in mid-sized companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.