IBM Analysis Tools Could Find Patterns in Midsized Data
It's easy to talk about "Big Data," but for many midsized businesses, it's harder to see exactly how that data can be used to increase revenue. In part, this is because of the staggering amount of information now collected by both internal company systems and external public systems that a business can access. And it is often difficult to determine which numbers matter and which data can safely be ignored. Recently, a suite of new IBM analysis packages deployed with the aim of helping midsize organizations find the data they're looking for and develop an understanding of where they can improve.
Big Potential With Big Data
A recent Smarter Planet blog by IBM's senior vice president Steve Mills talks about the problem of "information overload"--the fact that businesses, just like consumers, are inundated with so much data that it's hard to keep track and hard to know what matters. Mills argues that Big Data is similar to a fuel source in the world of business--it's a new form of information petroleum. Big Data is a big deal, says Mills, with over 15 petabytes of new information being created by humans everyday, including 600 blog posts and 34,000 Tweets per second. By 2015, it is predicted that our digital universe will occupy at least 8 zettabytes of space. Right now, it's growing at a rate of 60% per year.
Unfortunately, many midsized businesses aren't equipped to use Big Data effectively and over half don't have access to the kind of relevant information they need, leading to one in three making mission-critical decisions without solid analysis. Not surprisingly, IBM says they have a solution--several, actually.
An article at PCWorld delves into exactly what this new suite of IBM analysis offerings looks like, and as it turns out, these solutions intend to address three specific tasks in business: estimating financial risk, detecting fraud, and predicting customer behavior. To do that, IBM is relying on knowledge it has gained by deploying systems in the past. Deepak Advani of IBM says, "Having software is important but having industry expertise and domain knowledge is also pretty essential." Essentially, the company hopes to apply broad patterns in analysis to specific business needs.
The plan is to have potential customers start with an IBM workshop to determine which of their datasets can be better utilized. From there, custom solutions will be implemented, such as a fraud detection program for insurance companies that allows them to uncover potential frauds based on historical data analysis or a consumer analysis package that can help companies retain customers based on a combination of current data and prior purchase history.
With businesses on track to spend over $120 billion for analysis services by 2015, it's no wonder companies like IBM are trying to grab a piece of the market. A piece is all it will be--the amount of Big Data is so staggering, there's no way to analyze all things for all people, but there's real opportunity to access specific benefits for organizations with the creation of targeted, effective programs.
That Big Blue has come up with a set of IBM analytics packages meant for business use isn't exactly a shock--enterprise computing is what the company does best, after all. For midsize business IT, however, it's important to note that just like Big Data, the number of big players taking aim at the analytics industry is growing rapidly. Oracle, Dell, Microsoft, and HP have all made acquisitions in this area and are doing their best to lure midsize business dollars. IT admins and CIOs need to find the tools that help make sense of Big Data and measurably increase revenue over the long-term. IBM has several new options, but they're not the only player in the game.
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. Become a fan of the program on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.