Predictive Analytics Goes Deep, Catches Pass From Tech Giant IBM
Beyond the simple data analysis of standard business intelligence (BI) software, predictive analytics solutions give midsize IT the ability to not just crunch numbers but get a glimpse of what the future may hold--this is an invaluable asset in the quickly changing tech market. Adoption of predictive software services has been slow in the world of IT, but it is now getting noticed both at the enterprise investor level and on the gridiron.
Predicting the Human Element
While professional sports isn't a natural fit for analytics--it's often said that human beings are too unpredictable for accurate data analysis, there's been a recent surge of interest in this technology, partly thanks to movies like Moneyball, which details the use of analytics in Major League Baseball through the early 1990s. According to an article at Base Line, predictive analytics is now coming to the forefront in many professional sports as the technology evolves into more sophisticated solutions, such as those implemented by IBM for the Leicester Tigers, a rugby club in the United Kingdom.
IBM has been working with the team to predict and minimize player injuries using a variety of factors, including fatigue, game intensity, threshold levels, and psychological factors like stress. What it all adds up to is a better ability to understand why injuries happen and prevent them. "Sport is no longer just a game; it's becoming more and more a scientific undertaking that is driven by data and numbers," says Jeremy Shaw of IBM. "Gone are the days of relying on raw talent and gut instinct to succeed."
IBM Looks for a First Down
Big Blue is betting that analytics will keep growing, as evidenced by a recent Wall Street Journal piece detailing their acquisition of analytics-software provider Tealeaf Technology. The acquisition comes as part of IBM's continuing Smarter Commerce initiative, and while financial terms of the deal haven't been disclosed, the tech giant has already sunk over $3 billion into its analytics strategy to help small and midsize businesses mine unstructured data.
For midsize IT admins, the push to use predictive analytics outside the technology space, coupled with the efforts of big players like IBM, SAP, and Microsoft, speaks to the use of unstructured data for more than just pattern recognition. No data is off-limits. From customer website and mobile app use to the way in which employees use company networks--all of it can be used to generate predictive models that can help a business understand where their resources are best used.
Sources of human data previously untapped, such as psychological states or stress levels, are now part of the overall analytics playing field and can't be ignored by savvy IT admins. Although this aspect of business intelligence is still in its childhood, the benefits offered are too numerous to ignore, and it has already gained ground among users beyond the technology industry. Properly applied, predictive analytics isn't a Hail Mary but a solid ground game, one that midsize IT pros need to have in their playbook.
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. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.