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Will IBM Watson Transform Analytics?

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Posted November 21, 2011 By Vangie Beal     Feedback

New tech trends report looks at how technologies like Apache Hadoop and IBM Watson will change the business intelligence and analytics software market.

Business intelligence and analytics software is the most widely used technology among more than 4,000 information technology (IT) professionals surveyed in the 2011 IBM Tech Trends Report. The report was produced by IBM DeveloperWorks, a technical resource and professional network for the developer community.

According to the report, business analytics software is being incorporated into almost every business process within organizations, and 42 percent believe that business analytics will continue to be in demand for software development.

IT professionals believe these technologies will have the highest impact in the education, healthcare, aerospace/defense, and computer software and life sciences industries.

"The results are clear: Mobile computing, cloud computing, social business and business analytics have gone beyond niche status and are now part of any modern organization's core IT focus," said Jim Corgel, general manager for ISV and Developer Relations at IBM. "IT professionals who can develop the skills needed to work across these technologies will be ready to meet growing business demand in the coming years."

Apache Hadoop and Watson Lead the 2011 Business Analytics Tech Trends

The report finds that developers who want to grow their skills to meet these needs should take note of the following:  87 percent of respondents cite open source platforms such as Linux and Apache Hadoop as playing a key role in the future of this application development.

Apache Hadoop, an open source software platform for scalable, distributed computing, provides fast and reliable analysis of both structured and unstructured data. Today a number of companies and organizations use Hadoop for both research and production.

Earlier this year, IBM introduced InfoSphere BigInsights and Streams software and services to address Big Data challenges. BigInsights software was the result of a four-year effort of more than 200 IBM Research scientists and is powered by Apache Hadoop and also incorporates IBM Watson-like technologies.

Watson was also mentioned in the report as being a key tech trend in business analytics this year. Using sophisticated analytics to understand the meaning and context of human language, IBM Watson's analytics technology can draw upon tremendous stores of data to instantly recommend responses to questions.

IBM says that Watson's analytics technology can draw upon tremendous stores of data to instantly recommend responses to questions. It can sift through an equivalent of about one million books or roughly 200 million pages of data and then analyze this information and provide responses in less than three seconds. 

While 70 percent of respondents said data analytics would be most affected by IBM Watson, another 69 percent believed that artificial intelligence would be most affected. Findings from the 2011 IBM Tech Trends Report also suggest that survey respondents identified education as the industry with the biggest opportunity for IBM Watson's abilities, with healthcare and aerospace/defense a close second and third.

"Aside from education, I believe Watson's technology will also have a huge impact in the medical field," said Edmund Perozzi of Perozzi Academic Services. "In addition to reducing medical misdiagnosis and costs, it could also increase the level of personalized care. The benefits to global healthcare systems will be tremendous."

For IBM, the story of the IBM Watson system has just begun. In the IBM 2011 Tech Trends report, IBM said the next Watson challenge is to find applications for IBM Watson's underlying analytics and data management technologies.


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