IBM creates industry-specific predictive analytics as Salesforce unveils big data Wave

Vendors bring new big data analytics capabilities to market

Drawing on a history of more than 50,000 analytics-focused client engagements, IBM today debuted 20 new behaviour-based predictive analytics solutions tailored to address 12 industries and use cases within those industries.

The news came as Salesforce also revealed Salesforce Wave for Big Data, a new tool designed to help business users make sense of their information stores using the vendor’s Analytics Cloud.

"We have seen companies trying to take advantage of new big data and analytics technologies for a while now to apply them to various different business use cases," said Marc Andrews, vice-president, Industry Analytics Solutions, IBM. "They continue to struggle with how to get started. There's a lack of skilled resources. They have to spend a lot of time customising and maintaining the solutions they build out."

That's where IBM comes in, he said. Big Blue is using the real-world data gained from its client engagements to create predictive analytics solutions that clients can use out of the box, with prebuilt dash boards and interactive applications. Clients can just inject the data and start leveraging the existing interfaces, he says, though they do have the ability to tweak or modify the solutions as needed.

"We're getting down to a level of specificity to these individual use cases and business questions that I don't think anyone has really gotten to before in delivering these types of solutions," he added.

For instance, one of the new solutions for oil and gas companies is aimed at helping them manage submersible pumps, with analytics to predict outages before they occur and optimise production. For automotive there is a solution for welding robots and another for painting robots. Other solutions will help telcos analyse how customers are using their phones, how long their calls are, what time of day they're most likely to place calls and which mobile towers they're using.

Other industries and solutions covered include the following:

  • Retail. These solutions are designed to help retailers understand the potential overall revenue impact of individual products and lines to make smarter decisions about what products to carry and how best to promote them.
  • Banking. The goal of these solutions is to help banks use customer spending patterns to predict financial and life events and deliver more relevant offers.
  • Wealth management. The solutions for wealth management firms are designed to help them understand behaviours associated with higher profit clients to determine who they should target and how to drive increased activity.
  • Media & Entertainment. These solutions aim to help media and entertainment companies better understand their audience and viewing behaviours to deliver advertisers higher value micro-segment targeting capabilities.

Andrews said the new solutions include pre-built predictive analytic modelling patterns and interfaces for focused industry use cases, along with data preparation capabilities to manage unique data and streamline collection and prep of data.

The majority of the new offerings are already available or will be within the next two to three weeks (with the remainder rolling out by the end of August, Andrews said. He noted that they have been built with out-of-the-box integration with IBM ExperienceOne, Big Blue's integrated portfolio of cloud-based and on-premises offerings intended to help clients deliver more valuable customer engagements by bringing together marketing, sales and service practices.

In addition, IBM Maximo Asset Management has been pre-integrated to provide enhanced capabilities around work management, job plans, work order tracking, service requests and reporting.

Salesforce creates new big data Wave

This week, Salesforce also unveiled Salesforce Wave for Big Data, a new tool designed to help business users make sense of their information stores using the Salesforce Analytics Cloud.

The Analytics Cloud is based on the company's Wave platform, which was launched last October. The overriding goal is to make data more accessible to business users at all levels of the organisation, Salesforce has said.

Earlier this year, Salesforce updated the offering with new mobile capabilities.

Now, with Salesforce Wave for Big Data, Salesforce has forged new ties between Analytics Cloud and key "data lake" enablers Google, Cloudera, Hortonworks and New Relic, giving business users access to a wider spectrum of big data.

Tapping the new integration with Google, for instance, a marketing manager could use Salesforce Wave for Big Data to analyse the correlations between customer profiles in Salesforce and actual customer engagement data from the Google Cloud Platform, such as purchases, clickstream and mobile app usage. Equipped with that information, the manager could better optimise marketing expenditures and boost customer acquisition, Salesforce said.

With the Hortonworks integration, on the other hand, a retail bank associate could explore volumes of operational, transactional and balance data stored in Hadoop to better understand local economic trends and provide new services.

"We see our partners as the big data lake," said Keith Bigelow, Salesforce's senior vice-president and general manager for Analytics Cloud, in a press briefing on Wednesday. "We're pulling in only relevant information, applicable to a particular product or use case, for example -- either a small vertical sliver or an aggregate across a swath of customers."

Key data-preparation providers Trifacta and Informatica have also joined the Analytics Cloud ecosystem, Salesforce said, with an eye toward making big data more usable.

Salesforce says more than 80 partners have joined the Analytics Cloud ecosystem, which is now generally available in English; additional language support is forthcoming, it says. The Analytics Cloud mobile app is available on Apple iOS for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, with additional device support in the works.

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