Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

IBM Watson Advances a New Category of Cognitive Computing

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 11, 2012 10:42:31 AM

IBM Watson blends existing and innovative technology into a new approach called cognitive computing. At the simplest operational level it is technology for asking natural language-based questions, getting answers and support appropriate action to be taken or provide information to make more informed decisions. The technology relies on massive processing power to yield probabilistic responses to user questions using sophisticated analytical algorithms. A cognitive system like Watson accesses structured and unstructured information within an associated knowledge base to return responses that are not simply data but contextualized information that can inform users’ actions and guide their decisions. This is a gigantic leap beyond human decision-making using experience based on random sources from the industry and internal sets of reports and data.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Machine Learning, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, IBM, Information Management, Workforce Performance, Cognitive Computing, Expert Systems, IBM Watson

Quill Brings a Narrative of Insights to Business Analytics

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 20, 2012 11:32:34 AM

Business analytics has become the highest ranked technology innovation, according to our benchmark research on business technology innovation, but a lack of trained resources and inefficient technology have hampered the best of organizations when they attempt to roll out analytics. Our benchmark research on business analytics in 2012 found that the majority of analysts in organizations spend more of their time on data-related activities than on analytic tasks, and our 2013 research on business technology innovation finds little improvement. At the same time, organizations are dissatisfied with trying to gain insight from dashboards of charts; see “The Pathetic State of Dashboards”. The worst thing wrong with business analytics today is that we are not able to read them quickly to determine what is relevant and what insights might demand action.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Narrative Science, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Workforce Performance, Expert Systems, digital technology

The Pathetic State of Dashboards

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 22, 2012 8:59:44 AM

Over the last several months, my colleague VP and Research Director Tony Cosentino and I have been assessing vendors and products in the business intelligence market as part of our upcoming Value Index. Tony recently wrote about the swirling world of business analytics, covering many of the dynamics of this industry. He and I have been reviewing the breadth and depth of over 15 of these vendors using our Value Index methodology, which examines the products closely in terms of usability, adaptability, reliability, capability and manageability. As we have gone through this analysis, we see the dashboard as the most common tool for displaying business intelligence. The early forms of dashboards appeared in the 1980s, but in my honest evaluation, today’s dashboards have not gotten much more intelligent in all those years. The graphics have gotten better, and we can interact with charts in what is commonly called visual discovery so you can drill into and page through data to change its presentation. So some progress has been made, but the basic presentation of a number of charts on the screen has not improved significantly and worse yet neither has the usefulness of the charts. Let’s face it: It’s a big mistake to place several bar and pie charts on a screen side by side and assume that business viewers will know what they mean and what is important in them. We cannot assume that individuals in an audience have the ability to interpret charts and draw the right conclusions from them; just being pretty or interactive will not communicate the desired message.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Dashboards, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Management, Location Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Expert Systems