IBM Opens Up Watson Analytics. What Is It?


A picture of an older version of IBM Watson. Watson is now the size of 3 pizza boxes.

Throughout its history, International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) has brought innovation to businesses in the United States and around the world. The company’s focus on data analytics instead of hardware led to the development of the Watson system that brought new solutions for science, healthcare, engineering and customer service to large corporations. Now, IBM is providing this same capability to smaller businesses by opening up Watson Analytics to a wider marketplace.

Watson Analytics

The IBM research team developed Watson to compete with humans on the game show “Jeopardy” in 2011. The system used natural language for the processing and analytics to formulate answers for the game show’s questions. Since that time, IBM has been interested in developing commercial uses for the system. Watson Analytics has been providing analytics for the scientific and business fields for a number of years and now hopes to widen the market for its services to more customers.

Complex Analytics For Simplified Use

Previously, complex data has been unavailable to smaller businesses. The information was often difficult to get, impossible to analyze without specialized skills and was often encumbered by unmanageable tools that made access impractical. IBM has designed the Watson system to respond to natural language, much like Siri does for the Apple system, as GoogleNow does for Google systems and as Cortana does for Microsoft systems. They act as a digitized personal assistant to answer a range of questions for the user. Watson acts similarly, avoiding the necessity of using complex language for requesting data.

Benefits For Smaller Businesses

Watson can “clean” available data, that is, organize and format it into an analyzable form. This data preparation can take up around 60 percent of the time required for analysis. The Watson system can also convert data from other systems into easier analytic form, suggesting algorithms and visual appearance for easy interpretation.

James Vrionis

James Vrionis knows Technology and is Based in the Palm Desert Area. Contact him at

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