A lot of my conversations lately revolve around business analytics and Watson Analytics usually comes up. The question I usually get is – What is Watson Analytics? My simplest, most straightforward answer: Watson is a desktop, subscription-based, easy to use, cloud-based analytics tool.
Watson is intuitive and fast and is designed to give you answers into your data – insights you wouldn’t have otherwise. It has a powerful analytics engine with a natural language query front-end. That means you ask it questions in English and it delivers the results.
So how does it work? First, you start by subscribing to Watson Analytics. There are several subscription types available. You can start by registering for a free Watson Analytics subscription. This will give you access to the power of Watson and provides 1 MB of storage. The free version also gives you predictive analytics tools with drilldown capabilities. Analytics Plus gives you 2 GB of storage. Analytics Pro provides 100 GB of storage as well as connection to several cloud database sources. Pro also lets you collaborate with other Analytics Pro users. An important note here; if you register for the free version, you can use Analytics Pro free for 30 days. That’s a great way to try out an enterprise-class analytics solution on your desktop without a major commitment.
So how do you start? Once you’ve subscribed, the first step is to load your data. Select the business data you want to analyze and load it on the cloud server. Word of caution here; if you’re working in a regulated environment, you’re going to want to make sure you’re following your compliance and security rules.
The next step is the discovery phase. Watson Analytics will present you with relationships in your data. It will deliver these insights to you based on commonly used prebuilt algorithms. From there you can ask your own questions – “What items sell best after the first of the year?” Watson will present your data in a series of charts and graphs. You can use these as a starting point to drill into your data to see new relationships and create new insights. Here’s where I like to say – “Every answer has the potential to created a new question.”
Once displayed, these graphs and visuals can be used to create personal dashboards and infographics. You can share these and use them to collaborate with others. The collaboration process can add additional insights and value to your discoveries.
Watson is easy to subscribe to, easy to use and can help you visualize things in your data that otherwise would go unseen.
If you’d like help getting started with Watson Analytics, give me a call.
President, Arbor Solutions, Inc.