Two Products for Business AnalyticsIBM now has two business analytics offerings that our customers in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatchewan and British Columbia have been using and evaluating. Cognos Analytics is the long standing product evolving from Cognos -> Cognos ReportNet -> Cognos Business Intelligence -> Cognos Analytics and now Watson Analytics – the new offering using cognitive analytics and natural language originating from Watson that competed on Jeopardy. With these two analytic products the question comes up – Which one do I need?
Cognos AnalyticsCognos Analytics has evolved significantly from its roots in Ottawa, Canada back in 1969. The main selling feature for years was their PowerPlay Cubes for quick top down analysis, and slicing and dicing data in so many ways. The offerings changed significantly over the years but became a more complete offering in 2008 when purchased by IBM and combined with the extensive research and development and other tools that IBM has had to offer. The core of Cognos Analytics is still that easy access to corporate information – but with so much more now. Cognos Analytics is moving more and more into business users self service access to information. With both Cognos Analytics and Watson Analytics IBM is reducing the technical skillset needed for more advanced analytics – empowering users as they progress in this direction. This has been discussed previously in our post on So You’re Not a Data Scientist… So What! Cognos Analytics is a truly complete business analytics offering for professional reports, dashboards, self service information access, emailed reports and more. This one tool provides the complete picture of where you are and where you need to go. This is the tool that allows users to make analytics part of their daily work routine with information at their fingertips and a reduced IT backlog. In addition, the sharable features of Cognos Analytics helps to build a community within the organization – with the all important single source of the truth.
Watson AnalyticsWatson Analytics is the new kid in town when it comes to Business Analytics. However, this does not mean it’s lacking in power. On the contrary, Watson Analytics is a very powerful tool that has many benefits to adding to your toolkit. The primary strength is in the simplicity – this is the epitome of empowering end users and reducing the necessary technical skillset. There is no need at all for an IT background or a degree in Statistics in order to find the gold in endless columns of data and even unstructured data such as social media analytics. Using natural language it becomes very easy to ask questions and immediately see reports that address those questions with options to drill in or filter to more specific data or alternative views to answer similar questions. Watson Analytics allows for immediate visual understanding of information with key exception reporting. No longer are you searching through data for a vital piece of information – this information stands out immediately. Not only does a user not need to understand a SQL statement like
“Select name, location, age from table1 join table2 on table1.primarykey = table2.key where table2.lostTimeIncident > 2”But that user doesn’t even have to drag and drop and create a report or design a report specification. A user can simply type in:
“Tell me about the lost time incidents”Watson Analytics guides data exploration and by doing so a user can immediately see all of the lost time incidents and drill in to find any issues such as locations that are at higher risk, departments, etc. Watson Analytics – More Capabilities Watson Analytics can take things one step further with automated predictive analytics providing answers and new insights. Uncover patterns, correlations and key drivers in your data. Reveal unbiased insights – all without that highly technical data scientist skill set. Business users that truly understand their data will be empowered with new data discoveries. All of this with the ability to tell a powerful story through charts, dashboards and automated visual representations. Watson Analytics also makes data preparation very easy – it can be as easy as uploading a spreadsheet of data or connecting to a cloud data source – with an automatically produced quality report. Refinement can be completed on top of this – creating new groups, calculations or hierarchies. All in an easy to accomplish fashion – easier than Excel. Then immediate guided exploration is possible. One additional benefit of Watson Analytics is in Social Media Analytics. This provides a truly powerful and insightful view of your company or industry with insights about what people are saying including a sentiment analysis feature that quickly summarizes what people are saying to identify customer trends and consumer sentiment. Curious about Watson Analytics? We can help you get set up with their free trial! To get your Watson Analytics Free Trial email us at email@example.com
Watson Analytics Versus Cognos Analytics?It’s great that IBM has these two products and they each have some very distinctive advantages. If you’re looking for business intelligence without a huge technical skillset you have options! So how do you decide which one you should use and why? First of all with Cognos and Watson Analytics it isn’t necessarily an either/or decision. These two products serve two distinct needs and can effectively build on one another. It doesn’t have to be a choice of one or the other. However, because there are distinct usages of each it helps to point out that Cognos Analytics excels at the operational reporting and providing easy access to accurate information, and Watson Analytics excels in the Data Discovery/Predictive Analytics/and Pattern Analysis area. Cognos Analytics tends to be more focused on the professional report side with easy viewing and sharing of information. Watson Analytics leans towards data discovery – showing you what you didn’t know to ask. When comparing Cognos Analytics and Watson Analytics what it really comes down to is if you’re looking for a traditional (but highly advanced!) business intelligence implementation with professional reports and a shared environment then Cognos Analytics is going to provide a next generation solution for your business. If you’re looking for new data discovery with a new way of analyzing your business including predictive analytics and social media analytics – then Watson Analytics is the answer. We can help you discover what is best for your specific needs with a custom needs assessment. Call us for a needs assessment or for your free trial of Watson Analytics (587)-885-1090 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It really can be that easy to make better decisions, quickly, and more accurately… today.
Agile Data Warehouse / Agile Business IntelligenceAt Bow River Solutions we have used agile methodologies for many of our business analytics customers in Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon and across Western Canada. We have successfully delivered data warehouses and business intelligence systems using agile project management and have been witness to a variety of implementations. The big key for successfully delivering projects using agile is in the full team involvement, specifically having active stakeholders. Agile for Data Warehousing When Agile methodologies first started being applied to data warehousing and business intelligence it was a bit of a piecemeal approach of trying to make a system designed for programming fit for IT projects that typically spanned the better part of a year or multiple years. It has been worth the effort to make it work but it definitely was not a perfect fit initially. Biggest Hurdle The biggest holdup in trying to make Agile fit with data warehousing was in being able to show something of value in a short period of time like a typical 2 week iteration. This required a different vision of what was of value – where sometimes a new table was of value and had to be displayed during an iteration. But also this required a different approach to the whole project where reporting was not tacked on the end but added in right from the start so stakeholders could see the end result right from the beginning – even if that iteration simply delivered one dimension into the data warehouse and right through to the reporting interface for stakeholders to see, touch and feel. Biggest Risk Delivering value in a short iteration was probably the biggest holdup to agile methodologies but the biggest failure was in lack of stakeholder involvement. We have had projects that have tried to go with an agile approach and did succeed in the short iterations. These projects succeeded in tracking their overall progress and could quantitatively show the success of the approach. Problem was they did this all without a highly involved stakeholder. These projects can still succeed but the overall team moral tends to be low. There’s that feeling of “it doesn’t really matter”. When an involved stakeholder is present at scrum meetings and is actively waiting for the incremental deliverable at the end of the iteration there is an excitement that really can’t be built in any other way. This is when the real success of agile data warehousing and business intelligence can be seen and felt and everyone has a vested interest in the project success. Agile Success Agile methodologies have brought significant value to big data warehouse and business intelligence projects – changing the delivery significantly, and for the better. The key is to have those active stakeholders available from the start and throughout the project to achieve real success. Ask us about what we like best about agile projects and how we can help you achieve data warehousing and business intelligence success. Give us a call (587)-885-1090 or send us an email email@example.com and we can set up a meeting to review to discuss. We can meet locally in our office in downtown Calgary, in your office or via a conference call.
Visit: IBM Watson Analytics – Take a look and then call us today.Find out how to use IBM Watson Analytics and see how easy it is to do your job and use Advanced Analytics without being a data scientist. Call us for a demo (587)-885-1090 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It really can be that easy to make better decisions, quickly, and more accurately… today.