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IBM Information on Demand 2013: Business Analytics Forum Review

Simply put, IBM IOD 2013 was a flood of information with a little added Fun. Perficient also came away with the Worldwide Performance Management Business Partner Excellence Award and the Enterprise Content Management Achievement Award. See details here

IBM IOD Word Cloud

As a member of the Business Analytics practice at Perficient, I narrowed my focus to the Business Analytics Forum, one of four at the event. While exploring the exhibits and soaking up the sessions I came across many interesting discoveries. With some time to reflect (and a good night’s sleep) here are some of my overall takeaways:

Advanced analytics is becoming more accessible to the general user.

  • How: IBM SPSS Analytic Catalyst is a recent addition to the analytics portfolio that makes predictive analytics and discovery easier for business users. Analytic Catalyst accomplishes this by automating portions of data cleansing and modeling, then automatically interpreting results and presenting analyses with interactive visuals and plain language. See a demo here
  • Thoughts: As IBM SPSS continues to integrate with other reporting tools for new predictive abilities there is a lingering concern on staffing a resource that understands to world of advanced statistics. While this concern is often overblown Analytic Catalyst is a leap forward in simplifying SPSS use for the end user and reducing the risk of investment.
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Traditional solutions such as financial planning, budgeting and forecasting are getting a facelift with advanced analytics.

  • How: IBM SPSS is used to better identify weight of key metrics, model the results into confidence scores, then push this back to IBM Cognos TM1 for more actuate analysis.
  • Thoughts: This is a natural progression for planning budgeting and forecasting, as it is a forward-looking solution as opposed to purely historical. Overtime, this will drive continued accuracy improvement as models mature.


There is stronger emphasis on data visualization techniques through a maturing library of reporting tools.

  • How: The biggest showstoppers were mobile reporting through Active Reports, advanced dashboards with Workspace and Workspace Advanced and desktop reporting using Cognos Insight. Much of the buzz with reporting tools coming from the extended, hands-on lab sessions.
  • Thoughts: Reporting improvements are enhanced by the interactive analytics community at The opportunity for collaboration and new pre-canned visualizations creates fertile ground for innovations to grow from not only IBM but also the community of users.

We are seeing a reemergence of master data management (MDM) through big data.

  • How: big data inherently includes an increase to data volume, variety and velocity, but leaves us with the growing challenge of veracity. IBM InfoSphere MDM leads the way in a growing Information Integration and Governance portfolio that IBM is clearly invested in moving forward. (See the data confidence infographic here)
  • Thoughts: Years ago, the first wave of MDM hype for the traditional data warehouse seemed to be short-lived, but the new emergence of data governance becomes critical with big data. Anticipate additions to this portfolio for IOD 2014.

This sums up my top takeaways, what caught your eye at the event? Comment below!

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Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson is a lead consultant specializing in Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing as part of the IBM Business Analytics group. He has extensive education in the area with a master of science in business intelligence and specialized training to accompany his many successful client engagements.

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