So what the heck do you do with Watson Analytics?

It has been a little over a year since IBM’s Watson Analytics was released.  Watson Analytics, a smart data discovery tool, continues to deliver easy analytics for everyone.  Some competitors are trying to catch and imitate what IBM has delivered but frankly, their latest news is more “snooze worthy” than newsworthy.

Because Watson Analytics is so easy to use and visually appealing, IBM has seen strong adoption (1 million plus users!).  Over the past couple of months there have been some amazing additions to an already fantastic product (see Watson Analytics for Social Media).

Watson Analytics is so powerful and can address so many different uses cases.  I am frequently faced with the following query:  So, I get it!  I have a ton of data and I need a way to make sense of it.  But what exactly do I DO with it??

This really depends on what your role is.  In our work lives we each fit into some type of role:

  • sales guy
  • marketeer
  • finance professional 
  • operations director
  • supply chain manager
  • head of strategy

So, as you read this and think about what YOU can do with Watson Analytics, think about the data you need to better visualize.  Think about what finding patterns within your data could do for you.  Finally, think about how adding social media data to your analyses can make you analyses event more effective.

But most importantly let’s put this in context of some of the major roles and use cases that will matter to you:

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Over the next several weeks, I will be sharing the details behind some of these specific use cases and providing a “how to do this yourself” approach.  Check back to hear more about how #watsonanalytics can help address many of these use cases.



4 reasons why I am the perfect audience for analytics

I recently joined a small company after spending 8 years at IBM. While there I was fortunate enough to be exposed to some of the world’s best analytics offerings. I also had the opportunity to work with some really strong thought leaders like: Marcus Hearne, Erick Brethenoux, Olivier Jouve, Oliver Oursin and many others. Now that I have moved out of IBM I am feeling the pain many of my former clients feel.

I have become the target audience for many of the analytics vendors out there. IBM, Qlik, Tableau and others all have a shot at my business.  So why is that?  What is it that makes my company so typical and in such need for easy to use, fast, intuitive analytics that deliver a single version of the truth?

  • What business questions to I need to answer? – This is a fundamental issue.  Helping to identify the key business drivers has proven much more challenging then I would have thought.  Many in the business do not even know what they are trying to understand.  This obviously comes with experience and time.  But it is really something organizations must do a better job with unless they want to constantly be behind.
  • Metrics for the sake of metrics: We measure EVERYTHING and I mean literally everything in our sales organization.  On the one had, I am happy from a sales performance management perspective that we have some base metrics.  But on the other hand, we have an inability to influence or take action on the metrics.  We suffer from “so-what-itis”.  I cannot tell you how many times I have looked at some of the KPIs and metrics and asked “So what?”.
  • Data:  How do i put this politely?  Our core marketing and sales date is CRAP!  We suffer from duplication,a poor data capture approach and a lack of completeness and correctness.  When  asked: Who is responsible for the data quality?  The silence was deafening.  Data is the foundation for any organization.  Currently my foundation is made of wet, clay bricks.
  • Excel!  We are excel junkies.  All analysis is done in excel…literally everything. And guess what?  The visualizations are frickin awful.  There is no one, single, governed version of the results (quarter end was particularly enjoyable with finance.  They gave one version of the numbers and sales ops provided another.)  I personally want to answer: what WILL happen? Think Excel can do that?  Yep, you are right.  No way!

So what do we need to do to become more analytically driven?  For me it is not a question of whether or not an analytics tool will help me.  It is a question of how to best approach moving forward…

Come back next week to learn about the plan to address these areas…(Oh, and if you are IBM, Qlik or Tableau…I would send a sales rep!!!) Let’s see which vendor calls me first!

Analytics for everyone? For free? Get out!

Making analytics accessible to all users has been a challenge for years.  Companies like Tableau and Qlik have done a decent job of reaching finicky business users by providing visualizations and data discovery capabilities.  They are largely one trick ponies in each of their areas of strength.  That is just not going to work for me. I am an only child with some strong Veruca Salt tendencies (Think, I want it all and I want it NOW!).  So I am particularly happy to talk about  the Watson Analytics announcement today.

Here is what the market is saying:

As a former marketing operations leader, I am thrilled to see these types of capabilities being offered directly to marketing, sales, human resources, and finance professionals.  For the first time these business users can have all of the analytics capabilities they need in one location without ANY technical knowledge required.  From snazzy visualizations to predictive analytics Watson Analytics offers the analytics you need all in one single location to answer questions like:

  • How can I make sure I target the hottest leads?
  • How can I increase the value of the customers I already have?
  • How can I create more successful campaigns?
  • How can we attract and retain the right employees with the right skills?
  • How can we create and keep top performers?

I have neither the time nor the patience to play around with analytics tools.  I need to get the answers to these from my data and make decisions NOW.  Watson Analytics gives me what I need and it is cloud based….so I don’t need to download and install anything!  Woohoo!

Watson Analytics is starting with a beta program.  I am looking forward to getting my grubby little mitts on it over the next several weeks.  You too can get an early glimpse by registering for the beta here!

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10 tips on how to make slides that communicate your idea, from TED’s in-house expert

As a marketer of analytics software, I often find myself under a tremendous amount of pressure to create presentations which have WAY too much detail. This TED blog is a must read for any marketer or frankly anyone who needs to create presentations that convey meaning.

TED Blog

Speaker David Epstein created a truly stellar slide deck for his talk at TED2014. When your slides rock, your whole presentation pops to life. Here, advice from our office slide master on making Keynote and Powerpoint presentations that communicate strongly. Photo: James Duncan Davidson When your slides rock, your whole presentation pops to life. At TED2014, David Epstein created a clean, informative slide deck to support his talk on the changing bodies of athletes. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Aaron Weyenberg is the master of slide decks. Our UX Lead creates Keynote presentations that are both slick and charming—the kind that pull you in and keep you captivated, but in an understated way that helps you focus on what’s actually being said. He does this for his own presentations and for lots of other folks in the office. Yes, his coworkers ask him to design their slides, because he’s just that good.

We asked Aaron to bottle his Keynote mojo so that others could benefit from it. Here, 10 tips for making an effective slide deck, split into two parts: the big, overarching goals, and the little tips and tricks that make your presentation…

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