IBM Cognos 10 sports

LAS VEGAS—At its Information on Demand conference, IBM Corp. announced Cognos 10, the newest release of its analytics tool that includes technology from analytics vendor SPSS Inc. acquired in January of this year, along with enticements like a “modern” Web 2.0 user interface and iPad support to bring analytics to more users.

“A lot of what we’re doing is to push out further and further into organizations, down to the ground to sales people, people on phones with customers, service people,” said Rob Ashe, IBM’s general manager of business analytics, during a press conference.

Ashe described the new user interface as based on Web 2.0 concepts with capabilities for users to “talk and share and include analytics” in daily workplace conversations. Besides support for the iPad, the new release also supports iPhone and the BlackBerry.

The Armonk, New York-based company acquired analytics vendor SPSS Inc. in January 2010 and incorporated the portfolio into a new business analytics division along with technologies from Cognos Inc. acquired in 2007.

SPSS technology allows for capabilities such as key performance predictors directly in Cognos 10, said Ashe. “The SPSS capability doesn’t disappear in Cognos 10,” he said.

Cognos 10 also offers a software-as-a-service option which broadens the delivery options available for customers by letting them use that license to deploy it with customer data into Cognos’ compute cloud.

Product announcements also included its DB2 10 database with claims of 40 per cent performance improvements. IBM InfoSphere server was also released with capabilities to integrate diverse data sources.


Earlier that morning at the opening keynote, following a performance of female Japanese drumming band Kobe, Robert LeBlanc, IBM’s senior vice-president of middleware software, warned the audience that data is estimated to grow 44 times what it is today to 35 zettabytes in 2020.

For that reason, LeBlanc said organizations must see data as “a weapon” by first understanding how data aligns with business strategy. Then, ensure the data is accurate, relevant and governed. And, use business analytics to “anticipate what’s going to go on, look at trends, predict what’s going to happen,” he said.

Some customers were onstage to talk about challenges and goals regarding data growth and consumption. Visa Inc.’s chief information officer Mike Dreyer said the company has grown from 29,000 customers in 1970 to 1.8 billion cards today. Visa is working on designing services that converge electronic payment with mobility for the younger generation.
“We’ve got to figure out ways to get that data to them on those devices because they want the rewards, the information tailored to them,” said Dreyer. Additionally, Visa wants to target “green field” markets such as India where commerce remains largely cash-based.

Another customer, utilities provider CenterPoint Energy is implementing smart meters for visibility and control of energy consumption down to 15-minute intervals, as well as starting to build a smart grid for continuous energy availability to homes. CenterPoint Energy’s chief technology officer Steve Pratt explained that applying analytics to that will let CenterPoint evaluate the state of the service and of the grid. “We are a company that uses technology but ultimately will become a technology company that delivers energy,” said Pratt.

During the keynote, audience participation was a clear component with attendee questions from Twitter and from pre-taped video. Further pushing audience interaction was a live poll designed to give attendees a say in how data is managed in their organizations. The poll revealed 56 per cent of audience members said integrating business data in their organization was a top priority. Sixty-two per cent said business analytics to improve competitiveness was a high priority.

IBM’s Information On Demand conference continues Tuesday.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau 

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