Wednesday, November 06, 2013

IBM Information on Demand 2013, Tuesday

The second day of the IBM IOD conference began like the first, with a general session attended by most of the folks at the event. The theme of today's general session was Big Data and Analytics in Action. And Jake Porway was back to host the festivities.

The general session kicked off talking about democratizing analytics, which requires putting the right tools in people's hands when and where they want to use them. And also the necessity of analytics becoming a part of everything we do.

These points were driven home by David Becker of the Pew Charitable Trust when he took the stage with IBM's Jeff Jonas Chief Scientist and IBM Fellow. Becker spoke about the data challenges and troubles with maintaining accurate voting rolls. He talked about more than 12 million outdated records across 7 US states. Other issues mentioned by Becker included deceased people still legitimately registered to vote, people registered in multiple states, and the biggest issue, 51 million citizens not even registered.

Then Jonas told the story of how Becker invited him to attend some Pew meetings because he had heard about Jonas' data analytics expertise. After sitting through the first meeting Jonas immediately recognized the problem as being all about context. Jonas offered up a solution to match voter records with DMV records instead of relying on manual modifications.

The system built upon this idea is named ERIC, short for the Electronic Registration Information Center. And Pew has been wowed by the results. ERIC has helped to identify over 5 million eligible voters in seven states. The system was able to find voters who had moved, not yet registered and those who had passed away.

"Data finds data," Jonas said. If you've heard him speak in the past, you've probably heard him say that before, too! He also promoted the G2 engine that he built and mentioned that it is now part of IBM SPSS Modeler.

This particular portion of the general session was the highlight for me. But during this session IBMers also talked about Project NEO (the next generation of data discovery in the cloud), IBM Concert (delivering insight and cognitive collaboration), and what Watson has been up to.

I followed up the general session by attending a pitch on Big Data and System z delivered by Stephen O'Grady of Redmonk and IBM's Dan Wardman. Stepehen started off  the session and he made a couple of statements that were music to my ears. First, "Data doesn't always have to be big to lead to better decisions." Yes! I've been saying this for the past couple of years.

And he also made the observation that since data is more readily available, businesses should be able to move toward evidence-based decision-making. And that is a good thing. Because if instead we are making gut decisions or using our intuition, the decisions simply cannot be as good as those based on facts. And he backed it up with this fact: organizations  using analytics are 2.2x more likely to outperform their industry peers.

O'Grady also offered up some Big Data statistics that are worth taking a look at --> here

And then Wardman followed up with IBM's System z information management initiatives and how they tie into big data analytics. He led off by stating that IBM's customers are most interested in transactional data instead of social data for their Big Data projects. Which led to him to posit that analytics and decision engines need to exist where the transactional data exists -- and that is on the mainframe!

Even though the traditional model moves data for analytics processing, IBM is working on analytics on data without moving it. And that can speed up Big Data projects for mainframe users.

But my coverage of Tuesday at IOD would not be complete without mentioning the great concert sponsored by Rocket Software. Fun. performed and they rocked the joint. It is not often that you get to see such a new, young and popular band at an industry conference. So kudos to IBM and Rocket for keeping things fresh and delivering high quality entertainment. The band performed all three of their big hits ("Carry On", "We Are Young", and "Some Nights", as well as a bevy of other great songs including a nifty cover of the Stones "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

All in all, a great day of education, networking, and entertainment. But what will Wednesday hold? Well, for one thing, my presentation on Understanding The Rolling 4 Hour Average and Tuning DB2 to Control Costs.

So be sure to stop by the blog again tomorrow for coverage of IOD Day Three!

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