IBM - Why Watson Data Platform can be the iTunes for your Big Data

With the world around us becoming smarter and more connected with the growth of the Internet of Things, there is urgent need for a platform that is able to support this explosion and ensure that companies and consumers get the most out of their data.

IBM has long been one of the IT industry’s computing heavyweights, and in the last few years has gained much attention for the achievements of its Watson AI program. However far from just being a flash in the pan, the company is now using the technology to power Watson Data Platform, a new way to utilise powerful analytics on IBM cloud to really make the most out of your data.

IBM’s aim is to make Watson Data Platform the default operating system for heavy-duty data work and processes, supporting all the AI and industry-specific applications that IBM’s clients or customers want to work.

ITProPortal spoke to Derek Schoettle, GM of IBM Watson Data Platform, as well as Jay Limburn,  distinguished engineer and offering lead, IBM Watson and Cloud, who told us that the company was, “looking to to take whole industries into a new age of data.”

Schoettle adds that IBM is focusing heavily on the intersection of enterprise cloud, particularly security and durability, and that this offering needs to be “designed for data”.

“What iTunes has done for music, we want to do for our platform for enterprise data,” he says, “if you look at the next decade...there’s few companies in the world that can bring all these capabilities together.

“The promise of AI for business, and making it work within an enterprise cloud infrastructure, is a particularly significant statement in itself, and our belief is that one needs the other. It’s incredibly exciting.”

Schoettle notes that as most large companies have built out their investment in data-hungry projects such as mobile-working, open-source projects and, increasingly, the IoT, now the focus is on making the most out of their data and ensuring they get the most value out of it.

“For us, it’s not really about the underlying infrastructure as much as the data that flows throughout it - that reality is starting now,” he says.

"The day and age of looking at this as a static problem is over - this is dynamic."

(Image: © Image Credit: Flickr / janneke staaks)

With GDPR less than six months away now, the need for companies to be aware of the value of their data is heightening, with the new regulation set to affect organisations of all sizes and across all verticals.

"Our view is that everyone should be turned on to data within the enterprise...it shouldn't be restricted," he notes. 

Schoettle says that IBM is seeing a major growth in Chief Data Officers (CDO), a role identified in the GDPR, but that there are still questions around what this role will entail - with Watson Data Platform, however, a CDO can easily keep track of what data is stored where, and what exactly it can be used for.

GDPR is set to change the way many businesses operate, and Schoettle says that the regulations do represent, “an opportunity” for them.

“Getting into a common, governed framework that allows flexibility, and access, but at the same time, controls and enforcement - that is the gain...we're spending an enormous amount of time making sure we can offer our clients more."

“The world as it relates to data - we want to be a part of solving these problems for sure.”

Looking forward, then, it’s clear to see that IBM sees a bright future for Watson, and the Data Platform in particular. With much of the Watson leadership team also based in Europe, the technology is helping power the continent as a hotbed of innovation, and with new IBM clients and customers being added to the offering all the time, Watson Data Platform could soon become a common sight in businesses around the world.

“It’s just incredible how quickly it’s moving,” Schoettle says, “but we see a world where self-serving analytics is the norm...where data is at every step of the way, and we have the opportunity to provide the operating system for that.”