In what sounds like a mash-up of marketing buzzwords, IBM also announced a Big Data Solution For CMOs. This blend of hardware and software combines the IBM PureData System For Analytics with IBM's Unica Web analytics software. Unica, which has been offered as on-premises software or as cloud-based services, is something that CMOs have long had a role in buying, but where does the hardware-based appliance come in?
"The Unica application runs against the PureData System for Analytics as the database," Francisco explained. "We're capturing click-stream data and other data directly into the PureData System for Analytics."
Will CMOs really take an interest in the infrastructure behind marketing software that they're often used to buying as a service in the cloud? Francisco stressed that the system comes fully configured and they won't have to integrate or optimize the Unica software to run on the PureData system.
Another question is: In what way is this a "big data" offering? That's a description usually associated with high-volume challenges plus variety, complexity, velocity, or all of the above. But the PureData System For Analytics is based on the Netezza relational database; it can't handle variety or complexity the way Hadoop can, and it's not designed to handle velocity as is InfoSphere streams.
IBM's press release claims the Big Data Solution For CMOs can "tap into consumer sentiment" and "bring advanced analytics to social media," but Francisco acknowledged that analysis of variable, loosely structured social comments would likely involve a separate environment.
"In that case we would be taking information that could be coming out of our Hadoop platform that would then be fed into PureData," Francisco said. "What we're really targeting here are things like Web analytics and other data you could analyze in the data warehouse."
Built into this package are yet more accelerators, in this case for marketing-oriented tasks like managing churn reduction, mounting digital advertising campaigns, and analyzing the response to Web and email campaign response.
In the last of IBM's major announcements Monday, the company introduced Analytic Answers, a set of predictive analytics services running in IBM's Smart Cloud infrastructure. Aimed at small and midsized businesses that don't typically have access to sophisticated predictive analytics, the subscription-based services can be used to spot customers likely to renew or to churn, retail customers likely to respond to a particular offer, or students at risk of dropping out of a college or university.
Given that the analytics are in the cloud, those using Analytic Answers will have to upload their data sets into the IBM Smart Cloud as well, so we're not likely to be talking about big data sets. IBM said in a statement that Analytic Answers will also appeal to larger enterprises trying to ramp up pilot predictive analytics projects.
Big data, cloud computing, analytics, and marketing technology spending are all top-of-mind, buzz-driving topics of late. With Monday's announcements from the Information On Demand conference, IBM touched all the bases.