Very exciting news broke at Analytics Zone yesterday as IBM unveiled the pricing and feature set for Watson Analytics Professional Edition, presumably to help build hype for the upcoming Vision 2015 conference. Professional Edition joins Free Edition and Personal Edition as the third tier of Watson Analytics subscription available to the general public, and carries with it a substantial wish list of functionality heretofore missing from the tool. Let’s get to the big one first…
Watson Analytics Professional = Cognos Integration!
In my Watson Analytics Review: Natural Language Query article posted four days ago I wrote “… IBM is expected to announce Watson – Cognos integration in the coming months.” I like to believe someone over at Big Blue read that and said, “Oh yeah, we’ll show you!!!” Check this out:
Watson Analytics Professional Edition subscribers can browse the Public Folders and My Folders of their Cognos Business Intelligence environment and upload data sets from list container objects directly into Watson. Once completed Watson Analytics immediately identifies interesting relationships and presents them via suggested visualization and natural language queries as outlined in last weekend’s article. While narrow in scope this first step allows IBM’s enterprise BI customers an extra degree of confidence when using Watson Analytics.
IBM is expected to announce the ability to upload more complex reports and browse a Framework Manager package in the coming months… see what I did there?
More Data, More Users, More Money… Less Problems?
The remaining features are outlined at a very high level on Analytics Zone and in the Watson Analytics Expert Blog but the focus is clearly on expanding the volume and scope of data inputs and allowing collaboration within the tool. These feature sets are critical for IBM:WA’s claims to be a “big data” tool and for ushering along departmental deployments.
New Data Sources, Increased Storage and Data Refresh
Watson Analytics Professional Edition subscribers can look forward to the following enhancements:
- Ability to upload data from DB2, DashDB and SQLDB housed on IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform.
- Ability to upload data from Dropbox and Box cloud storage services as well as Twitter.
- The cap on rows, columns and total storage have been dramatically increased: 500 columns, 10 million rows and 100GB total storage are the new limits.
They’ve also added the ability to refresh data sources, which is a really crucial feature for a tool like this and was sorely lacking. Finally you can now refine your data in the tool rather than relying on Excel.
Until now individuals using Watson Analytics had no means within the tool to share discoveries with collaborators, and the export options were limited to PDF and image files. While details in the written articles are sketchy at best we can glean some insight from the video linked above:
- The main screen of Watson Analytics now lists “Workspace: Rachel Pond”, continuing the fine IBM tradition of using the same two words (workspace, insight) to christen virtually all tools and features in their analytics stack. The “Workspace” will presumably be your personal view.
- When you pin items in Watson Analytics, those items can be made available to the rest of your team.
- The sharing options listed include: Sharing via personal email, sharing via social media, sharing via a link, downloading to the desktop, printing and “create a story with this data.”
- Data sets can be shared and secured at the individual level for your team – no need to give Steve the ability to edit the data. You know you can’t trust that guy.
So what’s it going to cost me?
Watson Analytics Professional Edition will run you $80.00 per month, per user. That’s $50.00 more per month than Personal Edition, but for the feature set listed above I think that is a reasonable price. Consider a Tableau license starts at $1,000.00 for lower level desktop client license and goes up (quickly!!) from there.
Less Problems… Seriously?
Okay you got me, I was trying to be funny. But I can see there being “less problems” for IBM and its clients given these updates to the Watson Analytics feature set. And as a professional Cognos developer I’m excited to see the first step toward integrating these tools. If my users can construct a list report in Cognos Workspace Advanced and then utilize Watson Analytics for the visualizations I think we’re both going to be very happy.