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by | May 30, 2017

Analytics for All!

It is time for everyone to make decisions based on facts and data.

Barriers to using analytics have traditionally included:

  • Skills gap – no training, too complex, significant resourcing
  • Unimaginable amounts of data – short supply of data scientists to handle it

We are entering a new era of Cognitive Computing.  A cognitive system can best be described as a system that understands human language and interactions, reasons and learns. It provides expert assistance which extends human intelligence and frees you to think more creatively.
IBM Watson was the first cognitive computing system. Watson got a name for himself when he won Jeopardy in 2011!
Image result for ibm watson on jeopardy

IBM Watson Analytics

IBM Watson Analytics puts the power of analytics in the hands of everyone via a cloud-based service! It guides you through insights, automates predictive analytics and enables highly visual dashboard and infographic creation.

It understands your business. You simply upload your data files and ask Watson what you want. Watson produces results that explain why things happened. It also makes predictions, uncovering events that would otherwise have been unforeseen. Watson also redirects attention where it matters and makes suggestions based on trends.

As a 21st-century application, IBM offers a 30 day free trial of Watson Analytics. You can be up and running in as little as 5 minutes (I’ve signed up!) When it can do so much for you, why delay?

5 cool reasons to try Watson

  • No complexity, just add your data and go
  • Highly visual insights
  • For everyone
  • Everyday language
  • Cloud-based freebie!

Watson helps everyone in business improve all decisions, see patterns, and pursue ideas. Traditional barriers to analytics have been eliminated.

Analytics and Asset Management 

IBM Watson Analytics integrates with IBM Maximo and IBM TRIRIGA to give facility managers and business leaders intuitive “do-it-yourself” analytics tools. Businesses can make better decisions by quickly analyzing IoT data, discovering insights, predicting outcomes and visualizing reports from a single cloud platform — all without having to be a data scientist.

Scenario: Let’s imagine your manufacturing business is experiencing some increasing downtime across its sites globally and production schedules were missed. You want to investigate this using Watson Analytics.

  1. First, you would export your asset and sensor data from Maximo into a CSV file.
  2. Access Watson Analytics and import the CSV file. You can use the ‘Explore’, ‘Predict’ and ‘Assemble’ components to gain a greater understanding of the downtime you are experiencing.
  3. Open your CSV file in Watson’s ‘Explorer’ component. Watson will present a variety of questions that you may want to look at in more detail. Each starting point is a way to start diving into the data. You can select a starting point or ask your own question about the data.
  4. One question is likely to draw your attention – for example, your business focuses on cost so you select, “What is the contribution of Total Maintenance Cost over Year by Country?”
  5. Your eye is immediately drawn to a spike for high costs in China. You can use the drill down function to narrow down the exact plant in China where the anomaly is coming from.
  6. Watson gets you thinking – what if geographical correlation also exists for downtime?
  7. You search now for “Total Downtime by Country”.
  8. Watson presents a graph and geographical view. You drill down to lower levels in a bar chart. The highest downtime is obvious. It is in China. You collect this visualization to use later in a dashboard.
  9. You now wish to explore the Predictive component of Watson and see what other factors are at play in this data set. Watson presents a spiral visualization using statistical algorithms. You will see the top key drivers, or predictors. For example, “Country drives Downtime Total”.
  10. Using ‘Assemble’ you can easily communicate your findings for a report of presentation by combining your saved visualiztions with text, images, and shapes.


We know your time is valuable. This introduction should guide you through some basic concepts and features of Watson Analytics. Then you can add your own data and start discovering new insights in your business. Have fun! 

Helen Fisher

Helen Fisher

As the Marketing Manager at BPD Zenith (Global), Helen enjoys sharing Maximo stories and being an active member of the user community. She is particularly interested in looking at asset management beyond traditional maintenance. Helen believes we will begin to see organizations investing more in Business Intelligence, Asset Performance Management, the Internet of Things and Predictive Analytics. In her spare time, Helen loves running, cooking, travelling and music.

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