- IBM’s Watson is now supporting IBM Commerce Insights and offering marketing analytics through its plain-language interface.
- Watson Analytics seek to put big-data business analytics in the hands of every business user, regardless of size or technical skill.
- The supercomputer is best known for defeating Ken Jennings and other human champions on the answer-with-a-question quiz show Jeopardy! in 2011.
IBM’s Watson is branching out into commerce. The supercomputer now supports IBM’s Commerce Insights with a unified view of data from inventory, sales and other sources, allowing users to easily construct queries and conduct analyses with plain speech. Users can communicate with Watson using “natural” language, IBM says—one of the keys to its wins on Jeopardy! and its usefulness in healthcare and other fields.
As big data has become more prevalent in retail, analytics providers have been looking for ways to democratize its insights. Commerce Insights with Watson helps users contextualize data and make decisions using an API, similar to BeyondCore, a software system that links to Microsoft Office. Soon, such systems may be able answer questions with their own solutions, IBM says, taking humans’ hands off the marketing "levers."
While automating sales and marketing to such a degree might be uncomfortable for many retailers, Watson and systems like it could bring big data to more desktops soon without advanced IT, giving the persons responsible for streamlining sales access to the information they need—or at least answers to the questions they ask.