My Top Takeaways from IBM World of Watson Day 3

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IBM World of Watson has been a marvelous whirlwind of learning, announcements, and insights. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning so many different ways to manage data and analytics and wanted to share my top takeaways from day 3 of the event.

Advanced Watson Analytics

I enjoyed a session on some of the more advanced features of Watson Analytics:

  • Watson Analytics can do joins on Data sources either before or after import. This is useful because we will often want to make connections within our data as we explore it. By not locking us into performing a join at a specific time, we’re free to make those discoveries on an ad hoc basis.
  • Watson Analytics performs clustering and segmentation in our data automatically, creating subgroups that it infers from the data structure. For non-analysts, this is a powerful benefit – the software acts as a concierge in our data, making refinements without the user needing to know what to do.
  • Expert Storybooks is a misleading name for what is essentially pre-made reporting templates. These templates help non-analysts assemble and sequence their data to tell a logical story, helping to fight “data puking”, or putting every possible piece of data on a report.

Watson Analytics has matured considerably in the last year I’ve been using it. IBM is on a roughly quarterly upgrade schedule; every 10 weeks a new version is pushed to the cloud. If you’re a marketer interested in doing some analysis of your data and don’t want to become a statistician, it’s worth trying out.

Bluemix Data Connect

Bluemix Data Connect is arguably one of the coolest things I’ve seen at the show so far. It’s an enterprise, data-focused version of If This, Then That. Imagine being able to take any data source, connecting to it from a cloud app, extracting, transforming, and blending the data, cleaning it up, and then pushing it to the destination of your choice– including the server it came from.

For example, suppose you are a social media marketer. Wouldn’t it be nice to gather up your Twitter data, your Facebook analytics, your advertising spending data, your Google Analytics website data, and maybe some marketing automation data, mix it together, and assemble it into a coherent story? That’s the promise of Bluemix Data Connect: instead of having to manually extract and separately report on all this data every time we need to perform analysis or create a report, the software will do it for us.


I also spent some time with old podcasting acquaintance John Furrier, Dave Vellante of Silicon Angle’s theCube, and Tamara McCleary to talk about cognitive computing, the future of work, health IT, and more. Here’s the 20 minute show we recorded:

Citizen Analyst

Finally, I spent the latter part of the day presenting about the Rise of the Citizen Analyst, about how the democratization of analytics tools presents opportunities for everyone to participate more in government, law, social justice, and business.

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You can watch the replay and get the slides here.

Winding Down

I’ve got a few more sessions to attend on Day 4, and a few lingering questions to find answers for, based on my study list. However, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at World of Watson and look forward to implementing much of what I’ve learned in my work.


IBM has paid for me to attend World of Watson and provide unbiased coverage of the event. They have not provided content for me to publish, but ask that I do publish during the event on blogs and social media in exchange for free admission and travel expenses.

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