IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S23

“The acquisition of data is not really the goal. It’s the outcomes that result from that data—and those outcomes can be astonishing.”
Bernard Meyerson, vice president of Innovation, IBM
less about that needle in the haystack and more about spinning the entire haystack into gold. “You’ve got this infinite amount of data in front of you and not only are you dismissing the outliers and the irrelevant pieces, but more importantly, you’re taking the core amount of data and learning from it,” explains Meyerson. “The acquisition of data is not really the goal; it’s the outcomes that result from that data—and those outcomes can be astonishing.” With the right hardware and software platform, big data analytics can take us beyond learning from the past to predicting and changing the future. Consider traffic management as an example. The conventional approach is to report congestion so that motorists can take an alternate route. But many roadways have sensors that record the speed and volume of vehicles. An ever-larger proportion of vehicles carry GPS units. And drivers are increasingly discussing their travel plans on sites like Facebook and Twitter. What if, instead of warning about an existing traffic jam, a model operating on data from these various sources identifies the conditions that will lead to a traffic jam in the future and adjusts signal timing to prevent it? “It’s not just saying, ‘Well, we’re in trouble, avoid this,’ ” says Meyerson. “It’s asking whether we can predict the future accurately and make changes to mitigate it.” tion could run a trial of two different loan products. The system could gather data automatically—from not just customer applications but also review sites, forums, social media and blogs—analyze it as it comes in, and deliver results right away. “You could go instantly into the market with them and tell which is more successful in a matter of days as opposed to months—even in a number of hours if you have a big enough client base,” says Meyerson. Compare that to traditional business analytics, which typically consists of off-line batch processes that can require weeks or months to deliver results. Users don’t need a Ph.D. in statistics to leverage these emerging tools. You just need to identify the segment of interest and let the system do the rest. The machine essentially becomes your partner in the discussion because it can point out issues you might not have considered. It doesn’t just answer your questions—it answers the questions you didn’t even know you should be asking. A typical grocery query, for example, might seek to discover how many customers bought the beef jerky on sale in aisle 16 on a Thursday night in June. If the numbers look good, the marketing team might drop the price another 10 percent. Big data analytics takes a different tack. Instead of asking about one particular sale, the question might be to identify the single biggest drivers of beef jerky sales over the past decade. Those drivers might be completely unexpected. Perhaps sales volume had nothing to do with price but with the fact that kids are going off to summer camp and need snacks that won’t spoil. “Here’s the problem with a SQL query,” Meyerson explains. “It assumes you already know the answer,

and it doesn’t help you when that assumption is wrong.” Correlation does not equal causation and a too tightly refined query can generate misleading results. “The big mistake could be that you decide to hold your sale just before all of the kids go to camp,” he adds. “You get a sales bump, which you think is a result of pricing, but the truth is that your customers would have bought it anyway. You just basically gave away tens of thousands of dollars.” By removing unintended biases, big data analytics helps protect against those types of mistakes.

Path to the Future
You may have watched “Jeopardy!” last year when IBM’s Watson system went toe-to-toe with previous champions and won by combining big data analytics with natural-language queries. As entertaining as it was, it was far more than a demonstration. It laid out the path to the future for organizations around the globe. “The idea of a Watson-style product is essentially to make the complexity of big data analytics disappear,” says Meyerson. “At the human level, you’re simply making a query and getting an answer, but that answer could be steeped in Ph.D.level mathematics behind a very deep analytics program that lets a discovery be made from the raw data.” And that brings us back to our small-town doctor accessing a vast trove of global healthcare data to achieve better patient outcomes. “There is a tremendous potential for benefit if you take all of the data that’s currently available and bring it together and actually use it in some kind of logical methodology,” Meyerson adds. “That’s really where the power lies. It seems a great challenge to quickly turn that data into hard value for the users, and yet that is, in fact, what you can do. There’s no question that it’s doable today, right here, right now.” b Kristin Lewotsky is a New Hampshirebased freelance writer.

Big Data in the Enterprise
These types of public-sector examples are all very well and good, but what can big data analytics do for the private sector? Quite a lot, it turns out. A bank trying to determine whether consumers care more about the interest rate of a loan or its dura-

October 2012 // Smarter Computing Magazine // 23



IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012

IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012
Table of Contents
Editor's Desk: Been There, Done That
IBM Perspective: Not All Clouds Are Designed Equal
Insider: What's Really Driving Peak CPU Usage?
Focus on Storage: The DS8870 Provides up to Three Times the Performance of Its Predecessor
Case Study: A Capital Investment: DTCC implements tools to ensure its networking infrastructure is ready for anything
Cover Story: A Clear Vision for Cloud: System z GM Doug Balog on why zEnterprise provides a firm foundation for a secure cloud
Feature: Overcoming Cloud Obstacles: The benefits far outweigh the challenges associated with cloud integration
Tech Corner: From Silicon to Architecture, zEC12 Innovations Push the Envelope
Administrator: IBM zAware Extends z/OS Resilience to Another Level
Solutions: Attach Facility; DataSniff; AutoPilot; Eclipse; Correlog Enterprise Server 5.1
Advertisers Index
Stop Run: IBM Distinguished Engineer Joe Temple Reflects on His Juggling Past
Reference Point - Global Events, Education, Resources for Power Systems
Smarter Computing
2013 Mainframe Buyer's Guide Index
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Intro
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Cover2
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 1
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Table of Contents
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 3
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 4
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 5
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Editor's Desk: Been There, Done That
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - IBM Perspective: Not All Clouds Are Designed Equal
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Insider: What's Really Driving Peak CPU Usage?
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - BB1
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - BB2
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 9
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 10
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Focus on Storage: The DS8870 Provides up to Three Times the Performance of Its Predecessor
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 12
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 13
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Case Study: A Capital Investment: DTCC implements tools to ensure its networking infrastructure is ready for anything
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 15
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 16
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 17
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 18
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 19
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Cover Story: A Clear Vision for Cloud: System z GM Doug Balog on why zEnterprise provides a firm foundation for a secure cloud
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 21
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 22
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 23
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 24
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 25
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Feature: Overcoming Cloud Obstacles: The benefits far outweigh the challenges associated with cloud integration
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 27
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 28
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 29
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Tech Corner: From Silicon to Architecture, zEC12 Innovations Push the Envelope
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 31
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 32
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 33
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Administrator: IBM zAware Extends z/OS Resilience to Another Level
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 35
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 36
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 37
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Solutions: Attach Facility; DataSniff; AutoPilot; Eclipse; Correlog Enterprise Server 5.1
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Advertisers Index
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Stop Run: IBM Distinguished Engineer Joe Temple Reflects on His Juggling Past
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Cover3
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Cover4
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Reference Point - Global Events, Education, Resources for Power Systems
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - RF2
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - Smarter Computing
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - SC2
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S1
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S2
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S3
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S4
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S5
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S6
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S7
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S8
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S9
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S10
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S11
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S12
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S13
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S14
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S15
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S16
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S17
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S18
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S19
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S20
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S21
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S22
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S23
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - S24
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - SC3
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - SC4
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - 2013 Mainframe Buyer's Guide Index
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - BG2
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2012 - BG3
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