The increasing digitization of our day-to-day life has meant an exponential surge in the volumes of data being generated. The Internet apart, transformational infrastructure projects such as smart grids that lower energy consumption, sensors that help reduce traffic congestion, and electronic medical records for personalized healthcare are generating enormous amounts of data that require interpretation.
In 2007, there were 281 exabytes of information, and by 2011 we are expected to have over 1,800 exabytes of information available. There are currently 107 million active Internet domains and 1.5 billion Internet users (roughly 25% of the population). Over 133,000 new sites are added to the Web every day.
Not surprisingly, analytics has emerged as a strategic imperative, as companies seek a competitive advantage in today’s digitized economy. In a recent study, 83% of CIOs polled identified business intelligence and analytics as their top priority to enhance their organizations’ competitiveness.
Realizing its growing criticality, IBM, it seems, is betting big on analytics. In April 2009, they launched a new services unit with 4,000 consultants devoted to the field. Subsequently, they opened seven analytics centers around the world including ones in New York, London and Beijing. And the company recently acquired data analytics company SPSS for $1.2 billion and business analytics firm RedPill.
Taking a step further, IBM has unveiled a new internal analytics product that the company is touting as the “largest private cloud computing environment for business analytics in the world.” Called Blue Insight, it will provide the over 200,000 employees in IBM’s sales and development department with the ability to extract data and information to make decisions and gain further insight at the point of sale. Blue Insight will gather information from nearly 100 different information warehouses and data stores, providing analytics on more than a petabyte (1,000 terabytes or 1,000,000 gigabytes) of data.