by Thor Olavsrud

8 ways IBM Watson Analytics is transforming business

Jan 28, 2016
AnalyticsIT StrategyTechnology Industry

IBM Watson Analytics is a cloud-based data discovery service intended to provide the benefits of advanced analytics without the complexity. Here are eight organizations using Watson Analytics to transform their operations.

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8 ways IBM Watson Analytics is transforming business

IBM says Watson represents a new era of computing — a step forward to cognitive computing, where apps and systems interact with humans via natural language and help us augment our own understanding of the world with big data insights.

The Watson Analytics offering is intended to provide the benefits of advanced analytics without the complexity. The data discovery service, available via the cloud, guides data exploration, automates predictive analytics and enables dashboard and infographic creation.

Here are eight examples of organizations using Watson Analytics to transform their operations.

Paschall Truck Lines (PTL)

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Based in Murray, Kentucky, trucking company Paschall Truck Lines (PTL) uses Watson Analytics to build predictive models that will help it identify reasons that lead to employee churn and geo-spatial turnover before it happens. The company processes 5,000 applications and hires 200 drivers per month, collecting data on everything from the driver’s past experience and work history to geo location and more. Through Watson Analytics, hiring managers draw correlations between hiring areas and retention terms, revealing insights on the performance of drivers that lead to the restructuring of hiring patterns, turnover reduction and increased retention.

Mears Group

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Mears Group, a social-housing repair and healthcare provider in the UK, is using Watson Analytics to analyze injury reports to improve safety for its workers. By moving its proprietary database of more than 600 million records to Watson Analytics, the company has been identifying correlations that lead to safer working conditions. Additionally, Mears Group’s use of natural-language processing to ask questions have helped reveal where, how and when its operatives and care-givers were sustaining a disproportionate amount of injuries and near-miss events. This analysis led the senior health and safety team to develop the future strategy of the health safety focus for the next 12 months.

Minter Ellison

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MinterEllison, one of Asia Pacific’s largest multinational law firms, is using Watson Analytics to identify new business opportunities by integrating and analyzing financial data from the Australian Stock Exchange on top of client performance data. This allows the company to uncover correlations between a slowdown in revenue generation from several clients with a slowdown in their particular industry sector. Watson Analytics helps identify which industries would be more profitable for the firm to focus on, lead it to redirect resources for more profitable client opportunities.

Caliber Patient Care

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With more than 30 franchisees across the United States, Caliber Patient Care provides patient transport services for clients between their homes, hospices, hospitals and treatment facilities. The company’s drivers cover 75,000 miles each month, generating data from each trip. Watson Analytics helps the company identify new routes and processes that could save costs and optimize travel time and identify the cause of the missed revenue faster — and enabled them to make data-driven decisions about company policies that will help them charge for the missed miles. Thanks to Watson Analytics, the company is expected to earn an additional $750,000 in revenue by the end of the year.


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Texas-based marketing analytics company, Kristalytics is utilizing Watson Analytics to identify consumer behavior trends and build customized reports with data visualization for its clients. Through the integration and analysis of client revenue data with publicly-available consumer data, the team provides deep insights on market behavior that its clients can use to inform their marketing strategies. Watson Analytics helps build predictions and brings new insights to the company that it shares with clients while also helping identify one client’s underperformance. Watson Analytics drew correlations between gender, age and proprietary Kristalytics data that showed that the client was underperforming with men.


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Legends, a premiere hospitality and planning services firm for professional and college sporting events, uses Watson Analytics to gain fast insights on the performance of its concession stands and make real-time adjustments to sales strategies. By uploading data on transaction times, attendance, number of stands open and even the weather, Legends gets a better understanding of which factors were driving success at its most successful stands. Legends is using this data to standardize the most successful sales practices across all of its stands to increase sales.

Iowa State University

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Iowa State University is bringing Watson Analytics into a series of management information systems classes to teach students how to leverage social media sentiment to make more informed decisions about sales offerings and product lifecycle management. Using Twitter sentiment analysis available through Watson Analytics, students are uncovering relationships between Twitter discussions and sales data that they can use to adjust marketing campaigns in real-time.

University of Memphis

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University of Memphis’ Fogelman College of Business and Economics has hundreds of undergraduate students using Watson Analytics as part of their initial introduction to business analytics as a component of the required “Critical Thinking and Project Management” course. With guided data discovery, Watson Analytics allows students with different analytical backgrounds — from advanced to novice — to quickly unveil insights and build advanced visualizations.