Dell takes on IBM by launching its own advanced analytics platform

Dell is teaming up with Microsoft to produce an advanced analytics platform designed to rival IBM’s Watson Analytics with its predictive and machine learning capabilities.

Today at its annual Dell World conference, Dell will reveal a revamped version of its recently acquired Statistica software, integrating it with Microsoft’s Azure Machine Learning Service to offer the first predictive analytics hybrid cloud platform. The combined features of the platform will enable companies to manage, integrate and analyze data both on-premises and in the cloud.

In addition, Dell will be integrating its existing big data analytics platform Kitenga with Statistica, bringing NLP, machine learning, predictive modeling, sentiment analysis, social network analysis, and visualization capabilities into the Statistica workflow.

John Thompson, general manager of Dell’s global advanced analytics says the newly combined platforms bring together the world of structured and unstructured data. In other words, the platform will help data analysis teams move away from dealing with large, structured databases to a manageable, Hadoop environment. “We’re making data much more accessible to a wider audience,” says Thompson. “It’s no longer just the domain of PhD statisticians or data scientists.”

For marketers, Dell’s analytics will work much the same way as IBM’s Watson Analytics. The platform will pull in data from a variety of different sources and process it to predict trends such as customer churn and buying patterns. By integrating with a company’s existing marketing tools, Statistica can push the data back out into a content delivery system, such as a Marketo or Pardot. Dell says its platform’s ability to work with a variety of disparate systems is what gives it an edge over competing analytics platforms.

“It’s an integrated solution that uses systems that customers already have in place,” says John Whittaker, Dell’s executive director of product marketing, Information Management. “We’re more agile, and a better fit for an existing software environment.” Whitaker says Dell’s analytics are also priced more efficiently since customers can choose how many components of the platform they need, according to their company size. “Our peers concentrate only on the top Fortune 100 companies,” says Whittaker. “Our approach is a bit more mid-market friendly.”

While Dell has the resources to issue a strong challenge to IBM, it is still far behind in the marketing tech space, having only recently outlined its ambitions to become a software and services company. IBM may not have the complete marketing and content delivery systems being offered by Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce, but it’s unquestionably a leader when it comes to data. 

However, Dell has indicated that it will soon start creating “marketing lens” for its data platform that will allow marketers make better use of the analytics. In addition, Thompson says Dell’s social media analytics platform will be subsumed into Statistica, making it yet another data channel that feeds into the comprehensive platform. Where Dell can really impact the market is by combining its enterprise hardware and software offerings. If it starts bundling its analytics services into the enterprise PC systems it sets up for companies, it could suddenly have a powerful advantage in the big data wars.

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