Regardless of what you might think of the communications value of Twitter, it creates roughly a billion 140-character tweets a day.
Talk about Big Data.
Today, IBM announced a partnership with Twitter to “Transform how businesses and institutions understand their customers, markets and trends – and inform every business decision.”
As Chris Moody, Twitter’s VP of Data Strategy, puts it in his blog, “We’re thrilled to partner with IBM, a global leader in helping companies take advantage of emerging technologies and platforms like Twitter. This relationship will enable IBM solutions – like the famous computer Watson – to access Twitter data as an input for multi-variable, pattern-dependent questions like ‘What do customers like best about my products?' or 'Why are we growing quickly in Brazil?’”
Business Analytics have long been on the top of IBM’s list of top strategic plays, and if there were ever any doubt about how serious IBM is to dominate the market, the October 29th announcement should erase it once and for all. IBM CEO Ginny Rometty says the partnership promises to “change the way business decisions are made.”
There are three key components to this partnership:
- IBM's big data analytics tools like Watson Analytics will incorporate Twitter data, allowing enterprises to extract insights from Watson’s cognitive capabilities. The data will also be added to BlueMix, IBM’s cloud-based developer platform for cloud apps, which will allow developers to write enterprise apps that include Twitter data
- IBM will be developing new apps for the enterprise that make use of Twitter data. The first one is an app that helps companies better engage their customers over Twitter.
- IBM will also be training 10,000 consultants to write custom enterprise apps and help businesses make the most productive use of Twitter data.
Looking into the future, both Twitter and IBM believe that the data, once analyzed and massaged, will enable decision-making far beyond the low-hanging customer-sentiment and marketing categories. Some of the Twitter data analysis is expected to provide insight into:
- Customer service and support
- Early-warning system for events and catastrophes
- Product planning and development
- Public safety
The immediate beneficiaries of this deal will be IBM’s enterprise customers, who we might expect to roll out some high-profile flagship initiatives using what Chris Moody refers to as “the pulse of the planet” in the near future. And although it remains to be seen exactly how IBM’s global Business Partner network will play in this particular analytics space, there will no doubt be plenty of room for ISVs to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by IBM’s Bluemix cloud development platform.
Watching the news so far, today’s announcement appears to be a winner. Stay tuned for more as the magnitude of this deal starts to sink in.