The Analytics World Just Got Flat: IBM Analytic Answers

frisbee on sand flat earth ibm analytic answers concept

Thomas Friedman’s book “The World Is Flat” describes how outsourcing, technology, and other factors helped level the business playing field around the globe. What if traditional barriers to entry for using big data and business analytics were removed? Would small to mid-sized businesses be able to compete more effectively with larger organizations? IBM has made it possible to answer these questions and many more for its customers who leverage IBM Analytic Answers.

IBM Analytic Answers are cloud hosted “apps” that provide predictive and prescriptive insights into the most common analytics use cases. These use cases are ones that have historically provided the most quantifiable value to customers who have used IBM SPSS predictive analytics. The provide many examples of customer success stories on their website for reference

It works something like this. You sign up for a one-year subscription, provide your data and question to IBM, and they return an insightful answer that businesses can take action on. IBM Analytic Answers eliminates many of the barriers that have prohibited some companies from using analytics solutions in the past.

Barriers Removed:

  • No capital expense required, yet you get the benefits of IBM’s world-class SPSS predictive analytics software stack of solutions as a subscription service.
  • No skilled resources required; IBM provides access to “statisticians in a box” to build analytics models.
  • No infrastructure or resources to maintain required; IBM provides a hosted solution for easy access for business users to ask questions and view results.
  • Time-to-results is measured in weeks, not months or years.


As of today, there are four analytic answers apps available (and more to come):

  • Insurance Renewals: Which of my policy holders are unlikely to renew next month and how could I persuade each one to stay loyal?
  • Retail Purchase Analysis and Offer Targeting: Which products do my customers tend to buy together? Can I leverage that knowledge to create combination offers and promotions that increase basket size and revenue per customer visit?
  • Student Retention: Which of our students are performing below their predicted potential? How should we intervene to get them back on track and avoid attrition?
  • Prioritized Collections: Which of my overdue debtors are most likely to pay? How much can I recover from them, and which treatment will be most effective for each?

IBM has made it simple for companies to enter or expand their use of analytics with IBM Analytic Answers. There are many studies that prove the value of using analytics, from ROI’s averaging 250%, to a $10.66 payback for every $1 spent to outperforming your peers by 2.2X. So the question really is, why wouldn’t you use IBM Analytic Answers?

IBM Analytic Answers = Ask an analytical question, get the answer, take action, and improve outcomes.

Ironside is a leader in the data science and advanced analytics space. Our team can help you get started with this and many other predictive solutions. Let us know how we can help you take control of your organization’s future.

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