Two of IBM's most popular analysis products, the Cognos Business Intelligence and the SPSS predictive analytics package, are headed for the Cloud, the latest in an ongoing push by IBM to port its vast software portfolio to the Cloud.
Accessing such a software from a hosted environment, rather than purchasing the package outright, provides a number of benefits to customers.
"We manage the infrastructure, and this allows you to scale more easily and get started with less upfront investment," said Eric Sall, IBM vice-president of worldwide analytics marketing.
IBM announced these additions to its cloud services, as well as a number of new offerings, at its Insight user conference for data analytics, held this week in Las Vegas.
By 2016, 25 per cent of new business analysis deployments will be done in the Cloud, according to Gartner.
Analytics could help businesses in many ways, according to IBM. It could provide additional insight in the purchasing habits of customers, as well as insight into how well its own operations are performing. It could help safeguard systems from attacks and attempts at fraud, as well as assure that business departments are meeting compliance requirements.
The new online version of Cognos, IBM Cognos Business Intelligence on Cloud, can currently be tested in a preview mode. IBM plans to offer Cognos as a full commercial service early next year. Users can run Cognos against data they keep in the IBM cloud, or against data they store on premises.
A full commercial version of the online IBM SPSS Modeler will be available within 30 days. This package will include all the SPSS components for statistics based predictive modeling, such as a modeler server, analytics decision management software and a statistics server.
Earlier this year, IBM pledged to offer much of its software portfolio as Cloud services, many through its Bluemix set of platform services.
In addition to Cognos and SPSS, IBM also unveiled a number of new and updated offerings at the conference.
One new service, DataWorks, provides a number of techniques for refining and cleansing data so it is ready for analysis. The company has launched a cloud-based data warehousing service, called dashDB. A new Watson-based service, called Watson Explorer, provides a way for users to ask natural language questions about multiple sets of internal data.