IBM, Twitter Alliance Promises Improved Data Accessibility

IBM and Twitter announced a landmark alliance that promises to make Twitter data more accessible to both developers and end users alike beginning in the first quarter of 2015.

Announced at the IBM Insight 2014 conference, the partnership will make Twitter data accessible to developers via the IBM Bluemix cloud integration services and the IBM Watson cloud. At the same time, IBM will leverage Twitter APIs to feed data from the social networking platform into its analytics applications. IBM will also make that data available to the army of consultants it employs to advise customers on how to optimize business processes.

In addition, the two companies have agreed to collaborate on the development of applications for specific industries, including banking, consumer products, retail, and travel and transportation.

Chris Moody, vice president of data strategy for Twitter, says Twitter data not only has unlimited business value, it also has also limitless applications. For example, Twitter is working with the Harvard Medical School to track instances of food poisoning that largely go unreported today except for the tweets that people share with their followers.

In addition, Moody notes that computer manufacturers are using Twitter data to help decide how many devices to make based on the volume of tweets about a device. Even manufacturers of commercial-grade fryers are tracking references to “soggy fries” to figure out what customers may need to have those fryers serviced.

Alistair Rennie, general manager for IBM analytics, says every significant business decision being made going forward will be done with input from Twitter. A big part of that effort, says Rennie, will be exposing that data to the untapped creativity of developers.

Obviously, developers have had access to Twitter data before. But via the alliance with IBM a major step forward is being taken in terms of exposing Twitter data to developers that built classic enterprise applications. As such, the marriage of the billions of dollars that IBM has invested in analytics with Twitter data has the potential to make these applications more valuable to the business than ever. In fact, IBM says its analytics capabilities now span more than 15,000 analytics consultants, 4,000 analytics patents, 6,000 industry solution business partners and 400 IBM mathematicians.

In general, business leaders are moving toward applications that allow them to make more fact-based decisions. As a result, they are asking developers to either build analytics applications that leverage a broad spectrum of API feeds or embed analytics capabilities within larger enterprise applications.

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