Predictive analytics, at a very high level, attempts to tie together disparate data accrued from past experiences to better inform future business decisions. Jack Noonan, chairman and chief executive officer of SPSS, put this principle into action at SPSS Directions '09.
Noting its start in 1968 when Norman H. Nie, C. Hadlai Hull, and Dale H. Bent developed a software system based on the idea of using statistics to turn raw data into information essential to decision-making, its growth into a corporation in the mid 1970s, transitioning into an enterprise from 1997-2002 through acquisition, and predictive analytics "coming to age" as a market as all major transitions, Noonan unequivocally believes its combination with IBM is another one of these.
"I believe what we have is a marriage that is unique at a unique point in time," Noonan said. "I don't think if we had put SPSS on the market that we could have picked a better corporation to come knocking at our door. Talk about taking it up a level — SPSS talks about how to improve various business processes, and IBM talks about improving companies, government, and the planet. We believe predictive analytics is the lynchpin to that success moving forward."
Noonan segued into a panel discussion — including himself, Rob Ashe, general manager of IBM's business intelligence and performance analytics unit, and Deepak Advani, IBM's vice president of predictive analytics — by stressing this we are in the midst of "the most exciting time in marketplace in the last 40 years SPSS has been in existence, and the last 100 years for IBM."