IBM Analytics: Perspectives from Professor Bill Buchanan OBE PhD


“I’m Bill Buchanan, a professor at Edinburgh Napier University. My interests are in building the next generation of systems, building an amazing new world based on software.”

How important are open source innovators in relation to analytics?

“In terms of open source and embedded analytics, creating frameworks, then really everybody needs to agree what that framework looks like. It doesn’t look good to create an amazing new infrastructure with an amazing new service, if you can’t plug in something that you want.

“So, increasingly, we’re now looking at companies providing the roadmap, the bits, the infrastructure that companies, especially small businesses, because small business are our future, and big companies need to be helping small businesses grow, because without those businesses we don’t have the companies of the future. So, I think the big companies increasingly know that it’s the little companies who will innovate and who will work with the local problems and overcome problems with solutions that the big companies would never have the time and the resources to dedicate themselves to.

“So, creating the embedded analytics allows smaller companies to work in areas they have expertise in. So rather than providing the full solution, as what needed to happen, a great little company will specialise in one area, such as face recognition, and say: “if you want face recognition, we’ve got a great new feature, and we’ll plug it into your embedded architecture or your framework, and it’ll be seamless”, and that involves a lot of back-end talking. So, you can’t just come along with an API and for it to be integrated. Really, the small companies should be working with the major providers to make sure there’s a true partnership, a gold, or a platinum partnership, where they work together to provide solutions. And that way you’ll get a completely integrated solution that is not provided by one person and you’re not dependent upon one company and you can easily mix and match.

“And these days, if you find that your identity provider is crashing and not providing the service, then you need the framework embedded architecture to be able to plug in another one, or have one sitting waiting for a major disaster, so that you can make sure that your company can cope.”

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