IBM Analytics ChampionAs part of a small but ‘elite group’ of analytics pros, Nick Waters is an IBM Analytics Champion

What’s that? Well, while we always knew Nick – a senior Business Analytics Consultant at Barrachd – was a bit of a champ, we’ve unmasked our hero to find out more.

So, if you have a problem, if no one else can help… and now you can find him, maybe you can call the A(nalytics)-Team. (Sorry)

  • Enough with the build-up. What does it take to become an IBM Analytics Champion?

It takes nerves of steel and the brain the size of a small planet. [Ahem.] Actually, I was made aware of the IBM Champion program many years ago when IBM were looking to showcase and recognise analytics talent from within IBM and externally to their partner network and customers. Having previously worked for Cognos and IBM for many years, I have always evangelised around the benefits of analytics to lots of different customers across different industry sectors – so to be recognised by IBM for this contribution was humbling!

  • What does it mean?

In a crazy world of technological change, solution stacks, big and small data in different places – it means I can take the IBM solution set and help articulate and architect the right solution for our clients. I like to think I’m on the side of our customers helping them navigate all the products and technologies ensuring it’s the right solution fit for them… a satnav for the client’s analytical journey, if you will.

  • Do you get to find out IBM Analytics secrets, developments and gossip before anyone else?

Being connected through the champion network is great – I have built up some great friendships with IBMers, partners and customers around the world. I sit on a number of business partner councils and special interest groups and I get to hear about how IBM is developing and evolving their analytical and cognitive solutions. I get to see ‘what’s in the labs’ – new shiny cool stuff and I love to show it off to our customers as soon as it’s been analytics champion

  • Anything you can share with us now?

We need to be careful about futures and roadmaps – but some of the developments in the Cognos Analytics (aka Cognos 11) solution is looking really cool…

  • If you torture your data enough it will confess. How about if you torture an Analytics Champion?

Well, he might tell you about the new RAVE 2.0 visualisation capability and new mapping capabilities in Cognos Analytics that will certainly provide some beautiful data visualisations in the future. Take a look at Watson Analytics for a glimpse of what can be achieved!

  • How do you put your analytics knowledge to good use?

I help Barrachd’s customers explore and understand the IBM Business Analytics portfolio. Every customer and industry has different challenges, different types of data etc. I help them understand the products with their data to help them uncover hidden insights and solve problems, I also help showcase the bigger picture of what can be achieved using these solutions. Coming from a technology background I get a kick from helping the client architect the right solution to support their success.

  • Instead of being a champion, imagine you are an analytics hero. What would your analytics super-power be?

There are lots of Cognos Ninjas out there in the world – they have super-human cognos powers to author, administrate, tune and perform. Over the years I’ve been honoured to work with some true cognos gurus who I’ve learnt so much from. I would say my super-power would be BI – one day I hope to reach guru enlightenment status.

  • Seriously, though… What’s your area of specialism?

I love data and the art of data visualisation. Agile dashboard design and prototyping.

  • With only 10 Analytics Champions in the UK listed in IBM’s directory, it’s clear not everyone can be one, but what would be your top tip to become a master of business data?

Data comes in many shapes and sizes… it needs to be tamed (and by that I mean don’t be afraid to merge, clean and standardise as much as you can!) before you can turn it into real value. Many years ago data integration used to be only for the hardcore data geeks – but with new technological advancements anyone can prepare and work with disparate data – tap into as much as you can and enjoy the exploration.


Want to meet more of our team? Or how about a conversation with another of our consultants?

If there’s anything Barrachd can help you with, please do get in touch.


Posted in analytics, Cognos, Cognos Analytics, IBM On June 20, 2016 By