IBM Design
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IBM Design

IBM Watson Studio Desktop Wins a 2019 SaaS Award

A look into the winning IBM Data and AI product

The IBM Cloud, Data & AI team is excited to announce that IBM Watson Studio Desktop has been awarded the 2019 SaaS Award in the Best SaaS Product for Non-Profits & Education category. Our design, development, and offering management teams are honored and thrilled to receive this award as a recognition for their diligence and focus.

The SaaS Awards program is now in its fourth year of celebrating software innovations and the successes they create for business. With awards for excellence and innovation in SaaS, the Software-as-a-Service Awards program accepts entries worldwide.

“The standard of entries this year was incredibly high, with consistent attention to innovation and most importantly, customer success. The volume of entries warranting consideration of a place on the coveted shortlist was unprecedented,” Larry Johnson, SaaS Awards and Cloud Awards.

Along with IBM Watson Studio Desktop, we were honored to have three other products selected for the shortlist in the 2019 SaaS Awards: IBM Regulatory Accelerator, IBM Digital App Builder, and IBM Blockchain Platform.

What is IBM Watson Studio Desktop?

IBM Watson Studio Desktop was created with the goal of streamlining the process of data analysis and modeling. This product is a desktop installable version of IBM Watson Studio for the cloud, giving users an option to store their data locally on their computers as opposed to uploading it to a cloud. It provides an environment designed for users to easily create, train, and manage machine-learning data models.

The visual, drag-and-drop interface allows users to create machine learning models with no coding required

The experience includes built-in data science tools for tasks such as data preparation and image recognition so that users can streamline their data workflow by having all of their needed tools in one space. These tools are all presented within the product’s unified user experience and available on the users’ desktop as opposed to online, giving users a higher level of security in the case that they are working with sensitive data and prefer to keep it out of a cloud environment. IBM Watson Studio Desktop features an easy installation in Windows or Mac OS, automatic updates once it’s installed, and upholds the highest standards in data security.

Users can seamlessly profile, clean, and prepare their data

Behind the Design Process

The team behind IBM Watson Studio Desktop aimed to create an experience that helped streamline the data science workflow for their users. The team found that their target users were data scientists and specialists who were often dealing with information, resources, and tools scattered across different environments. With many existing data analysis tools, users were also lacking the flexibility to work wherever they needed, which constrained their workflow. Another major issue was the limited number of portable or compatible features across the many different software tools that data scientists used, hindering their ability to efficiently collaborate with colleagues.

The team aimed to design a product that included data tools and capabilities within a cohesive user experience. A challenge was creating an interface that was an extension of IBM Watson Studio so that users could seamlessly transition from cloud to desktop versions of the product. The team had to redesign all the data science and machine learning capabilities of IBM Watson Studio into a desktop tool. This included having to learn a new technical domain of a desktop based interaction so that the team could understand how to recreate a cloud-based user experience for a desktop environment.

Users can utilize smart visualizations to gain better insights into their data while they work

“Working with data and creating AI can be time consuming and complex. We designed an experience that seamlessly integrates the tools our users need to simplify their process, and provide the flexibility of working anytime, anywhere.” — Alex Swain, IBM Watson Studio Desktop Design Manager

Designing for Data

IBM Watson Studio Desktop provides our data users more options, accessibility, and more of a community. As an extension of the IBM Watson Studio for the cloud, this product opens up the field of data science to more users, making data analysis more accessible to those who may be working with sensitive data that they are unable to upload to the cloud. This product, an addition to the existing cloud platform, also creates more of a community for our data users, as they now have more data analysis options available through our software products without having to transition to completely new environments. We’re thrilled that this product is recognized for its contribution to the education field, as we are always striving to design tools that make complex worlds such as data analysis more accessible and welcoming for our users.

Congrats to the IBM Watson Studio Desktop team for all their hard work in making this a great product for our users.

Arin Bhowmick (@arinbhowmick) is Vice President, Design at IBM based in San Francisco, California. The above article is personal and does not necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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Arin Bhowmick

Arin Bhowmick

Chief Design Officer, @SAP | ex CDO @IBM |Cloud, AI and Apps I UX Leadership| UX Strategy| Usability & User Research| Product Design