Don't you wish you had a crystal ball handy to predict changes in the business world? Well, IBM
The latest addition to Big Blue's clairvoyant family of tools is data mining specialist SPSS
"Know what your customers will do ... before they do it!" is the cheerful mantra of SPSS. It fits right into IBM's Smarter Planet strategy, in which the company helps governments and businesses the world over build advanced power grids, banking processes, inventory management systems, and much more.
I've long held that nobody can predict business trends quite like Cisco Systems
Neither IBM nor Cisco will ever manage to build the perfect predictive system, of course, regardless of their ambitions and acquisitions. Not even Google
That doesn't mean that these fine companies shouldn't try to jump over the moon, though. High-quality data mining tools like the SPSS suite use advanced methods of mathematics and statistics to arrive at much better guesses than flipping a coin, or depending on a CEO's gut instinct. Like I said, this is a great fit for IBM, which is becoming less and less like the IBM of our fathers. And I mean that in a good way.
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.