IBM Bus Analytics200International Business Machines Corp. (IBM – Analyst Report) recently announced the availability of its Watson Analytics services on public beta.

The recent launch comes after the private beta was made available in Sep 2014.  To date, Watson Analytics has approximately 22,000 registered members.  The new service will be made available under a cloud-based freemium model through Apple’s (AAPL – Analyst Report) iOS, Google’s (GOOGL – Analyst Report) Android services as well as through the web.

Watson is an artificially intelligent computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language. Watson Analytics is a cognitive service and it automates the once time-consuming tasks such as data preparation, predictive analysis, and visual story-telling for business professionals.

This new service will also connect to the Watson Analytics Community, where users can exchange ideas on best practices and solicit technical support. This freemium version of Watson Analytics is an integral part of IBM’s $1 billion investment geared towards making Watson more accessible to businesses.

According to Zacks the launch of the public beta of Watson Analytics will prove highly beneficial to organizations by increasing their efficiency and reducing the time needed to perform the work. This, in turn, will enhance IBM’s clientele for its consulting business and boost its top line going forward.  IBM’s investments in new spheres including cloud computing, Big Data, mobile and security will boost software and services revenues in the long run. IBM intends to focus more on analytics and cloud-computing to combat a massive slowdown in hardware sales.  In order to achieve this aim, the company recently inked deals with the likes of WPP, Deutsche Lufthansa AG and its Group companies, Thomson Reuters and ABN Amro Bank worth about $4 billion. All of the aforementioned deals were aimed at bolstering its cloud-based offerings.

Intensifying competition from the likes of Oracle (ORCL – Analyst Report), Hewlett-Packard, SAP and Microsoft remains a major headwind. Further, sluggish IT spending particularly for on-premise and data center hardware will continue to hurt the company in the near term.