If my Microsoft Certified System Engineer, book writing (homo competens), and web 2.0 interests are any indication, I'll be sucking in lots of information from all sources I can get in the first time, before I start to make up my mind and contribute to the conversation. I've written it before: I'm a chicken. I pick up a lot of points, before I can 'lay my egg'.
My own interests and learning points are:
* NOT the tools. If I want that, I just talk to our software guys. I've got access to all the information and experts on Cognos and associated business intelligence tools. But the tools come after I've figured out what good they would bring to the table, let us not get things upside down.
* WHAT scenarios are there for analytics to make corporate learning better? I've seen some samples already, and I can imagine better (proactive) matching of learning needs with content and experts, better personalized learning processes, and better evidence gathering of learning impact. But I really want to start dreaming of what is possible with this.
* I'm also concerned about privacy issues (don't be evil), security, and the fact that most people can't handle the truth, as revealed by data.
(above is taken from my blog on homocompetens.blogspot.com)
I am also an IBMer - usually located in Ottawa, Canada! This is wonderful! Hope we can connect. Seems we both have to shed our chicked personas and jump right in. I am currently with the Business Analytics brand - technical product certification.
I'm working for IBM Learning Development, so more on the learning side of this multidisciplinary topic.
(BTW, you last name sounds like it originates from this part of the world).
At one level, analytics are no different from research methodology: we first need to know what we want answered before we select a methodology or develop a research strategy. A key distinction with analytics, however, is that once we have bucket loads of learner data, most questions collapse to queries...i.e. the data serves as multiple analysis points, rather than traditional research methods where data is intended to answer a few primary questions.
In terms of IBM - I'm looking forward to hearing more from you and Angela. IBM is heavily invested in analytics from conversations I've had with colleagues working in the organization.
It's not that I'm not interested in tools at all, but as you indicate, they come after the question what you want to find out (and what you want to do with it, 'action analytics', right?) . I always find it very funny when on conferences you hear people say 'the tools don't matter, it's what you do with them', and then the Q&A goes exclusively on tools...
I've seen some things passing on projects and approaches for analytics in education from IBM, I'll look them up again.