Introducing Watson AI “Partner Path”
By Phil Graham | 3 minute read | June 25, 2019
While no one can doubt that AI is today’s hottest ticket, you could be forgiven for thinking that AI might not be for you. However, with the market opportunity so attractive, can you really afford not to get involved? Knowing where to start with AI can be a challenge, but with our Watson AI Partner Path, you don’t have to go it alone.
Starting your AI journey
As the first stage in our Watson AI Partner Path, in the UK we’ve developed a series of Hands-on Watson AI Workshops that introduce the building blocks of an AI solution. Running at our London offices and IBM Hursley Software Laboratory, we’ve already held several workshops this year and more than 100 Partners have attended. Popular topics include Watson Assistant (for Chatbot development), Watson Discovery and Watson Studio. Further topics will be added soon, including a two-day in-depth Watson Assistant course in London. This summer we also plan to extend the program to Ireland.
Our Ecosystem Advocacy Group (EAG), who manage the workshop program, provide one-on-one support both at the workshops and post-event, with the aim to help you to build your use case for a Watson-based solution.
We’re also into the second year of our Watson Guild initiative, a partner community of practice for social good. Driven by a collaboration of thirteen partners, Watson Guild was launched last year with the objective of developing an AI solution for two not-for-profit organizations (Ace Centre and Fight for Peace in 2018). With a focus on collaboration, it’s fantastic to see IBM Partners coming together to explore potential Watson AI use cases that can make a big difference to people’s lives.
Accelerating your AI solution
Moving on a few steps from our Hands-on Workshops, at the individual partner level we have hosted several Design Thinking Workshops. Design Thinking is a framework that aligns multi-disciplinary teams to address a defined challenge. The approach is based on understanding the real needs of the user through the use of personas. It’s a proven approach that we’ve championed with our Watson Guild initiative.
For Partners that are already some way down the road in developing an AI solution, our Watson AI Solution Acceleration Workshop aims to help you to shorten the time-to-market. The workshop is a developer-focused event – a kind of mini-hackathon – customized for each Partner. It provides the opportunity to spend a day with Watson AI experts who help with both appraisal and technical support. Above all, the Workshop is bespoke to your needs in developing your AI product or solution in readiness for launch.
Getting ready for launch
Fundamental to our Watson AI Partner Path is our Embedded Solution Agreement (ESA) contract – ideal for Partners who plan to develop their own solutions. An ESA contract allows you to leverage IBM’s cutting-edge technology, availing of flexible pricing models, to combine with your Intellectual Property (your value add) – to deliver a total solution to your customers under your brand, your terms and your conditions. Discussion about becoming an ESA Partner can take place at any time during the Watson AI Partner Path.
Finally, as a you look towards launching your solution, developing your marketing strategy becomes of major importance. For your Watson AI solution, there’s no quick fix. However, our Marketing Workshop for Watson AI Partners can help you to assemble some of the key building blocks. It takes a three-stage approach that puts the customer at the centre of your strategy. The workshop begins with needs-based market segmentation, followed by developing your value proposition and then addresses the need to tell your story – a stage we call narrative development.