Industry Insights

The value of cognitive / artificial intelligence to the Chemicals and Petroleum industry

In an environment where there is pressure to improve profits, cognitive computing / artificial intelligence (AI) can help Chemicals & Petroleum (C&P) organizations drive innovation, improve operational efficiency and make better capital decisions. The IBM Institute for Business Value has just published the report entitled “Cognitive Catalysts: Reinventing enterprises and experiences with artificial intelligence”. The report, part of the 19th edition of our ongoing Global C-suite Study series, draws on input from 3,069 conversations with C-suite executives (CxOs) from April through June 2017.

Input from 124 C&P CxOs confirms that executives expect cognitive technologies to impact their operating model across the value chain.

As a result, C&P companies plan on investing in cognitive /AI to go along with cloud, mobile and Internet of Things.

But to capitalize on cognitive computing, C&P companies must be able to leverage data and put in place the necessary skills and capabilities. This is where C&P organizations fall short. 56 percent of our respondents say their organizations do not already have the necessary data science, machine learning, and other AI/Cognitive skills. In addition, today’s emphasis is on discussion-based decision-making and using point-in-time analysis.

In the future, cognitive technologies could help these companies shift to real-time insights and decision-making.

We recommend in our recent IBV whitepaper entitled Turning data into chemicals and petroleum insights: How the industry is becoming cognitive that C&P businesses learn from C&P “outperformers” to get the most value from cognitive computing.

1. Create a cognitive culture through focus and value. C&P outperformers emphasize cognitive investment in distribution and environment, health and safety.

2. Construct a data foundation through new capabilities and structure. For example, C&P outperformers utilize both structured and unstructured data including external data.

3. Amplify capabilities with cognitive systems. C&P outperformers are putting skills in-house including advanced data architects and mathematical modelers.

To learn more, read the full report and visit

Chemicals and Petroleum Lead, CFO Lead, IBM Institute for Business Value

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