Fast start in cognitive innovation: IBV report summary

By | 3 minute read | February 14, 2017

Cognitive computing

Top performers share how they are moving quickly

In collaboration with Oxford Economics, the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) undertook an executive report to discover how businesses can realize the full potential of big data analytics and cognitive computing.

We surveyed 6,050 C-suite executives worldwide to identify cognitive innovators and reveal what they are doing differently. The survey explores:

  • How cognitive computing will transform lives, both personally and professionally
  • What enterprises can do to tap into the full benefits of cognitive
  • What steps leaders can take to accelerate cognitive computing benefits

The report found that the most successful strategies combine cognitive and analytics capabilities, including:

  • Machine and deep learning
  • Natural language processing
  • Descriptive and predictive analytics
  • Robotics
  • Automation

Traditional vs cognitive computing: why do we need cognitive?

Few would doubt that computers and computing capabilities have permeated many aspects of our lives. However, traditional computing does have its limitations. For starters, it’s rigidly structured; governed by an inflexible set of rules and logic, which is turn are informed by neatly structured data sets. In the real world, however, much of the data at our disposal is unstructured and difficult to interpret with traditional computing methods. Cognitive computing can:

  • Help us to make sense of huge unstructured data, by providing systems able to adapt and learn
  • Deepen and broaden human capabilities through exponential expansion

The power of cognitive computing in action

Cognitive computing is delivering entirely new types of customer engagement, strategic innovation and business transformation.

Imagine for example that you are traveling to work, when your vehicle detects that you are about to suffer a major medical event. It re-routes health information and vital statistics to the nearest healthcare professionals, checks in with your insurance provider and notifies your next of kin, all without any input from you. This instant, real-time response to a physical crisis might have life-saving consequences.

A solution such as the one described above depends on Artificial Intelligence technologies that are at the very heart of cognitive computing: deep learning, natural language processing combined with predictive and descriptive analytics.

Business disruption with cognitive: the respondents’ view

The report surveyed over 6,000 business leaders worldwide in order to determine their view of cognitive capabilities, with a focus on:

  • What the technology entails
  • How innovative leaders are acquiring these skills
  • What they expect to gain

Eighty-eight percent of all the highest-performing organizations surveyed report that cognitive computing is inevitable in their industry. They also said their organizations either have or are ready to embrace the technology.

Of our CEO respondents:

  • 54 percent said business disruption will increase significantly in the next few years
  • 47 percent said innovation will be their single most important day-to-day business activity within three years

Fast start in cognitive

Increasingly, business leaders recognize the transformational benefits of cognitive technologies, particularly the abilities to:

  • Dramatically scale human expertise cost-effectively
  • Significantly improve business decision-making processes
  • Produce deeper, sounder business insights

Given these potential benefits, a majority of high-performing companies have already begun or are planning to adopt cognitive computing. And nearly half (46 percent) are already either piloting, implementing or operating cognitive technologies today, versus only 11 percent of the lower-performing peers (see Figure 2).

What cognitive innovators are doing differently

Cognitive innovators represent around 10 percent of the executives surveyed. These are the trailblazers; those who are already investing in cognitive with clear expectations of gaining competitive advantage, increasing revenue, driving innovation and improving customer engagement and experience.

These 10 percent rank highest across:

  • Familiarity with cognitive technologies and concepts
  • Leadership in innovation
  • Understanding that cognitive capabilities are important to their organizations
  • Willingness of their industry to adopt cognitive computing
  • Demonstrable actions indicating that they have already begun their cognitive journeys

Strategies to becoming a cognitive innovator: the ‘How To’

The times they are a-changing, and gone are the days when general consensus suggested that to be a fast follower in terms of technical adoption would yield better business results.

Today, the early adopters are the winners, and the most important step in the cognitive adoption journey is the first. Pursuant success will depend on careful selection, pilot studies and demonstrating achievements along the way.

Suggested strategies to help achieve successful adoption are:

  1. Make innovation central to business vision, strategy and execution
  2. Identify business problems that cognitive technologies can help solve, and make appropriate investments
  3. Create customer experiences that engage, delight and amaze
  4. Revisit your data strategy to ensure it targets the right information for problem-solving
  5. Adopt an agile approach

Learn more about the potential of cognitive computing

For the complete picture and to read more about individual successes using cognitive, read the full report: ‘Fast start in cognitive innovation’.

You can also visit our website for more information about IBM Cognitive and Analytics offerings and cognitive solutions and cloud platforms.