Cloud computing

Cognitive on cloud: Compete in the API economy

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How can your organization compete in an environment defined by digital transformation? Our answer: design for cognitive analytics and deliver on cloud. Taking this route will place you on the path to success in the application programming interface (API) economy, in which businesses provide services—and the services of partners—when, where and how customers want them.

Combine cloud delivery and cognitive analytics and you become the digital force to be reckoned with in your industry. Cognitive analytics make truly personalized customer services possible. Cloud empowers a business to rapidly create those services and deliver them to the right people, at the right time and in the right place.

A real-life cognitive personalization example

Let’s say a shopper sees someone wearing a great-looking jacket. With a smartphone, the shopper takes a snapshot of the jacket and sends the image to a favorite retailer using the retailer’s mobile app, asking “Do you have something like this?” The app delivers the reply, “Yes, several items like that are available at our downtown store, one block from where you are now. And as a valued customer, you qualify for a discount.”

Now, that is truly personalized service. But how does it work? In this case, a hybrid cloud allows the retailer to combine the power of data from existing on-premises systems such as inventory and customer relationship management (CRM) with an off-premises, cloud-based app to deliver a new level of engagement.

A key ingredient in this scenario is the Watson service (off premises on Bluemix) called by the mobile app, which provides visual recognition capability that allows the system to compare the snapshot image to the retailer’s catalog (database on premises). The app also matches the customer’s geolocation (phone) with the list of stores and associated inventory (database on premises) to find the nearest store, and looks up the customer’s file (database on premises) to determine eligibility for a discount.

Smoothing your path into the API marketplace

The jacket example shows just how critical it is to link traditional systems of record (SoR) such as inventory with systems of engagement (SoE) such as mobile, web and social. The glue that links your services, apps and systems together to create compelling customer experiences is the API. These APIs not only allow your own developers to rapidly compose new services, they can also give you easy entry into today’s growing API marketplace. There you can directly monetize your APIs by charging third-party developers to use them.

Of course, to safely open up and monetize those assets you need to ensure they are protected. We recommend enhanced security including encryption at the chip, file and transaction level—server through storage—for connecting your systems and data to the cloud.

Opening a new ecosystem for your business

A hybrid cloud lets you accelerate innovation without sacrificing security and control. It also opens up an ecosystem of technology and partners for your business to compose secure services rapidly in the pursuit of a common vision.

I hope you take a closer look at the cloud delivery—cognitive business combination and what it can do for your organization in the API economy.

Want to see what others are saying about IT infrastructure in the cognitive era? Join me and industry leader Olivier Carmona in Montpellier, France, as we candidly discuss how cognitive solutions can enhance the customer experience.

Watson Leader, Montpellier Client Center

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