Digital Reinvention

Be Cognitive or Risk Becoming Irrelevant

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What does JETCO have in common with global airline Cathay Pacific Airways? They are both on their way to becoming cognitive enterprises.

But what is a cognitive enterprise?

It has a culture of agile innovation powered by an ecosystem of business platforms. They run on an open and secure hybrid multicloud infrastructure and use cognitive-enabled enterprise workflows. Exponential  technologies and data from nextgen apps will fuel these workflows.

The key difference is the way cognitive enterprises use platforms. Conventional organizations focused on streamlined processes. In cognitive enterprises, common capabilities layers cut across multiple business platforms to create a unique enterprise experience.

There are generally three types of platforms:

  • Internal platforms that drive operational competitiveness.
  • Industry platforms that put a company on par with its partners or competitors while driving operational efficiency.
  • Cross-market platforms that capture new market spaces by managing essential or value-added processes for a broader ecosystem of partners.

Cathay Pacific Airways offers one example of building an internal platform. The iconic Hong Kong airline was already facing stiff competition from other carriers. So, it embarked on a new long-term IT transformation plan. It also wanted to stay relevant to a connected consumer base.

An internal platform accelerated this transformation. The airline worked with IBM Services to migrate 117 siloed applications onto it. The platform made its mission-critical applications agile to market changes and business demands. More importantly, it made Cathay Pacific Airways more competitive and relevant.

Meanwhile, JETCO showed how a cross-market platform can drive synergies across different industries. The operator of Hong Kong’s ATM network worked with IBM Services on an API exchange platform. It christened it JETCO APIX.

APIX allows JETCO’s member banks to publish products and services APIs. It also complies with the Open API requirements of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA).

But APIX goes beyond being an industry platform. It extends to other industry platforms and service providers, including OpenRice,, and These third-party players can leverage APIX for improving their value proposition and create a connected experience.

In reality, most organizations are only scratching the surface of what a cognitive enterprise is. They face enormous challenges, such as difficulties in defining their strategies in a digital and connected world. Many are also experimenting with AI, RPA and other technologies, while others struggle being shackled to their legacy infrastructure and processes.

The biggest challenge is their workforce. Cognitive enterprises require a new mindset and skills. It requires organizations to do some soul searching, rebuild their internal culture, and retrain their employees.

But becoming a cognitive enterprise will become crucial with the Greater Bay Area (GBA) development initiative. It will enable organizations to leverage new opportunities, adopt new technologies, and be agile to new market forces. It also allows them to hack their growth, seize new fleeting opportunities, and pivot when needed. Else, another cognitive enterprise will.

Looking to become a cognitive enterprise? Take the first step by downloading the Cognitive Enterprise whitepaper.

General Manager and Partner, Global Business Services, IBM Hong Kong

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