April 20, 2016 | Written by: Mark Burdon
Categorized: AI for the Enterprise
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Cognitive solutions are easily scalable, improve performance across a distributed environment, and enable data-driven decision-making
You’ve tasked a couple of business analysts with a research project: to discover trends in customer churn relative to your pricing plans, competitive pressures and your product offerings over time. The guidelines you laid out were clear-cut. Both analysts have equal and adequate training. But each is having difficulty with the project. One is spending an inordinate time searching for the information they need. The other is finding it difficult to sparse through and unify separate data sets.
These problems aren’t unique to your company. They have permeated offices across the country. In fact, analyst firms IDC and McKinsey estimate the average knowledge worker spends between 20 to 30 percent of their day looking for information. Compounding the problem is that most companies currently only use about 12 percent of their data, according to Forrester’s findings. These analyst reports also suggest that businesses can’t leverage most of their information assets.
Access issues with your business-critical data might be because:
- It’s out of reach from employees who need it due to information silos and disconnected systems
- The right data is undiscoverable because of ineffective content indexing or taxonomy profiling
- Your data is not available to those who need it due to access rights which aren’t properly assigned
- The data is available, but information workers aren’t using effective search terms or the search takes too long
The solution to all of these challenges is cognitive technology which acts as the world’s fastest, most effective enterprise search enabler, empowering your employees to search across Internet, intranet and extranet boundaries for the information they need.
Machine Learning, Human Empowerment
Did you know that 55% of big data initiatives at companies fail? To meet the ever-changing needs of today’s global marketplace, companies need solutions that are easily scalable across organizations, support redundancy, deliver high performance across a distributed environment, and support terabytes of information.
Cognitive solutions like Watson Explorer remove barriers of scale and allow companies to develop simple-to-deploy, cloud-ready, big data exploration solutions. Cognitive businesses democratize information access and quickly and effectively scale the expertise which results from it. Instead of having a select few employees who can find information quickly and perform exceptionally, all of your employees will be on a level playing field.
Machine learning takes a tiny fraction of a second to capture a data object into memory. The cognitive application will then reason through the context of the information. Your employees will be able to retrieve information faster, and put your data to work for you, in just seconds not weeks. That’s important, as information discoverability is an increasing challenge for all organizations. As numbers of data gathering/creation/storage devices increase, there is exponentially more data to sort through.
Consider data creation through:
- Social media posts
- Corporate instant messages and SMS discussions
- Website content
- Documents in corporate intranets and extranets
- Blog posts and associated comments
- Scanned records
- Recorded customer phone calls
- Data collected by ERP/CRM/xRM business applications
- Input from the Internet of Things, such as wearables, monitoring devices and sensors
Building a structured taxonomy for all of these data types is practically impossible, and understanding relationships between associated data can be just as hard. Cognitive technology can help you connect and make sense of all your data. With an insatiable appetite for data and learning, and by providing your employees with narrow set of potential answers to the challenges they are looking to solve, this technology elevates the effectiveness of all employees who use it.
Cognitive solutions provide powerful natural-language search options for content discovery. Companies can deliver the data their users need from structured and/or unstructured repositories from a single interface, while also interpreting, through machine learning, what your employees are searching for. And they help your employees build expertise.
If your company is in an industry such as healthcare, technology or financial services, there are likely buzzwords or industry terms, which could confuse a typical search engine. When you expose content to a cognitive computing engine by way of an API, the content is assessed, learned and parsed effectively. Your employees will benefit from valuable search results curated out of privileged repositories of data.
For example, medical researchers can typically research a few hundred medical research papers per year. Watson ingested all 23 million medical papers in the National Library of Medicine in a fraction of that time. Watson users can now access, query and gain insights from all that information in milliseconds. The average knowledge worker spends 2.5 hours a day looking for information. But by using cognitive solutions like IBM Watson, you can give your sales, marketing, customer service, product design and other teams teams a unified view of your customers and products, and real-time insights needed to detect patterns, understand customers and anticipate their behaviors and needs.
Ubiquitous Access, Performance Improvement
Cognitive technology doesn’t favor specific groups of executives or employees—be they remote, mobile or office-based. Permission-based data is accessible by remote sales, operations and customer/professional services employees in context to their role. For example, if a corporate attorney and an account executive have access to client data, the attorney might be more interested in contracts and licensing agreements, where the sales professional is likely more interested in the products the customer has purchased from your company, their price lists and correspondence relating to historical transactions.
Cognitive technology delivers rapid data access to your teams, regardless of their location or device, so employees are consistent and effective in their roles. Consider a scenario where a technical support team is answering calls and e-mails from Internet subscribers. If there are best practices for solving certain customer complaints, they can be offered as highly weighted probable resolutions.
Cognitive technology suggests potential resolutions to the whole support team based on a range of natural language queries. Support calls get resolved faster, and the content can be offered on self-service portals, knowledge base or social media channels.
Better Content Discoverability, Improved Engagement
If your employees can find information quickly, they are more likely to deliver on their KPIs and be successful at their jobs, which significantly improves their morale and engagement at work. Users can search for answers and retrieve or discover valuable data by using natural language so the learning curve is much shorter than if they had to learn a technical program to do that.
Exposing unstructured or structured content repositories to a cognitive computing engine initiates a lightning-fast process of ingestion, and of reasoning through the data. Beyond strictly indexing the data, the cognitive system learns the data, and then it identifies any relationships between data objects. These relationships help to accelerate retrieval of related data when a user does a natural language inquiry. Pre-built integration modules are available for many systems, and cognitive platforms like Watson provide an innovative, flexible environment to build additional integration gateways.
Don’t Just Search Your Data, Explore It
Help your information workers take back hours of productivity. Empower them to find relevant content quickly, so they can deliver results. Traditional search technology only reaches a fraction of the content generated inside your company, and on the public Internet.
Cognitive technology optimizes data discoverability, and enables all of your employees to perform to the best of their abilities. Cognitive solutions help companies leverage the expertise of their best employees, then scale up to optimize their service. It’s easier than ever before to make every employee your best employee.
For more on how your company can adopt cognitive technology to empower your knowledge workers, and to optimize the value of your data, please download The Leaders’ Guide to Insights: Why Enterprise Search is No Longer Enough.