AI for the Enterprise

3 ways to get started with cognitive computing

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Roughly half of business leaders who use cognitive technology say it’s already given them a “major competitive advantage.” Roughly two-thirds say it already plays a critical role to their success. About as many say the technology exceeds their expectations.

The secret to getting ahead is getting started, and getting started is easier than you might think. A new IBM study investigates the experience of more than 600 early adopters. Some early adopters use cognitive technology to support huge initiatives like drug safety or water conservation, but don’t let the scope of these projects overwhelm you. Cognitive technology adoption comes in all shapes and sizes, and most often starts relatively small. Talk to many early adopters and you will hear some variation on the theme of “I want to improve one specific operational process.”

What the most successful projects have in common, no matter how ambitious, is they begin with a clear view of what cognitive technology can and cannot do. The view of cognitive systems as brains that automatically solve any problem is a popular misconception. These tools are ideally suited to do things like scale human expertise and augment human intelligence.

As a digital business you can, and should, consider how to leverage cognitive technology, but not without carefully evaluating the business case. Adoption only makes sense if it aligns with strategic priorities. Your adoption strategy should support profitable outcomes like saving money, gaining customers or increasing revenue.

Once you gain a realistic understanding of what cognitive technology can do, and specifically how it will help your business, it’s time to choose the best implementation approach for you.

  1. Deploy existing cognitive solutions and apps.

Many early adopters know exactly where they want to install cognitive technology, so they embed a readily available cognitive offering into an existing workflow. The lever of this tactic is a cognitive solution product like Watson Virtual Agent or Watson Explorer.

2. Build your own cognitive apps.

Developers can build their own cognitive apps through Bluemix, IBM’s cloud platform. More than 40,000 developers are building with APIs, and the Watson Developer Cloud offers common language descriptions, demonstrations, case studies and starter kits for each of API.

3. Collaborate to create new cognitive solutions.

If your strategy is big and ambitious, you will likely need to collaborate on unique, customized solutions. IBM offers advisory programs designed to support these large initiatives. They help you identify initial use cases that will quickly provide value and initiate a long-term trajectory of future expansion. They often deliver prototypes, or proofs-of-concept, that simulate your desired cognitive solution using your own data.

To read case studies, and to discover how cognitive solutions can address your goals, chat with the IBM Watson Business Coach.



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