Planning for 2017? Top 3 ways you can add business value with cognitive solutions

IT departments are currently plagued by gaps between data collection, insights and action. They constantly find themselves hand-holding non-technical teams like marketing, sales and HR. And often times, they have a limited number of information sources at their disposal. That is, if they haven’t empowered their company with cognitive technologies.

Many business leaders already understand that cognitive computing is going to be a major disrupter. Whether you choose to embrace it to your advantage or not is probably going to determine the outcome of how your business performs and survives going forward.

Today, there are more data multipliers than ever before—including humans, machines, and business processes—and the volume of structured and unstructured data (social media posts, documents, emails, images, videos, audio recordings, customer feedback, manuals, industry reports etc.) is growing exponentially. For example, by 2017, health data is expected to grow 99% (88% of it unstructured), insurance data by 94% (84% of it unstructured) and manufacturing data by 99% (82% of it unstructured).
Until recently, businesses were blind to the valuable insights hidden in unstructured content. Then businesses started implementing cognitive solutions through their IT departments, and trends, patterns, insights, and relationships became readily apparent. Below is just a snapshot of the many ways cognitive computing is empowering IT departments to boost performance across teams and improve their bottom line.

What can you do with cognitive solutions like Watson?
In today’s data-driven economy, more than 30% of all companies are expected to pursue advanced analytics and cognitive computing to stay competitive and drive revenue. The result is CMOs, CIOs, CTOs and CDOs working together to bridge gaps between teams and connect the data, tools and insights they use to improve decision-making, leverage employee expertise, gain a 360-degree customer view and implement faster data-to-execution business practices.

VIDEO: How IT and Watson are partnering in the cognitive era

1. Put every employee behind the wheel
In the automotive industry, the only thing more unique than the make, model, and color of every car is the financing package for every customer. Each driver has a unique mix of income sources and savings that are used to determine their loan offer. This poses a huge challenge for financial service agents who must look through all of this data and determine the most beneficial price and payment plan for both the buyer and the manufacturer.

With the customer’s consent, agents can use cognitive technologies to search and analyze the customer’s data sources ranging from their driving history to their credit score, to then create a transparent 360-degree view of the customer. Empowered by this information, agents can make justifiable offers that align with the customer’s finances and needs. This cognitive vetting process prevents agents from having to break the customer interaction in order to manually dig through structured and unstructured data or get a supervisor or tech support on the phone. From the sales frontlines to the back office and every other department in between, cognitive systems are able to empower teams to improve customer satisfaction and drive business growth.

“Cognitive systems are very good at doing the heavy lifting—pulling data together, analyzing the information and then presenting the relevant answers to users so that they can make more confident and effective business decisions that impact performance and revenue.”
Vincent Thomas, Client Engagement Leader, IBM Watson

2. Detect product safety issues proactively to avoid costly recalls
When it comes to assessing product performance, cognitive analytics are incomparable. By monitoring usage data and crash reports, cognitive technologies can quickly identify the source of a device malfunction and determine the best course of corrective action—be it a recall, software update or assembly line adjustment.

Product issues can have a serious impact on businesses. This is especially true when these problems manifest themselves as product safety issues causing injury, or even death. Whether it’s a car or a children’s toy or an advanced medical device, product safety issues don’t just result in negative publicity about your products and services, they can also lead to millions of dollars in lawsuits and liability.

Companies need to leverage all their internal, external and publicly available data to identify issues as quickly as possible to get ahead of and avoid negative press, huge penalties by industry regulators, and most importantly, to protect the safety of their customers. Identifying emerging issues before they escalate helps protect reputations, customer loyalty and money. This also helps avoid significant time-to-market delays that occur when devices fail to perform as intended.

VIDEO: How auto manufacturers are using cognitive solutions to prevent product recalls and even save lives

3. Cognitive Solutions Can Improve Everyone’s Performance
Nothing hinders someone’s performance like poor health, and cognitive technologies are helping mankind combat some of the world’s most difficult diseases by pairing decades of clinical research and patient data with cognitive analytics. This allows doctors to better identify potential risk factors for their patients and put them on the best treatment plan for their specific health profile. As for researchers, these insights could reveal patterns that lead to new, more effective pharmaceuticals. The result is workplaces with healthier and productive employees.

How Cognitive Computing Works
Cognitive computing systems typically run on multiple technologies including:
• Natural language queries and processing
• Machine learning algorithms
• Real-time computing

These new technologies allow cognitive systems to sift through stockpiles of structured and unstructured data to derive valuable insights that would take even the smartest humans more than a lifetime of reading and research to discover. And like humans, cognitive systems continue to learn as more information is made available to them. That’s great news, considering that the digital universe is growing by 40% a year.

While many competitors are investing in their own cognitive and Artificial Intelligence solutions, Watson is the only cognitive computing platform that’s made specifically to support a broad range of enterprise operations like the ones mentioned above. Other Watson highlights include a 300-million word English vocabulary, a grasp of seven other languages, a thorough understanding of idioms and nuances, impeccable interview skills and a Jeopardy championship.

We’ve already seen some of the amazing things cognitive computing can bring to multiple departments in your company including sales, marketing, and product design, and we’re just beginning to scratch the surface. To learn more about how you can unlock productivity gains with cognitive computing click on one of the topics below: