Discovery and Exploration

Empower every employee to be your best employee

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Key Points:
– Analyst firm McKinsey estimates the average knowledge worker spends between 20 – 30% of their day looking for information
– Issues with accessing your business-critical data might be the result of information silos, disconnected applications, cloud storage and web services that keep the information out of reach for employees
– Other problems can include content indexing and metadata profiling factors that make the right data undiscoverable and older technology that simply can’t recognize natural language terms
– The solution to these challenges is an insight engine built on a set of powerful cognitive APIs that, much like your human employees, can understand, reason, learn and interact

Empowering employees with data


Your staff is constantly in need of current, reliable data to substantiate their opinions, and to base important decisions on. This data may exist within repositories of structured or unstructured data within your firewall. Or it may lie outside of your network perimeter, buried under mountains of unstructured dark data and web content, partner extranets and accessible SaaS and other web services.

If your business is like most companies, you have a broad array of veteran employees who know where to find most data, experienced employees who have some idea where to search for knowledge, and new employees who are constantly finding their way in your business.

AI can level the playing field for data discoverability

Wouldn’t it be ideal if you could facilitate a “Vulcan mind meld” like on Star Trek, so your newest employees know all the secrets to finding the right answers that your more seasoned employees know? Though this alien ability is beyond our reach, knowledge discovery breaks down the barriers of disparate data stores, and democratizes access to the critical information that your employees need to do their job effectively. That is, whether an employee is just ramping up in your organization, if they’re just finding their stride, or if they’re a seasoned veteran.

Your senior employees undoubtedly do their best to assist their colleagues to find the information they need to do their jobs. Yet, a Harvard Business Review study shows senior employee morale suffers when they are constantly called upon to collaborate, mentor and help fellow employees to find information, without elevating their own status in the company. The risk of losing a senior “guru” employee due to over-utilization is likely not one your business wants to take.

Truth is, these problems aren’t unique to your company. They’ve challenged businesses the world over, since the advent of electronic data.

In fact, analyst firm McKinsey estimates the average knowledge worker spends between 20 to 30% of their day looking for information.

Compounding the problem is that most companies currently use only about 12 percent of their data, according to Forrester’s findings. These analysts also suggest that businesses can’t use most of their information assets. Not only is there dark, inaccessible information beyond their firewall, there is dark data lurking within.

Access issues with your business-critical data might be the result of:

  • Information being out of reach from employees who need it, due to information silos and disconnected applications, cloud storage drives and web services
  • The right data being undiscoverable because of content indexing, metadata profiling
  • The search engine being unable to recognize natural language terms, or search being too broad

Illuminate dark data with an insight engine

The solution to these challenges is an insight engine built on a set of powerful cognitive APIs that, much like your human employees,

  • Understands information in context, when trained accordingly
  • Reasons through data, ideas, concepts and relationships between datasets
  • Learns constantly, increasing its expertise and ability to serve
  • Interacts with your employees, whether it’s their first day on the job, or their last

Your employees can interact with your firm’s custom insight engine in a number of ways, including interfacing with terminology unique to your business and analyzes through custom domain annotators as well as with text and speech in natural language. Or feed it a steady diet of visual images which your insight engine can ingest, and draw conclusions from, based on what it knows.

Each of your employees can have unrestricted access to a virtual colleague that doesn’t get tired of searching through oceans of data. A digital guru who isn’t demoralized by being over-utilized, and has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

Watson Discovery service can interface with a broad set of internal and external applications and services to draw insights from. New employees – whether they are on the front lines of customer service, in the field consulting or in the operations office – can access limitless resources of structured and unstructured data and content.

Machine learning, human empowerment

To meet the ever-growing need to extract insights from information, an insight engine built with IBM Watson Discovery removes barriers of scale, and can capture, retrieve, and learn documents, records and data at speeds far beyond the capacity of human counterparts. It exceeds human abilities to search through the latest industry news and find business development opportunities, troubleshoot mechanical issues, or advise clients on how to invest their savings.

The rising tide of AI empowers all

Instead of having a select few employees who can find information quickly and perform exceptionally, all of your employees can source for knowledge equally, regardless of their tenure at your company, their technical abilities, or their knowledge of the different information sources the insight engine can draw from. Data can be presented in context to their role, and their need to know. It’s like having a virtual mentor shoulder-surfing at each employee’s desk, without over-burdening your most experienced employees.

Consider how much data your business creates through:

  • Social media posts
  • Corporate instant messages and SMS discussions
  • Website content
  • E-mails
  • Documents in corporate intranets and extranets
  • Blog posts and associated comments
  • Scanned records
  • 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. With an insatiable appetite for data and learning, and by providing your employees with narrow sets of potential answers to the challenges they’re looking to solve, an insight engine 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 confidence and expertise.

If your company is in an industry such as legal, financial services, or marketing, there are buzzwords or industry terms, which could confuse a typical search engine. Consider how if an article were to read “President Trump got a haircut when he visited New York City.” That could mean he had his actual haircut, or it could mean one of his real estate investments was devalued.

Humans include many colloquialisms in our language, such as, “Did you catch that World Series Game 7 last night? Those hitters were really on fire! The Astros had some hot bats!” Though baseball fans would understand the reference to fire and heat, an AI administrator just needs to provide the insight engine with commonly used colloquial references in the dataset, and to “train” the system on the context where it would be used.

Ubiquitous access, universal 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, safely, by remote sales, operations and customer/professional services employees in context to their role.

Watson Discovery delivers rapid data access to your employees, 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 subscribers. If certain messages have sentiment or emotions suggesting a customer is frustrated (or better yet, delighted), agents can adapt the conversation accordingly with Natural Language Understanding (which is available in Watson Discovery) and acknowledge the customer’s feelings, handling the interaction with tact and agility.

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 across self-service portals and knowledge bases or by AI chatbots.

Better content discoverability, improved engagement

If your employees can find information quickly, they’re more likely be more effective, and more engaged in completing their daily tasks. Users will appreciate the ease of discovering valuable data by using conversational language. Their learning curve is much shorter than if they had to learn a business intelligence application to generate the reports and real-time, reliable data visualizations they need.

Exposing unstructured or structured content repositories to an insight engine initiates a lightning-fast process of ingestion, learning and understanding of the data, so it can be re-purposed and reused across the organization.

Turn off the dark and release insights from data

Empower your employees to take back hours of productivity. Empower them to find relevant content quickly, so they can deliver their best work. Find out how to get started creating your own to make every employee your best employee.

Find out how Watson can help you empower your employees to do their best work.



Campaign Manager, IBM Watson

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