How Does Cognitive Computing Relate To Analytics?
JeanFrancoisPuget 2700028FGP Comments (2) Visits (41464)
Readers of this blog are familiar with the anal
How does cognitive computing relate to analytics?
Before answering, let us define what we speak about. According to INFORMS, Analytics is the scientific process of transforming data into insight for making better decisions. According to Wikipedia, Cognitive computing combines artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms, in an approach which attempts to reproduce the behaviour of the human brain. An example is provided by the IBM company's Watson machine.
One could argue about these definitions, but they are good enough to make sure we understand the question correctly.
A first set of answers to that question claim that cognitive computing is yet another analytics level sitting on top of the existing ones. I have seen many variants of it, but the best one is depicted below. It is the best I have seen because its axis have some useful meaning. In particular, it is true that one of the promise of cognitive computing is to provide a new user experience that leverages communication in natural language. Its learning capabilities are also very appealing and intuitive to use.
An extended analytics ladder
Yet I don't like it. I don't like it because it misses a key point:
Cognitive computing can be used in each of the existing analytics levels.
Let me explain this in a minute but before that I'd like to revisit analytics and its purpose.
The purpose of an analytics solution is to enable business decisions based on data. It does not necessarily mean that such solutions must compute decisions. It means that whatever their output, they must support decision making. In short, analytics is a journey from data to decisions and actions, via the use of many different techniques and tools:
The purpose of analytics
Second, as discussed in The
The analytics maturity model
If we look at analytics this way, then where would cognitive computing fit? Would it go beyond prescriptive analytics on the far right? Of course not. So where does it fit and how is that different from analytics?
It is quite simple actually: cognitive computing extends analytics levels to new kind of data, using new technologies. Let us look at each of these.
I only scratched the surface of cognitive computing here, but I hope it is now clear that it is not another level of analytics. Cognitive computing rather extend the analytics journey to areas that were unreachable with more classical analytics techniques like business intelligence, statistics, and operations research. Moreover, classical analytics and cognitive computing are not mutually exclusive. For instance Watson Analytics leverages cognitive computing to offer the benefit of traditional analytics techniques without their complexity.