Envision the possible and define your ideal outcomes
Judging by the success of early adopters, it's no surprise more and more organizations are looking to adopt. Many are grappling with how and when, but why is most important.
No one starts down this path expressly to adopt cognitive technology; the whole point is to improve the organization. Adopting cognitive technology above all else should align to business priorities. Successful
early adopters identify a problem, then build a case for how solving that problem will support specific outcomes like saving money, gaining customers or increasing revenue.
Good planning will result in the selection of a specific and strategic use case. Usage patterns tend to fall into four major categories that play to the strengths of cognitive technology. First, cognitive technology
is often used to enable innovation and discovery by understanding new patterns, insights and opportunities. Second, it is often used to optimize operations to provide better
awareness, continuous learning, better forecasting and optimization. Third, to augment and scale expertise by capturing and sharing the collective knowledge of the organization. Finally,
to create adaptive, personalized experiences, including individualized products and services, to better engage customers and meet their needs.
One temptation, however, is to pursue cognitive technology for the technology’s sake. "Most of the failures we've seen are when you start with the technology instead of the business case," according to an IBM
cognitive technology architect. "There are so many things you can do with cognitive technology, and people get really excited. But you need to focus on what impacts your bottom line.”
Conversely, overthinking can lead to inaction. According to a CEO that leverages cognitive technology, “a lot of companies are over-analyzing what they should be doing. They want a fully detailed design and
guaranteed quality of output, but it doesn’t work that way. It’s better to start small with a good idea, and from there scale out and scale up. There is no universal template for success, but focus on persistence
is a proven formula.”
One IBM expert described this strategy as preventing the perfect from becoming the enemy of the good. In some cases, the best advice is to select a use case quickly to overcome the inertia created by a misguided
desire for perfection. Adoption can mean something as basic as tapping a pre-built cognitive application. Starting small does not prohibit future expansion, and strategy can evolve over time.
"Often what’s difficult is the trade-off of fixing current pain points and doing something that aligns with long-term vision,” according to an IBM cognitive strategy specialist. “This is where people can struggle.
It’s easy to be short-term focused. The challenge is to marry fixing the current problem with making sure it is the right move for the long term. So prioritizing the right use case that balances these things
is the big challenge, and it’s where we can help the client the most."
As you develop your strategy, share ideas with other forward thinkers within your organization—their support is essential—or brainstorm with a member of the IBM team.