October 7, 2015
IBM (IBM) said it has launched a new consulting organization focused on applying cognitive computing to business customers.
The vendor said its Cognitive Business Solutions unit will harness its Watson technology, analytics and a crew of some 2,000 specialists in machine learning, advanced analytics, data science and development along with industry and change management experts. IBM said it will train another 25,000 consultants and practitioners on cognitive computing this fall.
In opening the cognitive consulting practice, IBM said it drew on the results of a soon-to-be-released study of some 5,000 C-suite executives conducted by its Institute for Business Value. The data pointed to higher-performing companies relying heavily on cognitive capabilities, specifically in verticals insurance, retail and healthcare.
“Everybody talks about being a digital company,” IBM chief executive Virginia Rometty told attendees at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo.
“We’ve put in a foundation of data, cloud, mobility, and security. What does differentiate you?” said Rometty. “The cognitive era will differentiate your company.”
Stephen Pratt, the global leader of the consulting unit, said cognitive computing in business ushers in a new era for information technology.
“Before long, we will look back and wonder how we made important decisions or discovered new opportunities without systematically learning from all available data,” he said.
“Over the next decade, this transformation will be very personal for professionals as we embrace learning algorithms to enhance our capacity. For clients, cognitive systems will provide organizations that adopt these powerful tools outperform their peers,” said Pratt.
Neither Rometty or Pratt said anything about how much IBM has invested in the cognitive computing consulting practice.
In January, 2014, IBM dedicated $1 billion to build a business around Watson, urging developers to build applications that could best take advantage of the AI system’s technology. IBM has been trying to leverage Watson into a revenue- and profit-generating business, extending its AI natural language capabilities beyond that of a novelty or showpiece.
In addition, the vendor has been looking to quasi-mainstream Watson by building a wide network of third-party cloud-focused partners, perhaps including developers, ISVs, SIs, channel partners, MSPs and others.
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