IBM Launches Cognitive Computing Consulting Practice - InformationWeek

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10/7/2015
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IBM Launches Cognitive Computing Consulting Practice

IBM Cognitive Business Solutions will help clients accelerate their time to value on big data and advanced analytics solutions.

IBM Watson: 10 New Jobs For Cognitive Computing
IBM Watson: 10 New Jobs For Cognitive Computing
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

While advanced analytics and big data have gained momentum over the last few years, there's often still a bit of a disconnect when it comes to getting business value out of these systems. Organizations realize there's a lot of potential, but they're not sure how to tap it.

Looking to help close that gap, IBM announced the creation of IBM Cognitive Business Solutions, a consulting organization under the umbrella of IBM Global Business Services to help clients accelerate getting the value out of cognitive computing solutions such as IBM's Watson.

IBM announced the new practice Tuesday, Oct. 6. It also previewed the results of a survey of more than 5,000 C-level executives conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value. The survey showed that executives from the highest-performing companies place significantly greater priority on cognitive capabilities than their peers, according to IBM.

[Looking for more on IBM's cognitive computing? Read IBM’s Watson Gets San Francisco Office, Added Capabilities.]

The survey also found that a lack of skills and technical expertise was the top barrier to the adoption of cognitive computing cited by executives, surpassing concerns about security, privacy, and the maturity of the technology.

IBM's new practice will draw on the experience of more than 2,000 consulting professionals who are experts in machine learning, advanced analytics, and data science. These pros will be supported by industry and change management specialists, IBM said, in order to create a team approach from IBM's new organization that can help client businesses get started with their cognitive business efforts.

"The key is speed, and having the right mix of cognitive skills to be able to deliver to clients," an IBM spokesperson told Information Week. "IBM consultants are prepared today to bring clients 'get started' offerings and readiness assessments that create low-cost entry points to begin the journey to become cognitive enterprises."

IBM Watson

(Image: IBM)

IBM Watson

(Image: IBM)

This divide between having the data and getting value out of it was also highlighted by Gartner analysts at the IT market research firm's Symposium/ITxpo 2015 in Orlando, Florida this week.

"Data is inherently dumb. It doesn't actually do anything unless you know how to use it -- how to act with it," Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of research, said in a keynote address there.

Delivering that knowledge of how to use the data is what IBM's new cognitive consulting organization is poised to provide. The insights gained from working with that data should help businesses grow.

"Our work with clients across many industries shows that cognitive computing is the path to the next great set of possibilities for business," said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM global business services, in a prepared statement. "Clients know they are collecting and analyzing more data than ever before, but 80% of all the available data -- images, voice, literature, chemical formulas, social expressions -- remains out of reach for traditional computing systems. We're scaling expertise to close that gap and help our clients become cognitive banks, retailers, automakers, insurers, or healthcare providers."

The IBM survey stratified results by industry, too, showing that nearly all of CXOs surveyed in Insurance, retail, and healthcare plan to invest in cognitive computing in the next five years.

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, ... View Full Bio

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