IBM launches Cognitive Business Solutions, talks new era of technology

It looks like IBM Watson was just the beginning.

Big Blue today announced it is launching Cognitive Business Solutions, the next step in its analytics offerings that relies on the company’s AI solution, replacing its Smarter Planet strategy.

“This is it,” Ginny Rometti said at Gartner Symposium ITxpo Tuesday. The IBM CEO said that previous shifts by the company to e-business and smarter planet had all been leading up to this – namely enhancing business algorithms to sort through and understand unstructured data, thereby setting digital companies apart.

“The cognitive era will differentiate your company,” Rometty said.  “It’s an era of technology and an era of business. These systems will understand, reason and learn.”

It’s not all just talk, however.

IBM, in a statement following the interview, said that it would devote more than 2,000 professionals to the practice, including those in machine learning, advanced analytics, data science and development.

While IBM offered Watson to some extent to businesses already, this would extend the service beyond IT into the business practice. Some industries Rometty identified included retail, insurance, healthcare and financial services.

As for the Canadian angle, a separate IBM statement seems to indicate that its subsidiaries in the country will play key roles.

“Ottawa is home to the largest Watson Analytics group worldwide, due in large part to the Cognos acquisition,” the company said. “That created a huge centre of expertise for the corporation, a legacy that led to becoming the birthplace of Watson Analytics. While based in Ottawa, the team there has an international level of influence.”

Meanwhile, IBM also identified ongoing projects including Ross at the University of Toronto that is designed to be a legal researcher, Lifelearn Inc., of a Guelph, ON, which provides a data bank of medical resources for veterinarians, as well as Purple Forge, also based in Ottawa, which offers users information on municipal services and support through apps like its “My Surrey” mobile app.

“Data will be your basis for competitive advantage,” Rometti said.

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Dave Yin
Dave Yin
Digital Staff Writer at Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel.

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