Canadian Underwriter

Half of surveyed CEOs plan to adopt cognitive computing by 2019: IBM study

July 11, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter

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Half of surveyed chief executive officers across the globe plan to adopt cognitive computing by 2019, according to a recent study conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBM IBV).

The study, titled Accelerating enterprise reinvention: how to build a cognitive organization and released late last week, also found that 73% of those CEOs surveyed reported that cognitive computing “will play a key role in their organization’s future and all executives in the study [anticipate] a 15 per cent return on investment from their cognitive initiatives.”

IBM IBV, in cooperation with Oxford Economics, surveyed 6,050 executives globally across 18 industries, including leaders of government departments and educational institutions. Respondents included those from the insurance, automotive, banking and financial markets and IT industries, among others.

Cognitive computing is a next generation information system that can understand, reason, learn, and interact with humans in natural language, IBM explained in a press release. While traditional analytics can provide data-based insights, cognitive computing more easily turns these insights into actionable recommendations, the release said.

The study provides insight into how surveyed business leaders intend to prioritize cognitive investments within individual business functions to accelerate their business transformation. The study found the top three functional priorities to apply cognitive computing by surveyed CEOs were:

  • Information technology – to support faster, more efficient planning, development, and testing of enterprise software to enable greater agility and accelerated solution design;
  • Sales – to improve the efficiency of customer-facing services, expand customer account management capabilities, increase cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, and improve efficiency of lead management – all with richer contextual understanding; and
  • Information security – to enable faster, more reliable fraud detection or other activities within volumes of structured and unstructured data. By accelerating threat detection and reducing resolution time, this can save up to thousands of staff-time hours, freeing personnel to focus on more business-critical initiatives.

Cognitive computing has nearly endless possibilities to improve business processes and functions with 73 percent of surveyed CEOs in a recent IBM study citing it will play a key role in their organizations’ future and all executives in the study anticipating a 15 percent return on investment from their cognitive initiatives. (Credit: IBM)

For risk managers specifically, “by ingesting massive amounts of relevant data, including regulation and company policy information, cognitive computing can help risk managers more accurately assess different types of risks,” the report suggested. Cognitive computing can also anticipate compliance gaps by mining ambiguous data to identify indicators of unknown risks that humans may miss. “Relieved of mechanical tasks, risk managers can focus on more strategic issues,” the report said.

When it comes to accelerating enterprise innovation with cognitive computing IBM IBV said in the report that it has three recommendations:

  1. Outline an 18- to 24-month digital strategy for adopting cognitive with a limited set of initiatives that paves the way for smaller, more exploratory investments with finite objectives and time frames. Define enterprise or business unit reinvention case, key performance indicators and targets. Apply a targeted operating model and governance that support this strategy;
  2. Focus on thorough and periodic assessments in the market and with target users. Experiment and educate the rest of the enterprise on how cognitive capabilities are being used, such as the use of natural language processing or machine learning for large data analysis and insights. Create common use cases and applications, and design the basic standards and architectural considerations tailored to the organization. As the strategy progresses, assess market and user needs, define future experiences, end-to-end processes, and capabilities that cognitive can facilitate accordingly; and
  3. During the shift from planning and design to execution, apply cognitive to specific use cases, rapidly explore and prototype solutions to solve specific and measurable business challenges. Design and execute pilots with agility and limited risk to existing customers and operations. When these concepts are incubated, commercialized and scaled, use a lean governance model to periodically review progress and value. Monitor the business case value realization and make adjustments, as necessary.

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