Why your company should become a cognitive business powered by mobile

By James Cammarata, on | Healthcare

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Cognitive computing has the potential to revolutionize your business. Imagine an IT system that can understand, learn and reason. You speak to the system and it understands natural language, context and nuance. It can read and recall millions of pages of text. It learns and synthesizes data to provide expert recommendations on a range of topics. A cognitive business uses this technology to create business insights.

Though it’s the early days of cognitive business, this is reality and not a futuristic vision. Today, doctors at the University of North Carolina Cancer Center are using cognitive systems to learn about cancer therapies and then advise doctors about the best treatment options for their patients, according to UNC Lineberger. At WellPoint, a major health benefits provider, a cognitive system is helping utilization management nurses decide whether requests for procedures should be approved or denied. The system increases accuracy and speed of decision-making using evidence-based medicine and WellPoint medical policies. A cognitive business can learn how to respond to customers in call centers, advise mechanics on potential failure and recommend what retail associates should offer customers.

Business leaders in many industries can envision the potential.

“Cognitive computing will allow us to analyze customer data, create predictive models and track the changing needs of customers,” according to the chief marketing officer of a Polish oil company. Laston Charriez, senior vice president of Americas marketing, product and market development for Western Union, said, “With cognitive computing, we’ll be able to do scenario planning on steroids.”

What is a cognitive business?

A cognitive business uses data to create knowledge and predictive insights. The business continually learns and adapts to the marketplace. The ability to continually develop knowledge and insights creates a significant advantage over major competitors and protects you from disrupters who may not be on your radar.

Business imperatives are clear: continually enhance your business model to improve profitability, increase revenue or get closer to customers. Innovate or be overcome by competitors or new market entrants. The availability of IT, accessible through the cloud, makes it efficient to acquire, deploy and manage IT. Even the smallest players and startups can readily integrate IT into their business. So, how will you differentiate your business from the competition? How will you use your company’s data to become a cognitive business?

The greatest power is in combining data, insights and mobility. Why mobile? Because it is now the first choice for customers, employees and partners to access data, transact and interact. Globally, mobile subscriptions are at 100 percent penetration, according to a report by Ericsson. An internet trends report from KCPB shows that average mobile phone usage per day is five hours in the US and four hours worldwide. Of Facebook’s 1.7 billion monthly active users, 92 percent are mobile users and 56 percent are mobile-only users.

Combine mobile with data and analytics to release the power of employees and satisfy customers. Mobile ubiquity delivers a powerful data source. Our phones know where we are, which friends and news sources we prefer, how often we transact and where we prefer to shop. Add cognitive capabilities so systems can understand, learn and think. Now your business gains the ability to anticipate what your customers, employees and partners want and where and when they want it. Mobile intelligence gets you close to customers to grow and to identify new opportunities.

Examples of cognitive businesses

Macy’s, the largest US department store chain by sales, launched an in-store mobile cognitive shopping assistant. Forbes reported that with Macy’s On Call, customers can use their mobile phones and natural language to get information on where specific products, departments and brands are located or the services a specific store may have. The tool uses machine learning capabilities to understand customer preferences, and it becomes smarter as customers interact. Macy’s is testing the technology in 10 stores nationwide.

Under Armour, a leading fitness gear and apparel company, uses cognitive capabilities in Record, its fitness and sports app. The app compares users with anonymous data from other individuals. Record also learns about your activity, sleeping patterns and food consumption. It synthesizes this information to provide intelligent, personalized suggestions on how to improve performance. There are also plans for a personal trainer called the Cognitive Coaching System that will use this technology.

Where do you go from here? Read the IBM report on how to kick-start your cognitive journey, assess your organization’s mobile readiness with IBM’s Mobile Assessment or start developing now by trying cognitive and mobile services for free. You’ll be ready to develop your company’s first initiative and become a cognitive business powered by mobile technology.

About The Author

James Cammarata

Mobile Enterprise Marketing Strategy Leader, IBM

James is an experienced Mobile Enterprise Marketing Strategy Leader at IBM. He has led strategy and marketing initiatives for a diverse group of IT businesses at IBM over the past 20 years. Currently he manages marketing strategy for IBM's mobile enterprise portfolio of software and services. He started his career in the advertising business developing advertising programs for major consumer businesses in the US and Europe.

Articles by James Cammarata
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