If you’re tired of hearing about topics like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cognitive computing, you may be out of luck, according to a new report from IBM.

IBM Institute for Business Value’s study, “Accelerating enterprise reinvention: how to build a cognitive organization,” found that 73 per cent of global CEOs say cognitive computing will play a key role in their organization’s future, with 50 per cent of them planning to adopt such technology by 2019.

Cognitive computing is a next-generation information system with the ability to understand, reason, learn, and interact with humans in natural language. It can also transform analytic insights into actionable recommendations. With global spending on such platforms sitting at around USD3 billion in 2016, research firm IDC expects this to reach more than USD31 billion by 2019.

Out of more than 6,000 executives surveyed across a wide range of industries, all believe that with cognitive computing having nearly “endless possibilities to improve business processes and functions,” they expect a 15 per cent return on their investments in cognitive initiatives.

The report also adds that while investment in cognitive “is expected to yield significant competitive advantages,” surveyed executives are prioritizing its application in “specific business functions, including information technology, sales, information security, and innovation.”

Most CEOs want to use cognitive computing to support faster, more efficient planning, development, and testing of enterprise software “to enable greater agility and accelerated solution design,” while improving the efficiency of their customer services. Expanding customer account management capabilities, increasing cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, and improving the efficiency of lead management were also seen as priorities, as well as enabling faster and more reliable fraud detection within large volumes of data.

IBM also included several recommendations for businesses looking for ways to accelerate the adoption of cognitive computing:

  • Envision the future: outline a 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, KPIs, and targets. Apply a targeted operating model and governance that support this strategy.
  • Ideate: 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.
  • Incubate and scale: 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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