The company calls the cloud-based product, which is powered by Watson, a “cognitive platform.” It says it can “augment human intelligence.” The goal is to reduce business disruption and help IT staff make faster, smarter decisions.
IDC says it will open new revenue streams and change the way people work. The analyst group forecasts global spending on cognitive platforms will climb from around $3 billion in 2016 to more than $31 billion by 2019.
Additionally, an IBM study released this week found that about 50 percent of CEOs plan to adopt cognitive computing by 2019, and they expect a 15 percent return on their investment.
But is it more than just another buzz phrase?
“These terms are getting pretty liberally used across the industry,” admitted Bridget Karlin, chief technology officer and VP of global technology services for IBM. “When we say we’re using cognitive technologies, it’s beyond just automating something. It’s having to apply analytics and the insight and then go take an action.”
The IBM Services Platform with Watson has four elements:
- It utilizes IBM’s Data Lake. This is IBM’s massive shared data environment made up of its own data curated from its service experience in industries like banking, airlines, and retail. It also includes more than 120 additional data repositories from data sharing partnerships. This serves as the data foundry for the platform.
- The Client Insights Dashboard allows a client to have real-time access and visibility to their hybrid IT environment, across public and private clouds, and on-premises data centers. The dashboard uses artificial intelligence (AI) to continuously improve.
- A set of automated service delivery capabilities, which support the design, management, and optimization of IT environments.
- And Watson, which serves as the insights engine of the platform and is at the core of the continuous feedback loop. Watson ingests data, aggregates, and analyzes it. It then generates insights and directs automation.
“The platform uses the cognitive insights that come out of the insights engine, and uses it to predict incidents or identify patterns of something that could be a policy or an issue,” Karlin explained. “It uses those insights to predict and proactively take remediation action.”
For example, it will know if a patch is about to be out-dated, and will automatically trigger the patch.
More than 800 clients globally, across multiple industries, are already using some elements of the platform, Karlin said.
This includes Danske Bank, which signed a new 10-year information technology infrastructure service contract with IBM. The bank tested the cognitive monitoring piece of the new platform and saw a “significant reduction of server incidents,” said Jan Steen Olsen, executive VP and CTO of Danske Bank, in a statement.
Multinational food services company Sysco is also a customer. It used the platform’s dynamic automation feature, deployed across 4,000 servers, to collect and aggregate huge amounts of data. The company reduced critical issues by 89 percent and decreased server downtime by 50 percent in the first few months, Karlin said.
Gartner Analyst: ‘It’s a Game Changer’
Gartner analyst David Ackerman described the platform as a “game changer for infrastructure management and services.”
“This is not just about the IBM Services Platform with Watson, it is about the ability of IBM to replicate the capability across their vast customer base and drive a service level and lower price point to be very competitive in the market,” he said in an email.
Other products such as TCS ignio, Wipro Homes, HCL DryIce, and IPsoft Amelia are other creditable offerings, he said, but he added, “The IBM impact will be amplified by the size of the IBM customer base. So in essence it is their market to win and the others will be market followers.”