IBM unveils cognitive exploration to drive better business outcomes

IBM today announced the availability of a cognitive-infused Watson Explorer, a powerful combination of data exploration and content analytics capabilities. Typical organizations only use 12 percent of their dataˡ, leaving a wealth of untapped information across the enterprise that could be leveraged to make smarter decisions. Watson Explorer equips users with the information and analytics capabilities which can help them to deliver better performance and real-time results. Watson Explorer has enabled hundreds of customers to connect with their data, build information-centric applications and helped them to improve the quality and speed of their decision making. With today's announcement, Watson Explorer advances core cognitive components by providing organizations the ability to quickly use natural language processing capabilities and data exploration to discover valuable business information in both structured and unstructured data.

Watson Explorer advances data exploration by bringing cognitive capabilities, providing users with a 360-degree view of contextually relevant information to offer deeper levels of insight, showing what is happening and why. Unlike traditional search solutions that fail to provide context, trends and relationships, Watson Explorer can help professionals find and understand the information they need to work more efficiently, gain more insights from their unstructured content and realize their objectives of improving business outcomes. New Watson Explorer features include advanced content analytics capabilities giving users a view into structured and unstructured data. Watson Explorer provides the bridge between cloud-based services and on-premise proprietary information, making it the logical first step in a Watson journey.

Today's business environment demands an ability to make high quality decisions more quickly than ever before, against a rapidly expanding set of inputs. Enterprise data and applications are typically siloed and lack the information sharing capacity to facilitate better employee performance. Take, for example, a customer service representative at a global retailer. Hundreds of billions of customer service calls are handled annually, during which an average customer service representative interfaces with over ten different systems per call, requiring them to move between different applications, run multiple searches, mentally correlate the information and respond to the customer all in real-time – a monumental undertaking. When a customer calls with questions, representatives face a struggle to create a consistently excellent experience for their customer due to challenges finding, organizing, analyzing and correlating the right information for that specific customer at that moment.

Cognitive exploration can enhance a user's ability to use information to make more informed, evidence based decisions. It does this by providing information and understanding from relevant sources, much like a human would. With Watson Explorer, for example, a representative is able to ask a question in and instantly retrieve relevant content, expertly culled from a variety of data sources, both structured and unstructured. Watson Explorer's content analytics feature leverages the power of to enable organizations to extract meaning from content such as customer comments, messages, social media, legal documents and research reports

"Exploration of data is part of a journey toward discovery of valuable information to help organizations make critical business decisions," said Stephen Gold, vice president, IBM Watson Group. "We are continually looking for ways to provide enterprise customers with tools that will make a difference to their employees and drive results for their bottom line. Watson Explorer brings cognitive capabilities to users at every level, giving them real-time access to the valuable information often locked in structured and unstructured data."

The Power of Cognitive Exploration

Exploration enables users to uncover new possibilities. But exploration in complex, heterogeneous environments present unique challenges with massive volumes of data spread across a variety of sources and a limited ability to understand the connections that exist in the data. To speed the time, Watson Explorer connects information from a range of internal and external sources, analyzes that content and looks for underlying relationships or patterns that help interpret information.

  • Explore - Watson Explorer combines content and data from many different systems throughout the enterprise and public sources and presents it to users based on their role and current activities, which can dramatically reduce the amount of time spent looking for information, and increasing their ability to work smarter. In today's information-rich environment, few important tasks can be completed with information from a single source—whether the task is to assist a customer, plan a marketing strategy for a new product or investigate a security breach. Watson Explorer brings data and analytics from many sources, as well as relevant cognitive insights to a user's desktop or mobile device, in a context-appropriate manner to enable them work with confidence.
  • Analyze - For many organizations, the growing volume of unstructured data represents untapped business opportunities. Documents, e-mail messages, call center transcripts and social media are examples of the kinds of content that may yield a wealth of insights that can help improve business performance if gathered and analyzed by the right tools. Watson Explorer's content analytics capabilities enable users to uncover trends, patterns and correlations from unstructured information using natural language processing technology, delivering insights in hours or days rather than or weeks or months. Those insights are then available to users in real-time as a 360-degree view.
  • Interpret - Watson Explorer provides the ability to integrate a growing list of IBM Watson Developer Cloud services for an enhanced experience leveraging the combined strength of exploration, analytic and cognitive capabilities. As new capabilities are developed by IBM and exposed in the Watson Developer Cloud, they will be made available to qualified Watson Explorer users who license the Watson Developer Cloud services. The available services for integration with Watson Explorer at the time of release are: Question Answer, User Modeling, Relationship Extraction, Message Resonance, Concept Expansion, Language Identification and Machine Translation.

"We've put Watson Explorer in the hands of our call center agents to equip them with a 360-degree view of the information they need, including self-performance reports and other analytics," said Farouk Ferchichi, Corporate Manger, Toyota Financial Services. "With over four million customers, we recognize the importance of top-notch service and are committed to actively maintaining customer satisfaction. Watson Explorer gives agents the ability to get detailed metrics on their performance to identify strengths and focus areas to improve."

Watson Explorer will enable customers like Toyota Financial Services to maximize business opportunities by providing frontline workers with a more holistic view of their information landscape.

Watson Explorer is currently available as two principal offerings:

  • Enterprise Edition provides search and 360-degree applications across multiple sources, as well as the ability of qualified customers to license cognitive services from the Watson Developer Cloud to help enhance, scale, and accelerate human expertise.
  • Advanced Edition includes all of the capabilities of Enterprise Edition plus advanced content mining and content analytics to help organizations take the next step with advanced content mining and analytics capabilities to aggregate, analyze and visualize massive amounts of unstructured content to expose new insights.

IBM Watson: Pioneering a New Era of Computing

IBM Watson represents a new era of computing in which apps and systems interact with human users more naturally, augment our knowledge with Big Data insights, and learn to improve how they assist us.

Fueled by innovation from a mission to transform industries and professions, Watson is uniquely positioned at the forefront of the new era of computing, evidenced by an unmatched demonstration of what cognitive systems can bring to transform decision-making. IBM is delivering a range of cloud-based products and services to clients in industries such as banking, healthcare, insurance, retail and education.

In January, 2014, IBM launched the IBM Watson Group, a new business unit dedicated to developing and commercializing cloud-delivered cognitive advisors. The move signifies a strategic shift by IBM to deliver a new class of software, services and apps that think, improve by learning, and discover insights from massive amounts of Big Data.

IBM is investing $1 billion into the Watson Group, focusing on development and research and bringing cloud-delivered cognitive applications and services to market. This includes $100 million available for venture investments to support IBM's ecosystem of start-ups and businesses building cognitive apps made with Watson.

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