Turbotodd

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Archive for the ‘ibm executives’ Category

IBM Taps Next Generation Leaders For Watson Innovation

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The Watson Case Competition at USC, the third in a series hosted by IBM, is the latest example of IBM's work with academia to advance interest among students in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculums that will lead to high-impact, high-value careers. The competition is in keeping with IBM's Academic Initiative which delivers course work, case studies and curricula to more than 6,000 universities and 30,000 faculty members worldwide to help students prepare for high-value future job opportunities.

The Watson Case Competition at USC, the third in a series hosted by IBM, is the latest example of IBM’s work with academia to advance interest among students in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculums that will lead to high-impact, high-value careers. The competition is in keeping with IBM’s Academic Initiative which delivers course work, case studies and curricula to more than 6,000 universities and 30,000 faculty members worldwide to help students prepare for high-value future job opportunities.

While I was out trying to grok all things SXSW Interactive these past several days, IBM continued with its efforts to put IBM Watson to work for the betterment of mankind by turning to the next generation of brilliant young minds to help figure out where Watson should work next.

Imagine a Watson-powered system that could uncover data-driven insights to help medical professionals identify those who may be suffering silently from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Imagine a Watson that could provide lawyers with faster research capabilities to improve their cases.

Imagine a Watson that could help businesses hire the best talent in the job market.

This is the magnitude of ideas sparked by more than 100 University of Southern California students who gathered recently to compete in the IBM Watson Academic Case Competition.

A debut on the West Coast, the Case Competition put USC students in the spotlight to create business plans for applying Watson to pressing business and societal challenges — and IBM business leaders were present and listening carefully.

IBM: Partnering To Learn

IBM partners with thousands of universities to offer curricula, internships and hands-on experiences to help students learn first hand about new technologies in the fields of Big Data, analytics and cognitive computing.

The company is at the forefront of creating a new workforce of Big Data trained professionals, from IBM’s collaboration with Cleveland Clinic, which provides Watson as a collaborative learning tool for medical students, to its public-private partnership with the New York City Department of Education and the City University of New York to create the Pathways in Technology Early College High School program (P-TECH), which allows students to participate in a six year science and technology program and graduate with an associates degree for free in computer science or engineering.

To kick-off the competition at USC’s campus, IBM provided students with a crash course on Watson’s breakthrough capabilities, including a demonstration of how Watson is helping WellPoint, Inc. and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center improve the speed and quality of treatment for cancer patients.

As the first cognitive computing system of its kind in the marketplace, Watson is able to understand and process the subtleties of human questions, sift through vast amounts of data, and use sophisticated analytics to generate fast, accurate answers for its human users.

Watson also learns from its interactions, constantly improving with each use. This represents a major shift in organizations’ ability to quickly analyze, understand and respond to Big Data, in industries such as healthcare — and this is where student minds were put to the test.

As part of the competition, students were assigned into 24 teams and given 48 hours to define a new purpose for Watson, develop a business plan, and present it to a panel of judges comprising school officials, IBM executives and local business leaders.

The challenge was unique among USC competitions because students worked toward a common goal with peers from other disciplines — similar to how IBM combines the talent of business leaders and research scientists to develop its patented innovations.

To foster interdisciplinary collaboration, each team was required to have at least one business and one engineering member, from USC’s Marshall Business School and Viterbi School of Engineering.

What’s Your Business Plan For Watson?

The student teams faced two rounds of judging based on four areas of criteria: how well the concept and supporting plan articulated and supported the team’s vision; the feasibility of bringing the product or service to market and the supporting elements; the extent the proposed solution leverages Watson’s key capabilities; and the team’s presentation. Three winning ideas were selected by a panel of eight industry and faculty judges, including representatives from Bank of America, Ernst & Young, and IBM.

  • 1st Place – Legal Research: Let Watson Do the Discovery for Your Next Legal Case – For corporate legal departments, building a case — or defending one’s own — relies heavily on fast and accurate research. Past legal trials, court documents, articles and digital evidence: all of these materials can make or break a case, and together they comprise a sea of unstructured data that is both time-consuming and costly to pore through. The first place USC team proposed using Watson to process its users’ research needs, based on its ability to think like a human, quickly sift through online legal documents for facts, and not only identify evidence to support a case — but forecast its probability of success. The first place team’s viewpoint: by placing Watson in charge of research, firms can recover time and costs, while delivering better legal outcomes. In turn, firms that leverage Watson’s speed and efficiency can address the growing legal trend towards “flat fee” billing and research outsourcing.
  • 2nd Place – Employee Training: Watson Uncovers the Keys to Success for Your Employees – According to the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), 41 percent of employees at companies with inadequate training programs plan to leave within a year, versus 12 percent of employees at companies who provide excellent training and professional development programs. Conversely, the ASTD also states that effective employee training can lead to 218 percent higher income per employee and 45 percent higher shareholder return than market average. The second place USC team proposes that corporate human resource departments use Watson to optimize employee training, by crunching data pertaining to the employers’ HR needs, the employees’ career goals, and the range of training options available that can help both parties succeed. The second place team’s viewpoint: by improving employee satisfaction and retention, a Watson-powered employee training system can also drive higher shareholder value.
  • 3rd Place – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Watson Helps Doctors Find Patients – It is reported that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder affects nearly 7.7 million U.S. adults aged 18 and older. This includes people who have served in combat, experienced domestic violence, have been in car accidents, or other traumatic events. Many with PTSD suffer silently, including the 400,000+ U.S. veterans who have yet to be identified and treated, per the U.S. Veterans Administration. Thankfully, the catalysts behind this illness need no longer remain invisible — due largely to Big Data. For example, there are now unprecedented amounts of data that accompany soldiers who return from war, from medical histories to information on combat experiences. The third place USC team proposes that physicians use Watson to identify people who may develop PTSD, by uncovering insights from data that can help piece together their personal story and shed light on pain he or she may be experiencing. The team’s viewpoint: by helping physicians find and diagnose those suffering from PTSD, Watson can help medical professionals offer patients the treatment they deserve.

Fueling Innovation While Investing In The Next Generation Of Tech Leaders

This competition is the latest example of how IBM is fueling innovation and working with students in higher education to hone valuable business skills that will shape the next generation of industry leaders.

"Partnering with universities such as USC gives IBM a unique opportunity to tap into the minds of our next-generation of leaders, whose training, skills and ideas for changing the world are all forward-thinking and based on a desire to make a meaningful impact,” said Manoj Saxena, IBM General Manager, Watson Solutions. "These students see what Watson is doing right now and think -- how else will cognitive computing impact my life and career in the years to come? To us, that's exactly the mindset that should be fueling IBM innovations, and the very reason we host Watson Academic Case Competitions."

“Partnering with universities such as USC gives IBM a unique opportunity to tap into the minds of our next-generation of leaders, whose training, skills and ideas for changing the world are all forward-thinking and based on a desire to make a meaningful impact,” said Manoj Saxena, IBM General Manager, Watson Solutions, about the new initiative. “These students see what Watson is doing right now and think — how else will cognitive computing impact my life and career in the years to come? To us, that’s exactly the mindset that should be fueling IBM innovations, and the very reason we host Watson Academic Case Competitions.”

Due to the overwhelming response from USC students seeking to participate in the Watson Academic Case Competition, students had to join a waiting list, once the 24-team maximum had been reached. One faculty sponsor, noting that the level of interest was unprecedented for a campus case competition, predicted registration could reach 500 next year.

“For USC students, the opportunity to share their own ideas with IBM on how to commercialize Watson is truly a unique experience,” said Ashish Soni, Executive Director of Digital Innovation and Founding Director of the Viterbi Student Innovation Institute at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. “As educators, we’re quite pleased to see students getting excited about cognitive computing innovation, because we know there’s a business demand for the types of skills they get to showcase in Watson Case Competitions.”

Watson — Building a New Big Data Workforce 

It’s no secret that employers across the U.S. are seeking job candidates who can analyze and build strategy around Big Data, or the 2.5 quintillion bytes of information gleaned from sensors, mobile devices, online transactions and social networks, to name just a few sources. A recent Gartner report estimates that 1.9 million Big Data jobs will be created in the U.S. by 2015.

The Watson Case Competition at USC, the third in a series hosted by IBM, is the latest example of IBM’s work with academia to advance interest among students in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculums that will lead to high-impact, high-value careers. The competition is in keeping with IBM’s Academic Initiative which delivers course work, case studies and curricula to more than 6,000 universities and 30,000 faculty members worldwide to help students prepare for high-value future job opportunities.

IBM worked closely with academic institutions during the development and introduction of Watson. Eight leading universities around the world participated in the development phase of the system; and more than 10,000 students watched Watson triumph on the Jeopardy! quiz show in February 2011. Most recently, IBM announced it would provide a modified version of an IBM Watson system to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, making it the first university to receive such a system that will enable leading-edge research by faculty and students.

The competition at USC marks the latest collaboration between the university and IBM. Over the last two years, students at the school’s Annenberg Innovation Lab have been using Big Data analytics technologies to conduct social sentiment analyses and determine public engagement on topics such as sports, film, retail and fashion.

Two of the biggest projects looked at Major League Baseball’s World Series and the Academy Awards, projects developed for students to explore and expand their skills as they prepare for new data-intensive careers.  IBM also collaborated with the USC Marshall School of Business for “The Great Mind Challenge,” a global academic initiative focused on providing students with an opportunity to turn their social networking savvy into business ready skills to prepare for the jobs of the future.

Live @ IBM Pulse 2013: A Cloud Computing Security Roundtable

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At the IBM Cloud Security press roundtable, several IBM Security experts expounded on the issues and challenges organizations are facing as they work to better secure their cloud computing environments.

At the IBM Cloud Security press roundtable, several IBM Security experts expounded on the issues and challenges organizations are facing as they work to better secure their cloud computing environments.

If you’ve followed the headlines recently, you can’t help but notice the constant barrage of news concerning security break-ins at some of the most public cloud sites on the planet: Facebook, Google, Evernote…the list goes on and on.

Yet in spite of the looming cloud security concerns, enterprises and organizations continue to ramp up their investments in both public and private cloud infrastructure as a cost-effective, dynamic way to scale up their IT capacity.

At the IBM Cloud Security roundtable here at IBM Pulse 2013 yesterday in Las Vegas, several IBM security experts came together to discuss some of the challenges, best practices, and solutions to protect against threats and provide security-rich cloud computing environments.

Jack Danahy, director of security for IBM North America, hosted the panel before the gathered industry press, and offered up some prefacing comments to set the stage for the security discussion.

Jack began by stating that 9 out of 10 global CEOs say that cloud computing is critical to their business plans and “a way to increase their organizational productivity, but all also admit security is a lingering concern.”

Brendan Hannigan, the general manager for the IBM Security Division, explained that there are some key basic security concerns around cloud, including the safety of enterprise data, and whether or not it can be compromised or lost.

Hannigan explained: “Cloud is simply another computer upon which we can deploy capabilities for our customers, and we should be able to look at cloud security the same way we do across other domains.”  That includes giving organizations a single view of identity across their cloud environments.

Kris Lovejoy, general manager for IBM Security Systems, discussed some of the key inhibitors to organizations providing more effective cloud security measures, and explained that the cloud is actually inherently more securable than traditional IT infrastructure because of they way it’s designed and the manner by which you can replicate security controls.

So if the cloud is inherently more securable, why the seeming contradiction that nobody seems to be able to effectively secure it?

Because, Lovejoy explained, when you buy public cloud capability you typically have to buy the security features as an added extra, and may customers don’t do so.

“Think about the provider as being a hotel,” Lovejoy explained, “and in each hotel room they have a series of diseases. The provider must provide you good housekeeping to protect you from diseases in the other rooms, and yet so many cloud computing tenants don’t make that obvious investment to protect their cloud applications and data.”

When Danahy asked the panel about what can be done to make executives more comfortable with the idea of security investments in the cloud space, Hannigan chimed in, and explained the rationale comes down to a distinction in the type of data you’re working with, and delineating between the information that is critical and that which is less sensitive.

“When you have a specific application or data set,” Hannigan explained, “there are wonderful opportunities afforded by the cloud because in security, one of the biggest challenges is striking a balance between locking the infrastructure down and providing free and unfettered access to the that information customers and employees need.”

Lovejoy explained it was not dissimilar from the crazy notion of automakers selling cars without seatbelts or brakes. “You don’t want to suddenly discover you don’t have these features going 60 miles per hour down the interstate.”

Kevin Skapintez, program director of product strategy for IBM Security, said that the need for more cloud security standards reminded him of the late 1800s, when fire hydrants had different nozel sizes that required varying widths of connectors for the hoses.

“You have to have standards related to identity,” Kevin explained, “so you don’t have to build different registries per cloud!”

“More organizations needed to also heighten their log management regimes,” he explained, “so that they have improved visibility to see if they have the right controls in place and where incidents are occuring.”

Lovejoy explained that “most organizations have a pretty defined pathway to cloud success.” Many are using develop and test environments and are moving to non-core workloads, allowing a lot of applications to emerge and consolidate on the cloud.

At the same time, she explained, most companies are planning a security operations optimization and that the cloud is a remarkable opportunity. “As we consolidate,” she explained, “things get simpler. Companies need to think about this in the context of business transformation. You need to adopt the cloud in a safe and reliable manner while managing the risk.”

During the Q&A, I asked the panel whether or not all these very public public cloud security incidences we’ve seen in the headlines were driving any real productive conversation in terms of making cloud security more of a priority.

Lovejoy explained the scenario typically went something like this: A CEO would call up their provider, ask for an assessment, give them a threat briefing, then go to a third party standard to see if they matched the security checklist.

But that not enough of them were what she termed “security aware.”

Hannigan concluded, “It’s a classic dilemma with security spending. Security concerns are not specific just to the cloud, and clients are working about losing data, period. The question is, can they invest all the money necessary to adequately secure those environments?”

To date, the answer seems to largely be “no.”

Live @ IBM Pulse 2013: A Q&A With IBM Tivoli GM Deepak Advani

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Deepak Advani, IBM Tivoli GM

Turbo sat down for a chat with IBM Tivoli general manager Deepak Advani earlier this week, discussing a range of topics relevant to to the broader smarter infrastructure management discussion taking place at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas this week.

This week at IBM Pulse 2013, I had the opportunity to sit down with IBM Tivoli general manager, Deepak Advani.

Deepak has served in a variety of executive capacities at IBM during the course of his career, including most recently as the Vice President of IBM’s Business Analytics organization. He was also instrumental in the development and growth of IBM’s Linux portfolio, and later served e1as the Chief Marketing Officer for Lenovo.

Our chat ranged across a variety of topics relevant to the conference and the broad opportunity presented by more effective infrastructure and asset management and utilization. Deepak recapped some of the key themes he presented to the audience of 8,000+ attendees, spoke of the challenges the world’s largest organizations face with respect to their IT operations, and explained how more effective visibility, control and automation of their systems can help turn opportunities into business outcomes.

Me, Frank, Dean, Sammy and Tiger

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Turbo was caught unawares at the TechTarget Online ROI Summit in downtown Austin yesterday. Among the devices identified there on the table: A Verizon Mi-Fi hotspot, Turbo's Verizon LG feature phone, a 5th gen iPod Touch, a "Blu" phone (quadband, works on GSM networks around the world, and serves as the Turbo "bat" phone), an HTC Wildfire Android tablet, and Turbo's newfangled Samsung Chromebook, which is looking like a bargain at the price ($216) compared to the new Google Chromebook Pixel ($1,300!)

Turbo was caught unawares at the TechTarget Online ROI Summit in downtown Austin yesterday as colleagues took a photo of him in “mobile warrior” mode. Among his electronic devices identified on the table: A Verizon Mi-Fi hotspot, Turbo’s Verizon LG feature phone, a 5th gen Apple iPod Touch, a “Blu” phone (quadband, works on GSM networks around the world, serves as the Turbo “bat” phone and FM radio), a Plantronics Pro HD bluetooth headset, an HTC Wildfire Android tablet, and Turbo’s newfangled Samsung Chromebook, which is looking like a bargain at the price ($216) compared to the new Google Chromebook Pixel ($1,300!)

All these people in Barcelona attending Mobile World Congress, and seemingly so little news coming out of there.

For me, the key headline was the Nokia 105 which, while yawned at by most westerners, has the potential to be the downmarket phone king as Nokia moves more aggressively into emerging markets.

It’s a $20 phone that offers the basics, including phone calls, SMS, an FM-radio and a flashlight. And, 35 days of standby with 12.5 hours of talk time.

If it were a quad band GSM phone, I’d have it on my short list for second phones.

The other big news was IBM’s MobileFirst strategy, which, while not nearly as sexy as yet another yawnifying tablet device, does provide some grown-up guidance and direction for companies actually trying to pull together something resembling a unified mobile strategy.

Here’s what IBM’s Robert Leblanc, IBM vice president, middleware, had to say about the IBM MobileFirst initiative:

“To date, mobile computing has been dominated by discussions of new smartphones, operating systems, games and apps. But enterprises have yet to tap into the potential of mobile business. Just as the Internet transformed the way we bank, book vacations and manage our healthcare, mobile computing is also transforming industries. As these devices become ingrained in everything that we do, businesses are now in the palms of their customers’ hands. IBM MobileFirst is designed to make the transformation to becoming a mobile enterprise a reality.”

Visit here to learn more about IBM’s MobileFirst initiative, and go here to watch the IBM Mobile webcast that took place in Barcelona yesterday.

As for me, I’m packing up my mobile devices and taking them on the road.

In fact, I packed them up and took them to the TechTarget Online ROI Summit here in downtown Austin yesterday, and my colleagues thought it was worthy of a Facebook photo.

To which I explained, “I was traveling light!” (See the photo caption for an explanation of what’s what.)

Where am I off to, you ask? To Vegas, of course. My second home! IBM Pulse 2013 kicks off on Sunday, and I’m heading out early manana to take in a little golf history lesson.

That is to say, I have a 2:30 tee time at Las Vegas National, the very same course where Tiger Woods won his first PGA Tour event back in 1996, and where Dean and Frank and Sammy and the rest of the Rat Pack used to hang out and swill martinis after a long hard-fought 18 holes.

I’d like to tell you I’m playing there because of all this history and Tiger lore, but the fact is the old Scotsman from GolfNow gave me a very aggressively priced tee time, which no other courses were offering!

After that, however, it’s all work, and I’m looking forward to interviewing a number of IBM Tivoli luminaries for the IBM Pulse Livestream channel, including some of our business partners, analysts, and the man himself, Deepak Advani, the general manager of IBM Tivoli.

I want to also remind you of Pulse on Vivastream, where you can go do some preliminary social networking. Also check out the killer feature there in the right hand column of the main page, the “DIY Videos” where you can get some early previews of Pulse session speakers. Kil-ler.

In fact, let me do this: Below is my list of “Everything You Ever Needed To Know About IBM Pulse 2013 But Were Afraid to Ask Turbo”:

  • Hashtag: #ibmpulse — all roads lead back to Twitter. Twitter is all-seeing and all-knowing at Pulse 2013.
  • Vivastream at Pulse — How you can maintain your crazy Pulse schedule, find your long, lost systems admin buddy…orrr, that really cute girl whose lip you accidentally bused in that crazy, countrified Carrie Underwood mosh pit.
  • IBM Pulse 2013 Conference Site — If you’re lost at IBM Pulse…or even if you’re not…this is always a good place to start. You can also use this page to find the video interviews I’ll start conducting on Monday.
  • IBM Pulse Smart Site (Registered attendees only) — The official keeper of your IBM Pulse calendar.
  • IBM Pulse On Facebook — Because we recognize there are people like me who spend way too much time on Facebook, and if you want to get their attention…

And now I want to pass you on to my good friend Rebecca’s Top Things You Shouldn’t Miss at Pulse 2013 — it does not include a round with Turbo at Las Vegas National, but other than that, it’s a great list.

Meanwhile, keep an eye for me on Saturday.  I’ll be the one driving down the Las Vegas Strip looking for errant drives.

Dr. Watson Finds Bedside Manner

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Back in September of 2011 I mentioned in this blog post that one of Watson’s first jobs outside of playing Jeopardy! was going to be in the healthcare industry.

Well, earlier today WellPoint, Inc. and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center today unveiled the first commercially developed Watson-based cognitive computing breakthroughs.

These innovations stand alone to help transform the quality and speed of care delivered to patients through individualized, evidence based medicine.

Check out this short video to learn more about how physicians and other medical professionals are able to use IBM’s Watson technology to help them with their medical diagnostic tasks.

The American Cancer Society projects that 1.6 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year alone.  Studies suggest that the complexities associated with healthcare have caused one in five health care patients to receive a wrong or incomplete diagnosis.

These statistics, coupled with a data explosion of medical information that is doubling every five years, represents an unprecedented opportunity for the health care industry and next generation cognitive computing systems, to combine forces in new ways to improve how medicine is taught, practiced and paid for.

For more than a year now, IBM has partnered separately with WellPoint and Memorial Sloan-Kettering to train Watson in the areas of oncology and utilization management.

During this time, clinicians and technology experts spent thousands of hours “teaching” Watson how to process, analyze and interpret the meaning of complex clinical information using natural language processing, all with the goal of helping to improve health care quality and efficiency.

“IBM’s work with WellPoint and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center represents a landmark collaboration in how technology and evidence based medicine can transform the way in which health care is practiced,” said Manoj Saxena, IBM General Manager, Watson Solutions (see my interview with Manoj at last fall’s InterConnect event in Singapore further down in the post).

“These breakthrough capabilities bring forward the first in a series of Watson-based technologies, which exemplifies the value of applying big data and analytics and cognitive computing to tackle the industries most pressing challenges.”

Evidence Based Medicine: Addressing Oncology Issues By Quickly Assimilating Massive Amounts Of Medical Information

To date, Watson has ingested more than 600,000 pieces of medical evidence, two million pages of text from 42 medical journals and clinical trials in the area of oncology research.

Watson has the power to sift through 1.5 million patient records representing decades of cancer treatment history, such as medical records and patient outcomes, and provide to physicians evidence based treatment options all in a matter of seconds.

In less than a year, Memorial Sloan-Kettering has immersed Watson in the complexities of cancer and the explosion of genetic research which has set the stage for changing care practices for many cancer patients with highly specialized treatments based on their personal genetic tumor type.

Starting with 1,500 lung cancer cases, Memorial Sloan-Kettering clinicians and analysts are training Watson to extract and interpret physician notes, lab results and clinical research, while sharing its profound expertise and experiences in treating hundreds of thousands of patients with cancer.

“It can take years for the latest developments in oncology to reach all practice settings. The combination of transformational technologies found in Watson with our cancer analytics and decision-making process has the potential to revolutionize the accessibility of information for the treatment of cancer in communities across the country and around the world,” said Craig B.Thompson, M.D., President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “Ultimately, we expect this comprehensive, evidence-based approach will profoundly enhance cancer care by accelerating the dissemination of practice-changing research at an unprecedented pace.”

The Maine Center for Cancer Medicine and WESTMED Medical Group are the first two early adopters of the capability. Their oncologists will begin testing the product and providing feedback to WellPoint, IBM and Memorial Sloan-Kettering to improve usability.

Speeding Patient Care Through WellPoint’s Utilization Management Pilot

Throughout WellPoint’s utilization management pilot, Watson absorbed more than 25,000 test case scenarios and 1,500 real-life cases, and gained the ability to interpret the meaning and analyze queries in the context of complex medical data and human and natural language, including doctors notes, patient records, medical annotations and clinical feedback.

In addition, more than 14,700 hours of hands-on training was spent by nurses who meticulously trained Watson. Watson continues to learn while on the job, much like a medical resident, while working with the WellPoint nurses who originally conducted its training.

Watson started processing common, medical procedure requests by providers for members in WellPoint affiliated health plans in December, and was expanded to include five provider offices in the Midwest. Watson will serve as a powerful tool to accelerate the review process between a patient’s physician and their health plan.

“The health care industry must drive transformation through innovation, including harnessing the latest technology that will ultimately benefit the health care consumer,” said Lori Beer, WellPoint’s executive vice president of Specialty Businesses and Information Technology. “We believe that WellPoint’s data, knowledge and extensive provider network, combined with the IBM Watson technology and Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s oncological expertise can drive this transformation.”

Watson-Powered Health Innovations

As a result, IBM, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and WellPoint are introducing the first commercially based products based on Watson. These innovations represent a breakthrough in how medical professionals can apply advances in analytics and natural language processing to “big data,” combined with the clinical knowledge base, including genomic data, in order to create evidence based decision support systems.

These Watson-based systems are designed to assist doctors, researchers, medical centers, and insurance carriers, and ultimately enhance the quality and speed of care.  The new products include the Interactive Care Insights for Oncology, powered by Watson, in collaboration with IBM, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and WellPoint.

The WellPoint Interactive Care Guide and Interactive Care Reviewer, powered by Watson, designed for utilization management in collaboration with WellPoint and IBM.

New Interactive Care Insights for Oncology  

  • The cognitive systems use insights gleaned from the deep experience of Memorial Sloan-Kettering clinicians to provide individualized treatment options based on patient’s medical information and the synthesis of a vast array of updated and vetted treatment guidelines, and published research.
  • A first of-its-kind Watson-based advisor, available through the cloud, that is expected to assist medical professionals and researchers by helping to identify individualized treatment options for patients with cancer, starting with lung cancer.
  • Provides users with a detailed record of the data and information used to reach the treatment options. Oncologists located anywhere can remotely access detailed treatment options based on updated research that will help them decide how best to care for an individual patient.

New WellPoint Interactive Care Guide and Interactive Care Reviewer 

  • Delivers the first Watson-based cognitive computing system anticipated to streamline the review processes between a patient’s physician and their health plan, potentially speeding approvals from utilization management professionals, reducing waste and helping ensure evidence-based care is provided.
  • Expected to accelerate accepted testing and treatment by shortening pre-authorization approval time, which means that patients are moving forward with the first crucial step toward treatment more quickly.
  • Analyzes treatment requests and matches them to WellPoint’s medical policies and clinical guidelines to present consistent, evidence-based responses for clinical staff to review, in the anticipation of providing faster, better informed decisions about a patient’s care.
  • WellPoint has deployed Interactive Care Reviewer to a select number of providers in the Midwest, and believes more than 1,600 providers will be using the product by the end of the year.

Watson: Then and Now

The IBM Watson system gained fame by beating human contestants on the television quiz show Jeopardy! almost two years ago. Since that time, Watson has evolved from a first-of-a-kind status,  to a commercial cognitive computing system gaining a 240 percent improvement in system performance,  and a reduction in the system’s physical requirements by 75 percent and can now be run on a single Power 750 server.

The transformational technology, named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, was developed in IBM’s Research Labs. Using advances in natural language processing and analytics, the Watson technology can process information similar to the way people think, representing a significant shift in the ability for organizations to quickly analyze, understand and respond to vast amounts of Big Data.

The ability to use Watson to answer complex questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence has enormous potential to improve decision making across a variety of industries from health care, to retail, telecommunications and financial services.

For more information on IBM Watson, please visit www.ibmwatson.com.

You can also follow Watson on Facebook here, and via Twitter at hashtag #IBMWatson.

And below, you can see the aforementioned video where I interviewed IBM Watson general manager Manoj Saxena about Watson’s future at last year’s IBM InterConnect event.

New IBM Study: The Business of Social Business

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IBM’s recent study on “The Business of Social Business” revealed three major areas where organizations can most effectively apply their social business investments. The study surveyed more than 1,100 businesses worldwide, and included extensive interviews with more than two dozen widely recognized leaders in social business. You can find a link to a downloadable version of the study later in this blog post.

If you’ve been looking for a study that will help you better understand how organizations around the globe are viewing the opportunity social business presents as a fundamental way by which to rethink and overhaul how they conduct their business operations in the social age, IBM has something for you.

Earlier today, we released the new IBM Institute for Business Value study entitled “The Business of Social Business.”

This was a survey conducted of more than 1,110 businesses around the world, and with extensive interviews with more than two dozen recognized global leaders in social business. Many of those executives explained to IBM that, in fact, social business is gaining traction in their organizations.

Top line, 46 percent of the companies surveyed increased their investments in social business in 2012, and 62 percent indicated they were going to increase their expenditures in the next three years.

As the executive summary of the report stated, “The question surrounding social media today is not whether you are doing but, but whether you are doing enough.

Getting your 100,000th “Like” on Facebook, or having your latest pearl of wisdom retweeted 200 times an hour is all well and good, but are these activities driving revenue, attracting talent, and bridging the collaboration gaps in your organization?”

Is your use of social media allowing your organization to engage with the right customers, improve their online experience, and tap into their latest insights and ideas?

And does your social approach provide your customer-facing representatives with the ability to search the globe for expertise or apply learnings?

For far too many organizations, the answer are, “not yet.”

What IS Social Business?

IBM defines social business as embedding tools, media, and practices into the ongoing activities of an organization. It enables individuals to connect and share information and insights more effectively with others, both inside and outside the organization.

Social business tools facilitate engagement in extensive discussions with employees, customers, business partners, and other stakeholders and allow sharing of resources, skills and knowledge to drive business outcomes.

And what’s the upside? Top-line growth for social business users can improve between 3 and 11 percent, according to a recent study from the McKinsey Global Institute, and productivity can be enhanced by between 2 and 12 percent.

I’ll hand you off to a link of the full study later, but to net out the findings, IBM’s survey and interviews revealed three major areas where organizations apply social business investments (see graphic above):

  • Create valued customer experiences
  • Drive workforce productivity and effectiveness
  • Acclerate innovation

Shifting Towards Sales And Service

For those who have been involved in the social media realm to date, it’s important to note that social business is about moving beyond basic promotional activities to encompass the entire customer lifecycle, including lead generation, sales, and post-sales service.

The IBM study had a sub-sample of clients with some social business experience which revealed that while the percentage of companies expecting to use social business for promotional activities will rise slightly, from 71 percent today to 83 percent in the next two years, the number of companies expecting to use social approaches to generate sales leads and revenue will increase dramatically.

How companies are using social business capabilities is evolving rapidly. As you can see in the graphic, it is moving beyond basic promotional activities to encompass the entire customer lifecycle, including lead generation, sales, and even post-sales service.

Today, 51 percent use social approaches for leads and revenue, while 74 percent plan to get on board in the next two years.  Post-sales support is also expected to increase, from 46 today to 69 percent over the next two years (see graphic entitled “Users of Social Business”).

Getting Started With Social Business

Regardless of where your organization is in its own social business journey, the use of social business practices is a transformation that leads toward new ways of working.

IBM’s research revealed three essential actions to be taken across the enterprise, from the CEO’s office to the farthest corner of the organization.

  1. Develop social methods and tools to create consistent and valued customer experiences.
  2. Embed social capabilities to drive workforce productivity and effectiveness.
  3. Use social approaches to accelerate innovation.

If you’re interested in reading the full study, you can register to download it here.

As IBM’s vice president for social business, Sandy Carter, explained in the video interview below during our recent interview at the IBM Interconnect in Singapore, “culture eats strategy for lunch.” Sandy offered up some great advice on world-class social business practices, as well as how companies and individuals can better establish their brands in an increasingly crowded social marketplace.

Live @ Information On Demand 2012: Big On Business Analytics

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Day two of Information On Demand.

Note to self: Bring a hot water boiler next time. Check bathroom for Bengali tiger.  Pack a vaporizer.  And bring some 5 Hour Energy Drinks.

Oh, and be sure to wear comfortable shoes.

Today, I missed the general session, as I was in my room preparing a presentation and also tuning in to the Apple webcast where CEO Tim Cook announced the new iPad Mini, among other products.

IBM Business Analytics general manager Les Rechan explains to the audience how over 6,000 clients and prospects have now taken the “Analytics Quotient” quiz since it went live last year.

But I did make it down to the Business Analytics keynote, led by IBM Business Analytics general manager Les Rechan, and I was glad I did.

The session started with a motivating video featuring a number of IBM customers on the vanguard of using business analytics to improve their businesses.  When Les came onstage, he first highlighted several of IBM’s BA “Champions,” clients from around the globe who were in the “Advanced” category of business analytics.

Les’ birds-eye view centered on the Analytics Quotient, a self-analyzing quiz IBM created and released for customers last year. About 70 percent of the 6,000+ respondents year-to-date indicated they are in the “novice” or “builder” categories, and only 30 percent in the “leader” or “master” categories.

Where IBM can help move the needle is through a variety of resources Les pointed out, including the Analytics Zone, as well as through enablement services and training.

He also highlighted a new book, “5 Keys To Business Analytics Program Success,” a book recently published that features a number of IBM business analytics customer success stories (written by them!).

Over 70 percent of respondents to the IBM “Analytics Quotient” online exam find themselves in the “novice” or “builder” categories, indicating there’s plenty of upside yet in pursuing basic business analytics capabilities across a great diversity of organizations.

Michelle Mylot, the Business Analytics team’s chief marketing officer, then came onstage and pointed out that those organizations that integrated analytics into the fabric of their businesses are the ones that drive the most impact.

She highlighted a number of key areas around which IBM’s business analytics team has been increasingly focused, including social network analyis, entity resolution, decision management, and operational analytics.

Doug Barton, whose interview I’m attaching below at the end of this post, came on stage and gave a brilliant presentation that should provide financial analysts everywhere (including CFOs and all their staffs) incentive to run directly to their nearest reseller and purchase Cognos Disclosure Management.

It’s difficult to describe a demo, but basically, Doug presented a scenario where a company was preparing to announce its earnings and, rather than operating from a plethora of disparate spreadsheets, he demonstrated how Cognos Disclosure Management could create a symphony of collaboration as a CFO prepared for a quarterly earnings call.

Isolated spreadsheets and PowerPoints became integrated narratives of the earnings statement, where an update in one part of the report would magically alter the performance graph in another.

Pure financial geek magic. Doug, take it away in our Q&A below.

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