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Watson To Take On Harvard And MIT

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Watson went to Boston earlier today to take on students from Harvard and MIT in a friendly game of "Jeopardy!"

At last week’s Information On Demand event in Las Vegas, we heard a lot about how the Watson technology is starting to permeate the marketplace.

There was much discussion around the use of Watson by Seton Hospitals using the new IBM Content and Predictive Analytics for Healthcare solution, and also about the continued expansion of Watson into other industries.

Today, we learned that IBM is headed to Harvard with Watson.  Not to go back to school, but to present a Watson symposium with the Harvard Business School and the MIT Sloan School of Management.

This event is bringing together some of the brightest academic minds to collaborate on the use of advanced analytics, like those powering Watson, to transform the way the world does business.

As part of the symposium, teams of students from Harvard and MIT will put their skills to the test in a demonstration of IBM Watson’s question answer (QA) capabilities in an exhibition game of the TV quiz show “Jeopardy!”

The commercialization of Watson technology means that today’s students will require new skill sets when they enter the job market. As future leaders in a wide range of industries and entrepreneurial ventures, students will need to combine business skills and knowledge with advanced analytical techniques to compete successfully in the world economy.

For example, when applied to banking and finance industry, Watson-like technologies can uncover hidden patterns in data that can rapidly identify market trends, and provide deep, integrated risk analysis. This provides financial services professionals a more accurate picture of their market positions, helping them better assess risk and hedge their financial exposures.

“Great technology companies like IBM are converting the seemingly impossible into reality these days, to the point that it’s hard to keep up with all the digital innovations and their business implications,”said Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist, MIT.

“So we thought it would be a good idea to devote a day to discussing them, and also seeing them in action. We’re going to spend the morning talking computer science and economics with the world’s leading experts in these fields, then cheer our students on against Watson in the afternoon. I predict at least a second place finish for the MIT team.”

Harvard Business School and MIT Sloan School of Management are the first two business schools where IBM will co-host a Watson symposium.

A team of researchers from MIT, led by Boris Katz, principal research scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, contributed code to the QuestionAnswer capabilities in Watson.

Harvard Business School’s Professor Shih recently wrote an in-depth case study of Watson that is will be used by MBA students in the School’s required first-year course Technology and Operations Management.

Follow the event and share your thoughts at #IBMWatson and the live blog at www.asmarterplanet.com, or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/ibmwatson

Written by turbotodd

October 31, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Live @ Lotusphere, Day 3: MIT’s Dr. Andrew McAfee On The Future Of Social Business

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It’s day 3 of Lotusphere 2011.  We’re in the homestretch.

But as we heard earlier this morning, there’s still a whole lot of social business to get done.

Although when Kristin Lauria, VP marketing, IBM Collaboration, hit the stage at this A.M.’s keynote, she was quick to remind the crowd in the room and watching via Livestream that there had already been around 9,500 Lotusphere-related Tweets and 23K blog entries during Lotusphere 2011!

There’s also been a palpable social business buzz throughout the event…a very social buzz.

Lauria kicked off her introductory comments by explaining that the morning keynote would be a great one for people who are always thinking, and who are doing thought provoking things.

MIT's Dr. Andrew McAfee makes some predictions and forms some conclusions about social business for the Lotusphere 2011 audience on Wednesday here in Orlando, Florida.

One of those people is Dr. Andrew McAfee with the MIT Center for Digital Innovation.  It was Mr. McAfee who came to coin the term “Enterprise 2.0” back in 2005.

With Lauria handing him the stage, McAfee joked he didn’t especially like the term “social business,” but the weather contrast between Boston and Orlando was too attractive to ignore, and that, anyway, he didn’t really care what the industry called it, that he was focused on what change and results it could bring about.  He has, in fact, spent much of the last few years of his career researching and writing about it.

McAfee explained he would make 5 conclusions, 1 unfounded claim, and 2 predictions (a theme of the morning session).

First, his conclusions about social business:

  1. Weak ties are strong. You’re most distant colleagues and friends are actually incredibly valuable to you.
  2. Crowds can be very wise. Markets work, can best organize and allocate resources (not perfectly, but good enough), and therefore can ascertain likely outcomes better than individual experts (He used the Hollywood Stock Exchange as an example, which very accurately predicts movie box office grosses).
  3. With more eyeballs, more bugs are shallow (with a nod to Linus’s Law).
  4. There are diamonds in the social data mine. Ex. Google searches that foreshadow movements in housing prices/sales.
  5. Being social benefits individuals. That is to say, the better your network is, the more productive you are, and the more likely you will miss the next round of layoffs!

McAfee then made his unfounded claim: That being social benefits the enterprise, and is a very productive way for a company to improve its performance and competitive posture.

He cited the McKinsey survey from late last year that finds companies using the Web intensively gain greater market share and higher margins (and are some 57% more effective than those who don’t).

Finally, McAfee’s predictions:  1) We’re heading into an era of digital boost, amplified by these social business technologies.  Our toolkit of technology has already reinvigorated productivity.

And 2) There will also be a digital spread (not a rising tide that lifts all boats equally).

That is to say, it’s still an investment that can separate laggards from leaders.

Turning your back on social business would be a great way to become one of the laggards.

Written by turbotodd

February 2, 2011 at 3:30 pm

IBM Industry Summit: Smarter Analytics — From Insights To Outcomes

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IBM Business Analytics and Optimization global leader, Fred Balboni, walks the IBM Industry Summit audience through the new IBM global analytics study.

I mentioned in an earlier post from here at the IBM Industry Summit in Barcelona, Spain, that there are a number of key “memes” emerging.

One that emerged loud and clear yesterday was the opportunity to channel new business insights into concrete business outcomes, and the presentation on the productive use of analytics by Fred Balboni, global leader with IBM’s Business Analytics and Optimization practice, painted a very clear picture of this trend.

Balboni even shared some data of his own, results from “The New Path to Value,” a new study conducted in collaboration with MIT Sloan Management Review and IBM.

This worldwide survey of nearly 3,000 respondents helped IBM, and now the world, better understand how companies are using analytics in their businesses to provide valuable insight.

For example, the study discovered that those organizations which lead in using analytics outperform those who don’t some 3X. Top performers are 5.4X more likely than the average organization to use an analytical approach to business decision-making than those using “intuition.”

Here’s a not-gut-hunch for you: It’s organizational — not data or financial concerns — that are holding back adoption, Balboni informed us. He also explained that it’s not just about having data — organizations want to see insights more clearly and then act on them.

That means moving from simple visualization of data to adopting scenarios and simulations to understand the practical application of analytics to business processes.

The next key finding was that analytic use propagates across functions in a predictable pattern, so start with areas of your business where practical application will be self-evident.

And finally, as adoption spreads, there will be a growing demand for a greater variety of skills and deeper expertise.  Makes sense.  The deeper insights you can gain, the more need you’ll have for more specialized analytical and business skills.  So, like the Boy Scouts, be prepared!

Balboni continued and pointed out how analytics programs can create value for organizations.

One, through infrastructure productivity (taking out costs and improving efficiencies).

Two, through business productivity (improving business control and the bottom online).

And three, helping a return to growth (creating new value for the business).

And finally, as with most every session at the IBM Industry Forum, Balboni provided five recommendations on how organizations can start down the path to this new value and operationalizing their own analytics:

  1. Focus on the biggest and highest value opportunities (Something the business really values.)
  2. Start with the questions that the business wants to ask. Within each opportunity, start with questions, not data.
  3. Embed insights to drive actions and deliver value. Embed analytics practically into processes.
  4. Keep existing capabilities while adding new ones (don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater). Add new functionality/insight to your business.
  5. Use an information agenda to plan for the future. This is a roadmap as to how your organization is going to adopt analytics and use it to enhance your business.

You can learn more about the IBM Global New Intelligent Enterprise study on analytics here.

Written by turbotodd

November 11, 2010 at 1:46 pm

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