Getting Started with Cognitive Business Transformation
by Jim Sinur
We are in the early stages of the digital age and it is becoming clear that no organization or individual is going to come out the same. I believe that smart organizations and people will try to educate themselves about the changing face of the digital trend, and that looks to be a long journey.
Beginning the Digital Journey
Like any journey, knowing where you want to end up and calculating the best path to get there is a best practice, but the digital journey adds a twist: you can only plan one leg of the journey at a time. What you learn in the first and subsequent legs will determine where you go next and where you ultimately end up. Digital Transformation is different from the “fail fast and fail often” and the “static plan and manage” approaches in that it combines aspects of both. There are planned targets and paths, but the effort exercises innovation through experimentation along the way.
The Digital Journey will require risk, innovation, and experimentation, but the stakes here are huge. Organizations and individuals that do nothing will face a slow and painful death. The suggestion here is not to “go off the rails,” but to intelligently embrace the digital era in a phased approach that is aimed at learning and adjusting. Organizations will build for change with technologies that are optimized on controlled change. Organizations that embrace digital will dominate in their respective areas of operation and will be ready to respond to many emerging trends in economic, geopolitical, and industrial scenarios.
The floodgates have opened on a number of extremely advanced technologies: secure mobile & social collaboration, web scale cloud integration, Internet of things, 3D printing, customer journey mapping technologies, advanced poly-analytics and data mining, big & fast data, signal & pattern processing, augmented visualization & reality, block chain, cognitive computing & robotics, context rich policy, rule & constraint management, and biotech & nano materials. Taken individually, these advances are awe-inspiring. Taken together, the nexus of these forces creates a never before seen mosaic of the future, a digital future.
Similar to viewing an exceptional art mosaic, observing any of the environmental forces or enabling capabilities in isolation prevents one from recognizing the broader fundamentals in play. The entire picture does not emerge until the viewer steps back and embraces the ‘ah ha’ moment of the overall mosaic, one in which the powerful message is revealed through the inter-related elements operating in concert. Technologies should be viewed as part of the Digital Mosaic as a whole, not strictly in isolation.
The Era of Cognitive Systems
Something big, really big, stands out among the pieces in the digital mosaic, and more significantly, it affects and dominates all the rest. It’s called Cognitive Computing.
The Cognitive Computing Era will change what it means to be a business as much or more than the introduction of modern Management by Taylor, Sloan, and Drucker in the early 20th century.
—Peter Fingar, Cognitive Computing: A Brief Guide for Game Changers
The era of cognitive systems is dawning and building on today’s computer programming era. All machines, for now, require programming, and by definition programming does not allow for alternate scenarios that have not been programmed. To allow alternating outcomes would require going up a level, creating a self-learning Artificial Intelligence (AI) system. Via biomimicry and neuroscience, Cognitive Computing does this, taking computing concepts to a whole new level. Once-futuristic capabilities are now becoming mainstream:
Connect Professionals to Automated Personal Assistants or Agents
Automated personal assistants can read through millions of pages of data, information, and knowledge to suggest alternatives to employees. This is the emerging secret sauce that will change the specialist equation toward better customer care.
Cognition is the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses. A result of cognition is a perception, sensation, notion, or intuition which may or may not result in an action. Cognitive services are not predictable algorithms, but may use inference, statistics and algorithms in combination. Cognitive services (COGs for short) will be as plentiful as algorithms in the Digital Economy.
Cognitive Computing and Robotics
This is at the minimum the simulation of human thought processes in a computerized model. It involves self-learning that involves data mining, pattern recognition, and natural language processing to mimic the way the human brain works. Cognition can be added to mechanical actions embodied in a robot either specialized or generalized. At a maximum, there could be controlled robots or drones involved with the operations; pipeline inspections for instance. We’ve already witnessed the arrival of autonomous robots.
If it’s digital, it will be cognitive.
—Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM
Digital Transformation cannot be complete without Cognitive Computing as part of its mosaic. It’s all about Cognitive Business Transformation. Learn how Aragon Research can help you get started with your digital journey.