Bang on! It’s Time to Ride Cognitive Era

“You are a Chiongster!”–the lady quipped as she handed over the registration kit to me at Pan Pacific Hotel, Singapore, on the eve of Asia Pacific Analyst Insights 2016. Not only me, but my fellow analysts from different parts of Asia Pacific, who were conferred upon titles such as –‘Macam Boss’, ‘Chop Chop Curry Pok’, ‘Steady Pom Pom Pi’ to name a few, wondered what these were all about, till we dug deep into our registration kits.  Actually, we were given glossy handouts with a brief personality analysis and to our oblivious that helped to cherry-pick the right personality trait and title for us.

IBM Watson, the platform which carried this analysis during the registration procedure, also suggested the apt morning refreshment for us as per our personality trait.  And so the next day, during a refreshment break, when each one of us was handed over a cold pressed juice (mine was ‘Citrus Ninja’) and a cupcake (for me, it was ‘Over the Rainbow’) customized to meet your personality trait, no wonder, we were immensely surprised.

I along with my peers joined the Twitterati club to let the world know about this new platform. This is probably what the transformed IBM is trying to drive home to its customers, stakeholders and the community at large. IBM Watson is striving to give pleasant surprises using its cognitive, cloud and analytics solutions. It also solves business problems at electrifying speed and partners with clients to create a digitally evolved ecosystem.


What’s in Store?


So, what is going to be the focus in the coming times? As per Randy Walker, Chairman and CEO, IBM Asia Pacific, the focus will be on providing “pre-innovated industry solutions to business problems in the Cloud, Cognitive, Social and Security space”. This would be done by the following steps:-

  • Reorganizing new structure across geographies and countries to take a ‘Client First Approach’
  • Hiring industry veterans to lead IBM initiatives across the globe
  • Imbibe the culture of speedy response to customers within the organization by institutionalizing Leadership Agile Training
  • Inculcate the culture of design thinking amongst leaders
  • Promulgate digital interaction with majority of its clients across the globe. Only top accounts to be serviced face to face
  • Continue reinforcing the legacy of IBM as leading service provider in the transformed IT world.


Ashish Kumar, Vice President – Cloud Sales, IBM Asia Pacific, reiterated IBM’s commitment to adding value to its customers’ business and gain maximum mindshare rather than market share (AWS leads the cloud market segment in Asia Pacific currently). To fast track the value driven offering, IBM cloud would concentrate on the following:-

  • Focus on the developer community and enhance Bluemix offering which has already found a good amount of traction amongst the community
  • Invest in Cloud Data Centres, which has already been opened across Australia and India and is coming up shortly in Korea, to cater to the demanding needs of clients
  • Look into acquisitions, both in specific industry segments as well as in specific verticals
  • Execute a two-pronged strategy to serve clients across the board, whether for a start-up or for an enterprise. IBM cloud has unique offering to meet the prime demands of a start-up, namely IBM Cloud First, Reliability, Scalability and Security. On the other hand, for a digitally transformed enterprise it offers nimbleness and innovation.
  • Enabling Cognitive Solution and Watson Analytics as a service on the Cloud Platform – a unique offering IBM offers its clientele, much different from what the competitors have to offer.

Decoding the Grey Areas


Whether the enigmatic case of an India-based animation studio or the digital transformation story of an Australian University or handling an Indian BFSI client, a start-up in the space of content analytics, IBM was able to showcase its immense data handling capability coupled with security and lightning fast speed of response to solve clients’ business issues.

The India leadership team highlighted a few developments made over the last few years. Clearly, the focus in the coming years would be on Smart Cities, BFSI, Healthcare and Distribution Sectors and enabling the cognitive space to play a role in the same. Meanwhile, the focus would also continue to be in line with the global strategy of ‘Developing the Developers with IBM offerings’. A few key strategic partnerships in the form of IBM MobileFirst for iOS Garage in Bengaluru were declared and these partnerships will aid customers around the globe to attain mobile led digital transformations at speed and at scale on iOS platform. IBM believes such tie-ups to be a key accelerator for its clients and a significant differentiator for the organization.

The power of cognitive was again well demonstrated in the Telecom, Healthcare, Commercial, Industrial and Smart Workforce Segments, where a number of used cases were highlighted, and cognitive applications were fascinating to say the least.

As per the client’s needs, radical ideas of doing business throng the world, an urgent need to transform can be observed across organizations. Understandably, there is a paradigm shift from how IT was consumed and how it used to influence processes to how it will influence faster and easier decision-making. The shift is fast-paced and it often requires complex decision making involving thorough industry knowledge. This is where the transformed IBM stands tall with its wide bouquet of offerings for its varied customers ranging from—start-ups to enterprises to government and more, and it has started yielding fruits with the new strategic initiatives registering double-digit growths.

However, the key success is likely to depend on effective use of IBM’s cognitive armoury to surprise clients with the knowledge about their industry and their end customers. In fact, time is ripe to ride the cognitive bandwagon and to gear up for more surprises!