Cognitive 101: What and Why is Cognitive Software Important to You

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Photo by Markus Spiske

Over the years, I have worked in the tech industry, serving a myriad of industries — retailers, government bodies, agriculture companies, dating sites, you name it. I found that each industry had a ton of jargon and acronyms that I did not understand. Confession: back in the day, what I heard in meetings was “Wah Wah Wah’s” — exactly what the Charlie Brown crew hears when adults talk.

I wanted to just say, “I know you’re super smart and all but can you please speak simple English?” But I didn’t because I was meeting with decision-makers. What did I do instead? I played it cool, and I learned my client’s choice of acronyms, words, and phrases.

Cognitive Software is one such “cool” industry phrase.

Okay, so what is cognitive software?

In full disclosure, cognitive [fill in the blank] means a lot of things (and sometimes different things) to different people. This is due to the fact that: cognitive technology is evolving and with it its meaning, depth, and breadth.

For me, cognitive software is software that can do some or all of these actions:

  • see you with computer vision
  • learn through machine learning
  • understand spoken and written words through natural language processing
  • hear your voice through speech recognition
  • think through a rules-based system and give recommendations
  • move somewhat like a human in robot form
  • help provide insight
  • act on your behalf — think planning and scheduling
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Image by Deloitte University Press

For many, it is agreed that cognitive software includes 3 elements: machine learning, natural language processing, and speech recognition.

Got it. So, why is cognitive enterprise software important?

Glad you asked. Taking from Deloitte’s Cognitive Tech Paper, today cognitive software is important to the enterprise because it has the power to:

  • improve core business and tech functionality — think optimizing your ability to catch and act on fraudulent transactions and web security threats.
  • generate new and improved insights — think drawing info that can help you make the right decisions for your business from all your ton of structured (e.g. spreadsheet data) and unstructured data (e.g. images, video, social media) or think of assessing emotional customer sentiment and making recommendations on what to do about it.
  • automation — think of automating tasks formerly done by your people and leveraging them for more strategic tasks (e.g. assessing what companies would be best for acquisition).

All things considered, cognitive tech is important because it allows you to provide greater value to your customers and gives you an edge on your competition. You win!

Can you give me an example of cognitive software solution?

Sure. IBM Watson SPSS cognitive software is a good example of cognitive software for the enterprise. The technology address the entire analytical process: planning, data collection, analysis, reporting, and deployment. It leverages predictive modeling and data mining; decision management and deployment; and finally leverages big data analytics. At the end provides analysis to gain predictive insights and build effective strategies for the enterprise.

…and because it’s always helpful to understand what it is that you would get from using technology, here is how IBM SPSS can help your enterprise:

  • strengthen customer loyalty and retention
  • optimize hiring processes
  • minimize and mitigate fraud
  • drive revenue growth and profitability
  • drive performance management
  • mitigate business risk
  • uncover audience insights and personalize their experiences

I’ve heard about IBM cognitive computing a lot. What other companies are players in the cognitive field?

You’re right. Here are 10 additional cognitive enterprises and solutions:

  1. Alphabet (AKA Google): DeepMind
  2. Intel: RealSense Tech
  3. Nvidi Digits 2 / CUDA Deep Neural Network
  4. Amazon Web Services: AWS Machine Learning
  5. Microsoft: Azure Machine Learning
  6. Hewlett-Packard Enterprise: Haven Predictive Analytics
  7. Salesforce: SalesforceIQ
  8. Oracle: Oracle Social Cloud
  9. Pegasystems: Pega 7
  10. Cisco Systems: Cisco Cognitive Threat Analytics

For more cognitive players, take a look at my Cognitive Computing and AI Companies post here.

There you go. You are ready for your next cognitive computing discussion in the office or at a cocktail party. I promise you’ll sound smart!

What else do you want to learn about? Leave me a note.

“Cognitive 101” is an introductory series on the world of Cognitive Computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Written by Lolita Taub and written for C-suite and Line-of-Business seeking to address business challenges and goals using the smartest tech.

Originally published at on September 22, 2016.

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