Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2015: Day Two Keynote
Chairwoman and CEO of IBM Ginni Rometty speaks onstage at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit in 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for FORTUNE)

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2015: Day Two Keynote

IBM CEO Rometty says era of cognitive computing has begun

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This post originally appeared at The Var Guy

By Charlene OHanlon

The second day of Gartner's big IT event in Orlando, Florida, kicked off with a keynote discussion by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, who declared the era of cognitive computing has begun.

“Everyone talks about being a digital company. But when everyone’s digital, what differentiates you?” she said. “The next big trend is the cognitive era. These are systems that understand unstructured data and reason and learn. And that’s important.”

To that end, IBM today announced at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2015 it has formed a consulting organization “dedicated to helping clients realize the transformative value of cognitive business.”

The new practice will incorporate IBM’s Watson cognitive platform, which encompasses 28 engines underpinned by 50 technologies, Rometty said, as well as the company’s business analytics expertise. Machine learning, advanced analytics, data science and development will be a part of the cognitive experience, according to the company.

“Digital business plus digital intelligence is the new era of cognitive computing,” Rometty said.

During the keynote, Rometty also touched on IBM’s evolving role in the IT landscape, transforming itself as it strives to help its customers transform themselves. “Our job to take your company from one era to the next,” she said.

“IBM’s journey is close to [the journey of] many people in the audience,” she said. “I believe it’s about how to continue to move from one era to the next. You have lots of assets already that you want to make more valuable. The winners will take those assets and new assets together and that’s what will make their business more differentiated, more competitive.”

Analytics will play a large role in that differentiation—something we’ve heard before. Cognitive computing, however, will take that differentiation one step further.

Rometty was quick to note cognitive computing will not replace the human element. Rather, analytics and cognitive will create more demand for data scientists and change the collective skill set of workers.

“Cognitive is about augmenting what man does, not replacing it. This is learning and dialogue,” she said. “With so much information today, it is impossible for you to keep up. We are coming into a time when this will allow us to do what we couldn’t do before, or do it better.

“We will go through a journey on this,” she continued. “Eventually what it will do from a skills perspective is everyone will have some sort of skill around data analytics. It will change how the world educates its professionals. And it will create whole new sets of jobs that allow you to enter markets you could not have done before. It will create jobs with reach, and individual jobs will become richer.”

One job in particular will see a definite change, Rometty believes—that of the developer.

“I believe folks will have to assemble, compose and integrate, and they will have to understand information in a broad way, so developers and data scientists will blend,” she said.

Rometty rounded out her discussion by noting her hope that the next generation’s first experience with IBM is through Watson.

“I hope Watson allows a child to learn to his or her fullest capacity,” she said.

This first ran at http://thevarguy.com/information-technology-events-and-conferences/100615/gartner-symposiumitxpo-2015-day-two-keynote

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