IBM: 8 Questions With Watson's Big Boss

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2014-01-10 Print this article Print

Have you put any kind of number on how big this opportunity could be?

About revenue? As you know, we rarely disclose elemental revenue. But the revenue and opportunity here over the next year is a key part of our 2015 road map. We had said that analytics was one of the core elements of the road map, and it was going to grow from $10 billion to $16 billion by 2015. And then later, in part due to the progress we were starting to see with Watson and where it was going, we raised our target from $16 billion to $20 billion. So this is part of that overall umbrella. We view cognitive computing as the sophisticated end of our analytics portfolio.

You've had 750 companies that said they wanted to work with IBM and take advantage of the Watson Developer Cloud opportunity?

As soon as we announced the ecosystem, we had 750 companies reach out to start to figure out how they could participate. [Update: That number is now at 900.] And we've got a few companies that have initial prototypes of their applications for display. These are companies like Fluid, WellTok and MD Buyline, and we've got others that are starting to play out. We have a number of other client engagements that are not announced yet and are coming out later in the year. So we expect this to be a very newsworthy year for us.

What are some of the things you'll do with that $100 million investment in the ecosystem?

We anticipate working with the VC community to help promising startups get funded and get going around our cognitive technologies.

One of the other things we've recognized is that when we started to work with a lot of our clients and started to figure out how cognitive computing aligned with their business, many of them came to the realization that their data, their content, their information was scattered all over the place [and] wasn't really in a format that was useful for these next-generation systems. So part of what we've been doing with our information management portfolio is pulling them together in a set of what I call Watson foundational technologies to help companies clean up their data, understand where it is and get to a single source of the truth that can make that information available to cognitive systems like Watson.

So we have a set of capabilities that we're calling Watson Foundations, which is a lot of our core information management technologies, but we've been evolving them to be part of how we help customers get ready for Watson.


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