The Lab focuses on innovation breakthroughs in three primary areas:
Customer insight: Applying advanced capabilities such as machine learning and visual analytics to predict differences in individual customer behavior across multiple channels.
Customer engagement: Using deep customer engagement to drive insight and continuously deliver value by personalizing engagement, versus transactional experiences.
Employee engagement: Embedding semantic, collaborative, and multimedia technologies to foster employee engagement and insight—in person and online.
The Lab provides IBM clients with an innovation process, assets and platform to give line-of-business leaders the exclusive ability to work side-by-side with IBM researchers and business consultants to analyze business challenges and jointly create solutions that integrate next-generation mobile, social, analytics and cloud technologies. Co-creation with clients includes an innovation model called Innovation Discovery Workshops, which generate ideas, road maps, prototypes and solutions that draw on research assets, business consulting and IBM Software solutions in areas such as smarter commerce, big data, analytics, and MobileFirst products.
"If you're an enterprise that lives on the edge of technological innovation, IBM can bring incredible resources to bear," Yarmis said. "If you ever have an opportunity to tour an IBM Research lab or speak with one of their researchers, we encourage you to do so. It's amazing the breadth and depth of what IBM's working on."
The IBM Customer Experience Lab will be headquartered at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., supported by researchers at IBM's 12 global labs including those in Africa, Brazil, California, China, India, Israel, Japan, Switzerland and Texas. The Lab brings together skills across disciplines including service science, industries research, mathematics and business optimization, social, mobile, smarter commerce, data mining, cloud computing, security and privacy, cognitive computing and systems management.
IBM invests more than $6 billion annually on research and development and employs about 3,000 researchers worldwide. IBM Global Business Services deploys business consulting, applications and delivery expertise globally, including market-leading business analytics, smarter commerce, mobility and applications management practices.
"By tying GBS to its world-renowned research labs, IBM is able to create offerings that virtually no one else can remotely match while at the same time providing a 'halo effect' to their services group," Yarmis said. "The breadth of IBM's social and analytics capabilities are unmatched by any other single vendor but IBM has had a hard time selling the value of the complete solution stack. In effect, IBM is now trying to change the rules of the game by adding 'the art of the impossible' into a market defined by a somewhat undifferentiated 'art of the possible.'"
Among the clients engaged with IBM on advancing their innovation process are Nationwide Building Society, a building society serving 15 million members in the United Kingdom, and Banorte, one of the largest banks in Mexico.
"Mobile and social technologies, and the ability to access information any time, anywhere, is driving significant change in the way consumers bank and in the services they expect," said Martin Boyle, divisional director of transformation at Nationwide Building Society, in a statement. "Our ability to innovate and anticipate, and not just respond, is what sets us apart from the competition. ... By partnering with IBM, we can tap into its vast research and innovation expertise and facilities, which has already proved invaluable in our transformation program and will continue to be an important part in how we continue to innovate our service for customers."