Cimphoni Chief Innovation Officer Dr. Sania Irwin chats with us about the great opportunities and pressing challenges in developing cognitive enterprises. Take a look…
Smart Industry: Describe your role as chief innovation officer at Cimphoni.
Dr. Irwin: I assist clients with development of innovative (yet practical) information-technology strategy and solutions, which target and transform What and How they do business. Cimphoni is particularly focused on the role digitization and cognitive computing can play in understanding customer-behavioral patterns and using those insights to help companies develop products and services tailored to the unique needs of their customers.
Smart Industry: How do you see the world changing?
Dr. Irwin: By harnessing the power of devices and data, and leveraging the ever-accelerating technological advancements, we have the ability to shape every aspect of the world around us, from broad policies, to business offerings and practices, to daily living. Successful companies and institutions will be able to quickly put into play solutions that can sense, anticipate and respond to the needs of society, and change for the better how the world operates.
Smart Industry: How far along the path toward the digitally-connected planet are we?
Dr. Irwin: We are well on our way to digitizing the collective human learnings over the millennia. Advancements in and access to computer platforms (processing and storage), networks and devices have contributed to the “democratization” of knowledge through channels such as the internet, social media, online services, etc. However, we are only in the technological infancy stage when it comes to processing this information—to first predict, then shape the future. Early efforts hold promise (e.g., consider prediction of travel times), but we are merely at the starting line. The ability of entities and enterprises to link information sources, derive and exploit insights from those domains, and create solutions that better customers’ experiences will determine the true potential of the digitally-connected planet.
Smart Industry: What is “the cognitive enterprise?”
Dr. Irwin: A cognitive enterprise analyzes and learns from the digital imprints humans and human institutions leave on society, to create solutions that establish customer and industry trends. Along this journey, it also transforms itself (people and processes) to most effectively deliver those outputs—in other words, it adapts by learning from its own digital signature.
As the world becomes more digitized, our interactions with society are increasingly channeled through and/or captured by digital infrastructure. As creatures of habit, we are leaving our digital DNA in vast data repositories, enabling computers to learn our preferences and predict our behavior. A cognitive enterprise leverages those learnings to offer to us (individuals and entities) solutions for our evolving future needs. And in the spirit of the Theory of Evolution, the cognitive enterprise itself evolves to adapt to that future environment, redefining not only what it delivers to society, but how it does so—altering the role of people, processes and technologies within the organization as it impacts those beyond its boundary.
Simply put, a cognitive enterprise doesn’t just respond to the challenges of today, but defines the opportunities for tomorrow, and transforms itself to efficiently deliver on those promises.
Smart Industry: Why are changes from within (organizational structures, leadership approaches, employee roles, work processes) so critical?
Dr. Irwin: To create the offerings that will define how the world works tomorrow, an organization must itself be able to operate in that future paradigm. It must be able to adapt the roles of its people, processes and technologies to be the nimble player. This shift, like most changes, can be uncomfortable for many—how an organization navigates its people through those changes will determine how successfully it can position itself for the brave new world ahead.