Why Should you do a Cognitive Data Project in 2016?

Tony Brownlee
3/11/16 8:43 AM

Cognitive technologies are becoming more and more viable. I’ve had the opportunity to lead our cognitive roadmap over the past couple of years and as I’ve watched this technology mature I've become convinced that our clients should take on a cognitive project in 2016.  Here’s why… 

VALUE DRIVEN FROM CHANGE ThinkstockPhotos-dv376008.jpg

The first reason is simple. Cognitive has so much potential to dramatically reduce operational costs and enable new uses and sources of data that the next generation of leaders in data will be the leaders that take advantage of cognitive. Cognitive is going to be disruptive and going to cause companies to think differently about architectures, team structures, costs models, and data strategies. As an executive, you can’t simply wake up one day and move to cognitive. I think you have to ease into it and figure out how to manage this change in thinking.    


Cognitive tools (such as the machine learning or natural language processing tools we use at Kingland) require specialized skills. To be successful, you are going to need software engineering, data science, and other creative individuals to drive change. With any new technology, it’s wise to leverage a mix of external vendors who are specialists while also finding the people that will work well for your organizational culture. By starting in 2016, you can start to understand the type of people you’re going to need to execute well with cognitive.


Don’t let the concepts related to cognitive remain a mystery. For example, if you don’t have a corpus strategy, don’t feel bad, most don’t. However, by starting with a cognitive project in 2016 you can begin to understand why you need a corpus, how you should run your processes, and how you set up your training data to enable even more automation in the future. For me personally, this has been a big area that’s made me think differently about all of our projects and systems. Figure out the metadata, the training approach, and the use of a corpus and you’ll be well on your way to seeing how cognitive integrates into existing and future projects. 


As a leader, I think its critical to show teams “the art of the possible”. Part of the cognitive journey will be for you and your team to understand, experience, and appreciate tangible benefits from cognitive. Perhaps its extracting new data attributes from your warehouse of legacy documents, or automating a data entry or quality control process. Put simply, there’s no better way to be confident in your future strategy than to build it from a foundation of early wins that you experienced personally.  

For me, cognitive is more than a buzz word. It’s more than a concept that we talk about at conferences. It’s a critical technology and way of thinking that is changing what’s possible for our clients… and it’s incredibly exciting.

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