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Carrington Associates: Creating a cognitive conscience

Chris Player | March 21, 2017
Admiring cognitive capabilities from afar is one thing, but building tangible business strategies to maximise an emerging market is another.

Specifically, Carrington is tapping into industries with a wealth of unstructured data, given the overriding desire of businesses to harness insights from this information, alongside an increased openness to innovative technologies.

“For these companies, we initially start with a POC [proof of concept] and provide a solution,” he explained. “But the keywords they use in the research have to be continually added to the system so that it constantly learns new keywords and makes sense of them.

“The customer involvement is high because they know the subject matter and are doing the work that the computer should do.”


Roadblocks to adoption

Despite its standing as a new and exciting technology - coupled with increased end-user demand - cost remains a key challenge for partners.

Much like all new trends in the channel, early adopters continue to bear the brunt of expensive early release cycles, begging the question; can anyone afford a supercomputer?

“The most important challenge is the cost,” observed Carrington Associates principle consultant, Upjeet Singh, when talking to ARN in 2016.

“IBM has spent years and years developing this product, and the licensing cost is really high. With that sort of cost - around $250,000 - then the amount used in development of the solution gets added on as well.”

The result leaves many customers questioning a return on investment. “At the end of the day, business will not look at technologies because they are sexy, they will ask what the benefit is for the business,” Singh said.

But with such an apparent high cost comes opportunity, as Carrington attempts to bridge the gap between expense and technology.

“Some products with IBM are slightly expensive, and that is where we can work with some licensing agreements to make the big ticket items available to customers,” Desai explained.

With prices expected to naturally come down in time - as with all technology solutions - in the interim, IBM has exposed a selection of Watson application programming interfaces (APIs) to encourage partners and customers to consume and develop unique solutions.

“We also work with start-ups organisations to launch cognitive and AI-based products, and our intention is to launch our own products,” Desai added.

“We have gained significant traction with our customers in cognitive and AI solutions, and our expertise has improved during the past six to 12 months as we continue to invest in that area.”

Looking ahead, Desai said Carrington can continue to differentiate by developing tailored solutions to customers across a range of industries, as the channel slowly comes to grips with the emerging opportunities around around cognitive and AI.


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