Why businesses need to innovate for success


The world is changing and those who don’t change with it are quickly becoming extinct.

We’re no stranger to change. The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, IBM’s precursor started life on the June 16, 1911 as an amalgamation of three manufacturing businesses; a time clock manufacturer, a computing scale business and a tabulating recording company, becoming the Computing Tabulating Recording Company.

It was only under the guidance of Thomas Watson Senior, brought into the company three years later, that the company started trail-blazing the technology industry, focusing on the growing popularity of tabulators that sorted and counted information through the punching of holes in cards.

But this was a world in which biplanes soared through the sky and forward thinking individuals were busy wiring up their homes for electricity and as the world changed, so did IBM.  

It’s the ability to innovate that determines whether, in the face of the dawn of the information age businesses will survive, thrive, or nose dive.


Driving change to keep up with the world

Under Watson Senior’s guidance we produced the first ever commercially viable computer, the IBM 650. 4,000 IBMers worked together to build the computers and code the software to help NASA put man on the moon in 1969.

Then in 2011, 100 years after the birth of CTR Company we unveiled a new kind of Watson, the world’s first cognitive intelligence computer, on the gameshow Jeopardy.

Watson showed the world how it can extrapolate data from language and speech, written data, and sound; process information and react to questions and requests faster than human competitors.

Today we are still innovating as we work with Memorial Sloan Kettering, a leading Oncology centre in New York, providing medical professionals using cognitive intelligence to improve access to relevant information, when it’s needed.

Information is retrieved from a vast database of case history, text books and studies, and a recommended individualised treatment plan is provided that offers the best chance of success.

And we are working with hundreds of businesses who want to offer their customers that bit more and push boundaries that bit further.

At our Innovation Centre at IBM Hursley companies can visit us to see how they can benefit from introducing Watson APIs into their products and applications to create more ground breaking cognitive intelligence solutions.


Innovating the UK

In 2015 we helped a team of students from Imperial College to create an ultra-simple space probe, that could be launched, travelling up to 25 miles above the earth, from where it could control an Internet of Things Lab back on earth at IBM Hursley to 'replicate' the conditions it encountered, and tweet pictures and telemetry on request.

We’ve also been working with Wimbledon to improve the viewer’s experience of Britain’s favourite summer sport.

But data can be used for many things, as well as to refine services and deliver beyond expectations.

Metail, the clothing app that enables shoppers to try clothes online, came to visit us at the Innovation Centre to find out how Watson APIs could help them crack a problem the clothing retail business has been facing for years. They needed to work out how to use real, unstructured data from returned garments to improve the fit of virtual clothes when tried on online.

The IBM Innovation Centre worked with Metail to use Watson APIs to create the application and also helped Metail find ways around technical issues they were facing, enabling them to create a fully working prototype in just a few short months.

In addition to the technical benefits of working with IBM, Metail also won new clients around the world from IBM’s provision of global support and promotion.

Another UK business we’ve been proud to work with is Code Development, a reseller for IBM’s Maximo® Asset Management.

Code Development turned to IBM Hursley’s innovation Centre for support in creating a benchmarking capability which uses Watson to analyse vast amounts of information and extract a benchmark performance level. Code Development left IBM Hursley with product accreditation as well as a complete prototype.


Putting our skills in your hands

IBM actively support innovation but here at Hursley, we’re putting our money where our mouth is and are offering up a team of specialists to help UK IBM Business Partners get their cognitive intelligent solutions noticed in the IBM Watson Build Challenge.

Find out more