“If you’re digital now, you’ll be cognitive tomorrow” says Ginni Rometti, the head of IBM.
Rometti was talking at the Sydney IBM Think forum today where she laid out the vision of IBM’s role in the data rich organisation of the future,
IBM’s pitch is that services like their Watson artificial intelligence platform is a key part of business as companies try to differentiate themselves in the new economy.
While Rometti’s view is correct, the question is whether IBM are the company to do this. The audience in Sydney were largely incumbent corporations and government agencies, it was almost sad that some of the panelists citing their digital smarts were from Australian businesses that have been tragically leaden in responding to changes to their markets over the last two decades.
In the first panel Rometti was joined by Andrew Thorburn and Richard Umbers the respective CEOs of the National Australia Bank and the Myer department store chain.
Thornburn’s comments about NAB being an agile fintech company were somewhat at odds with the reality of Australia’s housing addicted banking sector but Umbers’ view that Myer is leading the way in customer experience is almost laughable given how his company has missed almost every development in retail over the past twenty years.
Leaden corporations are Rometti’s core customers however – it still remains true that no-one at companies like Myer and NAB gets sacked for buying IBM.
“We’ve been part of your past, and I hope we can be part of your future” was Rometti’s conclusion of her keynote. It remains to be seen whether her customers are part of the future.