The first wave of cloud adoption was the expansion of our infrastructure footprint with “safe” workloads (e.g., the use of VMs for development and test workloads). In the second wave, we saw CIOs look to move traditional IT workloads from on-premise to the cloud (the best examples being email and, of course, CRM). Now, in the third wave, we’re seeing companies move to the cloud not simply for extra capacity or for cost savings, but for capabilities that can only be delivered via public platforms — capabilities like cognitive.
Cognitive represents another macro trend that leans away from the legacy data center and toward the cloud. As the attraction grows, the gravitational pull — even for walled-off industries like healthcare and finance — becomes too weak to hold companies purely in private data centers. In some ways, the entire hybrid cloud conversation is around allowing these companies to have their cloud cake and eat it too… in a regulatory compliant way. Over the last 18 months, cognitive has gone from an infrastructure-delivered service to a cloud-delivered microservice. This means that even those companies with high entry barriers to the cloud are figuring out ways to embrace open platform-based systems. That’s why I’m excited to see IBM announce the IBM Cloud for Financial Services.
For large-scale companies, there is a great deal of risk. If they pass on adopting these platforms and capabilities, new competitors in their market will emerge and leverage the economies of scale these platforms provide — with an agility that existing companies will find hard to match. As Bruce Ross, Group Head of Operations at the Royal Bank of Canada, said at IBM InterConnect 2017: training 500 developers is not enough; skills will change and talent is fluid. Crowdsourcing provides a scalable solution — a platform for the talent these companies need, one that complements the technology platforms. We’ve equipped our new Topcoder Cognitive Community with the means they need to succeed in this respect. With IBM, we’ve jointly invested in building the largest network of cognitive developers and data scientists in the world.
The role of crowdsourcing in scaling cognitive
In recent months, we’ve seen major finance institutions look to use cognitive and AI techniques for automation of reconciliation processes and natural language processing to offload tedious commentary work from highly skilled traders. Companies want to harness these cognitive skills, and the Topcoder Cognitive Community makes it possible. Now, entire industries that were never before able to tap into top cognitive talent can. Through our global community, cognitive experts have become accessible to companies in all industries — including industries formerly untouched by insights as a service.
Both cultural and technological shifts toward more open API and open-friendly patterns (e.g., mobile, cloud, PaaS, and now cognitive) are helping drive a co-creation mindset and more agile practices. People are moving toward more open-friendly ways to develop solutions — something at which our global community of cognitive experts excels. (That said… Interested in joining the Cognitive Community?)
Extend your reach with the Topcoder Cognitive Community
Though Topcoder has worked with Fortune 500 finance and life sciences companies for more than a decade, this cloud-delivered cognitive offering for fintech is an industry-wide game-changer. Because it’s a platform, there are key things IBM can deliver faster and more easily — through innovative services like Watson. IBM Watson can help your business with interactive capabilities like understanding, reasoning, learning, and interacting — and ultimately help your apps and business on the way to next-level transformation. Combined with the IBM Bluemix cloud platform, this is a victory for fintech companies. Whereas walled-off enterprises traditionally made the barrier to entry high, our Cognitive Community — sponsored and championed by IBM — can now extend their reach.
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