How many MBAs did it take?
I wonder how many MBAs and executives it took IBM to come up with spin for the CEO.
IBM chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna says it offloaded Watson Health this year because it doesn't have the requisite vertical expertise in the healthcare sector. Talking at stock market analyst Bernstein's 38th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference, the big boss was asked to outline the context for selling the healthcare data …
One to come up with the idea, 5 to nod and agree to the idea, 2 follow up meetings for all involved to then reframe it to make it look like they had input to the idea, then 6 more meetings where each MBA brought their reports up to speed on the current idea and calls for feedback where they take the good ideas and turn them into their own at the finalisation meeting. Another postponement to get <OTHER_MBA_RUN_DEPT> feedback on the idea, a few weeks of delays due to the final idea breaching most of the red tape introduced at last years <BIG_IDEA> at which point everyone agrees the <CURRENT_IDEA> is not that great and they never had anything to do with it to begin with, it was actually all their line reports idea and it would be better to actually just sell off the entire department rather than waste time on ideas to fix it.
As far as I can see most AI/Machine Learning enterprises and departments are just full of buzzwords and MBAs who banked on it being the next big thing whilst there are no actual engineers to develop any of the products or ideas into a sellable product. Taking a few PhDs and MSc's and have them doodle around implementing this weeks hot AI model doesn't quite so easily turn into free cash flow no matter how many MBAs and product managers you hire from McKinsey or FAANG
Huh. Maybe they should have figured that out before they sank billions into it. I was a humble product manager in IBM and a question I always had to answer with any proposal was "who will sell this?".
I suspect that the IBM execs, and in particular Ginni, convinced themselves that they were so smart they didn't need to talk to people who knew what they were doing before launching yet another of her "moonshots", buying a bunch of companies that had no real "fit" to each other and branding them as Watson Health, overpromising, underdelivering, underfunding investment, and eventually selling the whole thing at a loss while undermining whatever reputation Watson had left.
So, finally, they found out that clinical healthcare is evidence-driven. It's hard to sell AI magic clouds if success requires successful double-blinded studies.
Better stick to "financial services, advertising, business automation, and video streaming and hosting", where success or failure is hard to measure (it's always the market's fault -- shady, shifty markets). I fully support the IBM management in this and I'll continue to invest nothing into IBM.
I never understood how the ROI was going to work. Were IBM going to sell cloud versions of Watson 2, on a pay per use basis, or turn up with a shedload of hardware for an on prem version? Neither made sense to me.
But now, intead of spotting pre-cancerous cells from biopsies, Watson 2 has the unenviable task of matching what people mumble into an intercom to a restricted list of options on a menu. People could order via an app, or using a touchscreen, but for some reason, listening must happen, and instead of paying someone to listen, who can also fetch the food and mop up at the end of the day, they need Watson 2 to do this. Something else I don't get. How is Watson2 cheaper, better, and more useful, and be in a position to reclaim the R&D spends, doing this one thing, listening?
"Watson Order, which is being rolled out at a number of drive-thrus at fast food chain McDonald's to automate order taking"
That's a bit of a come-down for technology that got so much hype. Is it going to clumsily phrase everything it says as a question like on jeopardy!?
I just hope I don't end up talking to it when phoning a customer service line.
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you're going to need doctors and nurse practitioners to speak to the buyers of Watson Health. That's not the IBM go-to-market field force, so there's a misalignment. Ditto in Promontory, you're going to need ex-regulators and accountants to go talk to people worrying about financial compliance. So, that's a little bit different than us."
I'm wondering if there's more to that statement than appears on the surface. Foot in mouth disease perhaps?