IBM Lags in Artificial Intelligence: Jefferies

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IBM Lags in Artificial Intelligence: Jefferies

By Donna Fuscaldo | July 12, 2017 — 5:16 PM EDT

At a time when all sorts of technology companies are getting accolades for their artificial intelligence prowess, International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) is apparently struggling, leading Wall Street investment firm Jefferies to lower its price target on the stock.

Citing checks that show a slow AI adoption rate, Jefferies analyst James Kisner cut his price target on Big Blue to $125 from $135 a share, implying the stock could fall more than 18%. In a research note to clients, the analyst called IBM “outgunned” in the war for AI talent and argued that it’s a problem that will only get worse. (See also: The Other Side of IBM’s Watson AI Solution.)

What’s Up With Watson?

“Our checks suggest that IBM’s Watson platform remains one of the most complete cognitive platforms available in the marketplace today. However, many new engagements require significant consulting work to gather and curate data, making some organizations balk at engaging with IBM,” wrote the analyst in the research report covered by 24/7 Wall Street.

What’s more, the analyst said that with a lot of companies making significant investments in AI and a slew of startups splashing on the scene, IBM is having a hard time luring top talent to the company. Kisner poured over job listings and found that Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) has 10 times more for AI professionals than IBM. It doesn’t help that businesses have lots of AI options, which is why the company reduced the pricing for Watson Conversations by 70% last October, the analyst argued. (See also: How Much Money Would You Have if You Followed Buffett into IBM?)

Watson + Einstein

While Jefferies thinks IBM is behind when it comes to AI, that doesn’t mean the company hasn’t been making strides to grow that side of the business. In March it announced a strategic deal with Salesforce.com (CRM) to jointly provide AI services and data analytics offerings that help businesses make faster and smarter decisions. Watson is a cognitive system capable of learning from earlier interactions, garnering knowledge and value over time, and thinking like a human. It works by combining AI and advanced analytical software for analysis of various forms of data, thereby providing optimal responses based on reasoning and interacting like a “question-answering” machine.

Salesforce Einstein is the core AI technology that powers the Salesforce CRM platform by using data mining and machine learningalgorithms. It aims to proactively spot trends across sales, services and marketing systems. The system is designed to forecast behavior that could spot up-sale prospects and opportunities, or identify crisis situations in advance. Under the deal, IBM’s Watson and Salesforce’s Einstein will be integrated to offer intelligent customer engagement across various functions like sales, service, marketing and e-commerce.

Published at Wed, 12 Jul 2017 21:16:00 +0000

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