What do you know about IBM Watson?

m5xbsgp3zxjvkztcxo4oDisclaimer: this article is my own opinion  and research and doesn’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, beliefs,strategies or opinions.


A key buzzword round IBM and in the Cognitive world is ‘Watson’. Watson is a super computer which combines advanced Artificial Intelligence and analytical software for unprecedented performance as a “question answering” machine. Watson is named after IBM’s founder, Thomas J. Watson.

Basically, Watson parses questions into different keywords and sentence fragments in order to find statistically related phrases. It then searches its extensive databases for results and answers  the user’s question or input with high accuracy. The more you use Watson, the smarter it gets as it learns from your input! Watson can be used as chatbots, to improve customer service and as  cognitive analytics system amongst multiple other uses.

Here’s a great introduction video about how Watson works;

Watson originally rose to fame when it won the US show Jeopardy in 2011 against former winners Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings.  You can view the win below;

A further in-depth study can be found Here

The videos below also offer a deeper insight into Watson’s capabilities.

Today Watson offers a variety of services as detailed below;

  • Watson Conversation

Quickly build, test and deploy bots or virtual agents across mobile devices, messaging platforms, or even on a physical robot to create natural conversations between your apps and users.

  • Watson Virtual Agent

Quickly configure virtual agents with company information, using pre-built content and engage customers in a conversational, personalized manner, on any channel.

  • Watson Knowledge Studio

Teach Watson to discover meaningful insights in unstructured text without writing any code.

  • watson iconExplore Watson APIs

Use Watson language, conversation, speech, vision and data insight APIs to add cognitive functionality to your application or service.


Watson has been used by the medical, business and even fashion industries in a variety of ways. You can discover different cases of Watson in action – Here

Check out a tonne of more information about Watson and Cognitive on the IBM Youtube channels;


I hope you learnt a bit more about Watson- ‘Til the next time!


~Ruth Websdale

Ruth Websdale

IBM Business Consultant




Disability Support @ IBM


Hi all,

It’s always daunting when you’re a new grad looking for a job, scheme or placement.  You wonder if you’ll be good enough for the role and how it will suit you.  This is even more pronounced when you’re disabled or have a long term medical condition.Obviously it’s illegal for a company to discriminate based on disability but it’s still pretty scary as a disabled person entering the corporate world!

I am disabled. When I was applying for graduate schemes I was so worried that my health would affect a potential employer’s view of me even though I was never asked if I was disabled in the application process. I was concerned if I didn’t mention my disability during my application that I would appear dishonest to IBM, but I also didn’t want to mention it and thereby put them off me by seeming difficult.

In the end I found myself telling IBM during my interview. The response was that I didn’t need to worry and that individual projects would work things with me there and then. This was such a relief; even though I knew I was qualified and capable for the scheme, i’d still been so scared of being judged!


Since joining IBM,  I have undergone an occupational health assessment where IBM talked through my condition and how and when it might affect my working life. They considered my issue individually and together we came up with an agreed list of allowances which have helped me  with working here. For example, my condition is aggravated by travel and fatigue so it was decided that I would work on projects which were closer to where I lived!

That and the other couple of allowances agreed upon have made so much difference to me as a person and employee. My current project understand that on bad days I may need to work from home and trusts me to be reasonable with this. I am deeply grateful to work at such a caring company and have been so pleasantly surprised with IBM’s reaction to my disability, with after all, doesn’t make me any less capable for the grad scheme!

I hope this reassures any potential applicants with disabilities that IBM really will care about you as an employee 🙂

Until the next time!

-Ruth, Technical Consultant@IBM



 IBM are very open about their understanding of disabilities as you can read here; http://www-03.ibm.com/able/access_ibm/disability.html

Positive Appraisal of IBM’s disability support: http://www.disability-marketing.com/profiles/ibm.php4


Leading With Impact: Amsterdam

Hi everyone,

One of the best bits of being on a grad scheme is all the training opportunities and IBM is no exception. Last week I got to spend three days in Amsterdam with two of them being full days of Leading with Impact training.

A lot of my original grad intake were on this training which was especially nice as I hadn’t seen them for a while as we had been spread out across the country on our individual projects!

I flew over to Amsterdam on the monday and luckily met one of my fellow grads getting the same flight as me which was nice. Once we’d touched down and checked into our (business class!) rooms we had the afternoon to explore around which was amazing!



I hadn’t been to Amsterdam for several years so it was a really great to get to go back and look around and I wish I could have stayed up longer!

The course itself began on the Wednesday morning in the conference center at the Radisson Blu hotel.  We began with individual presentations to see people’s natural styles, strengths and weaknesses- it also worked as a good ice breaker for the group.

Throughout the first day we learnt about different leadership styles. We spent time discussing what the pros and cons were for various styles and the situations each might best be applied in. The course involved a lot of audience participation and group work and ensured that everything sank in.


In preparation for the course we’d all had some reading to do plus a strength finding test (https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com) to learn out top 5 strengths. These we compared and discussed in the session – unsurprisingly there were a lot of ‘achievers’ in the room! I was surprised with my results and enjoyed learning about what they actually meant and how they fitted with others.

The day was rounded off with a group dinner in the hotel and then heading back out to explore Amsterdam more!


On the second day we made more use of roleplay and considered the application of leadership styles to tricky people and situations. We were split into groups of 5/6 and one person was a leader joining a failing project and the rest of the group took on different personas of the existing team. It was a great exercise and a good opportunity to review each other.

After this we had another teamwork task- this time it was to design and build a bridge for a city- bearing in mind stakeholders and then making your case to them.  This was a time limited task and required strong group work skills and a good sense of project direction (and a few papercuts). There were some debatable bridges produced but it was great fun and a good learning experience in terms of requirements and stakeholders.


To wrap up the course we discussed one of the most important aspects of being an IBM-er –Eminence.  Having Eminence is the goal of every IBM employee – to become well known and respected for your unique skills or personality. We all had to consider what our best skills were and when we’d gained eminence so far on our careers.  A main focus was to become well known for one thing and be known for your specialization rather than try to do everything a bit.  For example, I have a background in SAS technology and did a placement there so that’s an unusual skill to work on and develop within IBM!

Overall, it was a full on and enjoyable training course, filled with a lot of self discovery and teamwork and I know I came out feeling like I understood how to work better on IBM projects and understanding more about how I personally worked.



Until the next time!

-Ruth Websdale


Technical Consultant @IBM