Key Takeaways from IBM Think

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending IBM Think, an event focused on topics such as AI, blockchain, and cognitive computing. With nearly 40,000 attendees, this event is massive and spans all industries and company sizes. Think is not an HR event but talent was a central theme this year both in IBM’s messaging and in the level of attendees.

This event put two things in perspective for me:

  1. IBM is an innovator. When you think of IBM, traditional (or maybe even, “stuffy”) may come to mind. With a history of selling hardware and services, it is best known for its blue suit culture. Its nickname is “Big Blue” after all. But IBM is helping to define how we use AI in our personal and professional lives through Watson. Whether it is the weather app on your phone or the IBM candidate assistant (which partners with several ATS companies), you might be surprised about Watson’s growing presence in all things.
  2. AI is maturing. It is becoming more prevalent in enterprise technology. But, talent acquisition technology still lags behind. Companies are trying to understand AI’s role in recruitment and what providers they can trust. This reality is transparent when seeing how other parts of the business are embracing AI.

IBM is enhancing its products and addressing some critical challenges in recruiting and engaging talent. Yet, these changes and advancements are sometimes overlooked and lack the awareness that they deserve. I was surprised.

Here are some of the key takeaways from IBM Think:

–          Diversity and Inclusion: With Watson Recruitment’s Adverse Impact Analysis, companies can  identify whether unconscious bias is present in the hiring process and take action to eliminate it.

–          Partnerships: IBM has expanded its partnerships including Greenhouse last year and recently, announced a partnership with Workday to expand the use of AI among HR professionals. Select IBM Watson Recruitment features will now be available to Workday Recruiting users, helping to accelerate and improve the hiring process.

–          Assessments: IBM has transformed its assessment practice to include more candidate-friendly, game-based assessments. Its assessments include skills assessments, behavioral assessments and simulations. It is also committed to providing assessments for smaller organizations.

As IBM continues to expand its product suite, the value it provides to companies is in Watson. Moving forward, it will need to figure out how to include more Watson capabilities in more of its core talent acquisition and talent management solutions.