IBM Jumps on AI Copilot Bandwagon with 'Runway' Initiative

IBM is jumping on the Copilot AI assistant bandwagon popularized by Microsoft and its GitHub subsidiary.

Once ubiquitous in datacenters everywhere, "Big Blue" famously reworked itself years ago to focus on AI and hybrid cloud.

The AI effort has paid off, as IBM joined the "Big 3" cloud giants -- AWS, Azure and Google Cloud -- in the Leaders section of Gartner's trademarked Magic Quadrant reports for Cloud AI Developer Services.

Magic Quadrant for Cloud AI Developer Services
[Click on image for larger view.] 2024 Magic Quadrant for Cloud AI Developer Services (source: Gartner).

Last week IBM furthered its redirection with a new offering designed to help enterprises create, customize, deploy and manage copilots including Copilot for Microsoft 365.

Coming from the company's IBM Consulting arm, the new "IBM Copilot Runway" initiative's goal is to help clients seamlessly integrate copilots' generative AI in order to boost productivity and the bottom line with the help of a new dedicated practice of consultants with Microsoft Copilot skills, credentials and expertise.

The new practice will work with clients to build custom copilots that can be tailored to fit the needs of specific business scenarios, with an initial focus on priority use cases in customer and field service, employee experience, and procurement and finance.

Thus IBM announced brand-new copilots to add to the ever-growing universe of copilots:

  • The Procurement and Finance Contract Copilot, which assists specialists in extracting valuable insights from contracts.
  • The Customer Service and Field Service Copilot, which gives agents and technicians access to self-service options and a time-saving generative AI search.
  • The Employee Experience Copilot, which is designed to enhance employee engagement.

An IBM blog post detailed three distinct paths to improve and optimize business processes:

  • Copilot Runway Adoption Framework: This customized framework will reportedly help with large-scale copilot deployments, prioritizing use cases by return on investment (ROI), defining operating models, and streamlining the deployment process for smooth integration and maximum impact.
  • Copilot Catalyst This accelerator is designed to help orgs build and deploy copilots, streamlining the deployment of custom copilots while seeking to facilitate seamless data integration with capabilities such as multi-model support to help enterprises select the optimal large language model (LLM) for a specific task.
  • Pre-built custom copilots: These ready-made solutions are said to reduce implementation time and effort, giving clients a library of options to boost business, including legal decision-making, customer service and employee experience. The AI-powered tool enables self-service question capabilities, provides personalized recommendations, and extracts complex terms from legal documents.

The new initiative furthers the ties between IBM and Microsoft, as Microsoft exec Dini Couto said: "Clients need the right partners and technology to scale AI responsibly across the enterprise. With IBM's dedicated group of Microsoft Copilot experts, we're confident we can help more clients unlock the full potential of generative AI for their businesses."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.


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