How to Empower Knowledge Workers Using Cognitive BPM

Throughout the life cycle of a business process knowledge workers are required to make decisions based on their domain knowledge.

IBM® Watson™ is an artificially intelligent computer system with the capability to answer any domain related questions in a natural language.

In this Article we are going to take a look at how different IBM® Watson™ services can be used within business processes to empower knowledge workers in making better decisions.


Personality Insights

Enables deeper understanding of people’s personality characteristics, needs, and values to help engage users on their own terms

Example: This service can be utilized in processes such as New Hire. It can be used to analyze various personality characteristics of a candidate. It analyzes the input text which in our example can be candidates profile, emails or any other communication. The output will be both in natural language and visual formats as shown in diagrams below. This output can help in deciding if the candidate is a good fit for the organization or not.


Concept Insights

Explores information based on the concepts behind your input, rather than limiting investigation to findings based on traditional text matching

Example: Processes such as Talent Acquisition that currently use keyword-based search can tremendously benefit from this service. The traditional keyword-based searches might not always return the desired results because if an exact match is not found the document and in our case a resource profile will simply be ignored. The Concept Insights service on the other hand looks for conceptually related items i.e. even if the input keywords do not exactly match, this service will try to find content that is related to the same concept. In our example a resource profile might not match the exact keywords, but it will still show up in the search results even if the resource profile has different keywords or they have worked in a related area.


Tradeoff Analytics

Helps users make better choices to best meet multiple conflicting goals, combining smart visualization and recommendations for tradeoff exploration

Examples: Tradeoffs are an integral part of the decision making process. This service can help recommend the best possible case that meets organization goals.
This service can be utilized in the supply chain processes for selecting best possible suppliers, sourcing low cost parts etc. The service provides a very visual way of performing this analysis as shown in the diagram below.


Another great utility is in the patient case management where this service can help decide the best treatment options and drugs for patients.


Similarly this service can be used in financial asset management processes to make informed decisions about choosing the best assets for investment.

Language Identification / Machine Translation

Identifies the language in which text is written
Globalize on the fly. Translate text from one language to another

Example: These are two distinct services, one that identifies which language is the input text written in, while the second one translates it. For larger organizations that operate globally this is an essential requirement. This service just makes the whole globalization process easy by automatically translating the text.

Question And Answer

Direct responses to user inquiries fueled by primary document sources

Example: This service provides answers to questions in a natural language thus making it a great source for getting additional domain specific information. The answers that the service returns also include Watson’s confidence level as a percentage.

The service can be used in all types of processes such as in travel and hospitality processes for finding out visa and vaccination requirements of a country or in the healthcare industry for getting more information about a disease.



In addition to the IBM® Watson™ services mentioned above, there are quite a few other services that are currently available, such as:

  • Concept Expansion
  • Relationship Extraction
  • Message Resonance
  • Speech to Text
  • Text to Speech
  • Visual Recognition
  • Visualization Rendering

All of these services are available on IBM® Cloud™, can be easily developed using Blue mix™ and consumed within any Business Process Management (BPM) or Case Management tool. For now these can be used to support and empower knowledge workers in making decisions but in future these can and will be used to automate the decision making process.


  • IBM® Watson™ Services Catalog – Used for service definitions
  • Integrate IBM BPM with IBM Watson, Part 1 by Raj Mehra
  • Integrate IBM BPM with IBM Watson, Part 2 by Raj Mehra

Disclaimer: IBM® Watson™, IBM® Cloud™ and Bluemix™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation.

Adeel Javed

Adeel Javed is a consultant with 10 years of software development, design and architecture experience of enterprise-wide BPM, BAM and SOA applications. He facilitates organizations with their process improvements and implementation initiatives. His clients include multiple Fortune 500 organizations from diverse global industry domains of manufacturing, telecommunications, banking, technology and retail. He regularly writes about BPM on his blog Connect with Adeel at

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