NEW YORK (TheStreet) –– IBM (IBM) - Get Report still has faith in the potential of Watson, its artificially intelligent computing platform, even as the project has yet to significantly contribute to revenue.
There are three ways where Watson can help to grow Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM and advance the company's broad turnaround amid a stepped-up emphasis on its analytics business, said Martin Schroeter, its finance chief during a presentation Tuesday at an investor conference hosted by Morgan Stanley.
At present, Watson isn't a "substantial contributor" to IBM's analytics business, which generated $17 billion in revenue in 2014, but Schroeter highlighted several areas where it could help.
"The first is highly customized deployment in certain areas," Schroeter said, pointing to the healthcare sector where IBM has partnered with hospitals, doctors and other providers to read medical journals and help analyze patient data to get the best possible results. The CFO also cited specialized consulting, allowing the businesses to gain additional insights about their operations.
Shares of IBM were higher in Tuesday trading, gaining 0.4% to $161.10 as they bucked a broad market decline.
IBM announced last year it would be putting $1 billion into its Watson Group as part of the shift into higher growth areas likes analytics. However, Schroeter noted the company did not spend all $1 billion last year.
As a platform, Watson has an application programming interface, or API, that allows developers to take the computing system's routines, protocols and tools to build apps based off Watson's back-end intelligence.
Schroeter noted that by opening up Watson through APIs, Watson would be less customized then going into certain areas of the economy, but the use cases are plentiful. The finance chief, who took over in January of last year, highlighted an example of Watson working in a call center for a financial advisor.
Opening up the API for Watson allows developers and IBM to work together to create a Watson ecosystem. This will give developers and clients access to build any app they want. The company recently announced that clients in the travel and retail industries are using Watson for their apps.
The software and services giant recently announced it was partnering with Japanese conglomerate Softbank to bring Watson to Japan to help power apps in the education, banking, healthcare, insurance and retail sectors.
"We continue to capture and monetize all of these areas for IBM," Schroeter noted.
What IBM Is Doing to Prove Cloud Computing Can Help Any Industry