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From proof of concept to proof of value: Prototyping AI with Craftworkz

Cognitive and AI are reimagining how we understand and interact with the world around us and the systems that power it. The possibilities are limitless, but bringing those possibilities to reality requires a particular kind of expertise.

Sam Hendrickx and Michiel Vandendriessche are co-founders of Craftworkz, a division of long-term IBM Business Partner Cronos Group. Craftworkz helps clients take the next great application idea and turn it into a working prototype. Originally established in Belgium, Craftworkz is expanding to the UK and the Netherlands.

Software development is a costly and time-consuming process. A prototype can be up and running in a matter of weeks, meaning developers can quickly test-out proposed concepts and their viability. It also enables them to assess just how accurate original project estimates and milestones were without the seemingly inevitable drift in scope or costs.

Startups have great ideas that can disrupt entire industries,” says Hendrickx. “At Craftworkz, our goal is to help our customers improve their ideas by building the first prototype and by being able to do this fast.”

Increasingly, these projects incorporate artificial intelligence—and it is here that Craftworkz is recognised as a market leader. The company is working actively with IBM to help clients combine Watson technology together with their skills and services to provide cognitive solutions that, despite being prototypes, can deliver value today.

Hendrickx continues, “We build custom applications and that’s where IBM Watson Developer Cloud comes in the picture. Next to all of the other services, from databases to messaging queues to DevOps tools, too … everything we need is right there at our disposal.”

Craftworkz has developed a microservices-based AI framework that is deployed via IBM Bluemix, enabling the service to easily scale based on client requirements. But this is more than just proof-of-concept; Craftworkz has deployed applications that are delivering real value to clients in industry today. Together with one of those clients, Craftworkz created a roadmap with a specific goal: realize USD 1 million in additional revenue purely through conversational agents.

What’s interesting is that we have almost no clients who don’t know the ‘Watson’ name, even if they don’t know what it actually does,” Vandendriessche adds. “Our role is to demonstrate to them how we can leverage Watson technology for their business. The reaction at the end is always, ‘I had no idea that’s what we could do! ’

IBM’s UKI Watson Channel Leader, Aideen Cardiff, met with the team from Craftworkz early in October to discuss their expansion. “I am very excited about the value our partnership with Craftworkz can bring to clients here in UKI in the area of AI, building on our success together in Europe.”

AI is not simply a concept. It is real and it is delivering real value in the market today,” concludes Hendrickx.

To find out more about how Craftworkz can help leverage Watson for your clients and partners, visit www.craftworkz.co.

Andrew Davidson
Channel Communications, Europe

Andrew Davidson leads communications for IBM's One Channel business in Europe. With over 20 years experience in telling stories about technology innovation and the way it shapes our world, Andrew helps IBM and its Business Partners to share how they are working together to increase client value.

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