IBM to Shed Watson Health Assets

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IBM’s sale will refocus Watson away from the marketing software space and align more closely to IBM’s infrastructure, hybrid cloud, and core AI path.

IBM has announced the sale of healthcare analytics and datasets now housed with Watson Health to a private equity firm. Experts believe the move signals IBM’s plan to move forward with core AI technology and continue to exit the marketing software space. The deal is reported to be worth around $1 billion.

The core of Watson’s offerings remains its enterprise applications and data hosting. Part of IBM’s deal includes some of those acquisitions. Private equity firm Francisco Partners will gain assets like Clinical Development (a reporting tool for clinical trials), Social Program Management (a platform for managing government benefits), Health Insights, and Micromedex.

Even with sale of Watson Health, IBM will retain the core Watson application, and Francisco Partners plans to build new business offerings using the acquired assets. While some experts worry that this spells danger for Watson’s future, others believe it will lead to better focus in the health tech field.

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See also: IBM Doubles Down on its Watson AI Bet

Refocusing on enterprise automation and other applications

IBM currently has no plans to shutter or sell core Watson. Watson Discovery, a search and text analytics platform, received some recent enhancements while Watson AIOps will continue to deliver enterprise automation.

Watson is currently the center of IBM’s efforts to build enterprise tools for hosting, orchestrating, and managing big data. While the company is slowing down acquisition efforts in pursuit of building Watson into a bigger, better suite of tools, it’s still showing some growth. IBM acquired Instana and Turbonomic in 2020 and 2021 respectively, two companies whose offerings are now part of the Watson ecosystem.

Watson isn’t going anywhere yet

IBM’s sale will refocus Watson away from the marketing software space and align more closely to IBM’s infrastructure, hybrid cloud, and core AI path. It marks a different path for IBM among its competitors, choosing to refocus rather than expand its assets in the healthcare space.

Elizabeth Wallace

About Elizabeth Wallace

Elizabeth Wallace is a Nashville-based freelance writer with a soft spot for data science and AI and a background in linguistics. She spent 13 years teaching language in higher ed and now helps startups and other organizations explain - clearly - what it is they do.

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