IBM and USAA Join Forces to Serve Military Members

First Watson consumer-facing application available to USAA members

Armonk, NY (Aug. 7, 2014) – IBM and USAA have announced that the cognitive capabilities of IBM Watson technology are now available to USAA members. USAA is the first to commercialize the use of Watson as a consumer-facing application.

USAA, a financial services provider for the military community, is offering IBM’s Watson Engagement Advisor in a pilot to help serve military men and women as they transition from military to civilian life. By accessing Watson, USAA members will be able to ask questions related to the transition experience. IBM Watson analyzed and understands more than 3,000 documents on topics exclusive to military transitions, enabling members to ask and receive answers to separation-related questions.

Two active U.S. military members Ask Watson separation-related questions as they prepare to transition to civilian life

(Credit USAA/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

Two active U.S. military members “Ask Watson” separation-related questions as they prepare to transition to civilian life. IBM’s Watson Engagement Advisor will answer military separation-related questions on topics such as job searching, home purchasing, military benefits and more. IBM and USAA are working together to redefine how a digital assistant that interacts, learns and gains value over time can create exceptional digital experiences.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 155,000 active military members transition to civilian life each year. Like any career change, moving from a military to a civilian career presents challenges to members and their families. During this initial phase, transitioning military members can visit or use a mobile browser to “Ask Watson” questions specific to leaving the military, such as “Can I be in the reserve and collect veterans compensation benefits?” or “How do I make the most of the Post-9/11 GI Bill?” As a result, Watson combs through volumes of USAA’s business data providing answers to member’s inquiries with confidence while gaining value and experience over time.

USAA is a leader in delivering exceptional member service and innovative tools to its members. IBM and USAA are working together to redefine how a digital assistant interacts, learns and gains value over time by creating exceptional digital experiences.

“This is a continuation of our journey to deliver meaningful advice to our members on digital platforms. And it reinforces our commitment to finding innovative and distinctive ways to make our members’ lives easier,” said Shon Manasco, executive vice president of member experience at USAA and a veteran. “Through this experience, we expect to learn how intelligent assistants like IBM Watson can help service members who may not know exactly where or how to start the daunting transition process.”

“Putting Watson into the hands of consumers is a critical milestone toward improving how we work and live,” said Mike Rhodin, senior vice president, IBM Watson Group. “USAA’s innovative application is a prime example of how Watson’s cognitive intellect has the potential to empower individuals and organizations. Today’s announcement is a great testament to USAA, which prides itself in customer engagement and brand loyalty. We believe this new service can help men and women who served their country gain timely and relevant insights into the steps they need to successfully move to civilian life.”

IBM Watson Enhances the Customer Experience

The rise of the digital consumer has spawned a range of online, mobile and social media consumer trends that require organizations to deepen their interactions with customers and transform the way they provide marketing, sales and service. Consumers expect brands to know them individually, deliver personalized interactions and self service options anytime, anyplace.

The IBM Watson Engagement Advisor can fundamentally transform the way individuals and companies interact over the lifetime of a relationship. It can be used by customer service agents or can sit directly in the hands of consumers delivered through the cloud and via mobile devices. Watson Engagement Advisor offers organizations the ability to:

  • Help meet growing customer expectations as organizations seek to better understand customers based on their past history.
  • Engage individuals wherever, whenever, and however they choose.
  • Gain insights from Big Data to make evidence based, informed decisions.

IBM Watson is leading this disruption by delivering the world into a new era of computing, in which apps and systems interact seamlessly with consumers through natural language, enhancing and scaling human expertise and learning with continuing use and new information.

Watson will be leveraging sophisticated analytics to help USAA take advantage of new member, social and mobile data and provide a more personalized customer experience. IBM Power Systems will support Watson’s data learning by providing faster access to data.

For more insights on this story please visit IBM’s A Smarter Planet blog.

IBM Watson: Pioneering a New Era of Computing

Three years after its victory on the TV quiz show Jeopardy!, IBM Watson has evolved to represent a new era of computing, earning recognition from Frost & Sullivan, which presented IBM Watson with the 2013 North America Award for New Product Innovation, and Gartner Inc., which cites IBM Watson in its Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014 and predicts that by 2017, 10 percent of computers will be able to learn as Watson does.

Today, Watson is no longer just the world’s most famous game-playing computer. IBM has put Watson to work in various industries. In healthcare, IBM is co-developing an application with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and partnering with WellPoint, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. Additionally, IBM has partnered with numerous colleges and universities across the country to teach Watson capabilities and cognitive computing technology to the next generation workforce.

For more information on IBM Watson, please visit

About IBM

IBM (NYSE: IBM) is one of the largest technology, services and consulting organizations. We help clients of all sizes and in all industries transform their operations through the use of technology, infusing intelligence into the systems that run our businesses, our society and the world. Visit

About IBM

USAA provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products and advice to 10.4 million current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving our nation in the U.S. military or have received an honorable discharge – and their eligible family members. Founded in 1922, USAA is headquartered in San Antonio.

Source: IBM