IBM unveiled three new cloud-based Watson services. Developed and sold through the recently-formed IBM Watson Group, the new cloud services are intended to "accelerate a new class of cognitive computing services, software and apps into the marketplace that analyze, improve by learning, and discover answers and insights to complex questions from massive amounts of disparate data."

This announcement follows less than two months after IBM announced the first phase of its strategy to move Watson into the cloud. In November, IBM launched the Watson Developers Cloud, a cloud-hosted marketplace for apps developers interested in developing Watson-based apps.

Now, Big Blue is pushing ahead with new Watson cloud services that tackle research and development and big data issues. The services include:

  • Watson Discovery Advisor, which IBM noted is designed to accelerate and strengthen R&D projects within the pharmaceutical, publishing and biotechnology sectors (as well as others).
  • Watson Analytics, which provides visualized big data insights based on questioned posed in natural language.
  • Watson Explorer, which aims to help enterprise users uncover and share data-driven insights easier while also enabling organizations to launch big data initiatives faster.

"Watson is the solution to today's influx of information, delivered from the cloud and ready to be the ultimate advisor for faster, more accurate decisions," said Michael Rhodin, senior vice president of the IBM Watson Group, in a prepared statement. "By bringing a new generation of Watson-powered services to the marketplace, IBM is transforming industries and professions. These new cognitive computing innovations are designed to augment users' knowledge, be it the researcher exploring genetic data to create new therapies or a business executive who needs evidence-based insights to make a crucial decision."

How IBM partners will fit into the go-to-market strategy for these services is unknown, but IBM took the first step with the Watson Developers Cloud. Opportunities associated with Watson-based cloud services may be limited for now, but IBM has lately been focusing more on driving Watson applications into the market.