IBM Watson Explorer Consultant

I’m an IBM Watson Explorer Consultant with over 14 years of experience in the software industry. In my day job, I work primarily with IBM Watson Explorer Engine and Application builder projects. I originally joined a startup called Vivisimo and we were acquired by IBM in mid-2012. Learn more about IBM Watson Explorer here. I have over 10 years of experience as an IBM Watson Explorer Consultant working for IBM and other firms.

ibm watson explorer consultant

IBM Watson Explorer Consultant

I’m a Watson Explorer Consultant with a primary focus is with the Watson Explorer product which was briefly known as InfoSphere Data Explorer and before that Vivisimo Velocity. The core functionality of the product is an XML document based search engine backend. The front-end is now known as IBM Watson Application Builder. I spend a good bit of time making widgets that consist of Ruby/RoR, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I would say I specialize more on the usability side of the product. I figure out how to do things the product doesn’t usually do. I have come up with many clever hacks to make the application do things it isn’t designed to do.

Life Before IBM Watson

Previously I spent many years working on Vivisimo Velocity as an enterprise search engine product before it was rolled into the IBM Watson portfolio.

I consider myself a more of a generalist when it comes to technology but I find that I really enjoy front-end development. I’ve worked for mega corps (FedEx, IBM), medium sized companies (Riesbeck’s), and startups (Vivisimo). I’ve done freelance web development projects. I’ve worked in customer support roles and actually most of my roles have been customer facing. I ran my own performance marketing and internet advertising company for a few years.


Contact Me

The best place to contact me is on LinkedIn but you can fill out the form below to email me.


Notable Watson Explorer Projects

  • USAA – The USAA deployment of Watson Explorer is an Application builder app that ingest data from a taxonomy and displays it to the users in an intuitive user interface. John also used WEX AppBuilder to connect to a Hadoop data store for investigation of the possibilities of ingesting this data into Watson Explorer for a future USAA project.
  • DXC – Cognitive Call Center – The DXC application uses WEX AppBuilder to ingest and display data from over 10 different data sources within the WEX application. These data sources include database, and custom APIs for proprietary data systems used by DXC. The application displayed all the information about the caller for a specific insurance policy and then allowed the call center agent to submit various work request in order to service the customer. We used customized Ruby/HTML/CSS/JS widget to display the data and interact with backend APIs using AJAX techniques.
  • John Deere – Deere.com search – John was involved in the development and deployment of the deere.com search application. This application uses Watson Explorer Engine to ingest and display data from numerous data sources. The Deere deployment of WEX is a highly available, multi-tiered architecture that supports multiple data centers and servers. The application is configured so that datacenters can fail-over to other data centers without affecting the end users. John was also responsible for customizing the user interface to match the John Deere design standards and guidelines.
  • Caterpillar – product selector – The Caterpillar deployment of WEX engine is another highly available, multi-tier, multi-datacenter application. The Watson explorer engine API was used to crate a custom application on the cat.com website that allowed users to select various products and receive information about those products such as user guides and information. ]
  • Highmark – latency issues – Highmark was experiencing severe latency issues with their deployment of Watson Explorer engine. The engine project was spearheaded by an internal WEX team at Highmark. John was brought in as a consultant to help identify bottlenecks within the application. John was able to mentor the Highmark team in best practices of WEX using the Watson Explorer Health Check method and bring the application to a reasonable load time.
  • Jabil – Procurement Dashboard – John lead the team at Jabil in the development of a procurement dashboard application. This application used IBM Watson Explorer Application builder to ingest and display data. The data sources included several different databases, product information CSV documents, customized APIs, hundreds of websites, and various file system documents. The user interface consisted of several different types of charts and graph that allowed the Jabil team to drill-down into the data and gain insights into their procurement and supply chain.
  • Johns Hopkins University – Enterprise Search Application – John was brought in as a consultant to an existing JHU deployment of WEX Engine. This was another engagement that was focused on enhancing the performance of the Watson Explorer application. John made several concrete recommendations on improving the performance of WEX applications. John worked alongside the JHU team to implement these recommendations and produce a significant improvement in search response times with no change to the current server architecture.
  • Kaiser Permanente – Doctor Search / JSON API – John worked on the KP doctor search Watson Explorer application. This application is used on the KP website to allow users to find doctors within their network within a certain radial proximity. John worked to implement new data sources to this project. Another key accomplishment was the development of the JSON display for Watson Explorer. This gave KP the option to consume JSON instead of XML. This allowed KP to build a new front-end interface using popular JavaScript frameworks.
  • Seattle Genetics – Enterprise Search – Seattle Genetics had an existing deployment of Watson Explorer Engine but were experiencing latency issues with the application. The SeaGen architecture was highly reliant on Windows VMWare virtual environments. John worked with the SeaGen team to gain an understanding of the issues they were facing and make recommendations on a new server architecture that met the changing demands of the WEX application.

IBM Certifications

  • Watson Assistant Foundations – Aug 2018
  • IBM Cloud Garage Method Advocate – Jun 2018
  • IBM Cloud Garage Method Explorer – Jun 2018
  • Watson and Cloud Foundations – Jun 2018
  • Watson Discovery Service for Developers – Apr 2018
  • Watson Knowledge Studio Hands-On – Apr 2018
  • Bluemix Essentials – Mar 2018
  • Discover your inner chatbot: find valuable insights with IBM Watson – Mar 2018
  • IBM Blockchain Essentials – Mar 2018
  • Watson Conversation Service Foundations – Mar 2018
  • Watson Conversation Service Methodology – Mar 2018
  • Watson Discovery Service Foundations – Mar 2018
  • Watson Knowledge Studio Methodology – Mar 2018
  • Enterprise Design Thinking Practitioner – May 2017

Other Helpful Links

As an IBM Watson Explorer Consultant I have ran into many unique situations and issues in my time. I’ve tried to keep track of some of these on my blog. Here are a few items you may find helpful.