Creating the Workforce of the Future
June 14, 2022 | Chicago
Companies across all sectors are leveraging the latest advancements in automation and AI to create seamless workflows between job functions and lines of business. Business and IT professionals shared how they have transformed their operations to break down silos and optimize efficiency, how workplace culture is changing, what the future will look like in terms of processes and customer experience, and the jobs that will remain.
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- Mabby Amouie, Senior Director of Analytics and Chief Data Scientist, Norfolk Southern
- Gary Bertoline, Ph.D, Senior Vice President, Online and Learning Innovation, Purdue University
- Tom Bianculli, Chief Technology Officer, Zebra Technologies
- Catherine Clay, Executive Vice President, Data and Access Solutions at CBOE Global Markets
- Sachin Devand, Chief Technology Officer, Groupon
- Elizabeth Hoegeman, Executive Director Supply Chain, Cummins Inc.
- Jason Keeler, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, University of Chicago Medicine
- Mandy Long, Vice President Product Management, IT Automation, IBM
- Brian Miller, Senior Manager, Solutions Architecture, Deloitte
- Anurag Rana, Senior Technology Analyst, Bloomberg Intelligence
- Janet Wu, Anchor and Reporter, Bloomberg
Transforming the Enterprise for Optimal Efficiency
Leaders of three companies in very different industries described strikingly similar approaches to implementing automation designed to improve organizational performance.
At UChicago Medicine, “telesitting” is one example, said Jason Keeler, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. The system transfers the task of monitoring patients from nurses to cameras and artificial intelligence. The technology has already reduced UChicago’s workforce by 12 full-time positions, he said, and is an approach that will be applied to many processes going forward. Keeler called that particularly valuable as the organization deals with an increasingly challenging labor market.
Those remarks struck a note for Elizabeth Hoegeman, Executive Director Supply Chain at Cummins Inc. Hoegeman said the same camera/AI combination, along with digital twinning, is being used at Cummins to improve testing and product development.
With 28,000 miles of track, Norfolk Southern’s freight service maintains a vast number of trains and has an imperative to avoid the major bottlenecks one equipment failure can cause. Mabby Amouie, Senior Director of Analytics and Chief Data Scientist, said the company is in the process of replacing an inspection process that requires two to three employees regularly walking the length of each train–in any weather–with a slew of cameras that capture much more comprehensive data as trains zip by. “The results have been phenomenal,” he said.
Automation is not about replacing workers , the panelists reported. Hoegeman estimates that less than 10 percent of Cummins’ processes can be fully automated. In the past three years, the company has invested some $40 million in collaborative and industrial mobile robots, which workers have become “very attached to.” Norfolk Southern’s Amouie has gotten a similar response from employees. “It’s about changing the nature of work,” he said, from highly repetitive tasks to more complex–and more rewarding–work.
Sponsor Spotlight: Culture is the Catalyst to Accelerate Intelligent Automation Adoption
At Deloitte, the digital transformation aligns with a company mission to be proactive rather than reactive, said Brian Miller, Senior Manager of Solutions Architecture. That also means a better return on cost of solutions for clients. “There’s a lot of sticker shock in migrating platforms to the cloud,” Miller said. “We looked at tools to automate and scale at the speed that’s needed, that humans can’t do, and without risking performance.” He said his industry’s biggest challenge to increasing automation are resistance to change, fear of the unknown, worries about job security, and getting people to trust the concepts. “You really need your C-level buy-in, and it needs to filter down and be consistent,” Miller said. “It incentivizes.”
Catherine Clay, Executive Vice President, Data and Access Solutions at CBOE Global Markets recalled the dramatic move the trading exchange had to make–from floor trading to a totally virtual environment–as the Covid lockdown began. Failure was not an option, as markets absorbed the global shock of the global pandemic. “It can’t be lost on anybody that the exchanges–the markets that provide that capital protection–have to be available for all those who need to access it,” Clay said.
When it comes to security and the cloud, “We’re dipping our toe in the water in areas where we feel safe,” Clay reported, adding that future trends will be customer-driven. And CBOE handles massive global regulation by treating regulators as partners in protecting clients.
Leveraging AI to Enhance the Customer Experience
New to Groupon, with a mission to make the company’s tech more forward-facing, Sachin Devand, Chief Technology Officer, called the new retail world a “matching problem” between retailers and consumers and described “predictive packaging” of various products and services. “Sometimes the consumer doesn’t even know what they want,” Devand said. “We need to predictively figure out what will sell,” he said.
Using cameras and AI to measure student engagement and promote passion projects that motivate is a glimpse of the classroom of the very-near future, said Gary Bertoline, Ph.D, Senior Vice President of Online and Learning Innovation at Purdue University. Already, teachers are using digital twinning to track student progress and can even offer advice before students realize they are struggling in a course. “We’re totally transforming the learning experience,” Bertoline said. “It’s all about active learning, with the focus on creating that for every student.”
Tom Bianculli, Chief Technology Officer at Zebra Technologies, said stores have turned into fulfillment centers where people also happen to shop. “The permeations of mapping inventory alone are just not possible without automation,” Bianculli said. That means reducing the distance between planning systems and execution systems–ordering and delivery –“getting closer and closer to zero.” Planning is going away, Bianculli said. “We need the agile unfolding of work in real time.”
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