Creating the Workforce of the Future
June 7, 2022 | San Francisco
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 transformed their operations, and those of others, to break down silos and optimize efficiency, and what the future will look like in terms of processes and customer experience.
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- Jennifer Bisceglie, CEO, Interos
- Datta Junnarkar, Chief Information Officer – Maritime, Boeing
- Madhu Kochar, Vice President, Product Development, IBM Automation
- Jared Michalec, Vice President, Client Services, Salient Process
- Janice Tse, Senior Director of Data Science, PayPal
- Rajkumar Venkat, Vice President of Technology & Head of Enterprise AI, Data, Analytics & Application Platforms, Williams-Sonoma Inc.
- Avery Worthing-Jones, Senior Vice President & Head of Product Management, Gap Inc.
- Raj Yavatkar, Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer, Juniper Networks
- Mark Bergen, Reporter, Bloomberg
- Mandeep Singh, TMT Team Lead & Senior Analyst & Host, “Tech Disruptors,” Bloomberg Intelligence
- Janet Wu, Anchor & Reporter, Bloomberg
Transforming the Enterprise for Optimal Efficiency
For Interos, it’s all about supply chain risk. Jennifer Bisceglie, CEO, Interos, said their focus is on the hardest issue to solve; transparency. It requires the removal of the manual aspect – the people – and pandemic-related revelations for business leaders. “There has been a swift uptick in our industry because CEOs and boards are realizing that understanding risk and the transparency in their supply chain is tied to their bottom line.” Supply chain relationship mapping has long been automated by Interos. No one knows now, for instance, if they are actually doing business with Russia, Bisceglie said. Digital twinning and forward-thinking AI are allowing faster, more informed decisions and the ability to be “choosy” about business relationships.
For Boeing, it’s an unenviable dual challenge of being a global manufacturer and a defense contractor, dealing with regulatory compliance and a massive supply chain, now constantly monitored by AI. Datta Junnarkar, Chief Information Officer – Maritime, Boeing, talked about the autonomous vehicles they make, including submarines, refueling jets, drones, flying taxis (in development) and a mission-oriented ocean robot, powered by solar and waves. That robot has traveled from San Francisco to Australia, capturing a huge amount of data, and learning to make decisions to avoid colliding with ships. He noted that airliner auto-pilot, which runs systems 95 percent of the time, has been in use for 60 years. In terms of leveraging all this automation, including to address remote working issues, “We always had a knowledge base, we had the data, but we never actually took time to initiate changes. We are doing it now,” Junnarkar said.
The new paradigm, according to Bisceglie, is brand loyalty overthrown for the supply chain that’s on everyone’s radar. “Now, it’s about how [a product] got in front of me.”
IBM Sponsor Spotlight: Looking Beyond the Surface of Intelligent Automation
The current trend is businesses seeking to improve through a better understanding of their operations, using robotic process automation (RPA), said Jared Michalec, Vice President, Client Services, Salient Process. Last summer, they started working with an international children’s charity. Because of the improvements made to their processes, “When the crisis in Ukraine broke out, they were able to set up a satellite office in about half the time that it usually takes them. So, that’s lives saved.”
Michalec talked about scaling Ulta Beauty’s product launch process, using methods such as simulation analysis, about prioritizing automation of tasks with the biggest ROI and the real future being in simply “getting the bad stuff off of [workers’] plates.”
Case Study: Juniper Networks
The transformation from working mainly with telecoms to acquiring companies, like Mist and its AI wireless network design, and moving to the cloud, was described by Raj Yavatkar, Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer, Juniper Networks. The biggest tech challenge during the pandemic was delivering an office -level experience to remote workers. Juniper stays ahead of the tech curve on the cloud with self-driving networks and its high-performance, energy-efficient custom chips that reduce router energy use by 30 to 40 percent.
On staying ahead of the curve, “We’re trying to take advantage of our high-end products and bring them to the enterprises so that we can not only grow, but grow with differentiations, both in software and hardware systems.” For employees and their new business approach, there is upskilling with Juniper University and hiring new college graduates, ready to be trained.
Leveraging AI to Enhance the Customer Experience
For Gap Inc., automation has its biggest impact in the “millions of microdecisions” that need to be made around its 23,000 unique products, and that doesn’t include size variations, said Avery Worthing-Jones, Senior Vice President & Head of Product Management, Gap Inc. That translates across the enterprise, from determining how to stock stores to connecting customers with what they need. Their goal is to level the playing field between in-store and online shopping. “We realized we can use the same algorithm for both. We’re working hard to eliminate the differences.”
Williams-Sonoma Inc. is actually seven brands. Supply chain issues are especially challenging for the company’s custom-built furniture, for instance, said Rajkumar Venkat, Vice President of Technology & Head of Enterprise AI, Data, Analytics & Application Platforms, Williams-Sonoma Inc. “Our products are not even in a warehouse. It’s a very elaborate effort to track product components.” And with customers around the world, and the need to set up delivery appointments, automation is essential.
Then there’s PayPal, with no tangible products, but 425 million accounts, some 58 million daily transactions and a complex web of global regulatory requirements where data management is possible only with automation. Janice Tse, Senior Director of Data Science, PayPal, described focused yet integrated departments. “A whole ecosystem design is what we rely on to make it happen.”
On the timely innovation front, Venkat noted Williams-Sonoma created a multi-tool design app with features such as a room planner, where customers can see various products in their rooms, that upscales UX without the need for a large workforce.
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