Creating the Workforce of the Future
November 17, 2022 | London
In London, business and IT professionals discussed the ways in which they have transformed operations by breaking down silos and optimizing efficiency, the evolution of workplace culture and how automation is changing both internal processes and the customer experience.
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- Ash Booth, Head of Artificial Intelligence for Markets & Securities Services, HSBC
- Amy Challen, General Manager for Artificial Intelligence, Shell
- Nilesh Doshi, Head of Enterprise Operations & Transformation for UK & Europe, Wipro
- Bernhard Eschermann, Chief Technology Officer, Process Automation, ABB
- Angela Hood, Founder & CEO, ThisWay Global
- Dinesh Nirmal, General Manager, IBM Data, AI and Automation
- Nav Rauniar, Partner & Co-Chair for PRMIA ESG Working Group, Tata Consultancy Services
- Sapna Dave, Senior Programming Director, Bloomberg Live
- Janet Wu, Anchor & Reporter, Bloomberg
Digitization has been a primary focus of business for the past 10 years, said Dinesh Nirmal, General Manager, IBM Data, AI and Automation. In the next decade, that focus will shift to digital labor and its key areas: worker personas, their place in an organization, their credentials and, most critically, their skills. “Once you define the skills, it’s about sequencing those skills,” Nirmal said. His bottom line: From collecting and sharing data to customer experience, there is no way forward for businesses without digital automation.
Panel Discussion: Transforming the Enterprise for Optimal Efficiency
Automation is like driving a car, said Bernhard Eschermann, Chief Technology Officer, Process Automation at ABB. It doesn’t require knowing how the fuel gets to the engine, or how the wheels are powered, but humans still have to make decisions, such as where to go and at what speed. In automated business systems, people are freed from mundane tasks to focus on making strategic decisions. The move from electricity to potentially less-reliable renewables will present its own challenges to organizational digital strategy. “If you suddenly have to deal with the fact that you might have a varying supply of energy, that’s a challenge you need to take care of in your automation system,” Eschermann said.
Amy Challen, General Manager for Artificial Intelligence for Shell says she sees automation’s greatest impact in increasingly complex and hazardous industrial operations, where efficiency gains and decision support can increase both production and safety. “A big impact is just trying to make sure that things are more consistent, and that they’re also higher quality. It’s not just AI, it’s better monitoring of everything,” Challen said. On how automation has changed her industry, she referenced Shell’s 100-year-old research lab, now working on biofuels, methane reactors and other alternative energies. “It massively speeds up the research process, so the scientists get to do the interesting stuff, the thinking stuff.”
IBM Sponsor Spotlight: How Intelligent Automation is Transforming Talent Acquisition
“Right now, about 38 percent of people who apply for work are fully qualified for a job, and they’ll never even be looked at,” said Angela Hood, Founder & CEO, ThisWay Global. The many reasons for that start with bias–in humans, systems and processes. At the University of Cambridge ideaSpace, Hood worked on the problem of bias with engineers and thought leaders from nine countries. “It was much bigger than I ever thought it was going to be, and it is much more important than I ever thought it was going to be,” she said. Technology and algorithms won’t solve the problem alone. “It really matters that we come together and say, bias is a problem, we’re going to commit to solving it, and it will make our economy much stronger when we do.”
Case Study: Lessons Learned
Nav Rauniar, Partner & Co-Chair for PRMIA ESG Working Group, Tata Consultancy Services talked about how his work allows him to be “always learning” from the wide range of businesses he encounters. “When you’re embarking on a journey with a client, you can see some of the internal cultural issues,” Rauniar said. “Or, you can see the way they have structured themselves from a high-cost versus low-cost perspective, and what on-shore versus off-shore workforces are going to look like.” He suggested that there are lessons to be learned from trying to balance key competencies among vital IT workers. His advice for attracting talent: be mindful of the “huge shift” in how millennials think. They are looking for better ethics, Rauniar said, have a deeper understanding of the world, and want work/life balance.
Panel Discussion: Leveraging AI to Enhance the Customer Experience
“It’s a fantastic dance that we have to do” to stay relevant in banking today, said Ash Booth, Head of Artificial Intelligence for Markets & Securities Services, HSBC. Everything, from the pipelines to the ledgers has changed, except for the importance of the customer relationship. “I like to think of it as the power of technology, the volume of data, the smarts of AI have driven banking through this Blockbuster to Netflix transition, where we can use tech to better serve our customers.”
Nilesh Doshi, Head of Enterprise Operations & Transformation for UK & Europe at Wipro described a transformation project at a Toronto airport powered by Wipro. It began with process mining to offer insights on gaps in the customer experience at the airport and moved on to identifying priorities and potential operating inefficiencies. “Of course, data is king,” Doshi said. “There’s a lot of data to work with. The airport continues to face challenges on manual labor versus, ‘Should we automate?’”
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