Creating the Workforce of the Future
October 19, 2022 | Toronto
Companies across all sectors are leveraging the latest advancements in automation and AI to create seamless workflows between job functions and lines of business.At this event, business and IT professionals shared how they have transformed their operations to break down silos and optimize efficiency, how workplace culture is changing, and how automation will change processes and customer experience in the future.
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- Hani Abbasi, Vice President of Global Technology Transformation & Integration, TransUnion
- Mohit Bhat, Vice President of Customer Solutions & Innovation, Canadian National Railway
- Martin J. Cheung, Vice President, Digital Transformation & Automation, CI Global Asset Management
- Cristene Gonzalez-Wertz, Senior Researcher and Advisor, DXC Leading Edge
- Johan Henning, Senior Vice President, Finance & Infrastructure, Brookfield Asset Management
- Grace Lee, Senior Vice President & Chief Analytics Officer, Scotiabank
- Sumit Parab, Head of Product, Industry Platforms, Amdocs
- Greg Pollack, Business Unit Executive, IBM Automation
- Ed Lynch, Vice President, Strategy, IBM Automation
- Deidre Depke, Senior Programming Director, Bloomberg Live
- Lauren Kiel, General Manager, Bloomberg Green
- Brody Ford, Technology Reporter, Bloomberg
Scaling your business requires scaling your workforce, said Ed Lynch, Vice President, Strategy, IBM Automation. He noted that automation has been creating labor offsets since the beginning of recorded time, pointing to the development of the wheel, aqueducts, and Ford’s revolutionary invention of the assembly line. The fundamental drivers right now are IT complexity, skills and the great digital shift, he said, with COVID-19 turning “a trickle into a torrent.”.
Panel Discussion: Transforming the Enterprise for Optimal Efficiency
“You’re going to have to spend your precious intellectual capital, your personal brand, on things, so you’re going to have to figure out what those are,” Cristene Gonzalez-Wertz, Senior Researcher and Advisor, DXC Leading Edge, said of automation investing. On rapid-cycle and metrics testing, the challenge is in knowing how many labor hours are spent doing a job to know how to calculate savings, she said. Also essential: understanding the principles of Agile management, starting small and redirecting as you go.
Hani Abbasi, Vice President of Global Technology Transformation & Integration, TransUnion said transformation is ultimately done for customers, and if a company is spending hundreds of millions of dollars–even one billion dollars, the effort “requires a good value argument. It requires tracking, measuring and relating the impact.” As an example, he described a global-infrastructure health-dashboard project that involved an automated linking of seven or eight data sources, creating process efficiencies and independence for teams using those insights.
Great success in staffing requires having someone close to the business involved in a project, said Johan Henning, Senior Vice President, Finance & Infrastructure, Brookfield Asset Management. “If you bring on the best team of third-party experts, they’ll deliver something that works, but it’s not what the business actually needed,” he said. On measuring customer satisfaction, Henning described launching an investors’ portal a few years ago, with the added value of live reporting.
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“It feels like we’ve accomplished a lot, but we’re really just getting started,” said Greg Pollack, Business Unit Executive, IBM Automation, citing a survey that found 67 percent of executives admit they are just beginning the process of automation. The challenges are around funding the right use cases, not necessarily the ones with an emotional attachment. He used the RPA revolution as an example. “It was like the ShamWoW of automation. It sucked all the air out of the room, and became like Flex Seal,” trying to fix things left and right. Use a data-driven approach, he advised, and choose the right metrics to fix things in sustainable and meaningful ways.
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AI has been around since the 1930s, said Grace Lee, Senior Vice President & Chief Analytics Officer, Scotiabank, yet, we still don’t feel it everyday in our lives. “We’ve had so many cycles of AI winters. We acknowledge it’s important, but haven’t gotten it to change the way we live.” She spoke of the relationship that needs to happen between IT and data analytics. “If they don’t feel it, it didn’t happen. If the model’s great, it’s still a brain in a jar. A smart brain in a jar, but it’s still contained in that jar. So, until it’s actually hit a process, hit technology, it’s like it doesn’t exist.” On competitive advantage, it’s not going to come from technology, but the same place it always came from– employees, customers, listening, and human empathy; the things left after automation.
Panel Discussion: Leveraging AI to Enhance the Customer Experience
Using digital twins assists in deploying capacity and crews helps resolve issues in the supply chain network, according to Mohit Bhat, Vice President of Customer Solutions & Innovation, Canadian National Railway. His company uses automated inspection portals – a data center connected to a moving train – to identify defects, adding significant resilience. The focus now is on bringing more automation into the customer service ecosystem, creating “a supply chain platform where we have customers, partners, employees and customer service teams all connected to one source of truth.”
Martin J. Cheung, Vice President, Digital Transformation & Automation, CI Global Asset Management said the simple answer to getting employees to buy into automation is change management. “This is a key aspect to my transformation, which can be measured against any effort you’re putting in,” he said. Automating is not possible without the people performing manual processes. “You’re not necessarily automating them out of work, you’re automating them into higher-value work,” noting employees need to know that the effort is about giving them the time back spent on menial tasks.
Sumit Parab, Head of Product, Industry Platforms, Amdocs spoke about retention, observing that people love working on things that are exciting, which is what is left after automation. On recruiting, he advised executives to “really understand the person, the value and impact they can bring, and not necessarily what they’re going to be able to do quickly. Treat them as a person and not a resource.” The most pressing technology issue for Amdocs customers is transformation to the cloud, and with that, making sure the transformation makes sense and provides impact.
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