Transformation in a Time of Uncertainty
April 13, 2023 | Chicago
Companies large and small are faced with an uncertain economy brought about by rising prices, higher wages and fears of shrinking growth rates. The Bloomberg Intelligent Automation roadshow stopped in Chicago for a program focused on ways in which organizations can offset economic pressures and thrive by implementing intelligent automation systems that enhance operational efficiencies and stakeholder value.
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- Jarrod Anderson, Global Head of Artificial Intelligence, ADM
- Ray Boyle, Vice President, Data & Analytics, Hyatt Hotels
- Pratik Gupta, Chief Technology Officer, IBM Automation
- Talvis Love, Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Baxter
- Mike Mahaffey, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy & Corporate Development Officer, Nationwide
- Paudie O’Connor, Senior Vice President for Global Supply Chain, Boston Scientific
- Katrina Redmond, Chief Information Officer, Eaton
- Brandon Sutcliffe, Americas Financial Services Sustainable Finance Leader, EY
- Rahul Trivedi, Vice President, Intelligent Automation, TransUnion
- Ritika Gupta, On-Air Reporter & Producer, Bloomberg
- Janet Wu, Anchor & Reporter, Bloomberg
Pratik Gupta, Chief Technology Officer, IBM Automation, said the company believes intelligent automation and AI offer the advantages needed to navigate disruptions. Helping to create a sustainable future and prioritizing business objectives and revenue goals are not mutually exclusive. “What we have seen is that if you apply intelligent automation and AI correctly, you can achieve both.”
Panel Discussion: Automation that Packs a Punch
Paudie O’Connor, Senior Vice President for Global Supply Chain, Boston Scientific, helps manage about 24,000 employees in 15 factories. He said his 24 years with the medical-device manufacturer gives him an historic view, from “old school, classic automation” that produced some estimated 25,000 units per year to six million units today.. The once-skeptic became a believer in the technology.
What’s really needed are system-wide solutions, he said, as demand increases amid labor shortages. To stay on pace, “we’d have to hire 4,000 to 5,000 people to build products in the next few years. Where do we find those people?” O’Connor said Boston Scientific instead will leverage AI to eliminate or assist workers in doing tasks such as visual inspection and move them to more value-added activities.
When it comes to identifying worthwhile projects, Katrina Redmond, Chief Information Officer, Eaton, said organizations need to get comfortable with the concept of “fail fast.” While return on investment concerns are one way to commit to new automation projects, customers also need to bet on multiple ideas–more of a venture-capital mindset.
Partner with third parties that will co-invest on projects in order to promote their own brands, she advised. “In these spaces, you can also throw sensors on equipment, you can do all kinds of things that don’t have to be horribly expensive. If you’re got the idea, and you try a very specific proof point, we’re not talking about millions of dollars. Get to the basic and intent of what you’re trying to accomplish.”
Jarrod Anderson, Global Head of Artificial Intelligence, ADM, said AI can be a powerful workplace tool. He said his team sees the power of generative AI, not from interacting with it through tech like phones or Netflix, but from working with AI as a tool in every-day operations. “But it’s also moving very quickly, in ways that we have yet to really understand,” he cautioned. There is obvious risk, especially on the societal side, he said, relating the story of a very believable, fake ransom request generated by using video and voice content posted online. He called for coming together globally on the regulatory and ethical aspects, so that business and society can benefit. “It’s the responsibility of everyone here.”
IBM Sponsor Spotlight: How Data and Intelligent Automation Can Help Organizations Meet their Sustainability Goals
Working with clients on their sustainability goals can be a long reach, said Brandon Sutcliffe, Americas Financial Services Sustainable Finance Leader, EY. A financial firms’ carbon footprint is 80 percent to 90 percent, factoring in companies in which they invest. “We spend a lot of time helping them understand what those emissions are and how they can help those companies transition to a more sustainable society.”
Sutcliffe described a three-pronged approach that companies can use to leverage large data sets: Determine the best way to obtain data, disseminate it widely and ensure that the captured data is accurate so that key stakeholders can make informed decisions.
One on One: The Case for Strategic Transformation
Ray Boyle, Vice President, Data & Analytics, Hyatt Hotels, described how AI allowed the chain’s 1,350 locations to scale back up after the pandemic, and how it continues to optimize the customer experience, profitability and a global company culture around 160,000 employees.
During COVID-19, the speed of innovation, the way silos broke down and varied regional regulations and restrictions required ultimate flexibility, he said. “All the dynamics of the industry have been interesting to watch. We had to be agile to take full advantage of the opportunities, and then recover: when guests are ready, we meet them where they are.”
On investing in new projects, Boyle said Hyatt thinks of data as a product that can be used to build capabilities for the business, such as algorithms. “We invest to support the things that are most important to Hyatt.”.
Panel Discussion: Automation and ROI
Talvis Love, Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Baxter discussed his company’s decision to leverage $12.6 billion to buy medical technology company Hill-Rom. Baxter’s mission to save and sustain lives, he said, and the acquisition is part of that strategy. Hill-Rom “helped deliver a key component that was all about connecting patients and caregivers in a way that they can’t today, that is much more effective and efficient to delivering high-quality care.”
On expanding into India and creating the culture of trust needed for fast adoption, Rahul Trivedi, Vice President, Intelligent Automation, TransUnion, said his company educates people about the capabilities of Transunion’s products and shares success stories. “We have many internal customers who are ready to vouch for our work.” Adoption is accelerated when someone has a pain point and cannot solve a problem on their own, which is not unusual in the highly regulated credit bureau industry, he said. “For example, in a changing legislative environment, when a new requirement has to be managed within a specified period of time, they cannot hire enough people to meet that requirement. That’s when they come to the automation team for help.”
A decade of core system modernization and huge investments in APIs to digitally transform transactions have allowed Nationwide to address dramatic changes in how people buy insurance, said Mike Mahaffey, Nationwide’s Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy & Corporate Development Officer. “We have an inventory of about 500 active APIs that generated last year 15 billion internal transactions, and a growing cadre of around 20 million transactions with customers, that are more and more digitized and automated.” Before digitization, Nationwide was a $31 billion sales organization with about 35,000 employees, he said. Now, it’s valued at $57 billion and has reduced its workforce to 24,000.
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