Transformation in a Time of Uncertainty
August 18, 2023 | Mumbai
Companies large and small find themselves unsure of how to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to benefit their businesses. The Bloomberg Intelligent Automation Roadshow made a stop in Mumbai to take a deep dive into how organizations can implement AI and intelligent automation systems to enhance observable, predictable operational efficiencies and create a path forward during a time of increasingly rapid technological evolution.
- Suyash Katyayani, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer, Purplle
- Kirti Patil, Joint President – IT & Chief Technology Officer, Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance
- Abhinav Sinha, Global Chief Operating Officer & Chief Product & Technology Officer, OYO
- Siddhesh Naik, Country Leader, Data, AI & Automation, IBM India South Asia
- Rajesh Uppalapati, Chief Technology Officer, Nykaa
- Vishwanath Ramarao, Chief Product & Technology Officer, ACKO
- Nav Rauniar, Partner, TCS UK&I, Part of Tata Group
- Krishnan Venkateswaran, Chief Digital & Information Officer, Titan
- Ruchi Bhatia, South Asia Economy Editor, Bloomberg
- Jeanette Rodrigues, Managing Editor for South Asia, Bloomberg
In opening remarks, Jeanette Rodrigues, Managing Editor for South Asia, Bloomberg, set the tone by sharing the results of a recent Bloomberg poll showing that return on investment is a key priority for businesses to green-light projects.
Siddhesh Naik, Country Leader, Data, AI & Automation, IBM India South Asia, said that because of the ‘digital explosion,’ businesses are in a ‘scramble’ to stay competitive and adopt new business models. The challenge now is how to move Intelligent Automation to the next level and enhance productivity.
Panel Discussion: Putting Artificial Intelligence to Work
Opening the conversation on AI, Suyash Katyayani, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer, Purplle, suggested that AI and machine learning can help to minimize human impact and bring greater efficiencies, by automating a lot of decisions. Adding to this, Abhinav Sinha, Global Chief Operating Officer & Chief Product & Technology Officer, OYO, commented that where creative work is at the forefront, dimensions are opening up much faster and far more creatively.
“Our AI journey really started with conversational AI,” revealed Kirti Patil, Joint President – IT & Chief Technology Officer, Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance. Her business uses AI data in a number of ways, such as identifying fraud and using predictive analytics in customer behavior. However, her approach is to understand the best solution to the problem, whether that’s generative AI or not. Katyayani, added that AI tools can help with efficiencies, and has observed improved developer productivity.
Sinha forecasted that active code writing will be replaced by passive code writing, where human oversight is still required. “You need people to give the right direction, to set the right context, to train the model the right way. But a lot of the hard work will be done by generative AI.” He believes the capability for generative AI is there – it just requires the right people to harness it for the best results, and this means investing in talent.
In order for AI to be accepted and integrated as a long-term solution, Patil stressed the importance of transparency when using AI for accuracy, as well as being knowledgeable on regulatory implications and privacy issues.
Speakers were invited to share their advice for other organizations looking to adopt AI in a more transformational way. Katyayani proposed creating an innovation SWOT team to ensure the company keeps abreast of rapid change. Patil suggested identifying the business problem first and technology later, and Sinha advised that decision-making processes must adapt to keep up with the pace of change, and for teams to course correct and take preventive or corrective action.
IBM Sponsor Spotlight: Operationalise AI for IT, Automate Business Processes and Integrate Applications With IBM Automation
When it comes to AI, Siddhesh Naik, Country Leader, Data, AI & Automation, IBM India South Asia, believes we should take ‘learnings from the data’, otherwise it’s a competitive advantage lost. We should also consider the trustworthiness of the data to ensure it’s financially and legally approved, he said. “AI by itself has no meaning… it’s all about the use case. What does it mean for my organization and how can I really take the whole piece to the next level?”
Reflecting on India’s transformation over the last two years, Naik believes it’s down to its digital ecosystem. The country’s fintech adoption is 86% compared to the global average of 64%. To that end, eight out of ten banks have embraced IBM’s integration, seven out of ten insurance companies have embraced its automation piece and two out of three telcos run on their network automation.
Case Study Fostering a Culture Open to Change
When building an app for 1.4 billion people, how can you make it immersive? Rajesh Uppalapati, Chief Technology Officer, Nykaa, believes the answer lies in personalization. “We don’t want to show the same discovery experience to every consumer. You want to personalize it based on who the consumer is.” To achieve this, his business spent a lot of time understanding and identifying user personas, listening to feedback, and ‘walking in the shoes’ of customers.
Uppalapati stressed the importance of being ‘technically fearless’, accepting that, as experiments are scaled up, the probability of failure increases. However, sometimes even these failures need to be celebrated. Navigating change is a “measure of your leadership,” he added.
While some may lose their jobs to AI, Uppalapati hasn’t experienced huge resistance. He believes it’s because manual workers are talented, and it gives them more bandwidth on other tasks.
Panel Discussion: Advanced Automation and ROI
Revisiting the topic of personalized content, Krishnan Venkateswaran, Chief Digital & Information Officer, Titan, shared that a recent campaign, which alternated images and messages based on customer preference, saw a boost in open and response rates.
Some jobs that are hard for humans to keep up with are being taken over by automation, said Vishwanath Ramarao, Chief Product & Technology Officer, ACKO. It’s an area where early data and the ability for AI to make its own set of decisions and pick its own optimization paths, will play out much more ‘intelligently and data driven’ than by people.
We are feeling the impact of climate change, bad governance and social change stated Nav Rauniar, TCS UK&I, Part of Tata Group. However, he acknowledged that ‘we can’t treat the world the same,’ and there’s a big distinction between developed markets and emerging ones.
Over the past four years, AI has gone from being rigid and not necessarily meeting company goals, to being much more intuitive, explained Ramarao. For this reason, it’s important to try things again in a new setting.
Rauniar said that diversity is a huge topic in the west, with models that track workforce standards. He noted that emerging markets are less scared of AI and ML, compared to those in developed markets, especially those with high rates of inflation and cost of living challenges.
With the new Data Protection Bill coming in, Krishnan Venkateswaran, Chief Digital & Information Officer, Titan, explained that we may need to move with more caution in the future. Privacy needs to be on the right side of the law, and behavior, without losing valuable IP to the cloud.
However, Ramarao reassured the audience that humanity has gone through many cycles and is good at adapting itself. “While some skill sets are definitely going to die, they’re going to get replaced by more efficient higher order jobs out there and hopefully, humanity is still good enough to adapt and move forward.”
On a final note, Rauniar felt that India can learn from the mistakes made by developed countries, such as the data privacy bill; and AI and ML can help solve that challenge too.
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