Intelligent Automation: Transformation in a Time of Uncertainty
June 20, 2023 | San Francisco
Companies across industries are investing in automation and artificial intelligence projects that may increase efficiency, boost productivity, and help ensure their long-term success. Executives from business and IT gathered for this roundtable dinner to share their experience and ideas about how their firms can harness the technology.
- Mark Miller, Global Editor, Bloomberg Live Experiences
- Bill Lobig, Vice President, Product Management, IBM Automation
- Paula Buerkle, Director, Data, AI & Automation West, IBM
- Steve Pugh, Chief Information Security Officer, Intercontinental Exchange
- Joe Vaughan, Chief Technology Officer, MoneyGram
- Cynthia Stoddard, Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Adobe
- Dominic Titcombe, Executive Vice President & Chief Information and Product Officer, Delta Dental of California
- Zulfi Jeevanjee, Executive Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Allstate
- Cheryl DeLany, Senior Vice President, Global Distribution Enablement, Franklin Templeton
- Joanne Chadwick, Chief Information Officer, Digital Transformation, Santander Bank
- Francesco Sartini, Chief Innovation Officer, BlueIT
- Mike DeCesaris, Vice President, Data Science Center, Cornerstone Research
- Alissa “Dr. Jay” Abdullah, Deputy Chief Security Officer & Senior Vice President, Mastercard
- Musetta So, Senior Vice President, Head of Business Operations – Data Management & Insights, Wells Fargo
- Ajay Waghray, Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer, PG&E Corporation
- Quinn Li, Senior Vice President, Ventures, Qualcomm
- Shadaab Kanwal, Managing Director Digital, Data, and Analytics Transformation, Charles Schwab
After introductions from each roundtable participant, Mark Miller, Bloomberg, kicked off the conversation by framing it as a chance for attendees to learn from one another. He talked about how we are living in an age of significant transformation, and about the new opportunities that this presents.
He asked Bill Lobig, Vice President, Product Management, IBM Automation about how a company like IBM views automation, particularly with respect to meeting market needs and Lobig responded that automation is a way to increase productivity and efficiency and he believes there’s a “goldmine of opportunity” in implementing it well.
Dr. Alissa “Dr. J” Abdullah, Deputy Chief Security Officer & Senior Vice President, Mastercard, referenced her experience at the Obama White House and talked about the changes in technology she saw during her time there. She mentioned that government is slower to advance new technologies than the private sector and added that it takes time to “adopt things in the right ways.” She cautioned companies not to be too quick to adopt them, however, especially when stakeholders and shareholders are involved, and ended by saying that figuring out the right governance models and the right responsibilities are key to successful outcomes.
The conversation then turned to generative AI and whether it is permitted in participants’ respective workplaces. While some said it wasn’t, and had an aversion to allowing it, others were slightly more open to the idea. Ajay Waghray, Chief Information Officer, PG&E, said that his company is beginning to look into experimenting with automated chatbots, but with safety nets in place. Dr. Alissa Abdullah, Deputy Chief Security Officer & Senior Vice President, Mastercard outlined the ways that generative AI can be helpful, such as with requisitions or for HR to use in creating job descriptions. She further raised the question of whether other companies might consider implementing use cases in-house.
Steve Pugh, Chief Information Security Officer, Intercontinental Exchange, said that adversaries are already using tools like ChatGPT and warned that if a company fails to understand or use the same tools, they may get left behind. He added that it’s incumbent upon companies to be able to spot when it’s being used since it’s already part of many processes and applications. He concluded with a warning about how both companies and adversaries are using these tools, and said that they can help increase velocity on both sides, going as far as to automate and accelerate offender’s wrongdoings, thereby making data privacy an absolutely crucial issue.
Looking to the future of artificial intelligence, Joe Vaughan, Chief Technology Officer, MoneyGram, said that every evolution will be shorter and shorter, and every disruption faster and faster, and that this will introduce rapid advancements and improvements across the board.
Discussing the value of generative AI in the workplace, Francesco Sartini, Chief Innovation Officer, BlueIT, talked about how it can save companies time and cited specific use cases like boiling down data and creating charts that can be used for customers to organize and analyze information. He also made the point that AI is not a universal salve and cannot be used for everything.
Cynthia Stoddard, Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Adobe, asked for clarification on the definition of value. Shadaab Kahawal responded that everyone has a different definition of value, ranging from quantitative to qualitative, and that his company views it through a customer lens, making sure to assess which changes translate to value for them.
Moving on to talk about regulation and its role in potential innovation, Dominic Titcombe, Executive Vice President & Chief Information and Product Officer, Delta Dental of California, talked about his experience with European policies as a 25-year citizen of America. He praised an EU law called General Data Protection Regulation, citing it as an example of top-level guidance. He also reflected on the havoc that can arise from regulations and policies differing at the federal, state, and county level and talked about how these and private sector policies can complicate compliance.
Joanne Chadwick, Chief Information Officer, Digital Transformation, Santander Bank, also referenced her experience in both Europe and the United States and talked about the ins and outs of a European bank operating in the US. She mentioned the stringent regulations and said that focusing on the proactive rather than reactive position should be everyone’s priority.
Musetta So, Senior Vice President, Head of Business Operations – Data Management & Insights, Wells Fargo, described generative AI as being the most exciting part of the caching tech landscape, and agreed that the regulatory components are vital to get right.
Shadaab Kahawal said that what keeps him up at night is discovering how to optimize scenarios and translate the value of artificial intelligence into the real world. He believes that focusing on innovations that add internal value, rather than external value upfront, will yield better results when enriched internally.
Ajay Wasghray PG&E described the bigger purpose that PG&E is attempting to achieve with the help of automation tools. He gave the example of using it to help detect and prevent wildfires and talked about how the company is focused on innovations as a large-scale solution both locally and around the world.
When asked whether we’re philosophically up to the task of figuring out and thriving in this changing landscape, Mike DeCesaris, Vice President, Data Science Center, Cornerstone Research said he believes, based on the thoughtfulness and quality of the discussion around the table, that the answer is a definitive yes.
Cheryl DeLany, Senior Vice President, Global Distribution Enablement, Franklin Templeton added that she doesn’t believe it’s a question of whether we can figure it out but who will help us to do so.
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