By Wendy Shlensky, Vice President, Global Head PR & Analyst Relations
Don’t automate just to automate – that was one of the key takeaways at Nasscom C Summit 2019: Leadership Imperatives in an AI- Powered World, which I attended with Virgil Wong, Element HGS Head of Digital Customer Experience and Creative. At this well-attended event, Virgil moderated a panel called The AI Race: From RPA to Intelligent Automation.
His panelists included:
- Chuck Billikas, Head of Client On-boarding Operations, Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC)
- Ryan Loy, CIO, EBSCO Industries
- Cyril Korenbeusser, Head of IT Production Americas and deputy Chief Technology Officer, BNP Paribas Corporate and Institutional Banking
In moderating this panel, Virgil first mapped the cognitive frameworks of those leading organizations that have built their new business models around the convergence of digital, intelligent process automation, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI). He discussed business challenges around implementing initiatives in these critical areas, from the top down and at scale. I was impressed by Virgil’s moderating style, which he used to swiftly extract insightful lessons from the panelists and discuss common themes we see across industries when developing initiatives around today’s CX tools and disrupters. He led the panel in discussion of several crucial insights:
- It’s important to design evolving systems to accommodate ongoing and sometimes unexpected requirements, expectations, and business challenges. Panelists openly shared both successes and shortcomings of their respective efforts.
- Mistakes are inherent to any change process. It’s necessary to fail, but organizations must learn to fail fast, regroup, reflect, and iterate the next attempt with a better sense of what is actually needed to succeed. Organizations must also understand that change is an important investment, and it requires the right resources, priorities, and communication within the organization—at the right time.
- Automation can start quickly by focusing on the easy, menial, repeatable, and mature tasks already being performed by the organization. A process expert, such as a business process outsourcer (BPO), can be a skilled and trusted resource when taking that important first step of an automation journey.
- In terms of good governance, C-level leaders must carefully formulate their strategic plans around automation and communicate the hows and whys of their efforts to everyone within their organizations. Many companies struggle to keep the employees that are currently doing the work that they are automating. As a result, other critical skill sets are lost, along with their engrained knowledge of the company. It is vitally important to include automation plan stages to proactively re-skill, re-train, or move employees to other parts of the organization. Consultants can be very helpful in this transition process.
- Start with the business problem and then automate accordingly. Again, this is where experienced consultants or outsourcing companies can assist. They can identify the best, proven processes to start the automation cycle. They can also host a half-day workshop for key stakeholders in your organization, understand business priorities, and suggest areas for some quick successes. Ideally, automation is a joint ownership between the business and the IT department.
Ultimately, these session takeaways shared a common theme: Winning the AI race requires C-suite and executive buy-in, strategic AI investment, and also building the right detailed business model around the convergence of these new technologies.