What will 2019 have in store for AI and machine learning?

There’s been plenty of hype about machine learning and artificial intelligence and that buzz isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon.As we prepare for another new year, it’s always a good idea to consider what’s in store for technology and all indications point to 2019 being a major year for AI and ML.

What might we expect to unfold over the coming months? Well,for starters, next year is poised to be one in which those who have been teetering on the fence about adopting machine learning are likely to finally take the plunge. Let’s take a closer look at a few other trends to watch for in 2019.

Cross-Industry Infiltration of Machine Learning

To put it plainly, there simply isn’t a single industry that would not benefit in some way from machine learning technology. As more decision-makers begin to recognize this, more widespread adoption will occur alongside the ideation of newer and more innovative ways to use ML.

A great example of this is the U.S. Army. Over the next year, they will be rolling out the use of machine learning sensors to predict when combat vehicles are in need of repair. The health care industry is another field that is finding new uses for AI. For instance, algorithms now exist that can predict – with 95% accuracy – the probability of a patient’s death. Physicians can use this data to literally save lives.

It’s safe to say that as we ramp up adoption of AI and ML,forward-thinking companies will continue to discover new ways to leverage these technologies to read, interpret and apply data for greater success.

Increasing Use of Chatbots

Most of us utilize AI assistants on a daily basis, whether it’s asking Alexa to play our favorite song list or checking with Siri to see how traffic will be for the commute home. These basic interactions are really just the tip of the iceberg.

In 2019, development of chatbots will snowball, making AI assistants an even bigger part of our everyday lives. Not only will they be in our pockets and in our homes, but chatbot technology will continue to make its way into the business world.

For instance, in the IT service management realm, chatbots will be used increasingly to enable end-users to self-remediate while simultaneously freeing up human talent to be focused on more complex projects and business initiatives.

Deepening Interactions between Humans and Machines

The concept of AI being a robot merely capable of performing repetitive, mundane tasks has become antiquated. To the contrary, more and more organizations are recognizing artificial intelligence as an integral part of their workforce, working alongside their human employees and playing a pivotal role in their success. This relationship will only continue to evolve as we push onward into2019 and beyond.

As AI technology advances further, we can expect features and functionality that mimics human behavior in much greater detail. Imagine a chatbot that not only recognizes what a human is saying, but the tone and nuances behind those words. The possibilities are virtually limitless.

And as AI continues to become ingratiated into the fiber of how organizations operate, the fear and uncertainty that clouded human workers in the past will begin to dissipate. In its place will be a newfound respect and an optimism for the new opportunities these innovative technologies will create.

Without question, 2019 will be a critical year for both machine learning as well as AI. The three predictions above may very well just be scraping the surface of what’s truly in store. One thing’s for certain:these technologies are here to stay and they’re changing our world in ways beyond what we ever thought possible.

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Ayehu Launches Global Partner Program to Support Increasing Demand for Intelligent Automation

Program Empowers Growing Community of MSPs, OEM Partners and SIs with AI-Powered IT Automation Resources, Tools, Education and Support

San Jose, CA –- November 28, 2018Ayehu, provider of the leading AI-powered IT and security automation and orchestration platform, today announced that it has launched a Global Partner Program for Managed Service Providers, OEM partners and Systems Integrators. The program meets the growing demand from Ayehu’s fast growing partner community worldwide, which includes firms such as Cognizant, Capgemini and Everbridge, creating the transformative efficiency and productivity benefits of intelligent IT automation both internally and for their enterprise customers.  

Ayehu’s Global Partner Program supports its members in all aspects of Ayehu’s IT Automation and Orchestration Platform.It is customized for each partner and designed to educate and empower organizations to use, offer and implement Ayehu’s no-code, intelligent automation solution as part of a digital transformation strategy.

 “Today’s innovative corporations know that in order to grow and succeed in the digital era, automation and intelligent technology are essential,” said Taly Dunevich, Vice President of Business Development and Alliances, Ayehu. “We have an amazing partner community that understands that AI-powered IT automation promises a new way to drive efficiency, where human capacity is enhanced, customer experience is improved and major cost savings are achieved. Our program provides the tools,support, training and education that they need to empower clients with our intelligent automation platform so that they can truly scale and innovate.”

Demand for intelligent IT automation and orchestration solutions is on the rise as IT departments become more and more inundated with alerts, incidents, and requests. Ayehu’s Next Generation Intelligent Automation Platform enables IT and security operations teams to easily automate the manual response of an experienced IT or security operator, including complex tasks across multiple systems. Ayehu’s automated workflows deliver instant responses that help resolve high influx of alerts and incidents, saving administration time, speeding up resolution time, while maintaining greater control over IT infrastructure. Further accelerating return on investment, Ayehu’s platform has the potential to create an average of 35% in overall cost savings for the business. Advanced intelligent automation savings tend to increase over time.

To learn more and become a member of Ayehu’s Global Partner Program, please visit https://ayehu.com/alliances-partnerships/ or contact Aly Dunevich, Vice President of Business Development and Alliances, Ayehu, directly.taly@ayehu.com.

About Ayehu

Ayehu’s AI-powered automation and orchestration platform is a force multiplier for IT and security operations,helping enterprises save time on manual and repetitive tasks, accelerate mean time to resolution, and maintain greater control over IT infrastructure. Trusted by hundreds of major enterprises and leading technology solution and service partners, Ayehu supports thousands of automated processes across the globe. For more information, please visit www.ayehu.com and the company blog. Follow Ayehu on Twitter and LinkedIn.

PR Contact:

Christy Kemp

303-898-3390

ckemp@dahliapr.com

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Using Intelligent Automation to Cut Costs and Skyrocket Service

Using Intelligent Automation to Cut Costs and Skyrocket ServiceFor several decades now, IT automation has been developed,refined and continuously improved to help streamline operations and take on the manual, repetitive tasks that nobody wants to complete. It’s becoming more widely accepted that most of these work duties can be handled by software. Beyond these simple, basic tasks, however, enterprises across the globe are now leveraging artificial intelligence to do even more. It’s called intelligent automation and it’s helping organizations of every shape, size and industry cut costs, improve service and remain a step ahead of the competition.

Intelligent automation is being leveraged as a solution to many common issues large businesses face, particularly those in the financial sector. One such area where intelligent automation is proving to be significantly beneficial is in meeting compliance requirements. Big banks,telecom companies, insurance firms and other businesses that deal with a high number of transactions, especially those that are sensitive in nature, are under increasing pressures to remain compliant. Relying on human workers to achieve this is not only expensive, but also more prone to costly error.

Another critical area where intelligent automation is having a positive impact is in the very volume of data itself. These days,there is so much information flowing into an organizations, from inquiries and transactions to authentications and a whole host of other business processes that businesses are finding it challenging to keep up. With smart technology,much of this data can be gathered, analyzed, sorted and prioritized without the need for human intervention, saving the organization time, money and a ton of aggravation.

Think Smarter, Not Bigger

In reality, even larger enterprises rarely have the luxury of increasing staff levels to the degree that is required to keep up with the rising demands being placed on them. Not only does this equate to increased costs, but it also opens the door to increased risk as well. C-suite executives, board members and other key decision makers are often too focused on other critical business initiatives to worry about growing the IT department.

The good news is, today’s intelligent automation software provides the opportunity to develop into a more efficient, highly productive,error-free environment without the need to beef up personnel. It’s providing organizations a way to work smarter instead of bigger while also lowering risks and keeping costs at a minimum. Unlike the rudimentary technology of just a few decades ago, today’s automation solutions are fully capable of analyzing,learning and responding to a mountain of data in real-time.

In reality, with the right strategy and intelligent automation technology, a business can successfully transition up to 90% of all IT functions from human to machine. This includes everything from repetitive, labor-intensive activities to complex workflows. IT automation is also playing a key role in helping companies establish and maintain a much more effective defense against cyber-attacks, providing the added protection of round-the-clock detection, analysis and response.

How Does Intelligent Automation Work?

Once an intelligent automation solution is adopted and implemented, the IT department determines which tasks are to be automated. Essentially, the software is “taught” what to do, when to do it and how each function should be carried out. Beyond the basics, like robotic process automation, intelligent automation is designed to deal with situational data and use that information to perform appropriate contextual functions. The software essentially uses relevant knowledge to decide on how to proceed in much the same way humans do.

Furthermore, intelligent automation also creates complete documentation of the entire decision-making and execution process, providing the ability for IT personnel to view, track, analyze and evaluate the automated process, both during as well as after the fact. This documentation contains all of the necessary details, including the relevant background and contextual information that was used in the decision-making process. Best of all, this information is stored and can be easily accessed in one centralized location.

The Benefits are Astounding

By adopting intelligent automation, organizations are able to achieve significant cost savings while also improving overall operation and service levels at the same time. When the majority of IT service management functions are shifted from human to machine, skilled personnel can focus on more important business initiatives. This promotes an IT environment that is much more efficient, agile, flexible and compliant, all of which can be translated to improved quality and satisfaction. The more complex the IT system, the greater the benefit automation can provide.

Is your organization taking advantage of these and the many other benefits that intelligent automation can offer? Get started today by downloading your free 30 day trial.

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The Real Truth Behind the Top 3 Machine Learning Myths

Machine learning has been proven to be so effective that many make the mistake of assuming it applies to all situations and can solve every single problem. As with any technology, there is a time and a place for machine learning – particularly when it comes to existing problems you simply couldn’t tackle due to a lack of resources. If you plan on leveraging ML at any point in the future, you’ll have much greater success if you cut through the noise, avoid the following misconceptions and gain a more accurate understanding of what machine learning can and can’t do.

Myth #1 – Machine learning and AI are one and the same.

The terms machine learning and artificial intelligence are often used interchangeably, but the reality is, they aren’t synonyms. To break it down to simplest of explanations, machine learning is a technique that’s being applied in real-world scenarios. AI is actually a much broader expression that encompasses a spectrum of areas including robotics, natural language process and computer vision. While the results may appear “intelligent,” machine learning is really about learning patterns, applying statistics and predicting outcomes based on data.

Myth #2 – Machine learning will replace people.

It’s a common fear that artificial intelligence technology and its many applications (including machine learning) will ultimately eliminate the need for human workers. While it will most certainly change the jobs being performed and how they are handled, the main purpose of ML isn’t to replace but rather to augment personnel. In actuality, it’s predicted to create more new roles than it will make obsolete. This means greater opportunity for human workers to learn new skills and apply their cognitive and creative talents to more meaningful initiatives.

Myth #3 – Anyone can build a machine learning platform.

Google “how to build machine learning” and you’ll inevitably get pages of results featuring various open source tools and courses. But the fact remains that machine learning is a highly specialized technique. For it to be successful, you must understand exactly how to prepare and partition data for testing and training, know how to choose the most appropriate algorithm and – most importantly – know how to turn that information into a productive system. Furthermore, you must also monitor that system to ensure consistently relevant results.

Getting machine learning right takes time and lots of experience. If you’re just getting started, your best bet is to work with partner that already specializes in this advanced technology and can handle the complexities and nuances on your behalf. Ayehu NG features built-in, highly sophisticated machine learning algorithms and can have you up-and-running in just minutes. Try it free today!

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How to Successfully Implement a Chatbot Strategy in 5 Steps

Chatbot technology is disrupting almost every industry, with everyone from Verizon and Capital One to NASA jumping onboard. But while artificial intelligent is certainly not a new concept, developing and implementing chatbots in a practical and profitable way is still in its relative infancy. Unlike other, more established technologies, there aren’t necessarily any real standards for using bots. Thankfully, there are things we can learn from those already paving the way. Here are five real-world tips to help your company bring a chatbot strategy to fruition.

Identify audience and need.

For bots to produce ROI, they must solve a specific problem (or set of problems) and/or deliver real, measurable improvement (such as with staff efficiency or productivity). As such, the initial phase of your chatbot strategy should involve identifying who you are trying to help and exactly why. The narrower you can get with this step, the better the outcome. Keep in mind you may have multiple iterations of the same engine, based on the user you are targeting.

Select a platform.

Once you have a clearer picture of your target user and target problem, the next step should involve choosing a platform through which the bots will be built and managed. This is the phase of the project that can overwhelm some decision makers. The good news is, there are platforms (like Ayehu) that are so easy to use and quick to implement that you can be up and running in mere minutes – no coding or scripting required. Even if you have a highly talented IT team, this would be the best case scenario.

Define your measure(s) of success.

One of the biggest challenges of chatbots (and artificial intelligence in general) is proving financial value. The easiest and most straightforward way to approach this is to determine as early as possible which metrics matter the most. What type of ROI do those in the C-suite and/or other stakeholders expect out of this initiative? Bear in mind, also, that some measures of success aren’t as easy to quantify, but are just as – if not more – important, such as end-user engagement levels.

Start fast – don’t wait for perfection.

Many people make the mistake of trying to make things perfect before rolling out their project. Instead, the focus should be on building fast and executing fast, even if that involves some degree of failure in the process. Take, for instance, NASA, which approaches each chatbot initiative as a small startup with the goal of launching as quickly as possible. If you cannot iterate that fast, optimize the process as much as possible. For example, while Verizon was developing their Mix and Match bot, the consumer plan was being developed simultaneously. This made the actual rollout more seamless and successful.

Adjust and learn continuously.

A chatbot strategy isn’t something you set and forget. There is also the need for continuous adaptations and ongoing training to consider. Artificial intelligence is a fluid technology, which means your bots should continue to learn and improve over time. There will almost always be something to add, whether it’s a new term or a tweak in “personality” to better serve end-users. The main thing to remember is that chatbot development is an ongoing process and must be treated as such if it is to be successful.

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The Human Element of AI Implementation

The benefits of artificial intelligence for business are widely acknowledged and understood. So, why are so many organizations still holding back when it comes to adoption? While it may seem logical to blame technical issues for the holdup, in reality what’s standing in the way is far more likely to be human in nature, whether it’s uncooperative employees, confusion over what AI means, unrealistic expectations of executives or something else. The key to navigating these roadblocks is addressing this human element.

Coming Down to Earth

Surprisingly, one of the biggest misconceptions people have about artificial intelligence is that it can solve any problem the business is experiencing. Have an issue? Just throw some intelligent automation at it. But the truth is, as amazing as the technology is, AI simply cannot fix everything. It’s essential that this message is clearly communicated and sufficiently understood. To set more realistic expectations, begin with a specific business objective and then determine holistically how you’re going to align everything to accomplish that goal.

Network to Gain Buy-In

If the human issue you’re struggling to overcome is resistance, networking can do wonders (and no, we’re not talking about computer networking). Once you’ve identified a good problem to solve, work on developing a few proof of concepts and then begin socializing with those throughout the organization. This can raise the level of awareness and help people gain a clearer understanding of what AI is, how it works and what it can help them accomplish. Identifying early adopters and internal champions is also important. These individuals can help explain artificial intelligence in a language that others understand.

Combat Fear of Change

Innovative tech solutions – especially as they relate to automation – are typically marketed on the premise that they’ll streamline efficiency and cut costs. But from an end-user’s perspective, AI can feel like a looming threat ready to inch them out of a job. Will intelligent automation eliminate some jobs? Of course. But that doesn’t mean those human resources can’t still be retained through more strategic allocation. If fear of change is hindering adoption of AI, repurpose your message to present it as a solution that will make their lives better, whether that be reducing their day-to-day drudgery or giving them an opportunity to focus their talents on more meaningful work.

Ultimately, the best strategy for successful AI implementation is to align your systems, process and people. Without the latter part of the equation, you simply will not achieve complete success. By recognizing and addressing the human element, adoption should be smooth sailing.

If you’re interested in starting small and experiencing the quick and measurable wins of intelligent automation, good news! We’re now offering a free 30-day trial of Ayehu. Give our fully functional platform a test drive today!

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Are you budgeting for intelligent automation? Here’s why you should be.

If you’re under the impression that IT processes are not all that important to your business, perhaps it’s better to look at it from another angle. How much do you believe downtime can and will cost your company? Last check put that number at around $9,000 per minute.

That’s right. Per minute.

So, yes, ensuring that IT runs smoothly and avoiding potential outages is absolutely critical. Intelligent automation is the key to achieving this goal. Here’s why (and five reasons you need to start budgeting for it ASAP).

Optimize Billable Time

How much time does your IT team spend monitoring to ensure that jobs are completed? How about manual scripting? Likewise, how much time is wasted by the end-user waiting for the help desk to process tickets? All of that time adds up and it’s costing your company big time. Intelligent automation can shift the manual labor from human to machine, streamlining operations and freeing up talented individuals to be able to apply their skills to more important tasks and projects.

Reduce Redundancies

When processes are handled manually, there are inevitably going to be a number of situations in which there are too many hands in the pot. This can lead to costly redundancies. Intelligent automation can help reduce the amount of times different employees have to “touch” the same machine or file, which is essential in maintaining a cost-effective operation. With automation in place, businesses can ensure that every touch serves a valid purpose.

Better Communication & Accountability

Breakdowns in communication occur everywhere – including inner and inter-departmentally. As a result, it can be easy to lose track of who is responsible for what, which leads to mistakes and miscues that could prove costly. Automated reporting, alerting and notification ensures that everyone stays on the same page. The right intelligent automation platform can also provide a central dashboard, facilitating greater ownership and enhanced visibility into any and all processes. This keeps management fully aware of what’s happening so no balls get dropped.

Improve Service Levels

Given today’s ever-increasing need for instant, quality service and amidst the growing competition in the IT services field, providers are having to find newer and more efficient ways to operate. Only those companies that are agile will be capable of competing on a global scale. By investing in intelligent automation, tasks, processes and workflows are performed faster and free of errors. Employees are happier and more productive and customers (internal and external) are more satisfied because they’re consistently receiving exceptional service.

Boost Response Time

When something malfunctions, the fallout from a delay in response time can be quite impactful – not to mention the time IT personnel must waste trying to identify and correct the problem. Today’s technology enables businesses to work smarter by implementing IT process automation as the watchdog capable of pinpointing issues as they occur (sometimes even before they happen). Whether it’s a machine, system, application or entire network that’s in question, a quality intelligent process automation platform can expedite response time to reduce or eliminate costly downtime.

As more capital is being invested into the ongoing development of technology as it relates to artificial intelligence, it’s becoming abundantly clear that automation is here to stay. More importantly, intelligent automation has the potential to help businesses of every size and industry streamline operations, maximize efficiency, improve response time and deliver better service overall.

Are you ready to experience what intelligent automation can do for your company? Start your journey today by downloading your free, fully functional trial of Ayehu’s automation and orchestration platform, powered by AI. Click here to get started today!

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Episode #5: Why your organization should aim to become a Digital Master – Capgemini’s Marisa Slatter

Nov 15, 2018    Episodes

Episode #5: Why your organization should aim to become a Digital Master (DTI) report

In today’s episode of Ayehu’s podcast we interview Marisa Slatter, Managing Consultant, Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute.

Digital Masters, those organizations demonstrating a high mastery of both digital and leadership capabilities, are on average 26% more profitable than their industry competitors.  Investors have taken note, as evidenced by the fact that Digital Masters generate 12% higher market valuation ratios than their competition.  But what does it take for an organization to become a Digital Master, and what insights have Digital Masters acquired that empower them to outperform their market segment?

For answers to those and other key questions, we turn to Marisa Slatter, Managing Consultant of Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute (DTI), a think tank devoted to all things digital.  A recent report put out by DTI examines why companies are struggling with their digital transformations, and offers key insights on why Digital Masters are succeeding.  With global spending on this initiative forecast to eclipse the $2 trillion mark by 2021, there’s no shortage of capital being allocated on digital transformation.  Is money enough however?  Marisa takes us through some of the key highlights in DTI’s report, and along the way makes some specific recommendations for organizations seeking to become Digital Masters.



Guy Nadivi: Welcome everyone, our guest today on intelligent automation radio is Marisa Slatter, the manager of Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute. Capgemini for anyone not aware is a Paris-based worldwide management consulting firm with over 200,000 employees in more than 40 countries. The Digital Transformation Institute is Capgemini’s in house think tank on all things digital and has dedicated research centers in the United Kingdom, the US, and India. Marisa, welcome to Intelligent Automation Radio.

Marisa Slatter: Thanks Guy, happy to be here.

Guy Nadivi: Marisa, we invited you onto our show today because the Capgemini Digital Transformation Institute recently published a white paper entitled “Understanding Digital Mastery Today: why companies are struggling with their digital transformations”. This white paper has some really intriguing insights about the state of digital transformations within enterprises of all sizes, from less than 500 million in annual revenue to those over 20 billion a year, and just so everyone in the audience is aware, your just released 2018 report is a follow on to your 2012 research, and back in 2012 you established a framework for “digital mastery” that you defined as being comprised of two dimensions – digital capabilities and leadership capabilities. Pretty straight forward.

Now just for the audience’s edification, I want to explain that within this digital mastery framework, you categorized organizations according to their relative digital mastery, with everyone falling into one of four quadrants, which you laid out on a matrix. So one of those groups is “Beginners”, not surprisingly those that have a low mastery of both digital and leadership capabilities, then there were “Conservatives” who have a mastery of leadership but not digital capabilities. Their counter parts the “Fashionistas”, who have mastered the digital but not the leadership capabilities, and then the group that everybody wants to be a part of, the “Digital Masters”, who have a high mastery of both digital and leadership capabilities.

Okay, so with that background in mind, let’s get to some questions. Your research very interestingly showed that the percentage of organizations believing they have the required leadership capabilities for digital transformation actually went down since your 2012 report and in fact sentiment dropped across the board in all categories you measured.

So my first question for you Marisa is what happened?

Marisa Slatter: Sure, that’s a great question. First, we believe that expectations have risen significantly across the board since 2012. So today organizations are expected to be doing more and are being measured on goals that are much more challenging to attain today than in 2012. So it’s not necessarily that organizations have digressed on leadership capabilities or that they are not doing anything. It’s more that expectations have increased and they have not necessarily kept pace. So to my mind I think some of the early enthusiasm for digital transformation in 2012 has been dampened by difficulties in implementation. So it’s organizations are realizing that it is very challenging to execute and you know, they are struggling with implementation. You know, another aspect to this is for so long the focus and investment has been more on the technology side.

But of course we know that the leadership side is so critical, but the leadership side, you know, the “how” of digital transformations and things like … vision and governance and talent and skills and culture, these are all very challenging to implement and to master. Things like culture for example, you know, is a significant hurdle to successful digital transformation from our research but it’s also one of the hardest things to change. It can take years. So again, we see organizations are indeed struggling and you know, I think they’re realizing just how challenging implementation and execution is today.

Guy Nadivi: Another interesting statistic you report is that only around one third of organizations say both senior executives and middle managers share a common vision of digital transformation, and that even worse, organizations often start digital initiatives without the buy-in of employees. What is the correlation between an organization being a Digital Master and getting their employees to buy in to a digital transformation?

Marisa Slatter: Sure, so in the research we definitely see that Digital Masters are doing a much better job of bringing their employees along with them on their digital transformation journey. That starts with really setting a vision and tying it to the strategy as well as the governance structure. So we believe that to drive an organizational wide change effort, leadership must explain a clear vision of where they want the organization to go and align that to the business strategy and then they also need to explain that the importance and the need for that change effort across the firm and get employees … ensure that employees are accountable by things like aligning roles or KPI’s to the digital transformation objectives. So that’s the first part, and we see Digital Masters are doing those things well, so 65% for example of Digital Masters are … agree that their vision for digital transformation is well integrated into their core strategy compared to just 11% of Beginners.

Then so once we have that vision aligned, we also see that Digital Masters are really empowering their employees to take part. Another stat we have from the data says that 60% of Digital Masters are actually allowing their employees to take ownership in the implementation of new and innovative ideas compared to just 16% of Beginners. So again, we see a strong correlation between being a Digital Master and getting your employees to be part of the journey.

Guy Nadivi: Speaking of the employees, there’s another interesting observation in your white paper about the usage of HR analytics, “to identify current and future skills needed” and “to understand the needs and preferences of your employees”. What is the correlation between Digital Masters and the usage of HR analytics like this?

Marisa Slatter: Sure, well we did find that Digital Masters understand what skills they need today and they can also predict what skills they’ll need in the future. So they’re being very proactive in understanding their skill needs as well as upskilling their employees for future needs. This is especially important as we know … you know, we’ve done a lot of research on the digital talent gap and you know, that organizations really need to take the digital talent gap seriously and equip themselves with the talent and skills that they need to succeed. So more specifically we see that Digital Masters have the necessary tools, whether that’s HR analytics or other digital technologies to be able to accomplish this and you know, in the data we see that over 50% of Digital Masters are actually using HR analytics to predict skills needs versus just 10% of Beginners.

Guy Nadivi: And speaking of the talent gap, one of the starkest findings in your report has to do with talent development and you state quite frankly, “organizations are not upskilling employees” and not surprisingly in 2017 you found that over half of digital talent said their next job change will be a result of the new organization offering better skill development. So given how strategic and critical digital transformation is becoming, why do you think organizations aren’t investing in upskilling their employees?

Marisa Slatter: Yeah, it’s a great question and something that we’ve studied for years but still don’t have all the answers. Why is learning and development not getting the attention it deserves? I think everyone knows that it’s more cost effective to train internally than hire externally but still, it doesn’t necessarily happen in as many organizations as we’ve seen in our research. Also there’s so many potential consequences if an organization doesn’t invest in its people, things like attrition or having their competitiveness suffer or you know, financial success being impaired. It’s certainly startling that it’s still not top of mind for many companies. So in our research, in our digital mastery research, we found that only 39% of organizations say they actively recruit and hire new talent with strong digital skills, and only 38% say they have a formal program for digitally reskilling employees.

You know, to my mind it’s likely that companies have been so focused on building out and investing in their digital capabilities and the technology, and maybe they overlooked the importance of skill development and training. You know, that is until they realize that they don’t have enough skilled employees to actually execute on their digital strategy. I think the other really challenging part to this is that learning and development can be a very challenging thing to do, especially in a company culture that doesn’t prioritize and reward learning. Particularly on the soft skills side, so in our digital talent gap research that we released last year, we actually found the talent gap in soft digital skills was more pronounced than in hard digital skills, and you know, soft skills are of course critical for success across nearly every job and industry, but they are sometimes overlooked as the focus often tends to be on the technical skills side.

Soft skills are also really hard to teach, so many people might think that presentation or communication skills come naturally, but in fact those skills can often take years to master. So again, I think learning and development can be a very challenging thing to implement for some companies.

Guy Nadivi: And once again even though some companies are under investing in that, you state that Digital Masters focus on talent development, with nearly 70% of them saying they know what new skills they need to develop in the future compared to 26% of Beginners. What do you think are the top three skills Digital Masters are focused on developing in their digital talent?

Marisa Slatter: Sure, so we didn’t investigate specific skills in digital mastery but as I mentioned earlier, we did undertake research in October 2017 that we released jointly with LinkedIn on the digital talent gap, and here is where we explored the specific digital skills in greatest demand as well as challenges that are preventing organizations from bridging the talent gap and we looked at best practices as well as strategies for organizations to more effectively recruit, develop, and retain digital talent. So in that report we found that the … as I mentioned earlier, the talent gap in soft digital skills, so things like collaboration or having an entrepreneurial mindset that are really necessary for successful digital transformation and constitute digital first mindset if you will, is more pronounced than in hard digital skills.

The top skills, the top soft skills in demand that we’ve found from employers included customer-centricity, having a passion for learning as well as collaboration, and then on the hard digital skills side we still see demand of course outpaces supply and the top three digital skills in greatest demand from employers there included cyber security, cloud computing, and analytics.

Guy Nadivi: Intriguing. Some other interesting attributes you’ve found which distinguish Digital Masters are that they stay abreast of innovations in their market by constantly exploring emerging technologies in business models. They have a better understanding of their customers and close to 70% use analytics to better segment their customers with more than 3 out of 5 regularly conducting market research to gauge their customer needs. And 71% use digital technology to link customer-facing and operational processes in new ways. Did you find that there was a difference in profitability, share price growth, et cetera between Digital Masters and the other three categories of organizations; Beginners, Conservatives, and Fashionistas?

Marisa Slatter: Great question! Yes, we found a significant difference between Digital Masters and the other groups. Now this dates back to our original 2012 research that we conducted with the MIT Center for Digital Business. And in that research we established that a high performing cohort organizations, so companies that are mature along both the digital and the leadership capabilities front, outperformed their peers in every industry. So we wanted to understand the relationships between digital mastery and financial performance, so in that research we analyzed the financial performance of the publicly traded firms in our sample and we looked at things like revenue generation, profitability, and market valuation.

So when we compared digitally mature companies to their less mature competitors, we did find some striking differences. So on average, Digital Masters are 26% more profitable than their industry competitors. They generate 9% more revenue than their employees … sorry, through their employees and their physical assets. And they also create more value, generating 12% higher market valuation ratios.

Guy Nadivi: Wow, very significant. Now speaking of industries I was surprised to read that the consumer products industry has achieved the greatest level of digital mastery. My guess would have been financial services, and in fact the banking industry was kind of close, or healthcare, which actually wasn’t mentioned. I’ve always been under the assumption that the consumer products industry in aggregate was a laggard when it came to deploying digital technology. How do you explain the paradox?

Marisa Slatter: Sure, it’s certainly important to remember that our sector analysis is all relative to one another and to the companies participating in our survey. So I don’t necessarily believe that there is a paradox here. In our 2012 research we also found that consumer packaged goods was right at the midpoint of both leadership and digital capabilities. So we have seen an improvement since then in terms of where that sector is placed on the 2 x 2. And I think that can be attributed to their focus on customer experience as well as development of their leadership capabilities. So we’ve seen many examples in recent years where CPG has been building out the customer experience and adapting innovative business models such as direct-to-consumer. They also make use of data and mobile and social to analyze consumer trends very well. We also see in our current data that consumer goods is more advanced on the leadership capability side than financial services, so meaning that they do better on creating those necessary conditions to drive the transformation in the organization. So the things I mentioned earlier like vision, articulating a clear vision, and having a strong governance structure, and understanding their talent and skill needs, and having that digital culture that really enables the transformation. So in our data, we do see consumer goods faring better on those capabilities.

Guy Nadivi: Looks like consumer products has quite a bit to teach us about digital mastery. Marisa, based on your report’s findings, what one piece of advice would you offer CIO, CTO’s and other IT executives on the best path to take in order for their organization to become a Digital Master?

Marisa Slatter: Sure, I think the piece of advice I would offer is to not overlook the importance of investing in the necessary leadership capabilities so that’s the “how” of digital transformation. So this is where we saw the greatest challenge for organizations between 2012 and 2018, and it is often something that is either overlooked or deprioritized in … because of the focus on the technology side. Organizations might have been too focused on technology rather than how the organization and the people can adapt to the change and embrace it. So I would definitely offer that piece of advice, to focus on the leadership capabilities side.

Guy Nadivi: Some great advice. Alright, looks like that’s all the time we have for on this episode of Intelligent Automation Radio. Marisa, thank you very much for joining us today and shedding some light on the state of digital transformations, I really enjoyed having you as our guest.

Marisa Slatter: You’re very welcome, Guy. Happy to be here.

Guy Nadivi: Marisa Slatter, manager of Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute. Thank you for listening everyone and remember, don’t hesitate, automate.



Marisa Slatter

Managing Consultant, Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute

As a Manager in the Digital Transformation Institute (DTI), Capgemini’s in-house think tank, Marisa Slatter works closely with industry leaders and academics to help organizations understand the nature and impact of digital disruptions. Prior to her tenure with the DTI, Marisa was a Manager in Capgemini Consulting’s Digital Strategy practice where she advised clients on how to transform the way they engage with their customers and to re-align their organization, employees, and operations to be more efficient, effective and profitable. She has over ten years of consulting experience in digital transformation, strategy, operations, customer experience, and marketing/branding across multiple industries including Financial Services, Higher Education, Life Sciences, and Professional Services.

Marisa can be found at:

E-Mail:             marisa.slatter@capgemini.com

Twitter:           @marisaslatter25

LinkedIn:          https://www.linkedin.com/in/marisaslatter/

Moreinformation about Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute (DTI) can befound at this link:
https://www.capgemini.com/service/digitaltransformationinstitute/

DTI’s report “Understanding digitalmastery today: Why companies are struggling with their digital transformations”can be found at this link:
https://www.capgemini.com/resources/understanding-digital-mastery-today/

Quotes

“…today organizations are expected to be doing more and are being measured on goals that are much more challenging to attain today than in 2012.”

"…vision and governance and talent and skills and culture, these are all very challenging to implement and to master. Things like culture for example, you know, is a significant hurdle to successful digital transformation from our research but it's also one of the hardest things to change. It can take years."

“…in the research we definitely see that Digital Masters are doing a much better job of bringing their employees along with them on their digital transformation journey. That starts with really setting a vision and tying it to the strategy as well as the governance structure. ”

“Another stat we have from the data says that 60% of Digital Masters are actually allowing their employees to take ownership in the implementation of new and innovative ideas compared to just 16% of Beginners. So again, we see a strong correlation between being a Digital Master and getting your employees to be part of the journey."

“Digital Masters understand what skills they need today and they can also predict what skills they'll need in the future. So they're being very proactive in understanding their skill needs as well as upskilling their employees for future needs….in the data we see that over 50% of Digital Masters are actually using HR analytics to predict skills needs versus just 10% of Beginners.”

“Why is learning and development not getting the attention it deserves? I think everyone knows that it's more cost effective to train internally than hire externally but still, it doesn't necessarily happen in as many organizations as we've seen in our research. Also there's so many potential consequences if an organization doesn't invest in its people, things like attrition or having their competitiveness suffer or you know, financial success being impaired. It's certainly startling that it's still not top of mind for many companies.”

“…in our digital talent gap research that we released last year, we actually found the talent gap in soft digital skills was more pronounced than in hard digital skills, and you know, soft skills are of course critical for success across nearly every job and industry, but they are sometimes overlooked as the focus often tends to be on the technical skills side.”

“…companies that are mature along both the digital and the leadership capabilities front, outperformed their peers in every industry.”

About Ayehu

Ayehu’s IT automation and orchestration platform powered by AI is a force multiplier for IT and security operations, helping enterprises save time on manual and repetitive tasks, accelerate mean time to resolution, and maintain greater control over IT infrastructure. Trusted by hundreds of major enterprises and leading technology solution and service partners, Ayehu supports thousands of automated processes across the globe.

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Links

Episode #1: Automation and the Future of Work
Episode #2: Applying Agility to an Entire Enterprise
Episode #3: Enabling Positive Disruption with AI, Automation and the Future of Work
Episode #4: How to Manage the Increasingly Complicated Nature of IT Operations
https://www.capgemini.com/service/digitaltransformationinstitute/
https://www.capgemini.com/resources/understanding-digital-mastery-today/

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The 5 Step Strategy for Optimizing HR with Intelligent Automation

Artificial intelligence has made our lives infinitely easier. Smart home devices can turn lights on and off and adjust the thermostat without us having to get off the couch. Cars automatically hit the brakes to avoid crashes and are capable of parking themselves. But intelligent automation isn’t just something that can benefit our personal lives. The ability to automate time-laden, manual tasks and business processes increases employee productivity and frees skilled personnel to focus on more high-value work. One area that can gain tremendous value from intelligent automation is HR. Here’s how.

Identify processes and workflows that could (and should) be automated.

While human resources is, indeed, a prime candidate for intelligent automation, not every process will be appropriate. It’s imperative that business leaders are careful not to try and automate too much, otherwise they risk losing momentum and failing to reap the true benefits of AI technology. This is why the first step in optimizing HR should always involve a careful analysis of processes and workflows to determine which could be made more efficient through intelligent automation.

Map out a strategy.

Again, in order for intelligent automation to be effective, there must be order to its adoption. Prior to implementation, a plan should be mapped out – preferably one that involves a strategic combination of artificial intelligence and human skills. Create a roadmap that covers everything from the initial introduction of AI to the desired end result. Bear in mind that some processes may be better redesigned from scratch as opposed to trying to modify them.

Keep the lines of communication open and ever-flowing.

Like it or not, people naturally fear change. With intelligent automation, this is compounded by the concern over robots taking over human jobs. Yet, in order to successfully roll out automation, you simply must have buy-in from everyone involved. The best way to accomplish this is to quell your staff’s fear through open, honest and ongoing communication. Be sure to drive home the benefits that automation will provide to them (less drudgery, more opportunity to perform engaging, meaningful work, the chance to learn new marketable skills, etc.). Remind them that automation ultimately drives the demand for soft skills, such as creative problem solving and collaboration.

Make sure the C-suite is also onboard.

In addition to constant communication and transparency with employees, it’s equally critical that executives and key decision-makers are also onboard with intelligent automation. Sure, a detailed and measurable implementation strategy is essential, but enacting organizational change takes more than simply carrying out a set of ordered steps. Change management starts at the top and trickles downward. As such, senior leadership must be visible and vocal in its participation and support.

Teach employees the skills they need for success.

We’ve become quite comfortable with automation in our personal lives, but that comfort level doesn’t necessarily translate to the workplace. Don’t just assume your employees possess the skills they need to leverage intelligent automation. For instance, your HR team likely already has the soft skills they need to do their jobs effectively, but they may need guidance in understanding how to interact with automation technology. Be proactive in educating them.

While there are certainly areas of the human resources function that a human touch is still needed, such as discussing sensitive matters with employees, the vast majority of today’s HR processes can easily be automated. In order to do this, however, HR professionals must be willing to adapt and evolve. The five steps listed above should help in this regard.

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5 Hidden Costs of Outsourcing IT Services

Many organizational decision-makers choose to outsource because they see it as an easy way to cut costs. What they fail to realize, however, is that it’s rarely ever that straightforward. And since there’s little motivation for service providers to be transparent about these financial risks, business leaders must be diligent about identifying and accounting for these additional expenses. In many instances, it’s actually far less costly to keep IT services in-house. If you are considering an outsourcing arrangement, keep the following hidden costs in mind.

Change Orders

When it comes to outsourced IT services, just about every minor change comes at a price. Those managing outsourcing agreements must stay aware of what these change orders entail and how much they’re going to cost in the end. This can all be avoided, of course, by bringing IT on premise, where fixed IT staff can make changes to how work is performed and take on special projects at no additional costs.

Consulting

Another factor that can send costs spiraling out of control unexpectedly is consulting. These days, nearly all IT and digital engagements are led by consultants, which can skyrocket expenses far beyond what was originally anticipated. While some areas of IT service have moved to outcome-based pricing models, the consulting piece is still typically assessed on the basis of time and materials, which can vary. And while some organizations appreciate the added value, others may find the additional expenses difficult to justify.

Loss of Control

Over time, things change. Business leaders rotate, companies evolve. As a result, criteria originally agreed upon in the outsourcing contract can become obsolete. It’s imperative that someone holds the service provider accountable to deliver what was agreed on and paid for. It’s also important to audit and eliminate services that may no longer be needed. According to ISG, the average outsourcing contract loses anywhere from 5 to 15 percent of its value because the client is paying for more than what is actually being delivered.

Lack of Agility

One of the costliest things about outsourcing, and sadly one of the most often overlooked as well, is how these contracts can stifle a company’s ability to innovate and therefore compete. Far too frequently, a client will find themselves locked into an agreement at a time when dynamic change is occurring all around them. As such, they become locked out of next-generation technology opportunities, like robotics, AI and deep learning. Likewise, many traditional sourcing models don’t support things like data analytics and mobility. Adapting an existing outsourcing relationships to account for these changes can be incredibly costly, both in terms of time as well as money.

Employee Disengagement

When the costs associated with outsourcing are discussed, one thing many fail to consider is the impact such an arrangement can have on staff retention – particularly during the initial transition period. When IT employees have to make the shift from performing the work to simply managing it, there can be a sense of frustration. This is especially true for highly technical resources. The change in focus can lead to a feeling of being out of touch, and the inability to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty can cause a spike in attrition levels. Along with that inevitably comes the cost of hiring and training.

In conclusion…

At first glance, outsourcing IT services can seem like a great way to cut costs and stay competitive, but if you’re not careful, it could end up having the opposite effect. Decision-makers considering outsourcing should carefully weigh the financial risk – including the hidden costs, such as those listed above – to determine whether such an arrangement is truly a viable option.

On-premise IT services, on the other hand, can be surprisingly cost-effective, particularly once all the true costs of outsourcing are revealed. For instance, with on-site IT, changes can be made without additional expenses incurred and there is no need for costly consultants. And with internal control comes the ability to scale and adapt to changing technological landscape. Employees are happier and the company is able to compete at a higher level.

Curious about whether in-house IT services would be feasible for your company? It starts with the right foundation. Right now, you can experience our fully functional, next-generation IT automation and orchestration platform free for an entire 30 days. Click here to start your free trial today.

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