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Episode #50: How Automation Helped LPL Financial Grow Into The Largest Independent Broker Dealer In The US – LPL Financial’s Dwayne White

October 2, 2020    Episodes

Episode #50:  How Automation Helped LPL Financial Grow Into The Largest Independent Broker Dealer In The US

In today’s episode of Ayehu’s podcast, we interview Dwayne White, Vice President of Technology Automation at LPL Financial Services

Some of you were introduced to automation in school, or at work, or perhaps even by a family member or friend.  Our guest on this episode began his automation journey in the US Marine Corps.  Corporal Dwayne White’s first automation project involved “digitally transforming” a manual process done on a Xerox typewriter into a far more efficient solution done on a PC. From there, he progressed through successive levels of technical & executive responsibility, until reaching his current position as VP of Technology Automation at LPL Financial Services. 

As the largest independent broker dealer in the country supporting nearly 17,000 financial advisors, technology plays an outsized role in LPL Financial’s success.  Dwayne was instrumental in leveraging automation to power LPL’s growth, both as a hands-on techie and as a manager.  He shares some key insights with us in this episode, and we learn how automation mitigates risk for LPL Financial, the specific kinds of processes LPL automates, and why you shouldn’t look at automation as a replacement for your staff. 



Guy Nadivi: Welcome everyone. My name is Guy Nadivi, and I’m the host of Intelligent Automation Radio. Our guest on today’s episode is Dwayne White, Vice President of Technology Automation at LPL Financial Services. For those not familiar, LPL Financial is considered to be the largest independent broker dealer in the US, with nearly 17,000 financial advisors and $762 billion in advisory and brokerage assets under management, as of June 2020. Dwayne is a hands-on IT operations executive in charge of technology infrastructure automation. He’s also worked a lot with L1 and L2 NOC engineers, overseeing their efforts in a never ending pursuit of reducing incident MTTR. Automation has played a big role in Dwayne’s success at LPL Financial, and since he brings a unique dual perspective, with both first-hand and managerial experience in automating various IT processes, we wanted to bring him onto the podcast and see what we could learn. Disclosure: LPL Financial is a customer of Ayehu, the company sponsoring this podcast.

Dwayne, welcome to Intelligent Automation Radio.

Dwayne White: Thank you, Guy. It’s a pleasure to be here today. I always enjoy listening to the Automation Radio podcast.

Guy Nadivi: We appreciate that, thank you. So Dwayne, you started out at LPL Financial as a developer, and 20 years later, you’re Vice President. What were some of the bigger IT challenges you overcame during those two decades while the company was growing as rapidly as it did?

Dwayne White: Well, for me, it was both a personal, and I guess you can say, IT challenge. On a personal nature, for me, early on it was deciding in my career if I wanted to be a techie, or did I want to be a developer, did I want to be a manager? And for me, I wanted to be a manager. And what that meant to me is it meant I can go ahead and mentor and train new staff, and have a voice with my managers, my leadership. Outside of that, early on still in the back at LPL. We were a small company, and as a small company, we had our issues, our challenges, and some of those having to deal with how we managed incidents. Back in that time, our pagers would go off, we would jump on a phone call, everyone would talk over themselves. It was just organized chaos. Now, that seemed to work for us at the time, but like everything else, we knew we can do better. And what better meant for us is we started looking at ITIL. ITIL basically is a framework that people used for instituting IT business processes. And once we started moving down the ITIL model and we started maturing our processes, things got a lot better for us. It was a good thing to do. Outside of that, was learning how to adopt to our change and transformation. Most people aren’t comfortable with it. I’m not comfortable with it sometimes. And usually, when change is implemented and transformation is implemented, sometimes it’s done well, sometimes it’s done poorly, and when it’s done poorly it’s mainly due to lack of communication out to the teams. What we found is that our teams, they want to be involved. They want to know what change is coming down the pipe. They want to have a voice in that change. As an example, if you were to come in on a Monday morning and tell your team that instead of working Monday through Friday, they’re now going to work Tuesday through Saturday, they wouldn’t be too keen on that change. But if you involve them in the process, communicate to them the need, not only for business, but for themselves, we can start getting their buy-in on it. We found that actually works a lot better for us.

Guy Nadivi: So what were some of the bigger reasons you decided to look into automation at LPL Financial?

Dwayne White: Well, for us, my boss actually got me down the path of looking at it, and he had concerns about how we were delivering our services. And services can be defined as how we processed our service request tickets, how we responded to incidents, how we communicated. And bringing automation into it just seemed like a natural fit for us. So, back in 2015, that’s when we started looking at the various tools, the different processes, we dealt with Gartner, started looking at some of their Magic Quadrant work, and we started moving forward. So, for example, one of the inconsistencies that brought us forward would be if you had a ticket assigned to somebody, and let’s say it had to do with the Windows server, a disk problem. You can assign that to three different admins and you’ll get three different results. One person has one way of cleaning up disk space, the other person has another. So we needed consistency in that. Automation? That was the clear path. It does one thing. You tell it what to do, it does it, and it repeats. The nice thing with automation, just like a disk space problem, is you learn as your applications grow and capacity changes. You change the script. You change the automation to adapt to it. The other part of it was risk. No one’s perfect, but with automation you can reduce the even element of risk. Even elements could be missed alerts due to outages. Staff’s not always at their desk watching their ticket queues 24×7. Or a slow response time to an incident. Again, you’re counting on your staff to be sitting at their desk, glued to their ticket queues, or waiting for their phone to ring. With automation, it’s there, it’s live. It’s 24×7 and it’s waiting to be called upon. It was a natural fit for us. I’m glad we did it.

Guy Nadivi: Okay. Now, you mentioned the need for uniformity and consistency, and it’s well known that financial services firms have very rigorous regulatory requirements to comply with also. Given that reality, how challenging was it to persuade management that automation was worth a try?

Dwayne White: It’s true. I mean, we’ve got a whole bunch of regulations. It’s interesting, we learn more and more each day as our government changes them, or FINRA or the SEC. There’s always something new to adapt and change to. But at a high level, when you look at the financial industry, its regulations are there to protect our consumers, prevent fraud, and limit risk. And the risk limiting is mainly what can that financial institution do to investor’s money? So, looking at risk, that was probably one of the big selling points. So, as we approached our architectural review board, I basically highlighted basically how automation can help lower the risk, as previously mentioned, as well as the rewards, such as consistent delivery of service, improving mean time to restore service improved SLAs, satisfactions. I mean, the list can go on if you can put the case properly. And basically, with the help and guidance of the review board, we were able to adopt it and we’re now moving in the right direction.

Guy Nadivi: Dwayne, I think it would be very interesting for the listeners if you could talk a bit about the platforms that you’re performing automation upon in your environment.

Dwayne White: So, platforms, integrations, an example would be Active Directory. So we currently have automations that deal with self-services to modify Active Directory to find user accounts. We revoke user accounts. We add users to various security groups. And we can schedule the automations. We have hooks that are tied into Microsoft Exchange, we’re hooked into the file shares, we’re doing work with ServiceNow. With ServiceNow, basically, we use that as the catalyst to monitor the ITSM queues, to pull back service requests and incidents that we can respond to with automation, as well as you’ve also got to look at your automations you’re creating as not being dealt with. So, for example, if you have an automation that is going to reach out and do something with Active Directory, what happens if your Active Directory controller is not working? You need to put in some error checking and then detect the error and then go ahead and create an incident for someone else to look at it. So that’s how we go ahead and create incidents with ServiceNow. We also hooked into Microsoft SQL servers, we’re doing access provisioning, space consumption and alerting. We do work with Windows servers, we take incidents, we call them “level zero triaging”, as well as we’ve got scheduled service restarts. We’ve also got automations that are tied into third party web services. With that we do REST APIs, data extraction and reporting, as well as we create incidents off of those. What we’re working on now, and hopefully over the next few months is the integration packs for AWS. So we’re starting to hook into the Cloud and see what we can automate out there. We’re going to start working on SharePoint here soon. Also, let’s see, Oracle database access provisioning. And it’s interesting, in talking about the regulatory stuff above, when we first got the platform, our regulatory team came to us with some automation suggestions, and we got those implemented for them. So it was nice to have that as one of our first automations. We’re happy.

Guy Nadivi: Okay. Clearly you’re automating and attempting to automate lots of different processes. So how do you define success once you’ve automated a process?

Dwayne White: Success, we actually try and get the success defined before we automate. And what we do is we basically engage with the teams. So an example, if someone comes to our team and says, “Hey, I got this widget and I need this widget and process automated.” So what we do is we look at the number of requests that would come in, that’s being done manually. We’d take a look at the triggers that would trigger the workload, and the time that it would take to complete the request manually. And what is the current SLA for the request and/or work incident, what’s the mean time to resolve it? Outside of that, we also look at the effort we put into the automation versus a manual task. So, for example, if the manual task, right now it takes an hour, but you’re only doing it three times a month, maybe that’s something we’ll keep in place. That’d be a manual process because it’s the development effort to design the automation might be longer than that. So, for example, recently we did a thing with Active Directory, a simple automation to add somebody to a security group. Our current statistics have basically shown us that the manual process had averaged about 1.5 days for the team to actually do the work. And that’s with the ticket coming in, somebody approving the ticket, and then, over the next one and a half days, somebody actually doing the work outside of their normal daily routine. We found out we were averaging about 265 of those requests a month, but once the team actually got the ticket and did the work on it, it actually only took about five minutes. So, doing the math, and this goes back to the success part, the manual process was 265 tickets, five minutes each; basically we were spending about 22 hours a month on that one ticket item in a manual process. Also, you’ve got to remember, it took one and a half days for them to finally get this ticket done. Now, you throw in some automation with it, you get to take the same 265 tickets, instead of being five minutes, it’s now done in 30 seconds, and we’re only spending 2.2 hours of automation time on it. So we just freed up 22 man hours. And the other nice cherry on the top is, if you remember, it took one and a half days for the manual process to finally open and close. With automation, we’re talking 30 seconds, because we’re constantly polling our ITSM tools for the next ticket. So now you have a clear, consistent, repeatable process that your customers will see, and it’s a win/win.

Guy Nadivi: Okay. So now I’m a bit curious; do you ever get more formal by calculating the ROI of automating a particular process? And if so, other than time-savings, what kind of metrics are most relevant for you?

Dwayne White: So for us, I present my management, I try to at least monthly, to know how our team is performing. And part of that is showing the automations that we took over and what the manual process was keyed up at as far as SLAs and time to resolve for incidents … I’m sorry, mean time to resolve for incidents. And I’ll put together a nice little dashboard showing them the savings done with it, as well as any failures within our automation, which is very, very limited. But it’s a nice dashboard that shows them the KPIs that they want to look at.

Guy Nadivi: Dwayne, with all the processes you’ve automated, I’m curious if there’s any particular one that stands out as the most successful IT business process you’ve automated?

Dwayne White: So I would say the most successful one that we’ve automated … oh, let’s see. So we have about 43 automations right now. Of those, most successful, I would probably have to say it’s probably the employee offboarding automation. What makes it successful is that one’s actually looked at from a internal audit perspective. So for an example, when an employee decides to move on or is terminated, whatever the case may be, once the effective date comes in, we have two business days to get them terminated and off-board properly out of our systems. So what was different about this is they can actually put the ticket in a couple of weeks in advance. So, for example, if a guy wanted to move on from Ayehu, he would tender his resignation and they would go ahead and submit the termination paperwork, but it wouldn’t be effective until let’s say two weeks down the road. So for us, it was trying to pull in and design the automation to where when the ticket was put into the system and it had all the approvals, how not to process it until the actual effective date. So that one did stump us for a while, but we did work through that one finally, and we’ve got it in place and it has been running successful right now for probably about four or five months. And the nice thing is we’re able to use that as a framework for other automations that had similar characteristics with it. If you look at what we had to do with our employee offboarding, it would take a system admin 30 minutes to go through and touch upon the different areas that they had to remove accounts from, or pull them out of different security groups or distribution lists. Now, automation does it in two minutes, and it does it within the 2-day SLA, the second the effective date happens at, let’s say this Friday at 5:00 PM, automation is kicking off. So we don’t have to worry about, “Uh oh, you were working over the weekend,” or, “You didn’t have to work over the weekend to make sure you kept your SLA.” And it’s kept our internal audit team happy, Infosec’s been pleased, and haven’t had any issues. So.

Guy Nadivi: Dwayne, you were in the Marines for nearly six years, but not in an IT capacity. First off, I’m sure I speak on behalf of all of our listeners when I say thank you for your service. Secondly, I’m curious to hear how did being a Marine prepare you for a career in IT operations?

Dwayne White: Yeah, let’s see. And thank you, it was my pleasure. I actually enjoyed the service. Actually I joined when I was in high school. So they had a program back then called a delayed entry program; you could join in your senior year, and upon graduation, you can go ahead and jump into the Marine Corps. So that’s what I did. I had a nice two week summer vacation. And this was … oh, let’s see, back in 1984. So I served in the Marines from ’84 to 1990. And Marines, there’s different jobs in the Marine Corps. So I was assigned to a helicopter squadron and my role was an aviation ordinance technician. Normally you’d think that sounds like fun, and it was, but as an aviation ordinance technician, a lot of people think, “Oh, cool, you get to play with bombs and missiles and things like that.” And there’s not many things to automate, it’s a lot of manual work, it’s heavy lifting. But what people don’t think about, and sometimes they forget, is our government and the military, they love their paperwork. And the paperwork has to deal with maintenance on the aircraft, personnel changes, scheduling, you name it. There was a ton of paperwork that was being done. And we didn’t really have a computer back then, but we had a nice typewriter, a beautiful … probably, if I think about it, maybe a Xerox typewriter. And that’s how I learned how to type. That plus high school. But from there, I went ahead and took a course at a local community college. I was stationed out in Jacksonville, North Carolina. And the class I took was around data processing because I thought that would be a good fit because I got tired of trying to type on the typewriter and make everyone happy, because my penmanship’s not the best in the world. And after graduating from the community college, I was able to come back to my shop, convince our Master Sergeant that, “Hey, we really need to get a computer because I can help us with all this typewriter stuff by taking it from a typewriter and putting it into a computer and then producing the same paperwork, the same forms, changing what we needed to change.” And I got that implemented. It took a little while, a lot of hit and misses, but it soon started working for us. And that’s how I got going with the automation. Outside of that, I’m in the Marine Corps, it’s great. I mean, how they prepared me, like everything else, it’s how they train you. It’s the discipline, it’s the operational efficiency of the Marine Corps. If we wouldn’t be efficient, we wouldn’t be disciplined. That’s it, pretty much, in a nutshell.

Guy Nadivi: Dwayne, for the CIOs, CTOs and other IT executives listening in, what is the one big ‘must have’ piece of advice you’d like them to take away from our discussion with regards to implementing automation?

Dwayne White: I would probably tell them that they need to invest into a dedicated automation team. What I mean by that, it’s not going to be someone’s part time job, it’s not going to be an afterthought, it’s truly a team dedicated to automation. And once you have that in place, you get them involved with your projects. You get them involved early on, because they’re going to bring a skillset that they haven’t seen before, because there’s still a lot of IT companies who are used to manual processes. If you look at a lot of the data center operations or batch operations, you’ve got these operators glued to your computer monitors, and all they’re doing is staring at it and waiting for something to happen. Or maybe they have a task list that they have to go through at nighttime to make sure the batch processes are running properly. Those are opportunities for automations, and you’re not going to see those unless you have a dedicated team who’s out looking for them. The other thing, and I tell this to my team and the teams that I work with when I’m trying to get them to bring me more ideas for automation, is do not look at automation as a means to replace your staff. That shouldn’t be your first thoughts, thinking that you could save a few dollars. You need to look at it as an opportunity to give back to your staff time. As we mentioned earlier, that one automation, it went from 22 hours down to two hours. There’s 20 hours of time back to your staff for them to focus now on your manager’s next big project, or give them time to invest back into their training through their career development. It’s a win. You can’t go wrong.

Guy Nadivi: Great advice from a hands on practitioner. All right, looks like that’s all the time we have for on this episode of Intelligent Automation Radio. Dwayne, our listeners have told us they want to hear more firsthand insights from automation practitioners like yourself, and you’ve definitely delivered that to our audience today. Thank you very much for coming onto the show. Dwayne White: Oh, thank you. Have a good day.

Guy Nadivi: Dwayne White, Vice President of Technology Automation at LPL Financial Services.

Thank you for listening everyone. And remember, don’t hesitate, automate.



Dwayne White

Vice President of Technology Automation at LPL Financial Services

Dwayne White has been with LPL Financial almost 20 years and a Developer for almost 30 years.  LPL Financial is the largest independent broker/dealer in the country supporting nearly 17,000 financial advisors.  While at LPL Financial, Dwayne has held various roles:  Software Developer, Incident Management, Problem Management, Data Center Operations, Service Delivery Management, NOC Operations and he has managed diverse teams to include Database Admin’s & Developers, Network Engineers, Developers, Windows Operations & Engineering, Unix Operations & Engineering, Active Directory, Exchange Engineers & NOC Engineers. 

Dwayne’s current role with LPL Financial is Vice-President Technology Automation.  In his new role, he and his team focus on delivering Infrastructure as Code & IT Process Automations focused on Service Delivery and Incident triage.  Dwayne is a strong believer that Technology Teams need to embrace Automation as a tool for their arsenal as part of their Digital Transformation and let them know Automation is not a threat to their job.  Let the automation handle the day-to-day grunt work and allow your teams to focus on the company’s larger efforts & priorities.  The end result will be a happy customer & client. 

Dwayne can be reached at: 

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

Email:              Dwayne.White@lpl.com 

Quotes

“ITIL basically is a framework that people used for instituting IT business processes. And once we started moving down the ITIL model and we started maturing our processes, things got a lot better for us. It was a good thing to do.” 

“…usually, when change is implemented and transformation is implemented, sometimes it's done well, sometimes it's done poorly, and when it's done poorly it's mainly due to lack of communication out to the teams. What we found is that our teams, they want to be involved. They want to know what change is coming down the pipe. They want to have a voice in that change.” 

"…I tell this to my team and the teams that I work with when I'm trying to get them to bring me more ideas for automation, is do not look at automation as a means to replace your staff." 

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
Episode #5: Why your organization should aim to become a Digital Master (DTI) report
Episode #6: Insights from IBM: Digital Workforce and a Software-Based Labor Model
Episode #7: Developments Influencing the Automation Standards of the Future
Episode #8: A Critical Analysis of AI’s Future Potential & Current Breakthroughs
Episode #9: How Automation and AI are Disrupting Healthcare Information Technology
Episode #10: Key Findings From Researching the AI Market & How They Impact IT
Episode #11: Key Metrics that Justify Automation Projects & Win Budget Approvals
Episode #12: How Cognitive Digital Twins May Soon Impact Everything
Episode #13: The Gold Rush Being Created By Conversational AI
Episode #14: How Automation Can Reduce the Risks of Cyber Security Threats
Episode #15: Leveraging Predictive Analytics to Transform IT from Reactive to Proactive
Episode #16: How the Coming Tsunami of AI & Automation Will Impact Every Aspect of Enterprise Operations
Episode #17: Back to the Future of AI & Machine Learning
Episode #18: Implementing Automation From A Small Company Perspective
Episode #19: Why Embracing Consumerization is Key To Delivering Enterprise-Scale Automation
Episode #20: Applying Ancient Greek Wisdom to 21st Century Emerging Technologies
Episode #21: Powering Up Energy & Utilities Providers’ Digital Transformation with Intelligent Automation & Ai
Episode #22: A Prominent VC’s Advice for AI & Automation Entrepreneurs
Episode #23: How Automation Digitally Transformed British Law Enforcement
Episode #24: Should Enterprises Use AI & Machine Learning Just Because They Can?
Episode #25: Why Being A Better Human Is The Best Skill to Have in the Age of AI & Automation
Episode #26: How To Run A Successful Digital Transformation
Episode #27: Why Enterprises Should Have A Chief Automation Officer
Episode #28: How AIOps Tames Systems Complexity & Overcomes Talent Shortages
Episode #29: How Applying Darwin’s Theories To Ai Could Give Enterprises The Ultimate Competitive Advantage
Episode #30: How AIOps Will Hasten The Digital Transformation Of Data Centers
Episode #31: Could Implementing New Learning Models Be Key To Sustaining Competitive Advantages Generated By Digital Transformation?
Episode #32: How To Upscale Automation, And Leave Your Competition Behind
Episode #33: How To Upscale Automation, And Leave Your Competition Behind
Episode #34: What Large Enterprises Can Learn From Automation In SMB’s
Episode #35: The Critical Steps You Must Take To Avoid The High Failure Rates Endemic To Digital Transformation
Episode #36: Why Baking Ethics Into An AI Project Isn't Just Good Practice, It's Good Business
Episode #37: From Witnessing Poland’s Transformation After Communism’s Collapse To Leading Digital Transformation For Global Enterprises
Episode #38: Why Mastering Automation Will Determine Which MSPs Succeed Or Disappear
Episode #39: Accelerating Enterprise Digital Transformation Could Be IT’s Best Response To The Coronavirus Pandemic
Episode #40: Key Insights Gained From Overseeing 1,200 Automation Projects That Saved Over $250 Million
Episode #41: How A Healthcare Organization Confronted COVID-19 With Automation & AI
Episode #42: Why Chatbot Conversation Architects Might Be The Unheralded Heroes Of Digital Transformation
Episode #43: How Automation, AI, & Other Technologies Are Advancing Post-Modern Enterprises In The Lands Of The Midnight Sun
Episode #44: Sifting Facts From Hype About Actual AIOps Capabilities Today & Future Potential Tomorrow
Episode #45: Why Focusing On Trust Is Key To Delivering Successful AI
Episode #46: Why Chatbots Are Critical For Tapping Into The Most Lucrative Demographics
Episode #47: Telling It Like It Is: A 7-Time Silicon Valley CIO Explains How IT’s Role Will Radically Change Over The Next Decade
Episode #48: How Microsoft Will Change The World (Again) Via Automation
Episode #49: How One Man’s Automation Journey Took Him From Accidental CIO To Unconventional VC

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Disclaimer Note

Neither the Intelligent Automation Radio Podcast, Ayehu, nor the guest interviewed on the podcast are making any recommendations as to investing in this or any other automation technology. The information in this podcast is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Please do you own due diligence and consult with a professional adviser before making any investment

3 Ways to Fine-Tune Your AI for Continuous Process Improvement

3 Ways to Fine-Tune Your AI for Continuous Process Improvement

Getting up and running with artificial intelligence in your organization can be an exciting and even liberating experience. Suddenly, your infrastructure has more unity. Productivity and efficiency are through the roof. Errors have all but been eliminated. Profitability is skyrocketing. But then, over time, things start to level out. Suddenly, the numbers aren’t as impressive. Problems have been slowly but surely ticking back upward.

What gives? You and your team worked so hard to adopt and deploy AI across the organization. You were hailed heroes by your fellow business leaders. Yet, now, it seems complacency has set in. What’s more, as is the case for many organizations, a lack of ownership and collaboration between teams has begun to erode the progress that was previously being made.

The truth is, AI, just like any other major technology initiatives, is something that is fluid. Digital transformation doesn’t just occur one day and stop. It requires ongoing evolution, which means that, in order to continue to get the most out of artificial intelligence and automation capabilities, you must routinely prune and fine-tune your efforts.

Not sure where to begin? Here are three ways to ensure the time, talent and other resources you’ve invested into AI will remain relevant and profitable.

Develop a collaborative team.

In order for AI to be universally beneficial, different teams and departments must work together toward shared goals. But that doesn’t mean people will naturally step up to the plate. In many organizations, it’s necessary to establish a designated team with the purpose of collaborating on and contributing to the development of policies and procedures that will deliver continuous improvement of AI initiatives. In particular, there should be representatives from key groups, including IT, data science and the end users.

Keep your cycle active.

One area where many organizations fall short when it comes to successful implementation of artificial intelligence is their machine learning cycle. We’ve said it time and time again, but it bears repeating that AI is only as good as the data that’s driving it. The fact is, the logic and data you used to set up your initial AI project may no longer be relevant. The best way to ensure consistent accuracy between your algorithms and the areas in which they are applied is to keep your cycle active and pivot whenever and wherever it’s deemed necessary.

Employ retirement policies.

We’ve all heard the expression, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” The opposite could be said for AI initiatives. In order to remain agile and competitive, you must be willing to scrap the things that are no longer delivering value. Otherwise, you will be wasting resources that could be better used elsewhere. Develop and implement policies that include routine audits and strategies for next-steps, whether it be modifying to improve or retiring wasteful workflows altogether.

In a successful AI deployment, there are a lot of moving parts. The last thing you want is for any of those parts to become stagnant. To avoid this, you must continuously work to not only keep things running smoothly, but also optimize your strategy over time. Doing so will enable you to maximize the benefits of artificial intelligence and keep you a step ahead, both in terms of internal operations as well as with your competition.

cio guide to operational efficiency

Episode #49: How One Man’s Automation Journey Took Him From Accidental CIO to Unconventional VC – Ridge Ventures’ Yousuf Khan

September 24, 2020    Episodes

Episode #49: How One Man’s Automation Journey Took Him From Accidental CIO to Unconventional VC

In today’s episode of Ayehu’s podcast, we interview Yousuf Khan – Partner at Ridge Ventures

Perhaps you’ve heard the famous African Proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go with others”. Our guest on this episode has gone far, but he’s also gone pretty fast. Yousuf Khan has been CIO for a number of high-profile startups, a couple of them quite notable in the automation space.  His talent and vision led him to those roles, but his networking and outreach allowed him to excel.  Now as Partner with an early stage venture capital fund, he advises both CIOs and startups on how they can work together to bring next generation innovations to market. 

We learn quite a few insights from Yousuf in this discussion, including when it’s better to use artificial intelligence versus automation, how IT executives can prepare themselves to become CIOs, and why the CIO Group Therapy Dinners he started have not only led to better CIO decision-making, but better features in technology products. 



Guy Nadivi:Welcome everyone. My name is Guy Nadivi and I’m the host of Intelligent Automation Radio. Our guest on today’s episode is Yousuf Khan, Partner at Ridge Ventures an early stage venture capital fund. Yousuf is also a former five-time CIO, most recently at Automation Anywhere and Moveworks, two well-known and high-profile automation providers. Yousuf’s unique perspective as both investor and practitioner in the automation space, makes him a highly coveted thought leader. And given the stepped-up adoption of automation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to tap into his considerable insights and gain a better understanding of what senior IT executives should be aware of as digital transformations are accelerated for business resiliency, as well as competitive advantage. Yousuf welcome to Intelligent Automation Radio.

Yousuf Khan: I thank you so much for having me here. I’m really excited to talk to you. I know you had 17 other people that you wanted to have on this slot, but when you call me up at 2am in the morning and say you’re exceptionally desperate and you need that extra guest, I’m your man. So I appreciate being over here and thank you for having me.

Guy Nadivi: You were the first one to say yes, and we’re happy to have you.

Yousuf Khan: I don’t want to brag, but that’s how I roll. But thank you.

Guy Nadivi: So Yousuf tell us about your background and how you became a CIO in the field of automation?

Yousuf Khan: So first of all, you’ve made a very generous introduction. I think the long short summary is I’ve been a CIO and the first CIO of five companies. And that gave me the exposure to have a very broad mandate, especially if you’re the first technology leader for a company. When you’re looking at internal functions, you can look at it very broadly. And that allowed me to look at everything for business applications and cyber security, of course build out an automation strategy, look at data management and then also advise on go to market. And so my CIO experiences have really looked at those sort of functions and a little bit more. And after two decades of plans and operating, I decided that it was time for me to be able to aid the next generation of startups in enterprise software in my little way that I can having advised companies in the past. And so I decided to join a great firm in Ridge Ventures and looking to invest between three and 7 million into late seed and series A enterprise companies. And hopefully that will aid the next generation of companies, and hopefully I can be helpful in their journey.

Guy Nadivi: Something very interesting is that you founded a group called the CIO Group Therapy Dinner. I know that therapy sessions are always supposed to remain confidential, but can you share some details about any breakthroughs made by participating CIOs at these dinners?

Yousuf Khan: Very interesting question. And yeah, it was kind of a little bit of a joke, but it, as I like to say, I was the CIO of several companies and the chief dinner organizer for a number of CIOs in what I termed as group therapy. And that’s been going on for several years. It started on the back of me joining a company where I was having a real tough time with a specific initiative, which was pretty highly visible and highly critical. And candidly speaking, I felt a little bit out of my depth and wanted to connect with other peers. And I felt that going to large events was probably not the most useful way, at least for me at the time. And when I set up a dinner between two CIOs, myself and one other, 12 people showed up and discovered that a lot of us were having the same issues and we wanted to have those discussions. So over the years I organized those dinners now ranging in the several hundred, which were either sponsored by a VC or a startup. And the objective of those dinners was really to give candid feedback and have a candid discussion. And a lot of really interesting insights. I think first and foremost, I got to understand personally how to make better decisions as a CIO when it comes to specific initiatives, because I was able to learn the lessons from my peers. Second, I think a lot of the startups which wanted feedback. It wasn’t a pitching session. There was no PowerPoint. There was no presentations or even demos. It was a candid conversation between the founding team and the group of CIOs. Product feedback and I think some of the output and some of the features you’ve seen in some of the products that go out there was directly driven from some of those dinners. And I think probably the most important piece was there was a sense of pretty great camaraderie. I’ve been a big advocate for the CIO role, advising CEOs on their first CIO hire as well as being able to, and so part of that is also about sharing the lessons and being able to create a community. And I think those were some of the benefits that sort of came out of that. It largely was just a lot of fun. I continue to organize dinners even virtually now. And I think one of the things that I’ve learned is that you learn a lot from your community around you, and I think it’s something that we can all benefit from.

Guy Nadivi: Since you’re now on the investment side, let’s talk a bit about startups. The vast majority of innovation in automation, AI, and other digitally transformative technologies comes from startups, which can be challenging for enterprises accustomed to working with larger players. Yousuf, how should CIOs work with startups?

Yousuf Khan: One of the things that I’ve found in talking with CIOs has been that they are risk averse in some cases about talking to startups. They’ll happily take a meeting. In some cases, some will not take a meeting, but very few really want to engage at the early stage. I think I’ve definitely been on the opposite side of that having been a design partner of a number of startups. I’ve been early advisor, I’ve been an informal advisor to a number of companies. And so what the way I think CIOs should think about this is as follows. I think if you want to innovate at scale fundamentally and you’re trying to solve a problem in a very creative way, the high chance is that there’s a startup that is focusing on the exact same problem to a certain degree. And so therefore tapping into that with a very focused effort and collaborating and partnering on that is really beneficial for you, number one. Number two is by engaging with startups, it’s a very good development opportunity and professional opportunity for each of your teams and your direct reports. IT teams don’t get enough credit, and that’s why I’ve been such an advocate for the CIO role and mentor IT directors and IT managers. Being able to help even in the infancy of building out a product at an early stage and being able to say that, it’s a great exercise for professional growth. It’s a great opportunity for that. And it allows people to figure out and discover different skills. I think the third piece is that, I would go on to say make a resolution that you want to engage with one startup or two startups a year that you can choose. And that basically means that you need to basically spend a little bit of time connecting with VCs. And sure, I can say that from a vested interest standpoint and hopefully I can be helpful to my CIO peers, but I think being able to say, “Here are the one or two problems that I care about most, and I want to be able to talk to companies in this space,” and you’d be very surprised that you’d actually be able to see some very creative approaches. You haven’t got much to lose by being able to engage. And I think it’s a very, very good use of time. So that’s my recommendation typically.

Guy Nadivi: Interesting. Given your extensive experience Yousuf, where can automation be most useful to an organization and how can a CIO best lead that automation journey?

Yousuf Khan: So the most key thing that you’ve pointed out in your question is that it’s a journey. Automation is a journey in a company and people need to start that journey for a very good reason. Number one is the compute power is now available for us to be able to really be able to drive automation into our businesses. Number two, the data sets are now there. And number three, the innovation and the thinking is there, both internally and externally with companies like Moveworks and Automation Anywhere, which I’ve had the honor to work with in the past. And so understanding that is a journey is the first step. The second part is to be able to think about where you can get a very clear visible win, and that requires you to be able to spend time being able to think about your processes just a little bit more, and then being able to drive that further forward. Third, and probably most important piece is, when you think about RPA, you think about repetitive work and you’ve seen companies, and that’s why companies like Automation Anywhere have been successful, because they’ve been able to drive and deliver customer value consistently by being able to take repetitive processes and being able to completely reduce the human effort of them and automate them entirely. Moveworks has fundamentally been able to understand that you can apply powerful techniques, like natural language understanding and machine learning to be able to resolve IT support issues and IT operational issues in a very, very great user experience using messaging systems like Slack and Teams. And they’ve done that super well. And so, all of those started off in a journey by being able to understand a problem and framing that. Number two, being able to understand that you can do it differently. And number three, understanding that this is the start of the journey that it could basically lead on to. And that’s been pretty consistent with a lot of the CIOs I’ve spoken to as well as being able to look at the number of different solutions.

Guy Nadivi: Artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming more common in enterprises, especially with all the digital transformation initiatives out there. Yousuf, where is it best to use artificial intelligence and machine learning and where is it best to use automation?

Yousuf Khan: Well, that’s an excellent question. I think it’s really important that we take a little bit of a step back, because the buzzwords have been out there for a little while and I think a lot of people get enamored by them. And so, my biggest advice is when you think about use cases, I would break it down into a couple of things. Number one is, are you solving the business problem first and foremost? And what that business problem is will help you try to figure out whether it’s a problem of manual repetitive work for which automation is a very good use case, versus one which requires more automation using more creative techniques, such as NLU and machine learning or otherwise. And so I think framing that problem is probably the most important first step. Second is thinking about use cases from an industry standpoint, which could be beneficial. So if you think about things like fraud prevention, fraud prevention that’s been very common for people to look at statistical processes and techniques and pattern matching to combat fraud prevention for large say telcos or retailers, because that’s a use case that has been sort of beneficial, versus something which is overly creative where the data sets are too varied, machine learning becomes a huge problem. If you think about companies like Moveworks, Moveworks was successful because it understood the business outcome which was being able to resolve IT support tickets. It understood the goal of being able to do that across some very specific areas and then grow it its impact. Automation Anywhere looked at repetitive processes and then built onto intelligent automation. And I think that was important to be able to think about from a use case standpoint. The use cases for each varied, right? If you think about automation, well there’s a lot of repetitive process. So use cases that are typical for automation can range from data entry where you are, I was experienced, for example, migrating one system to another. And the data structures for those were completely varied. And so rather than having to convert them through human effort, being able to do that through a bot designed by Automation Anywhere was great. If you think about a contract order process, which runs in the back end between connecting two systems, you could use automation for things like that. Whereas if you think about chat bots, and if you think about being able to have user experience, then solutions like Moveworks are a great outcome and they’re focused on an end goal, which applies across the entire company. Everyone needs IT support, and so that’s where ML and techniques like NLU become really beneficial. I think the important thing to think about is, one, think about the clear outcome that you’re trying to solve. Number two, the method that you’re basically using, and probably number three is, what is the incremental journey that you’re on being able to continue to add value by using either one of machine learning or automation techniques?

Guy Nadivi: Specifically with regards to automating processes like some of the ones you just listed, how do you think CIOs can best manage teams for automation?

Yousuf Khan: I think probably the most important thing is to actually have that as a focus area. And I do think that there’s a function within companies that should be focused on automation and automation teams should be created. Number one, I think it’s a huge opportunity for professional growth and development. Number two, I think it’s a huge business need, and number three I think it requires dedicated focus. And I think one thing people have not really appreciated, the benefit of automation is it empowers people. It’s much better for morale in a lot of cases where you’re able to take away manual repetitive tasks. And it’s a great sign of innovation for IT teams. And so definitively they should be thinking about building an entire function for that. And that’s one aspect. The second is you’ve got to re-think differently about your processes. I said that earlier, I think it’s important to not be able to migrate. That requires a fresh set of thinking. Companies expand, they grow. In some cases they contract, they take on more technology than they’ve ever done before. Companies are now becoming more technology-driven companies. Software is not just driving companies. It is being embedded in companies. And so therefore you can’t just simply take your old process and put them into this new way of thinking. And probably the third thing is they’ve got to be very focused on goals and put kind of measurements around success. And I think that’s important to do. I think you can be in a journey and it could be a very long journey unfortunately, and you’ve got to be able to iterate along the way. And I think that’s very, very important as well.

Guy Nadivi: Having worked for some automation vendors Yousuf, you’ve seen a lot of automation deployments. I’m curious, which industries did you see that had particularly successful results from deploying automation?

Yousuf Khan: It’s important to basically point out that the opportunity for automation exists across multiple verticals, I think number one. Number two is in terms of the functions, there are some that do really, really well. And some that require a little bit more effort and a little bit more thinking. Let me give you some examples. If I think about customer service, well the opportunity for automation there has really been when you have a high level of demand and you’re not able to, for example, scale-up your customer service center like an airline, for example, may have done over the last several months or a hotel chain. You can’t hire people fast enough, but their processes are very much specifically the same. Refunds, cancellations, otherwise. Could that process be automated? And so definitively the answer to that is yes. And that’s been proven, that’s been done. In some cases in financial services I’ve seen those verticals work well. We’ve experienced that myself. If you want to basically, you’ve gone away from being having to call and actually speak to someone about a lost or stolen credit card. You’re able to fundamentally run through that function through a combination of voice commands, but also candidly speaking through text and be able to basically get a new card ordered without any friction in the process whatsoever. And so I think those things, again, fundamentally if it’s repetitive that’s going to be easy to do, and it’s going to apply across a number of different verticals. I think it’s important to think about the fact that there’s a lot of opportunities which automation is not just about a customer experience. It’s really just about being able to get the work done. That’s a simple way of basically saying is, if you think about a data entry work across different systems, being able to just eradicate that because you understand the type of data going from one system to the other and being able to convert that could be easily done simply because you’re able to train a bot to do it. That’s a definitive value. And that applies across any company because systems are being changed and upgraded all the time. If you are looking at supply chain and inventory management, being able to track those and being able to not just automate the reordering of something, but also to be able to send out warnings and notifications is definitively of value. All of these fundamentally say that automation is a very, very big opportunity for enterprises and companies, and they should be thinking about very deeply about how to be able to benefit from that.

Guy Nadivi: Let’s talk about cybersecurity, which is always a topic of paramount importance to CIOs. And you’ve been CIO of some cybersecurity companies as well as automation vendors. Yousuf, what should CIOs be aware of and concerned about when it comes to the security of their automation initiatives?

Yousuf Khan: I think there’s a couple of things here. First of all, I think, cybersecurity is gone from being kind of something to be discussed, which is something that people will get round to talking about to now being very much in the mainstream and being discussed at boardrooms on a regular basis as an agenda item. Right, so it’s evolved over time. And so I don’t think it’s as specific as saying, “Well, should we think about security in the automation space?” Fundamentally you are buying software or you’re building software from leading vendors. I think that the vantage point that you would apply is really about what are the key areas that that automation is touching. Number one, it’s having access to your systems and being able to touch a number of different systems. So being able to make sure that the APIs are secure and robust. Second, if it’s touching sensitive data, then you’ve got to be very diligent about figuring out how that actually is happening and how you’re able to test that out. Number three, probably most importantly is to really think about the testing that goes into it. Automation use cases can vary from as simple as an email notification to data migration, to financial transactions happening. And it’s really, really important to be able to make sure that you understand that there’s going to be regulations around that, and you have to provide that vantage point as well. So I don’t think it’s massively different to what a CIO would look at when they look to buy a software solution. I think the difference is because this is something that you’re more deeply involved in from a creative standpoint, it’s important to take that extra step to be able to understand what parts of your infrastructure the automation is actually touching and how is that basically protected. And of course, how you’re avoiding making misfires by basically being able to send data out accidentally because you’re in control of that.

Guy Nadivi: Yousuf, for the IT executives and others listening in, what advice would you give them if they’re looking to move into a CIO role?

Yousuf Khan: I’m very grateful to have learned from a number of CIOs. I’ve also taken the objective to learn from different members of the C-suite, of what they expect from CIOs. And so with that in mind, I think I would probably give some key piece of advice. Advice number one is fundamentally the CIO role is a leadership role. And so you have to ask yourself a very honest question, which is, what type of leader do you actually want to be? And I think that’s important because people in IT teams are looking for more leadership, for guidance, both in their careers, but also in terms of direction. I think the second is, how do you navigate complex decision-making and prioritization of work? There’s no shortage of work for the IT organizations, the very hardworking IT organizations that I’ve worked with and I’ve met. And I think it’s really important that CIOs understand how they’re able to, if you want to be a CIO, how you are able to prioritize and how you’re able to basically make decisions. I think the third thing is probably, figure out how you’re able to communicate more effectively across, not just your team, but also across the C-suite and other executive leaders and across the company. I think the CIOs who are most effective in their roles are ones who are able to communicate with customers and partners as well as internal to their teams, as well as the company. Because change management enablement is very, very hard. And I think technological change is something which is really happening more and more in companies. And that’s being driven by CIOs and being able to explain that change, being able to drive that change, being able to see the success of it is a CIO’s responsibility. And so being able to do that, communication is one of the key things that they need to be able to focus on. So that would be my other piece of advice.

Guy Nadivi: Great words of advice from a former five time CIO.

Yousuf Khan: Well, yeah, I would say former is good and a want-to-be VC. I’m the accidental CIO and definitely the unconventional VC as I’ve said a couple of times, but I hope it’s been a benefit to many of my CIO peers.

Guy Nadivi: All right.

Yousuf Khan: Yeah.

Guy Nadivi: Well, it looks like that’s all the time we have for on this episode of Intelligent Automation Radio. Yousuf, It’s always great hearing from an investor in the automation space, but especially someone like yourself, who’s got hands on background that affords him a bit of an advantaged viewpoint. I’m sure our listeners found great value in hearing your perspective today. Thank you very much for coming on the show.

Yousuf Khan: Thank you. Thank you very much Guy. And one thing I do want to say is I do want to thank you for all that you’re doing for the community. I think these conversations are important, not just because I’m having them, but I think you’ve done a great portfolio of work, and I think we could all benefit from that. So thank you for all your work in this community.

Guy Nadivi:I appreciate that. Thank you very much. Yousuf Khan, partner at Ridge Ventures, an early stage venture capital fund. Thank you for listening everyone. And remember, don’t hesitate, automate.



Yousuf Khan

Partner at Ridge Ventures

Yousuf Khan is a Partner at Ridge Ventures and technology leader. Prior to Ridge Ventures he spent several years in executive leadership roles as the CIO at Automation Anywhere, Moveworks, Pure Storage and Qualys. He has been the first CIO at these companies where he led teams covering intelligent automation, IT operations, business applications,  cloud operations to information security. In each of these roles, he has held a broad executive ownership of functions ranging from driving cyber security to executive go to market programs as well as customer success.  

He has been an active member of the CIO community as someone who drives collaboration in the community as well as advising CEO’s of fast growth companies about their technology operations strategy. Yousuf has also been involved in advising early stage founding teams on product and go to market strategy.   

Yousuf can be reached at: 

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

Ridge Ventures:        https://ridge.vc/ 

Quotes

“I think if you want to innovate at scale fundamentally and you're trying to solve a problem in a very creative way, the high chance is that there's a startup that is focusing on the exact same problem to a certain degree. And so therefore tapping into that with a very focused effort and collaborating and partnering on that is really beneficial for you…” 

“…I think one thing people have not really appreciated, the benefit of automation is it empowers people. It's much better for morale in a lot of cases where you're able to take away manual repetitive tasks. And it's a great sign of innovation for IT teams.” 

"Companies are now becoming more technology-driven companies. Software is not just driving companies. It is being embedded in companies. And so therefore you can't just simply take your old process and put them into this new way of thinking." 

“I think it's important to think about the fact that there's a lot of opportunities which automation is not just about a customer experience. It's really just about being able to get the work done.” 

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
Episode #5: Why your organization should aim to become a Digital Master (DTI) report
Episode #6: Insights from IBM: Digital Workforce and a Software-Based Labor Model
Episode #7: Developments Influencing the Automation Standards of the Future
Episode #8: A Critical Analysis of AI’s Future Potential & Current Breakthroughs
Episode #9: How Automation and AI are Disrupting Healthcare Information Technology
Episode #10: Key Findings From Researching the AI Market & How They Impact IT
Episode #11: Key Metrics that Justify Automation Projects & Win Budget Approvals
Episode #12: How Cognitive Digital Twins May Soon Impact Everything
Episode #13: The Gold Rush Being Created By Conversational AI
Episode #14: How Automation Can Reduce the Risks of Cyber Security Threats
Episode #15: Leveraging Predictive Analytics to Transform IT from Reactive to Proactive
Episode #16: How the Coming Tsunami of AI & Automation Will Impact Every Aspect of Enterprise Operations
Episode #17: Back to the Future of AI & Machine Learning
Episode #18: Implementing Automation From A Small Company Perspective
Episode #19: Why Embracing Consumerization is Key To Delivering Enterprise-Scale Automation
Episode #20: Applying Ancient Greek Wisdom to 21st Century Emerging Technologies
Episode #21: Powering Up Energy & Utilities Providers’ Digital Transformation with Intelligent Automation & Ai
Episode #22: A Prominent VC’s Advice for AI & Automation Entrepreneurs
Episode #23: How Automation Digitally Transformed British Law Enforcement
Episode #24: Should Enterprises Use AI & Machine Learning Just Because They Can?
Episode #25: Why Being A Better Human Is The Best Skill to Have in the Age of AI & Automation
Episode #26: How To Run A Successful Digital Transformation
Episode #27: Why Enterprises Should Have A Chief Automation Officer
Episode #28: How AIOps Tames Systems Complexity & Overcomes Talent Shortages
Episode #29: How Applying Darwin’s Theories To Ai Could Give Enterprises The Ultimate Competitive Advantage
Episode #30: How AIOps Will Hasten The Digital Transformation Of Data Centers
Episode #31: Could Implementing New Learning Models Be Key To Sustaining Competitive Advantages Generated By Digital Transformation?
Episode #32: How To Upscale Automation, And Leave Your Competition Behind
Episode #33: How To Upscale Automation, And Leave Your Competition Behind
Episode #34: What Large Enterprises Can Learn From Automation In SMB’s
Episode #35: The Critical Steps You Must Take To Avoid The High Failure Rates Endemic To Digital Transformation
Episode #36: Why Baking Ethics Into An AI Project Isn't Just Good Practice, It's Good Business
Episode #37: From Witnessing Poland’s Transformation After Communism’s Collapse To Leading Digital Transformation For Global Enterprises
Episode #38: Why Mastering Automation Will Determine Which MSPs Succeed Or Disappear
Episode #39: Accelerating Enterprise Digital Transformation Could Be IT’s Best Response To The Coronavirus Pandemic
Episode #40: Key Insights Gained From Overseeing 1,200 Automation Projects That Saved Over $250 Million
Episode #41: How A Healthcare Organization Confronted COVID-19 With Automation & AI
Episode #42: Why Chatbot Conversation Architects Might Be The Unheralded Heroes Of Digital Transformation
Episode #43: How Automation, AI, & Other Technologies Are Advancing Post-Modern Enterprises In The Lands Of The Midnight Sun
Episode #44: Sifting Facts From Hype About Actual AIOps Capabilities Today & Future Potential Tomorrow
Episode #45: Why Focusing On Trust Is Key To Delivering Successful AI
Episode #46: Why Chatbots Are Critical For Tapping Into The Most Lucrative Demographics
Episode #47: Telling It Like It Is: A 7-Time Silicon Valley CIO Explains How IT’s Role Will Radically Change Over The Next Decade
Episode #48: How Microsoft Will Change The World (Again) Via Automation

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Disclaimer Note

Neither the Intelligent Automation Radio Podcast, Ayehu, nor the guest interviewed on the podcast are making any recommendations as to investing in this or any other automation technology. The information in this podcast is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Please do you own due diligence and consult with a professional adviser before making any investment

Is Your Organization AIOps-Ready? Here’s How to Get There in 3 Steps

3 steps to get AIOps ready

Digital transformation can be boiled down to three things: simplicity, innovation and intelligence. One of the most effective tools for achieving these things is AIOps. But adopting a new approach in any department can be daunting. Adding in the complexities of IT makes it even more challenging. When it comes to significant initiatives like this, taking it step-by-step can make things much more manageable. Let’s break down three phases that will make your AIOps implementation go much more smoothly.

Step 1: Define your goals.

You can’t expect to hit a target if you don’t have one in front of you. The first step in getting your organization ready to roll with AIOps is to determine exactly what you’d like to accomplish as the end-result. Take some time to identify areas of specific need where AIOps could provide resolution. Some examples of this might be supporting your ITSM team with alert escalation or improving service availability through incident management. You have to define your objectives first before you can develop a strategy for achieving them.

Step 2: Establish parameters for success.

Next, you must determine which parameters you will use to monitor and measure your success. Common AIOps success parameters include things such as mean time to resolution (MTTR), outage prevention, improved productivity and cost reduction as a result of automation. By developing and setting these benchmarks, you’ll be better able to assess your implementation success rate. You’ll also be better prepared to determine when to pivot and change course if necessary.

Step 3: Focus on the data.

Artificial intelligence is only as good as the data it’s being fed. The term “garbage in, garbage out” comes to mind. In order for your AIOps adoption to be successful, you must prioritize the issue of making sure the data you will use is plentiful, accessible, relevant and most importantly, of superior quality. Sourcing this information as early as possible can give your project a jumpstart, save you a massive amount of time and aggravation and improve your chances of reaching your goals without fewer roadblocks along the way.

As you work through these three fundamental steps, one important point to keep in mind is that AIOps is a journey, not a destination. Therefore, it should never be viewed as a one-off project, or a “set it and forget it” initiative. Organizations that have been successful with AIOps recognize that it’s something dynamic and ever-changing. Go into it with the proper mindset and digital transformation will be your reward.

cio guide to operational efficiency

4 Tips to Supercharge Your Business Processes

If you’ve been in business for a decent amount of time, you already know how important it is to have processes in place. In the absence of these processes, operations become chaotic, inefficiency reigns and progress is stymied.

That being said, simply creating and implementing business processes isn’t always enough. In fact, there may be significant room for improvement in a variety of areas. If you haven’t visited your processes in some time or you’re already aware they could use some polishing, here are a few expert tips.

Begin with what’s most critical.

A lot can be gained from most any business process, but some will inevitably prove more immediately beneficial than others. If you are want to maximize their effectiveness and achieve some early, quantitative wins, focus your efforts first on:

  • Processes with highest potential ROI
  • Processes that recur most often
  • Processes that frequently encounter issues

The goal is to hone in on the workflows where you can generate results quickly while also making the most impactful improvements.

Develop a checklist.

You don’t have to dig into the minutiae of the process. Instead, focus on the key steps in the workflow, developing a sequential list of tasks which demonstrate how the process is supposed to flow. If the process is electronic, consider recording it as it’s being carried out. The resulting video can then be used to create the checklist of steps or events.

Start optimizing.

Once you’ve mapped out each business process, it’s time to start finding areas where improvements can and should be made. Are there any redundancies that could be eliminated to speed things up? Are there bottlenecks along the way that impede progress and should be addressed?

Go over the documented workflows with appropriate team members to get their feedback and input. The more you involve other people in the practice of evaluating and optimizing your business workflows, the more buy-in and support you’ll gain.

Automate whenever and wherever possible.

Last, but certainly not least, automation can improve efficiency exponentially while also reducing human error. By introducing intelligent automation into your business processes, you’ll ensure a smooth, sequential flow of events and reduce (and often eliminate) the need for human intervention in the process.

Let’s say the business workflow you’re currently focusing on is password resets. It may seem simple, but in some organizations, this task alone can consume up to 40% of IT support’s daily workload. What if, instead of manually carrying out each painstaking step of phone authentication, execution of reset, confirmation, and documenting the call closure, you automated the entire process? Not only would password resets be carried out much more quickly, improving end-user satisfaction, but your IT would be freed up to focus their valuable skills on other, more important business initiatives.

Having business processes is important, but often even those processes can be improved and optimized for better results. By following the four simple steps above and leveraging the power of intelligent automation to your advantage, you can supercharge your processes and reap the many rewards that will come as a result.

Get started today with a free 30-day trial of Ayehu NG and be up and running with intelligent automation in less than an hour!

Episode #43: How Automation, AI, & Other Technologies Are Advancing Post-Modern Enterprises In The Lands Of The Midnight Sun – TietoEVRY’s Himadri Das

July 27, 2020    Episodes

Episode #43: How Automation, AI, & Other Technologies Are Advancing Post-Modern Enterprises In The Lands Of The Midnight Sun

In today’s episode of Ayehu’s podcast, we interview Himadri Das – Head of Automation at TietoEVRY. 

When you think of Scandinavia, what comes to mind?  If you’re like most, then fjords, saunas, ABBA, the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and LEGO’s are probably among your first thoughts.  What about Skype, Linux, Spotify, Nokia, SMS texting, and “Erwise” – the first GUI browser?  These innovations also emerged from the Nordic countries, who it turns out have a heritage of high tech innovation as rich & varied as a holiday smörgåsbord.  That tradition has led to a high level of digital maturity among Scandinavian enterprises, and a culture eager for digital transformation. 

To better understand the unique IT characteristics that differentiate this region of the world, we speak with Himadri Das, Head of Automation at TietoEVRY, Scandinavia’s biggest IT, business consulting, and outsourcing services provider.  Himadri shares with us how best to sell AI, ML, and other advanced technologies in Scandinavia, the 3 “buckets” Scandinavian C-suite executives want addressed when these technologies are proposed to them, and Himadri’s advice on moving forward with digital transformation based on his extensive experience with organizations in Nordic countries. 



Guy Nadivi:Welcome everyone. My name is Guy Nadivi, and I’m the host of Intelligent Automation Radio. Our guest on today’s episode is Himadri Das, Head of Automation at TietoEVRY, Scandinavia’s biggest IT, business consulting, and outsourcing services provider with over 24,000 employees. Himadri is TietoEVRY’s designated lead for its AIOps practice. As such, he focuses on driving end-to-end, full-stack automation solutions for TietoEVRY’s clients, and those solutions typically leverage cognitive, machine learning, and AI technologies. Since those are exactly the topics we cover on this podcast, and given the Nordic countries’ reputation as early adopters of innovative technologies, we were very eager to speak with Himadri and learn about digital transformation in Scandinavia. Himadri, welcome to Intelligent Automation Radio.

Himadri Das: Thanks Guy, for inviting me and providing me an opportunity to speak with your audiences, and I am happy to be participant on this conversation. Thank you so much.

Guy Nadivi: Himadri, let’s go right to a big question that’s on everybody’s mind these days. How is COVID-19 affecting MSPs like TietoEVRY, who provide IT services to enterprise clients?

Himadri Das: I think a very relevant question, Guy, and I will be kind of being more practical in my answers to all the questions that you will be asking me. I think typically we need to foresee the model that TietoEVRY is operating in Nordic or in Scandinavian countries. So, essentially it’s a typical model where you have verticals and horizontals. So, when you look into the verticals, we are catering to manufacturing, retail, logistics, financial services, mainly banking and insurance, public sector and the healthcare and the energy sector. I think, if you look into the horizontal services that is cutting across, it is mainly the application business, which is mainly catered by the digital consulting practice, which has bought some customer experience management, cost application, which is off-the-shelf, and the custom application. Then you have infrastructure component, which has all platform infrastructures, data center, and so on. Then Tieto also has the product. We are very strong, TietoEVRY, when it comes to the product business, combining other products within financial services, healthcare, and all the markets that I spoke about. And where we are operating today is essentially in three geographies. I mean we are very strong. It is our go-to market. It is in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, and besides we have also operations in U.S., China, India, Ukraine, where we are leveraging our near shore and the offshore capability. Now, when I look, and the reason I’m explaining all this to you is so that we understand how these Nordic countries are operated. So if you look, Nordic countries, they are part of European Union, meaning they have a very strict GDPR and the data privacy policies. But what I have seen in this COVID-19 situation, many myths have been broken. I think we earlier have kind of rigid boundaries in our mind that only you can deliver once you are in office. No, I think now over 95% of population is working from home and I think they are able to deliver most of the services without any major business disruptions with the last two months. So in a way, Guy, I think I have seen this COVID-19 situation has broken a lot of myths. We are able to meet all the requirements that the customer need, yet we are compliant with the SLAs and the KPIs that we have. So, it is kind of a game changer in many ways, this COVID-19 situation.

Guy Nadivi: No question, the coronavirus has been very disruptive. Himadri, what’s been the pandemic’s effect on enterprise decisions about implementing automation, AI, and other digital transformation initiatives.

Himadri Das: I think typically, Guy, if you see this Nordic countries or the Nordic market, Scandinavian market, they’re very advanced when it comes to AI and machine learning or new initiatives, I would particularly say, and if you look back why they are so kind of forthcoming, it is kind of ingrained within the culture, the education system, the openness, the governance model that is within the Nordic countries. So it’s not a surprise that people are very free thinkers. They’re very innovative bent of mind. And what typically works in Nordic market quite efficiently and effective is this hackathon and design thinking way of working. So, meaning if you go to customer, I mean it’s very important that they see things which we are actually telling them, so they don’t believe in PowerPoint presentation. They really want to showcase credentials, references, and since this AI, ML are kind of more of a buzzword, it is very important that we scoop that out and be very clear to them that what we mean by that. So I can give you some examples. Like if you typically look into the healthcare sector or the telecommunication sector or the manufacturing sector that we have in Nordics, I think they are pretty advanced when it comes to the artificial intelligence and the ML capabilities that they are building up. So all healthcare systems are mostly automated and there are certain solutions that we are building up jointly with customers. Well, we want to make sure that the doctors are able to take decisions based on the historical patterns from the customer. So yes, in that manner, I would say Nordic market is quite advanced, quite demanding, quite challenging. So customer not only wants an automation solution on the run part, they really want to see how automation is going to impact on their business side of it and on their support function side of it. So that way it’s a learning market and it’s a challenging market.

Guy Nadivi: Now, you mentioned that Nordic countries are advanced and their culture favors free thinking, but I want to drill down a bit more granularly and ask you specifically, how do CIOs and CTOs in Nordic countries approach automation, AI, et cetera differently?

Himadri Das: Yeah, I think as you rightly asked, I mean, drilling it down basically under the hood, CIOs and CTOs want to understand. And what do you mean by, really, when you say machine learning or artificial intelligence or the automation component? So, I think typically how TietoEVRY has approached customer is bucketing this and simplifying this automation into three baskets. So one is the run basket where you need to keep lights on and you need to make sure that you are able to reduce your OPEX costs as much as possible. The second component is the support function automation. Now, when you talk about support function and the third way, which is a business function, automation part, these two typically caters to what is in it for customer side. So if I’m able to automate the business process of customer, making it more efficient, order-to-cash, pay-to-procure process, I think this is really helping them real-time in order to cut down those cycles and able to automate things right from the service center, till the field, till the operations, with the productions that are happening in the mills. But then on the run side of it, it is very essential that when they’re outsourcing a particular IT services to an IT service provider like TietoEVRY, they’re able to get the skill. They are also able to get the automation and efficiency benefits to them. So in that manner, I think in these three layers, it is very important to justify to customer how AI, ML they are working simultaneously, not in silo, in order to bring that big benefits for the customer.

Guy Nadivi: Now, Gartner reports that AI / ML is the most commonly named game-changing technology by Nordic CIOs. And that was followed by analytics, Internet of things, and automation. The top use cases for AI and automation are chatbots and process optimization. Himadri, what are some of the more interesting AI and automation use cases TietoEVRY has undertaken for its clients?

Himadri Das: It’s again, a very good question, Guy. I think, as I said, there is an ethical angle also, where Nordic countries are extremely strict and I think culturally, data privacy and the GDPR compliances are really, really followed very strictly out here. I mean, so that’s why we really need to see how this AI / ML really shapes up in future when it comes to the Nordic execution or European execution, because there is an ethical angle attached to it. But I can give you certain concrete example, like where we are able to assist other customers in terms of AI and machine learning capability. As I said, I think their healthcare system, if you look, Nordic customers or Nordic countries’ healthcare system or public system, they are among the best in the world. I mean, if you typically see healthcare, I think if you take Sweden, Norway, or Finland, they rank in top five or top ten most of the time, if you take 10 year historical data. Meaning that their healthcare system and public systems are so strong and they are so foolproof that… And it’s automated already. It’s a lot of data driven content in there, it’s not manual. So for example, take a typical Finnish healthcare system. In a Finnish healthcare system… I mean, when you go to a particular hospital, they have something called hospital management system, which is uniform across the country. So wherever you go, doctor has an application where they can feed in their data about the patient information and everything is kind of in the system. In the records. And any patient or any person who has access to healthcare system, he can see his or her records and can take decision any point of time. So he need not have to go and ask for a physical copy. Everything is kind of in the system, soft copies are delivered, meaning there is a tremendous tons of data, which is getting stored. What TietoEVRY has done in one of the assignment with the government healthcare system is, we have looked into that vast amount of data that is getting stored. And these are actually islands of data scattered along multiple municipalities that they have. Now, it’s really important that those data should be brought in, in a data link. Should be cleaned up. And then you can build machine learning and AI capabilities so that doctors are able to see, pause, record, then the historical record based on the patient’s relationship with their hierarchy and should be able to take certain decision. I think that is one pilot that we were able to successfully execute with one of the healthcare system and lot of good business intelligence-driven reports or recommendation. Now doctors are able to give to their patients because of that machine learning capability or AI capability that we have built for them. So similarly, we are building up certain solution for the automation of traffic system in the Nordic market. There are multiple examples that we have executed, Guy, in the Nordic market. But as I said, I think this is a bit advanced market, very demanding market. At the same time, you can have a real learning on the ground, when you are working in automation in the Nordic customs.

Guy Nadivi: Hmm. Interesting. Himadri, Gartner also reported that analytics and automation are the top two areas where Nordic organizations plan to increase investment as part of digital transformation. What do you think are some of the most unrealistic expectations currently plaguing the field of analytics and automation?

Himadri Das: I think, again, a very good question Guy, because at many times… I mean, these are more of hype than the reality. I think when you go and you really dig deep in the real world, I think the biggest challenge that I have foreseen with customers’ environment, and also with vendor’s capability, many a times, is the distributed architecture. I mean, they have data, which is scattered in multiple systems. So you can go and tell them that, okay, move to public cloud. And that is where the entire things will get orchestrated. No, they have a legacy of 40 years, 100 years. During that time, they have created mainframe applications, legacy application, and there is such a tight interconnection between legacy and the new world that it is not easy to kind of, just describe old, and just build something on the new. So what I have seen repeatedly is that a robust or a sound architecture is something where the APIs, SDKs are built on leverage, and you can actually connect between both the world. The legacy world and the modern world. And I think the first biggest challenge or unrealistic thing that we have seen many times, and we need to be very clear with customers so that they are onboarded is the cleaning of the data. Making sure that this data is coming to a common platform. The data is clean. There was junk in, is junk out. But if the data is not clean, if the connections are not proper, we will not get the desired report and the desired analytics that we want to build. So I think that’s one thing, very critical for the data analytics part. On the automation part, I think the biggest hurdle or the biggest roadblock that I have seen, again, this is the biggest opportunity, is how can you break silos and make automation as end-to-end orchestration? And this is easier said than done. Let me take an example. I mean, take this even run automation. Generally people are very much focused towards a specific automation part. Let me automate SAP. Let me automate a custom application. Yes, you will get automation benefit, but those automation benefits will be in small number. But if you are able to automate things from the self-service portal, from service desk, where you are actually getting the real tickets, the huge volume of tickets, then the automation potentials are much, much higher. Because monitoring systems how they are getting integrated with the event of, how they are getting integrated with the orchestration platform, how they are getting integrated with the device analytics. I think that full-stack automation has much higher impact and leverage then doing automation in silos. So I think these are the two things regarding analytics and automation. I think we need to be very mindful and make sure that we are orchestrating full-stack rather than working in silos.

Guy Nadivi: Automation and AI have many value propositions such as cost reduction, error reduction, risk mitigation, et cetera. In your experience Himadri, which value proposition has been most effective in persuading a CEO to overcome any hesitations they might have and move forward with automation and AI.

Himadri Das: I think, again, a very good question, because many times the moment you talk about automation, specifically, I mean, internal audiences within a vendor’s organization or a customer’s organization, has the first perception that, okay, automation means resource reduction. That’s the first mindset that comes and that gets triggered, which is actually wrong. Actually resource reduction is not the objective of automation at all. I think what automation brings in the order of priority in my mind, and I have seen that also with customers when talking to them in Nordics, the first and foremost is the efficiency improvement. Meaning you actually free up your resources because you have a fixed number of resources, because of the pressure that you have now from the downturn in business because of COVID-19 or different situation. So you have limited number of resources and you want them to focus on your business rather than working them on the operation, will then work. I think this is where your automation is very effective. Why to block those resources, just to do operational activity? Why don’t we focus them to push into the business activity of it? So, that’s priority number one. The second part, in my eyes, most important automation initiative has, is the business process effectiveness. So if my order to cash process, my field service, the real execution of that field service, for example, if I’m talking to a cargo company, and in a port they need to deliver something to cranes. And if the crane goes down, there is a direct impact on the revenues for that particular organization. Now, how can we make that process more effective? That the moment there is a breakdown and the moment a field engineer goes there and fixes that up, how can I improve that business process is more important. And that is where automation comes really effective if you are able to automate business process side of it. And then third is the cost reduction part. Again, cost reduction means how can you make your support function run more efficient? And that is not resource reduction. That means improvement on the quality, improvement on the SLA repeatedly, by doing things consistently. So I think that’s the order, I will put, Guy, in terms of automation benefit. So, that is my opinion out there.

Guy Nadivi: Very interesting. Himadri, I would also love to hear what you think are going to be some of the biggest disruptions we’ll see in the next three to five years, with respect to automation, AI, and other digitally transforming technologies.

Himadri Das: I think there multiple things, Guy, which comes to my mind. And I think as an organization, we are also gearing up ourselves into that direction. So if I can give you certain thought process or certain areas of which I truly believe, where the market is going to be in automation. First area is the post-modern enterprise area. So, meaning how the administrative and the operational side of ERP can be made more efficient. I mean, especially if you go to any manufacturing organization or, kind of, any service sector, they demand changes because of the nature of their job. So if I go to a hospitality service there, I don’t have a production unit. I have mainly services unit out there. But if I go to a manufacturing unit like pulp industry or retail industry, good, I need to make sure that I have both operations and the administrative part of it. So many times this post-modern enterprises, the concept that is emerging is very powerful. That how can you focus your ERP strategy based on the industry or the business that you’re operating in and bring automations out there. So I think that’s one area where I see automation will move down the line. I think second, very important, especially with the advent of 5G, which is going to come, is industry 4.0 concept. Meaning how are you able to orchestrate an integrated Internet of Things with the devices that are working on the production? With the devices that are working on the field? On the service side? And making that orchestrated with your IT platform so that business can leverage those functionality. And industry 4.0 is not a concept which is recent. I think this is going on for last 20, 30 years because you have sensors which are built in the manufacturing unit. But the demand will be more and more, especially with the 5G. And I think in this direction, automation will also get a lot of traction. So, that’s the secondary I see automation will move. Third, very interesting area, again at a very nascent stage. But I think that is going to be a disruption and people need to be gearing or organizations need to gear into that direction. It’s quantum computing because how we operate today will actually change totally tomorrow, when you have this quantum computing, which is from a binary, two bits or quantum, quanta, we will move into that direction. This change entire way we see things. Today, we are working on a linear operations in terms of algorithm. Tomorrow, we will be working on an exponential algorithm once this quantum computing comes into place. So I think that is third area where automation will get severely impacted or will change the way we see things. Fourth one, I think, again, that’s very much relevant today, but we need to build more and more traction around it, is artificial intelligence and machine learning, because how are you going to optimize a particular AI algorithm for a particular sector? I think that requires a historical data and that requires self-learning, supervised or unsupervised learning around it. So I think a lot of traction need to be built and it is still in the development phase. I won’t say it’s still in a mature phase. So, that is one side. And the last one I would like to emphasize about, is this distributed architecture. I think it’s very important that in the transformation journey, we don’t land up always telling customer that transform everything, move to SAP or move to Microsoft Dynamics, that will solve your problem. No, it is not, because 80% of their architecture is into legacy. So how are you going to connect that legacy with the new world with API’s, SDK’s, microservices architecture? I think that is very, very critical for good automation solution to be. So I think those are five, six areas where I see that automation is going to move there.

Guy Nadivi: Well, I definitely agree with you that quantum computing is going to be very disruptive. It’ll be very exciting actually to see how it affects automation and AI especially. Himadri for the CIOs, CTOs and other IT executives listening in, what is the one big must-have piece of advice you’d like them to take away from our discussion with regards to moving forward with digital transformation?

Himadri Das: I think there are a few points I would emphasize, Guy. Again, out of my experience and out of the Nordic market demand that we can see, the first and foremost I can see, they’re the KPIs. But the measuring parameters are moving away from operational KPIs over to business-led KPIs. For example, I think it’s very easy to say that, okay, I will keep my network up and running 99.99%. Okay, that’s fine. As a vendor, I’m managing that, but it’s still businesses red. This is called watermelon effect. Rather, I think more and more the direction in which organization will move, that, okay, Dear vendor, I want order-to-cash process to be automated. I want return in order-to-cash process to be automated. So I think those business KPIs will become more powerful demand from organization, especially to the service providers rather than operational-led KPIs. And this is actually moving out from the comfort zone. It means that different vendors need to work in the CR model with different other vendors to make sure that you deliver the business KPIs instead of your own operational KPIs or your own silos. That’s one thing I think more and more organizations need to move, and CIO need to focus on business KPIs. Second part, which I have emphasized multiple times is the integrated architecture. How can you leverage that using APIs and SDKs instead of doing a monolithic shift from a legacy to a new one? I think that’s the second one I would emphasize. Third one is, still keep a very tight focus on the operational efficiencies. I think run efficiencies is where you are going to free up money and you are going to invest into your capex pot, where new or innovative things need to be done. New developments need to be executed. So I think that focus should never go away. And for cognitive AI and ML, I would say, customer, CIOs, CEOs need to put their hands and keep their hands dirty because how can you shift it from a concept to a real execution? I think there I have seen many a times that management focus is not there because these are just jargons. So I think there, we need more and more organization to keep focus, have attention, have a dedication and make sure that it is happening top-down and bottom-up in both ways. So those will be my recommendation in short, Guy.

Guy Nadivi: Some very forthright advice. All right. Looks like that’s all the time we have for on this episode of Intelligent Automation Radio. Himadri, you’re the first thought leader we’ve ever had on the show from Scandinavia and it’s been very interesting to get your perspective on the state of digital transformations in that part of the world. Thank you very much for coming on the show and sharing your insights with us.

Himadri Das: And Guy, thanks for inviting me. It’s a pleasure to speak with you and share my thoughts. Thank you so much.

Guy Nadivi: Himadri Das, head of automation at TietoEVRY, Scandinavia’s biggest IT, business consulting and outsourcing service provider. Thank you for listening everyone. And remember, don’t hesitate, automate.



Himadri Das

Head of Automation at TietoEVRY. 

Himadri is leading automation initiatives in TietoEVRY as “Head of automation” within global business applications organization. His key focus includes driving end to end full stack automation solution covering business driven automation, RUN and Build automation as well as support function automation solutions leveraging AIOps though Cognitive, ML and AI technologies.  

Himadri’s career span through multiple multinational organizations with a rich experience from sales, application modernization and building next generation business driven solutions. TietoEVRY is THE leading Nordic IT firm with 3 billion € annual revenue turnover with 24000 strong professionals working from onshore, nearshore and offshore sites. 

Himadri can be reached at: 

LinkedIn:           https://www.linkedin.com/in/himadri-das-7b54963/ 

Article:              TietoEVRY Touts Lack of Lock-In From Third-Party Automation Tool 

White Paper:   Application Renewal 

Quotes

“I think now over 95% of population is working from home and I think they are able to deliver most of the services without any major business disruptions with the last two months. So in a way, Guy, I think I have seen this COVID-19 situation has broken a lot of myths. We are able to meet all the requirements that the customer need, yet we are compliant with the SLAs and the KPIs that we have. So, it is kind of a game changer in many ways, this COVID-19 situation.” 

“On the automation part, I think the biggest hurdle or the biggest roadblock that I have seen, again, this is the biggest opportunity, is how can you break silos and make automation as end-to-end orchestration?” 

"… if you are able to automate things from the self-service portal, from service desk, where you are actually getting the real tickets, the huge volume of tickets, then the automation potentials are much, much higher." 

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
Episode #5: Why your organization should aim to become a Digital Master (DTI) report
Episode #6: Insights from IBM: Digital Workforce and a Software-Based Labor Model
Episode #7: Developments Influencing the Automation Standards of the Future
Episode #8: A Critical Analysis of AI’s Future Potential & Current Breakthroughs
Episode #9: How Automation and AI are Disrupting Healthcare Information Technology
Episode #10: Key Findings From Researching the AI Market & How They Impact IT
Episode #11: Key Metrics that Justify Automation Projects & Win Budget Approvals
Episode #12: How Cognitive Digital Twins May Soon Impact Everything
Episode #13: The Gold Rush Being Created By Conversational AI
Episode #14: How Automation Can Reduce the Risks of Cyber Security Threats
Episode #15: Leveraging Predictive Analytics to Transform IT from Reactive to Proactive
Episode #16: How the Coming Tsunami of AI & Automation Will Impact Every Aspect of Enterprise Operations
Episode #17: Back to the Future of AI & Machine Learning
Episode #18: Implementing Automation From A Small Company Perspective
Episode #19: Why Embracing Consumerization is Key To Delivering Enterprise-Scale Automation
Episode #20: Applying Ancient Greek Wisdom to 21st Century Emerging Technologies
Episode #21: Powering Up Energy & Utilities Providers’ Digital Transformation with Intelligent Automation & Ai
Episode #22: A Prominent VC’s Advice for AI & Automation Entrepreneurs
Episode #23: How Automation Digitally Transformed British Law Enforcement
Episode #24: Should Enterprises Use AI & Machine Learning Just Because They Can?
Episode #25: Why Being A Better Human Is The Best Skill to Have in the Age of AI & Automation
Episode #26: How To Run A Successful Digital Transformation
Episode #27: Why Enterprises Should Have A Chief Automation Officer
Episode #28: How AIOps Tames Systems Complexity & Overcomes Talent Shortages
Episode #29: How Applying Darwin’s Theories To Ai Could Give Enterprises The Ultimate Competitive Advantage
Episode #30: How AIOps Will Hasten The Digital Transformation Of Data Centers
Episode #31: Could Implementing New Learning Models Be Key To Sustaining Competitive Advantages Generated By Digital Transformation?
Episode #32: How To Upscale Automation, And Leave Your Competition Behind
Episode #33: How To Upscale Automation, And Leave Your Competition Behind
Episode #34: What Large Enterprises Can Learn From Automation In SMB’s
Episode #35: The Critical Steps You Must Take To Avoid The High Failure Rates Endemic To Digital Transformation
Episode #36: Why Baking Ethics Into An AI Project Isn't Just Good Practice, It's Good Business
Episode #37: From Witnessing Poland’s Transformation After Communism’s Collapse To Leading Digital Transformation For Global Enterprises
Episode #38: Why Mastering Automation Will Determine Which MSPs Succeed Or Disappear
Episode #39: Accelerating Enterprise Digital Transformation Could Be IT’s Best Response To The Coronavirus Pandemic
Episode #40: Key Insights Gained From Overseeing 1,200 Automation Projects That Saved Over $250 Million
Episode #41: How A Healthcare Organization Confronted COVID-19 With Automation & AI
Episode #42: Why Chatbot Conversation Architects Might Be The Unheralded Heroes Of Digital Transformation

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Disclaimer Note

Neither the Intelligent Automation Radio Podcast, Ayehu, nor the guest interviewed on the podcast are making any recommendations as to investing in this or any other automation technology. The information in this podcast is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Please do you own due diligence and consult with a professional adviser before making any investment