Automation & AI: Technologies that will Change Business Forever

Staying competitive in this new economic and business environment requires new practices and strategies. Underpinning these practices and strategies are innovative technologies. As organisations come out of the crisis, they will have to build a range of technology capabilities for catalyzing experimentation and innovation.

A panel discussion at The Economic Times Spectrum explored which technologies/technology models should enterprises leverage to make themselves immune to future crises. Senior technology and AI leaders further shared how they are embracing AI and innovation in their businesses.

Puneesh Lamba, CTO, Shahi Exports while sharing how automation has helped the company survive 2 pandemic waves said, "The number of processes we have automated in the last year is much more than the total automation done in the last 3 years. Given the base that we still have, I am sure that in the coming 6-9 months all the eligible processes will be automated using multiple technologies."

Lamba's mantra for automating systems is RRP which stands for Repetitive in nature, Rule-based and Predictable.

"Whichever process falls under this category, is the first to get automated," he said.

While automation and AI look fascinating, identifying the right areas to use this technology might be difficult. Kavita Bijlani, CIO, Bausch & Lomb, shared how she looks at this.

"To begin with automation, we look for a small business use case which can be later scaled up. You do the automation but roll it out small like a pilot and involve a lot of feedback coming from the business so you can make a viable model which can be rolled out to a bigger audience," said Bijlani.

It's true that technology itself does not bring a change in the business unless it is applied to the right processes with the right business use case. Discussing one of the use cases of AI, Ankit Mathuria, Group CTO, OYO Hotels & Homes, said, We use ML for our IoT devices. We provide a digital switch which automatically cuts the electricity supply to a room when the guests check out. Similarly, at the check-in stage, we use OCR-based tech to read an identity of a user and to check him in a much easier manner."

"Most of our partners do not have the ability to dynamically change the prices. So we use millions of data sets to optimally find what is the right price at the moment for a specific room" Mathuria added.

While AI makes its way into the Indian businesses, there have been many questions on the job losses than job creations. Addressing this problem, Vaibhav Khandelwal, Co-founder and CTO, Shadowfax, said, "While AI will lead to local job losses in a particular sector but on a Global Phenomena, it will lead to transformation of jobs from one value proposition to another."

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