Leveraging Information-Based Analytics and Intelligent Automation. An Interview With Kannan Janardhanan

Smart digital platforms that unite information and analytics shape the future of businesses across the globe. Not only do they support decision making in finance, media or healthcare, they also enable easier knowledge sharing in legal, education and research areas. We’ve recently caught up with Kannan Janardhanan, Director Business Development, TMT at intive to talk about digital adoption across industries, the role of information-based analytics and intelligent automation.

Where do you see the biggest mindset shift among C-suite executives? Where are we in terms of digital adoption and are we making the most of the new technology platforms at hand?

The pandemic has changed the way forward for every industry in terms of ensuring business continuity, their survivability, and their relevance. Remote work and collaboration are here to stay, and top priority is to enhance the tools to avoid fatigue, secure data and ensure privacy of customers, partners and employees. Technology innovation is no longer a tool but redefines the customer experience, product experience and operational excellence of businesses. Financial performance is directly tied to digital maturity and investment in AI, cloud computing, IoT, edge computing, AR/VR, 5G, cyber security, and intelligent automation will separate the leaders from laggards.

Covid19 has accelerated customer digital adoption by an average of 3 years and digitization of services and products by 7 to 10 years. This is an unprecedented leap in the way services are built and consumed. We’re observing an increase in digitization and optimization of line operations of finished consumer products and even the last mile delivery has seen digital service providers step up their game.

Technology products and platforms that were able to quickly transform into SaaS subscription-based model have been sought out by enterprise customers as they offer affordable, flexible, and secure ways of doing business and help either in digitizing their supply chain or enhancing omni channels for customers.

Every business relies on data. Easy access to information accelerates business growth and today’s decision makers can research and evaluate information faster than ever. Which sectors capitalize the most on sophisticated information-based analytics?

Financial services, health care, and corporations that need legal and regulatory advisory services are in constant need of real time information and actionable analytics. Information analytics go through the cycle of being predictive, to becoming prescriptive and to reactive feedback very quickly. AI trained datasets spit out predictive analysis for what is coming, and real time prescriptive data informs decision makers on the current state of their business and actions that need to be taken. Once the business instance is passed, the new reality becomes a reactive data feedback.

As an example, let’s look at how the world raced to react to the pandemic. Due to lack of prediction, healthcare must act real-time, and observed data has to be fed back to build new models. A parallel example can be pointed in financial services, when recently retail customers traded against the market causing the hedge funds to react quickly to cut their losses.

What are the main challenges for information and analytics companies?

Information and analytic service providers have different challenges at each node of their supply chain starting from data acquisition, data representation and data utilization.

Acquisition of data from myriad of data sources is a costly activity and has to be prudent while ensuring authenticity, security, and quality.

Representation of data is a value-added big data activity where AI/ML/NLP enriched data are becoming table stakes and the talented data scientists need to build these products. It’s a significant challenge for the providers. Operational pressures can be alleviated to a certain degree through automation combined with AIOps and MLOps.

Data utilization is the revenue generating component in the supply chain, and building complex analytical applications is paramount for driving desired customer outcomes. Some examples include case valuation, legislation outcome prediction, profiling or content matching. These are all demanding use cases for law professionals.

Let’s move on from information-based analytics to intelligent automation. Is RPA software the game changer for industries, and if so, for which ones?

As we have been discussing, data is becoming the nucleus of every business. Business process automation takes the center stage for preprocessing the data before it can be meaningfully consumed by downstream applications.

RPA is the automation engine that can process the repetitive mundane tasks of acquiring, sorting and storing with a higher precision, accuracy and at a faster rate. Any repetitive manual processes done by back office are rapidly becoming automated while making way for upward mobility for SMEs and increasing the overall efficiency for the businesses. When you add AI/ML capability to BPM, you have intelligent automation which is a game changer to eliminate redundancy, avoid fraud and reduce turn-around times.

Downstream applications and systems can consume the data almost in real time eliminating legacy batch operations. While business operations are the buyers of IPA, IT operations are beginning to take advantage as well, since L1/L2 operations can be automated eliminating manual interventions. IPA/RPA is moving up every operation intensive business in their value-chain.

What are the top gains for forward-looking organizations that introduce automation?

Faster business processing, enhanced customer experience, predictive business environment, disruptive to disruptor transformations, real time adaptions to changing regulatory requirements, operational efficiency and many more. Business process automation delivers visible, tangible benefits to business decision makers and breaks down walls between business and IT owners in enterprises.

There’s no doubt that technology improves process efficiency. What’s the role of design in this efficiency revolution?

Design is at the center stage of business innovation and in strict terms it is not limited to just UI/UX alone. The design abstraction is rapidly gaining footprint in every enterprise process that directly impacts business strategy, GTM goals, and in gaining market share. A design driven evolution of product is a forward-looking process driving revolution in overall efficiency as it answers what is the overall product objective and how would it evolve over the time horizon. A well-thought-out and understood design process is imperative to build successful products since the gambit of technology stacks and tools can always be bought in to engineer the product build. Days of technology limited designs are in the past and business designers with bold ambitions and vision are defining the next era of products and services.

How do you see the future of work? How will advanced technology reshape our jobs?

Future of work is a multidimensional subject. The pandemic has helped redefine the physical proximity needed by the workforce and soon it will be essentially ‘job anywhere’ for employees and ‘skills anywhere’ for employers. In a way, it is going to reshuffle the workforce to some extent, labor arbitrage will become a location arbitrage. This opens up opportunities for everyone, where you don’t have to lose top talent because of location and workforce can customize their skills and or reskill, and personalize locations to jobs anywhere.

AI, IOT and automation will be accelerated where physical proximity is needed, driving optimization and efficiency. Macro and micro economy will gradually adjust to the new paradigm of work.

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