In the past decade, most of the thriving companies have ridden the waves of new technologies – cloud, mobile, automation, and artificial intelligence, among them. They have developed interactive and immersive customer experiences and radically new business models.
But I believe there’s much more innovation ahead. My TCS colleagues and I push clients to deeply embed technology in their businesses, but to go about it in a structured way. The way we advise is called Machine First™.
Machine First™ means giving technology what we call “the first right of refusal”, by augmenting human capability to drive exponential business value. Powered by analytics and AI, machine-first automation completes routine tasks faster and more accurately than before, driving efficiencies in the organization.
Online retailers and the entertainment industry have automated many of their customer interactions to improve customer experience. Think about automatic refills on household goods, near-immediate deliveries of e-commerce orders, or movie recommendations. It’s all dueto automation, and it delights customers.
Call centers automate customer service with chatbots. Behind the scenes, systems that digitize instructions for workers and present information about their next tasks – be it running a factory process or providing a field service – also show how machines make people’s work lighter. Apply the concept beyond the walls of your enterprise, to the digital ecosystem in which you operate with partners, customers and other economic players, and you’ll see the effects of automation spread.
Turning Digital Processes into Intelligent Digital Processes
Central to our Machine First™ approach is the understanding that automation should only be done selectively and intelligently. You need to rationally use artificial intelligence, machine learning and other technologies so that your automated business processes continually improve with minimal human intervention.
The algorithms that drive the personalization engines of Amazon, Spotify and other companies automatically improve themselves based on what people are actually buying. Machine learning, deep learning techniques improve the software to get sharper in their recommendations – i.e., to offer better ones.
As a result, companies can shift their software from being highly intelligent at one point in time – the moment the system went live – to software that, on its own, continuously improves. Such ever-intelligent software is another key component of Machine First™ approaches to digital transformation.
With a Machine First™ approach, business processes improve themselves. This is a major departure from traditional systems development, one that I explain in my Perspectives article. But it’s one that every company must make to compete in a digital world.
PR Krishnan is Executive Vice President & Global Head, Enterprise Intelligent Automation at TCS and author of “Reshaping a Business around AI: The Machine First™ Approach to Digital Transformation” in Volume 12 of the TCS Perspectives management journal.
About the author(s)
PR Krishnan (PRK) is Executive Vice President & Global Head, Enterprise Intelligent Automation & Artificial Intelligence at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). In this role, PRK helps business and technology leaders drive innovation and integrate digital technologies – AI, smart automation, machine learning and cognitive computing – into their business model for growth and transformation.
PRK has strategized innovations that drive human - machine collaboration that serve as the guiding force for elevated growth and success in the Business 4.0 era. PRK spearheads the MFDM™ (Machine First Delivery Model) initiative in TCS to institutionalize the Machine First™ approach across client engagements and within TCS.
PRK’s team creates new opportunities for, enabling the world’s leading enterprises to harness human ingenuity together with machine precision.
For more than 35 years, PRK has played a pivotal role in coaching large teams, demonstrating thought leadership and innovation towards uncovering insights and creating exponential value for large enterprises.
Prior to leading the EIA & AI portfolio, PRK served as Global Head of the IT Infrastructure Services, overseeing the expansion of the TCS services portfolio. In this role, he successfully led several of TCS’ global delivery centers (GDC), paving the way for the creation of the company’s Global Network Delivery Model (GNDMTM).
Starting in 2004, he was responsible for creating and running the telecom delivery centers for TCS, where he built a 3000+ strong practice servicing over 40 customers, growing the practice in a time when the telecom industry was just beginning to embrace technological advancements.
PRK has contributed significantly towards leading a very successful SEI CMM Level 5 assessment that became a new benchmark and model across TCS.