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PR Krishnan
Global Head, Enterprise Intelligence Automation & AI
16 July 2019

Following a Machine First™ approach to digital transformation means giving technology the first right of refusal by augmenting human capability to drive exponential business value.  Powered by analytics and AI, Machine First™ automation performs routine tasks faster and more accurately than before, driving efficiencies in the organization.

From TCS research and client work worldwide, we have found that a Machine First™ approach to digital transformation can produce four major improvements:

1. Superior Customer Experiences

Consumers and business customers these days increasingly want their interactions with their product and service providers to be simple, tailored, and compelling. But those product and service providers can’t heap lavish attention on each and every customer; they must pick their spots and help employees focus on the best customers. That’s what happened at a major investment company. Using AI and machine learning technologies, the firm built robo advisers that assist mainstream customers. The robo advisers are based on software using AI and machine learning technology to offer automated and personalized investment advice to customers. That has freed up its human financial advisers to focus their attention to customers with the highest net worth.

2. Business Model Innovation and Entry into New Businesses 

Digital customer data is at the core of a Machine First™ approach to digital transformation. That data is a central element of business model changes – i.e., identifying new needs of customers and providing new digitally-based offerings that meet them. Online real estate information providers such as Zillow and Opendoor Labs are great examples of this. Their customer data has enabled the companies to not only give customers listing information; it has vaulted their firms into the mortgage business. As a result, they can address a key pain point of homebuyers: getting financing.

3. Better Business Outcomes

The Machine First™ approach can help companies reduce costs and streamline supply chain and other operations. This is what happened at Dubai-based retailer, Landmark Group.. The company automated numerous manual activities in its sourcing and procurement operations. It cut manual work by 50%, reduced costs, improved its understanding of supplier performance, and resulted in better negotiations.

4. Empowering the Workforce

You might think that a Machine First™ approach will eliminate jobs everywhere in a company. In fact, it doesn’t mean that at all. It does mean automating manual work that can be automated. But, just as important, it also means determining the new jobs that companies must create – jobs that technology cannot do.

Consider the Finnish company Cargotec. The EUROS 3.3 billion company sells cargo-handling technology and services to ports, terminals and other distribution centers. The mobile service technicians, who perform preventive maintenance and repairs on their cargo-moving equipment, had their response times affected since they were using paper-based systems to service and track their field work at customers’ locations. They were dependent on back office staff, whom they contacted by cell phone to receive work order requests, update customer records, and order parts. To resolve this, Cargotec implemented the Machine First™ approach to transform its service operations. It implemented a laptop-based system that gave its technicians access to data anytime, anywhere to order parts, manage inventory, report time and costs, generate reports, and update customer records.

These are the four largest impacts we’ve seen at companies that have used a Machine First™ approach to digital transformation. You can read more about them in my new Perspectives article.

PR Krishnan is Executive Vice President 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
Global Head, Enterprise Intelligence Automation & AI

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.