“Enterprise leaders need to do their homework on AI & ML, not buy into the hype”

“Enterprise leaders need to do their homework on AI & ML, not buy into the hype”

Satyen Vyas, President and CEO, Symphony SummitAI, discusses the changing approach to asset and service management.

Asset management as a concept has changed over the years. It’s not merely about tracking IT and non-IT assets anymore. Nowadays it is more about how to identify potential risks an enterprise faces and managing information as a business asset. In this exclusive interview with CIO Dialogues, Satyen Vyas, President and CEO, Symphony SummitAI, discusses how AI is going to transform the way we look at asset management and plug the costs of risk and compliance that enterprises moving to a cloud and a digitally transformed environment might incur.

What are the typical mistakes that enterprises make while going about asset management?
There’s a misconception that asset management is only about the tracking of IT/non-IT assets and its licenses. That must change. At Symphony SummitAI, we ask our customers to look ITAM (IT asset management) as a discipline to ensure that IT is fully prepared to address the evolving demands and potential risks of the enterprise.
According to Gartner, only 25 per cent of organisations will have adopted fundamental ITAM principles that enable effective management of their information as a high-value business asset by 2022.
The critical part of asset management goes beyond tracking IT/non-IT assets, focusing on how to manage an organisation’s information as a business asset. The information that resides on an IT system is more valuable than the IT system itself. It’s essential for organisations to focus on developing an integrated ITAM and information security strategy by collaborating with security and risk management peers to address gaps in current information security controls. Organisations should treat information as a business asset and work towards strengthening how information is managed to avoid potential business risk.

With enterprises increasingly adopting the cloud model, how is the approach to asset management changing?
Gartner analysts also have found that over 30 per cent of the growing expenditure on software and cloud services will be unused by 2020. It’s critical that asset management is adapted to the cloud and that use of the assets on cloud is measured. A next-generation tool, powered by AI, enables organisational leaders to put new controls and processes in place. We’ve developed Symphony SummitAI’s Asset Management Solution to help optimise asset use, eliminate unnecessary software costs and enforce compliance.

How is IT service management changing as enterprises are transforming digitally?
Customers are looking for a consumer-like service experience when it comes to IT services, and they expect 24/7 service desk availability. At the same time, customers want a DIY approach, preferring to reach out to the service desk after trying to find answers on their own. Whether its midnight or Sunday afternoon, they expect the service desk to be available to support them using the medium of their choice, be it Slack, Skype, Jabber or another chat tool.
This is where the Symphony SummitAI suite’s conversational interface comes into the picture. Customers can interact with our digital agent, CINDE (Conversational Interface and Decisioning Engine), using natural language through web chat, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Jabber. Customers receive intelligent, personalised responses and can track progress with the help of CINDE. The solution understands the context in which a user’s intent is expressed and uses machine reasoning to determine the next best course of action. SummitAI understands the context of an issue and auto-resolves incidents and service requests using service automation. This approach dramatically reduces meantime-to-resolution and gets business users back in action with no downtime. SummitAI can also automate repetitive and manual tasks and free up knowledge workers to focus on innovation and other high impact work.

AI is taking automation to new levels. However, deploying AI comes with its own risks. How do enterprises deal with it?
C-level executives in most enterprises know that AI is important to their business, having the potential to increase revenue, reduce costs and improve business efficiency. Simultaneously, these executives face the challenge of limited availability of quality data to build ML and AI models and a shortage of skills.
Another shortcoming is the requirement for significant amounts of training data to produce good enough predictions or classifications. For example, for many image recognition tasks, millions of images are required (eg, 15 million images for ImageNet, 4 million facial images for DeepFace). Those that have a trove of data or manage to quickly accelerate the data available to them using networking effects are in a position to develop superior AI solutions.
Enterprise leaders looking to adopt AI and ML need to ensure they’ve done their homework and aren’t just buying into hype.

Managing change is getting complicated, as digital transformation requires enterprises to make a radical departure from well-established systems and processes. What are enterprises missing here?
Artificial intelligence is transforming almost every business and its functions, presenting the opportunity to expand business value and drive competitive advantages. And enterprise service management and IT service management can be a key part of digital transformation when AI is added to it. AI-enabled service management can address key elements that many enterprises are currently missing when it comes to service management, including:
1. Consumer-like service experiences: Why are enterprise service experiences different from those of the consumer world? We’ve grown used to great experiences for shopping, socialising, banking, and much more. Organisations must provide a similar experience at work.
2. Multiple, disparate tools: Why does each function in an enterprise, whether it’s HR, administration, finance, legal or marketing, need to have separate tools for service requests? Organisations would be better served by consolidating tools across functions. That’s what one leading insurance company does with SummitAI. The company uses the suite to consolidate all of its services across 10 different functions under one solution. This enables self-service answers and automates workflows to support business operations.
3. AI-based digital agents at work: In our personal life, we use assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant to search for information or ask for support. The enterprise should be no different. AI-driven digital agents, like SummitAI’s CINDE, give employees the ability to converse using natural language and receive intelligent personalised responses. CINDE intelligently resolves the majority of incoming issues automatically, eliminates downtime and unleashes enterprise productivity by freeing up knowledge workers to focus on high impact work.