Defining Workplace Automation with Kris Fitzgerald, VP and CTO of NTT DATA Services
- January 30, 2019
The pace of innovation is ever-accelerating. Consumers today want to accomplish more than ever before. To do this, we want everything faster, easier and simpler. In a recent interview with Business Reporter’s Alastair Greener, Kris Fitzgerald, VP and Chief Technology Officer for NTT DATA Services discussed automation and technology within the workplace, focusing on topics such as workplace automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
Throughout the brief discussion, Kris noted that many enterprise organizations continue to struggle to connect and engage customers with “faster and more effective” approaches, something he believes is made possible by automation driven by AI. As technology has accelerated, Kris explained that automated solutions now have the ability to comprehend human speech faster than their human counterparts. In fact, people understand 85% of what other people say, but machines understand 87%, an improvement that helps to bridge the divide between companies and their customers.
Kris explained the NTT DATA approach. How, when we consult with our clients the conversations are based on solving business issues rather than focusing on one specific tool or solution. In some cases, AI might be the path to take, (such as extracting internal and external data and using machine learning to find the next best action), or doubling the capacity of a call center with conversational agents to handle simple tasks, so employees can help customers find solutions faster.
With these powerful advances, companies are able to evolve to serve the needs of both customers and employees better. In the interview, Kris points out that automation has enabled improved training models, so employees advance more quickly, developing new skills that can match the innovation pace of their industries.
For example, companies across multiple industries are rapidly adopting conversational agents to automate customer service. However, according to research findings commissioned by NTT DATA Services released earlier this year, enterprises have not properly planned for automation or its impact on customer experience. In fact, 54% of firms we surveyed said they do not have a defined structure for selecting automation technologies. The study also found that an overwhelming number of businesses have not yet executed a customer service automation plan. That’s why NTT DATA Services believes the time is right to examine how automation, powered by AI, can increase sales, improve customer service and provide cost savings. Other examples include:
- A process that previously took two to three months to complete — from document research to validation, development, and deployment — now takes less than two weeks, using Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
- A call center business had to increase and decrease capacity several times a year, negatively impacting efficiency, due to staffing and training temporary workers. This can now be done with conversational agents, avoiding significant negative impacts on productivity.
- A company that normally considered technology integration to take six to eight months, and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. This process was automated using RPA, for less than 50 thousand dollars and was accomplished in less than three months.
We don’t look at automating the person. Instead, we look at how to automate/assist the person to do their job. Part of this involves speed to value. NTT DATA calls this Building a Self-Driving Business for our clients. if a company can’t move fast enough, they will get left behind. Perhaps the most significant change is the speed of the change itself. For the other revolutions, there were years of change, which over time sped up, but still took years. For the digital revolution, changes are happening almost exponentially. As such, NTT DATA looks to bring solutions to our customers, not just bodies to do the work. And an important aspect of what makes this possible is the rapid expansion of AI capabilities. They are allowing us and our customers to disrupt the normal way of doing business.