I was grateful to have the opportunity to speak with Otto Berkes, Executive Vice President and CTO at CA Technologies at their Built to Change Summit. Otto joined CA a couple of years ago from Microsoft and HBO when they began acquiring companies to ensure they could help their enterprise clients make the transition to connecting with and satisfying end-user customers through software-based experiences.
What are the themes you're seeing in technology today?
- Every business is in the software and service business. The experience customers have with a business's apps will have a profound impact on the company's brand. Any gaps in collaboration around the feedback loop with customers will mean lost engagement opportunities and may damage the software experience, as well as the brand.
- AR/VR are the next generation of visualization. We need to think about how to represent and interact with data in fundamentally new ways so everyone in the organization can learn what customers are saying and experiencing.
- The other is ML/MI using data to extract intelligence and meaning so that we're empowering employees to make more informed decisions.
How can companies leverage AI/ML to succeed?
- Begin by identifying the tangible problem you’re trying to solve. Define the question you’re trying to answer. It’s too easy to create mountains of data. Have a disciplined, strategic approach to Big Data. Take a customer-centric approach to everything. What are you doing that will make your customers' lives simpler and easier? If everyone in your company doesn't have a customer-centric mindset, you're going to have a huge management headache.
- Think customers first via digital engagement. Start with your website. What bank can survive not having an online banking experience? Customer expectation of a high-quality digital engagement model is table stakes.
How are your clients using your solutions?
- We help our clients see the need for a feedback loop between their software factory, their digital pipeline with customers, and their idea factory. Companies need to get insights on customer behavior in real-time and respond in real-time. We help uncover customers' hidden pain points and identify solutions.
What's the future for AI and Machine Learning?
- We're still very early in the process. The maturity level of data science, Machine Learning, and analytics is still very young. Machine Learning thrives on data. The more data, the more learning will take place. However, it takes time for every company, in every industry, to get there. As such, be patient and plan for the long-term. Failing to do so will result in obsolescence.
- When I was at Microsoft, we talked about the future of the mobile experience. This was 15 years ago and it's surpassed anything we imagined, but it took time. You can talk about the inevitability of a technology or an experience but it still takes time to get all the pieces together.
What should be developers be doing to be successful with AI/ML?
- Experiment, a lot. Learn new technology by getting involved and experimenting. There are incredible ecosystems at your fingertips — open source, Git Hub, website, forums. Dive in, get engaged and learn across the entire tech spectrum. Learning is friction-free today — this is empowering developers to change the world.
What haven't we discussed?
- We are actively reinventing, disrupting what we do and how we do it as we are focused on helping address the disruption. Be willing to take risks; be willing to learn. Disruption will continue. Will you be the disruptor or the disrupted?