VIDEO: CAS 2021 Pioneers of Cognitive Automation Panel

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VIDEO: CAS 2021 Pioneers of Cognitive Automation Panel

Top thought leaders in the field of cognitive automation discuss the evolution of the technology and what it means for the future of decisions.

At the recent Cognitive Automation Summit 2021, global thought leaders on cognitive automation discussed the future of decisions, what that means for the future of work, and how cognitive automation is changing our world for the better.

Fred Laluyaux:

Hello everyone, and welcome to the second edition of Aera's Cognitive Automation Summit. My name is Fred Laluyaux, and I'm the CEO of Aera Technology. Thank you for joining us today. I'm genuinely excited to be here with you and to share ideas, conversations, and announcements with you this morning. The theme of this summit is The Future of Decisions. Now. And I will be joined by an incredible group of senior executives, industry analysts, researchers, technologists, and data scientists, to engage in a rich and practical dialogue on the Future of Decisions.

While we're talking with you from the comfort of a studio in San Francisco and not really in person yet, we really wanted to keep this event feeling live, direct, engaging, and as interactive as possible. We get each segment short today, and we'll be offering a lot of deep dives tomorrow. During our first summit last year, we established how cognitive automation enabled companies around the world achieve much needed agility at scale. And in the last few months, we've seen a massive validation of this reality, from leading analysts like Forrester, Constellation Research, and Gartner to leading consultancy firms and universities. And of course, some of the worLd's largest companies across multiple industries, we have heard the same thing that in our hyper-connected world, the ability to decide and execute flawlessly with the right data and the right intelligence at the right time And at scale is absolutely critical to maintaining a position of strength.

Building a permanent memory of the decisions that are made every day is the new foundation of a dynamic and scalable intelligence for your enterprise. Self driving intelligence that never stops learning, allowing you to truly accelerate the pace of your planning cycles, continuously optimizing the way your resources are utilized and increasing the reliability of your execution. An intelligence that handles the increasing complexity of your business, that scales with you as you add more dimensions, such as sustainability and social responsibility into the mix of your decisions. Today, cognitive automation is the new bar, the new standard to increase the pace, the accuracy, the volume, and the reliability of your strategic and operational decisions. It is the only way. That's why we say the Future of Decisions is actually happening now because the people you hear from today are forever changing their organizations using cognitive automation.

So this event is about helping you bring the Future of Decisions into the now for you and for your organization. In the next few minutes and through the course of this summit, you'll hear from the pioneers of cognitive automation, with guests, from Merck, Unilever, Harvard business school, and Constellation research. We'll share the latest innovations when it comes to technology. We'll meet companies like Mars, Pepsi, Deacero, and Mitsubishi chemicals, where maybe like you, in the early stages of their cognitive automation journey. We'll share some exciting announcements and new partnerships.

Tomorrow, don't miss George Lawrie from Forrester Research who will open the day sharing his latest research on cognitive automation and the future of work. He'll be followed by deep dives from customers, partners, researchers, senior execs, and a very fun demo jam of Aera's cognitive operating systems and cognitive skills. Throughout the event, engage and share. We're here for you.

At Aera, we have one goal, one mission, one vision, make your journey to cognitive automation, as easy as possible with open and smart technology, with expertise, and by organizing a rapidly growing ecosystem of competencies across a wide variety of domains from supply chain to sales, marketing, procurement, finance, and HR, to name a few, it is my pleasure to welcome our first panel, back by popular demand. Professor Joe Fuller, you're professor of management in practice at Harvard business school, where you also are the co-chair of the future of work initiative. Joe, you've founded and led the strategy management consulting for monitor and last, but certainly not least had the pleasure to recently welcome you to Aera's board. So I'm going to have to be on my best behavior today. Welcome Joe.

Then I would like to welcome Alessandro De Luca. Alessandro, you are the CIO of Merck healthcare at Merck group. And prior to shifting to the IT side, you had a long and successful career in supply chain. Bish, welcome back. Bish, you are the EVP of global beauty and personal care supply chain at Unilever, and you have been an early advocate of cognitive automation. You're both a visionary and a practical thinker. Welcome back. Last but not least the one and only Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research, thought leader on anything tech and enterprise and beyond. Author and frequent contributor to several leading business channels. Ray, good to see you again.

So I'm really excited to have you back. This conversation is about The Future of Decisions. Now. Welcome. Let's talk about what happened and how you have leveraged cognitive automation, either proactively or reflexively. Given the times at hand, let's direct our first question to the two practitioners Bish and Alessandro. Alessandro, let me start with you. How does the Future of Decision making look like at Merck KGaA and how far along are you in your journey to transform and to digitize your decision making processes?

Alessandro De Luca:

Thanks for asking Fred, I mean, and thanks for inviting me. I mean, and thanks for calling me pioneer. I'm not sure that sounds young, but it sounds wise.

Fred Laluyaux:

You're young pioneer.

Alessandro De Luca:

Let's put it like that. So, I mean, regarding your question, we progress quite a lot. I would say in the last year, in terms of decision making also automat or intelligent decision making, and we progress quite a lot in our journey to digitalize the supply chain. In fact, in a moment of proudness, I would say that when I received the latest Gartner report of 2021 titled, The Future Supply Chain, it mentioned Merck decade study for digital supply chain. So that's the moment of proudness.

Fred Laluyaux:

Congratulations.

Alessandro De Luca:

In the last years, we move in terms of decision making from what we call the automated process. So really trying to automate the task to the augmented process. So adding value in the process of decision making now, all this sounds fantastic and so on and so far, but we know that everything at the proof of reality is when the robber eats the road and that was COVID-19.

And, and again, there throughout the crisis that attached several industries, several supply chain, I would say that our service level remain impeccable towards our customer, toward our patient, in spite of the values, changing of demand, in spite of all the possible situation of supply and so and so forth. And this is when you really test, if the theory, the vision really made it happen. When you have a big crisis, probably one of the most severe crisis of supply chain and where you're able to maintain as a result, we are very proud of the decision made, the company decision made that we put in place. You remember, we call itself driving supply chain, really did work at the moment of truth.

Fred Laluyaux:

So what you're saying is it was everything that you worked on with the team at Merck for the last few years. I think your article was in 2016, talking about the self-driving supply chain in a wall street journal, a all that work was basically put to test during COVID and you're moving from automation to augmentation. Awesome. Awesome. Congratulations for the Gartner recognition.

Alessandro De Luca:

Thank you.

Fred Laluyaux:

Thank you. Bish, you have this way of describing what you do with cognitive automation. When you talk about people being in the loop to on the loop, to ultimately out of the loop, I love that concept, but can you remind us what you mean by that and share similar to what Alessandro did, where you are in your journey toward cognitive automation at Unilever. I know a lot of progress to be made.

Bish Sen:

Thanks, Fred. Thanks for having me back on this panel. The best way of describing this is if I were to give you an analogy in terms of driving. So you imagine the human in the loop being a conventional car, where the driver makes all the decisions, the human on the loop is when there is, it's assisted driving, where the car actually starts assisting the driver, whether it's to make a change in lane and the human out of the loop is the ultimate situation where it's a self-driving car, which is pretty much what Alessandro talked about, about the self-driving enterprise.

And it's this arc that needs to be traversed in terms of decision making from, in an enterprise, from a situation where the human used to make all the decisions to position where the engine starts, assisting the human in making decisions to a point where the engine makes the decision and the human can audit the trail of decisions made by the engine instead of the enterprise being dependent on the human.

So that's the arc going from the human in the loop to the human on the loop, to taking the human out to the loop. Where are we on this journey? A very similar experience to what Alessandro talked about that COVID really tested a lot of this for us, in terms of the ability to maintain service levels, our ability to churn through the sheer number of things that were going wrong at any given point in time, it was humanly impossible for any given planner or customer service person to deal with the sheer volume of information that was coming through. And that is where I think we saw the benefits of the work that had gone into the automation, the cognitive automation process, some of the good work that we been doing with you and your team, Fred.

Fred Laluyaux:

When you talk about the human out of the loop, and you talk about the digital brain, the cognitive operating system, the skills, making the decision, that involves or implies the fact that you're connected the brain back to your transaction systems, right? So the system can take action writing back into the tools that execute them. Is that correct?

Bish Sen:

Absolutely. And there's exactly the journey that require it's not having the engine on a separate track, but it's enabling the engine to then take the decision and write back into the transaction system. Absolutely.

Fred Laluyaux:

And what's fascinating in the work and there is clearly a parallel between the work that we've done with both of your organization is starting the journey. You test the ability of the system to actually pull the data into a single data layer that gives you this end to end view of your business. The next step is you start building and the logic, can the system make the right recommendation. And the third step in your deployment is really to enable what we call the right back, riding back into the transactional system and back to your human out of the loop, taking your hands off the wheel. So there is a bit of a pattern here, which is very, very interesting. Alessandro, that's the way Merck is also thinking about it, data and then intelligence and then action.

Alessandro De Luca:

Exactly right. Exactly. It's spot on. I'm totally aligned with you and Bish. I think we are all progressing on that journey exactly with the same vision. I mean, myself driving and the concept of out of the loop that I took note, Bish. This is exactly the same. It's impressive how aligned we are, but of course, I mean, the difference is made by the executional piece. So that is where really we have to all, to work together, share learnings on how to accelerate the executional path.

Fred Laluyaux:

Brilliant. So I'm going to turn to Ray. Everybody knows this song. Everybody Wants to Rule The World, right, by Tears for Fears, but that's not just a song. Soon is going to be the title of your upcoming best seller, I'm sure. I think it's coming in July. So excited about that book, by the way, what is the role of cognitive automation in ruling the world?

Ray Wang:

Cognitive automation plays a huge role, right? We think about the three A's. Analytics, automation, and AI. When you bring those together, that's where you experience the power of what's going on. And what we're trying to achieve is really what we call concept called decision velocity. Humans make a decision one maybe per second, and it takes us four weeks, six weeks, sometimes 12 weeks to get something out of management committee. That's ridiculously slow. Machines make decisions a thousand times per second. That asymmetry is really what we're competing against. And we're competing an era of decision velocity. How can we make the right decisions more quickly? How can we actually get to that level of precision decisions? And it goes back to something we talked about last time, the four questions you're going to have to ask for every journey, every experience that you have out there.

When do I go to full intelligent automation? When do I augment the machine with a human? Let's understand the nuance, let's understand why we make exceptions, let's understand and get to that level of precision by training, working with the machine and the human and the automation at the same time. And then when we augment humans with machines, so we can actually put the data in front of individuals so they can make faster decisions, have that automation happen. And then of course, what processes will you keep and remain for human judgment? And these are the questions that every executive is thinking about right now. And that's really where you bring that all together.

Fred Laluyaux:

That's awesome. Yeah, no, absolutely. Joe, I'm going to turn to you. During the first cognitive automation summit, we were together a few months back. You came up with that line saying, I think it was responding to Ray's comment, you were seeing Ray, a lot of organizations having Fear of Missing Out, FOMO. And then, Joe, you come back and say, well, I think it's moving from FOMO to COMO, Certainty of Missing Out. I've used that line a lot. I'm stealing a lot from you guys, by the way, where do we stand on this? Obviously we're a year of COVID past that, the last event. So how's that certainty of missing out trend accelerated over the last few months, I think we have the answer, but I'd have to hear your thoughts on that.

Joe Fuller:

I think yes, at the beginning of COVID organizations were just trying to keep moving forward, not lose control of their key processes. Obviously spending a lot of time, both ensuring that their workforces were safe and secure, but also overcoming all the basic technical challenges in going to largely remote operations for white collar workers. And once that was behind companies, once they had mastered those challenges, two or three things started to happen. The first is that that they began to understand where the weak spots were in their processes relative to digitalization. And a lot of people poured hugely more resources in digitalizing processes.

You could see that in the spike of consumption, both of the digitally competent consultancies, but also in a rapid growth in the use of freelance high skilled workers to provide that type of capability. The second thing is they started to understand where their processes weren't actually agile, that they were still high bound where the checks and balances were archaic. And I think what really emerged is that senior executives began to understand that agile, is not about programming, it's not about project management. It's about management generally that any process can be agile and can be held to that standard.

Now companies are saying to themselves, as we begin to move into the, what I'm going to call the next normal, because companies are asking me quite a bit, when are we going to get back to normal? And then they change their language. So when are we going to get to a new normal? And what I'm suggesting to them is they think about the next normal, because this is not going to be, we were at one. Then we went to zero. Now we're going to go do another integer. It's going to be, we were at one, then we went to zero. Now we're going to be feeling our way. We've all had that experience. And we wake up in a hotel room and we're trying to remember if the left or right, and not walk into the desk or stub our toe.

And I think companies going to have to sense their way through this, but with a completely different set of standards as to what they expect their processes to do in terms of timelines, accuracy, putting decisions close to the people that have the specific knowledge to make intelligent decisions and take all the decisions that don't require the types of interventions that Ray was talking about. I love the decision velocity, Ray, I'm looking forward to the book, but have those be lights out exceptional only processes. And that sounds exactly to me like what Bish and Alessandro are aspiring to in their organizations.

Fred Laluyaux:

Anyone want to comment on maybe Bish, Alessandro and Ray, of course, as well on what that next normal is starting to look like in your organization. Do you share that concept?

Alessandro De Luca:

Oh, yes. I can start, Fred. I mean, obviously, I mean, we are all talking about it, by the way. I like very much the concept of next normal rather than new normal, because probably that's the right definition. I think the biggest challenge that we have in this organization and the biggest abundant. So first of all, we can access talent everywhere in the world, before you would ask talent, well, would you come to Boston, to Darmstadt and whatever, and eventually relocation doubts. Now we have untapped source of talent everywhere in the world.

So it's really like an open innovation of talents. And this is great. The disadvantage is that how we can create this emotional engagement that comes from being together because we are all human social being that we love to be together. So how we can build this really true engagement in spirit, across a visual spirit. So again, the next normal is the combination how we leverage this workforce, this really organization in such a way that we can un-tap talent everywhere in the world, in every single geography in every single age time zone, but keep them engaged and trust in this digital world.

Bish Sen:

So I wanted to build on what both Joe and Ray had said. And so the way we see this is that there's a lot being talked about in terms of agility and agility of decision making. And it's fundamentally about changing the clock speed of the organization, the clock speed of the enterprise. And the only way if one were to unpack what really constrains us today in many ways, it's our human capacity to deal with the sheer volume of information that's coming at us and how many, to the point that Ray was making that, how many decisions can we really make with the right level of consideration?

And the second question there is that how many of those decisions really require human to make a discretionary judgment on it? Or is it something that follows a pattern, which may not be a rule, but a pattern and the emergence of the next normal to Joe's point, I think is about how can one unlock clock speed of decision making within the enterprise by wiring up the enterprise very differently, focusing the human energy on the creative processes, on the innovative processes, and then really taking a hard look at it saying, where does a human really add value in their decision making process?

Whatever a machine can do better by way of detecting patterns. And I think we need to move from the era of dumb automation, smart or intelligent automation. And that's what will change the clock speed of decision making.

Fred Laluyaux:

All right. Any thoughts?

Ray Wang:

Oh, I definitely agree, right? When we think about the categories where these come into place. You got highly repetitive tasks, let's do cognitive automation. Lots of volume, let's do cognitive automation. Massive nodes of interaction, not possible, let's do that in augment in automation, right? Things that are highly complex, that can't be modeled yet. Oh, okay. That's a little bit different. Complex math, get it. If you can't put into an algorithm, that's going to go to humans, right? So we start going down this line, we start seeing the differences that are happening there. If it's something that requires massive creativity, probably not going to go to cognitive automation yet, but it'll get there in the future, right? And so we'll see trends like this, as we figure out what processes make sense and what journeys and experiences.

Fred Laluyaux:

It's actually getting worse, right? You've had companies Unilever, Merck, you build classifications to help you focus your limited decision making ability to the product, services, the market segments that matter the most, that by definition means that you're not paying a lot of attention to a lot of the products, customers, segments and so and so on because you do not have the fire power. It's impossible to scale. So even prior to the crisis that we've seen over the last year, that problem already existed, those classifications were there for a reason. And I think you'll see, when you go to the next normal that you can deploy intelligence, digital intelligence across the entire set of products, customer channels that are in your decision mix.

And the other dimension that I see talking with you guys a lot is that the decision themselves are getting more complex because you're factoring more dimensions, sustainability, social responsibility. So a decision that was based on cash, cost, service level, which is historically the way you kind of decided in supply chain to take that example is now augmented with more dimensions in the business. So it's becoming quite complex to manage. If you don't have a scalable digital brain that can do a lot of the work, right?

Bish Sen:

So there's one additional I wanted to flag, which is we are already, this is this next normal that Joe talks about is also having an impact on the way I think organograms are going, are beginning to evolve. We already have a situation where we have a cognitive engine as a part of the organogram. So an engine report into a human, I think we are a few years away, possibly where we have a situation where a human reports to an engine. But as we speak today, on our organogram, we would have error reporting into a planner. And I think it's a very interesting pivot that's happening as we speak.

Fred Laluyaux:

Make sure that error doesn't get fired, by the way. That would be a problem. All right, that's a super good insight. So Joe, I want to go back to the question that I was posing earlier about certainty of missing out and how does a CEO today move from certainty of missing out to building the confidence in our ability to lead with the relevant and impactful innovation, right? We're touching on that, but you can't leave in COMO for much longer. You have to actually build the confidence that you can be on top. You can be leading with these innovations. How do you build that confidence? What are the fundamental adjustments that you need to make in order to build up that confidence that you're not being left behind?

Joe Fuller:

Well, I think the first is that you, you do have to think in terms of what the organization is going to have to do to survive and prosper going forward. You have to be very clear-eyed about that. Incremental improvement is not going to cut it. The second thing I would say that you have to do is, to acknowledge that the type of transformation we're talking about is unlike any previous transformation. And that should be actually in some ways reassuring, because the previous transformations, so many big companies have gone through multiple transformation processes, invariably supported and extravagant prices by my old industry to management consulting industry. And those transformations all have something in common. They don't work.

So almost all the gains registered happen in the first year, the organization goes into a passive aggressive mode and promptly tries to make the new process with a fewer layers or fewer steps look, and feel like the old process people were familiar with. Bish, talked about dumb automation. There's been plenty of dumb automation, but there've been even more dumb processes for implementing automation, and this is not automating and making more of efficient and existing process. This is a new process. And I think that's going to be actually very exciting for the employees of the company.

Cognitive automation has a great prospect of essentially abolishing dull work. It's going to reduce a lot of organizational anxiety because we've lost control of the data and now my boss is going to bash me upside the head, fire me, deny me my bonus, whatever else, that's going to go away. And, we've talked about automation historically is eliminating dirty, dark, dangerous work.

Now we're going to get to dull work and engaging. What she's going to have to do is set aside the playbook for implementing these things and really invest upfront in articulating to the workforce, why we're going to be doing these things and what the benefits are going to be and once the attractiveness of what's going to be on offer, given all these technologies, especially cognitive automation and the necessity of doing it to ensure enterprise health and success, which is what most rank and file workers want to know that they do have a job. They do have a career. They're not going to be swept away by some disruptor. Then I think you're going to have people embrace this and transformations that really stick are actually democratic with a small deed. They rise up the organization, because people see their work getting better, more efficient, more effective, the company being more competitive, resources being devoted against what counts and cognitive automation allows all that.

Fred Laluyaux:

That's brilliant. Any comments from anyone?

Bish Sen:

I think there's something very profound in what Joe just said, because this is not about saving a few FTS or headcounts. This is about elevating the quality of human endeavor and amplifying the output of human endeavor to focus on what humans really do best and leaving the dull stuffs, as Joe said, to be taken care of by the engines who can do it more efficiently, can do it faster and therefore free up the human bandwidth. And this is not about an either raw situation, but this is not about the robots replacing the humans, but it's about the coexistence and focusing and really elevating the quality of human end up.

Joe Fuller:

I think we already touched on something here. This is cognitive automation for human enablement and it's not cognitive automation to replace humans. It's not cognitive automation to speed up the treadmill and make them work faster. It's to enable their futures, allow them to engage in productive work and meaningful work and the abolition of those many, many span of control, breaking craft, checking jobs that actually make organizations less efficient and effective. But since there's been no alternative, and since that's the way the process is designed, we continue to do it.

Fred Laluyaux:

Ray, you want to jump in?

Ray Wang:

Yeah. I was going to say that, what Joe's talking about this, this level of augmentation that we're going to see in the market, that's really the big push here. This is not digital transformation. This is completely something different. This is not automation in a traditional sense of incremental improvement. This is a massive change in terms of how you can actually work, right? And back to what Bish was saying, this is your ability to actually get to the full human potential and get the busy work out of the way. So you can actually be more strategic you.

Fred Laluyaux:

So Ray, let's stay with you, not stick with you, stay with you. You're one of the best experts on both what I call the supply and the demand side of enterprise technologies, right? What's top of mind for you when you advise CIO or a Chief Digital Officer on the topic of deploying cognitive automation? Joe touched on the change aspect, the organization, the future of work aspect. Talk a little bit about tech. What do you have to worry about? What do you have to resolve to enable it? And then of course, I'd love to get everybody's perspective on that after yours.

Ray Wang:

Yeah. I think what organizations are trying to understand is what do I have to rip and replace? What do I have to do to take something out? And what they don't realize is that this is additive, right? It's taking advantage of your existing systems. It's crawling through your existing transactions and information and insights. It's building it on its own. This is the whole self-driving and the whole constant that we had talked about, right? I mean, these are autonomous enterprises that we're building with cognitive automation. I think the chief information officers and chief digital officers and other folks that are technology decision makers, they're challenge's trying to understand, work, can this actually drive business value. I mean, they're constantly trying to figure out how to drive down cost structures to fund innovation and suddenly cognitive automation pops up and it does both.

And sometimes they're confused and they're like, wait, how do you do both? Well, I mean, this is happening in front of you. And so I think that's the second thing that we typically hear. And then the third part is, we've seen a lot of efforts where people are trying to do something with a cognitive effort or an AI type effort. And the challenge has been, there's not been enough data. And that's really, what's hampered for a lot of these organizations. And it turns out that what the processes are here, the data is all inside the organization, the transactions and insights are there and they haven't taken advantage of their own data while they're up going, doing other AI projects and finding out that they're not successful when in fact, the biggest opportunity is sitting inside of you within your own transactional systems. And so I think that's some interesting realizations that we've seen CIOs and CDOs come through

Fred Laluyaux:

Alessandro, we'd love to hear your little take on that one too, from both your supply chain and then your IT angle.

Alessandro De Luca:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, CIO, Ray, I'm here to jump on your consideration that the absolute spot, I think whatever we've been saying till now is, is right on, I mean, we are talking about a technology that augment human. This is number one. We are talking about processes that will have to be enabled and will have to be changed because probably we will have new process and new go to market different skill to go to market, and we also mention about the people, the people, I think Bish mentioned, Joe mentioned it. I mean, also you Ray. At the end technology and process only works with the people and people means right organization design. We see new roles coming out, control tower officer, we see supply chain architect. We see master that integrate all new roles that before were unexisting.

We see a new skill required. I mean, you have to be technology savvy. You should know your function, your supply chain, and you should be able to communicate, I mean, these are soft skills that have to be developed. And then even the KPI are different. So before we were measuring forecast, accuracy, MRPSA and so on, now we measure number of touches to the system. So you don't want to touch the system because the system is intelligent. So it's all an next normal using Joe words. But it's a fantastic moment to be.

Fred Laluyaux:

Yeah, it's interesting. You said that some of the discussions that we have when we do our quarterly reviews with our clients is we're literally looking at level of automation, level of augmentation. The charts are now showing how much of the work is being processed by the brain. That's awesome. So Bish, Alessandro, companies spend a huge amount of time and efforts planning, forecasting. And as I mentioned before, prioritizing and aligning both internal and external resources. I think Bish touched on that a little bit, but how does cognitive automation impact this planning and optimization processes? In other word, the question that always comes to us is, is cognitive automation the future of planning? What do you see planning be when cognitive automation is fully deployed in a company?

Bish Sen:

So let me take stab it and Alessandro you can add on. It's just the future of planning. I think it's the future of enterprise processes, and we must not put it into a box of just planning because what it unlocks is the ability to deal with diverse data streams at a speed, which cannot be managed by humans to take better decisions more frequently. Now, I think these four credit criteria apply whether it's a customer service process, whether it's in order to cash process, whether it's a planning process, you could apply it equally well, it's just that we've started off in planning.

And I think the future of cognitive automation extends to the wider enterprise processes, planning, being one of them. And what stops us is our ability to adopt it and it's the level of adoption within the enterprise rather than the intrinsic capabilities of the engine. So for me, it's much bigger than planning to answer your question frame.

Fred Laluyaux:

Yeah, absolutely. Go ahead, Alessandro.

Alessandro De Luca:

Bish, I can only echo your words, you are absolutely spot on. It's really like, so first of all, it's not the future of planning is the present, but certainly it's the future of the enterprise. You, you said it, I mean, exactly right. And this is what make change managers so important because already planning is important, but you can imagine an enterprise endorsing cognitive automation at 360 degrees. Well, the change manager become probably the biggest effort. And this is where I see still, there are one too many discussion about technology at vendors rather than change management and too many discussion around integration of technology that is trivial, but not about the quality of data. I mean, at the end is the quality of data that makes a difference for a success. So quality of data, change management, and Bish, right on is we are talking about a cognitive enterprise, no cognitive supply chain. And then I want to echo what Ray said before, we are competing in Aera of decision velocity. I mean, Ray spot on that is the true source competitive advantage.

Fred Laluyaux:

So when you go beyond the hype, right? Every project out there claims to be cognitive, intelligent, self driving, AI based, you name it, right? It's everything, it's got those acronym. I think Alessandro, as I mentioned, you're one of the very first to talk about the self-driving supply chain. When you put all the marketing fluff aside, how is your own view? And I think you have touched about this, but how has your own view of the self-driving supply chain evolved over the last years? You go back five years, you wrote this article, welcome to the self-driving supply chain. How has your view evolved pre COVID, post COVID, where is it today?

Alessandro De Luca:

No, thanks. Thanks for indeed. I mean, in 2016, I remember me and you were talking also with Shariq and so on. I mean, self driving, supply chain, people were rolling their eyes and say, what is this, a new car? What is this? What are you talking about? Anyways now everybody talks more or less the same. I think that there are this element, the element of now we're talking about self driving enterprise that Bish said it absolutely right. And to that one, without repeating what I said, I think we need to be collaborative. That means that is really a collaboration across players in the industry, collaboration across the big value chain. If you take the example of the vaccine sign today, I mean, success will only come well in the future if everybody collaborate. So that's his fundamental then in this journey towards the self-driving enterprise, I think we should forget the automation or give it for granted and focus on documentation.:

Like exactly we said before, augmenting the value of the enterprise and the human being is the future of cognitive or self-driving supply chain, and probably the LA the last point is that digital now is a way of leading. We are all Zoom based. If you see what I mean as, so we should embrace it everything that we do, and we should maintain how in the next normal but add what great has brought us digital technology, but at what human can really add to it.

Fred Laluyaux:

All good things come to an end, and we're going to have to wrap this, this panel. I could spend another hour with you guys, maybe the last questions, I'll start with you, Joe, but then we can open up to everybody. You obviously co-chair the future of work initiative at Harvard business school. And we touched on that a little bit, but what is your view on the long term impact of the current pandemic will be on the way companies operate in the future, right?

Joe Fuller:

Well, we can have a whole session on that, but I know two or three things that are highly relevant is this has caused a lot of higher level, more experienced talent with more relevant backgrounds to really think about work and the meaning of work in their lives and organizations that can let those people express their creativity, focus on interesting tasks, unload them routine, boring tasks that have no upside, lots of downside. That's going to be helpful. It's putting a huge demand on people with a combination of skills. You can almost think about this as a composite worker, a worker that has digital literacy and higher order social skills, and by social skills, I don't mean great sense of humor or life of the party, but someone who we interact very effectively with other human beings in different types of circumstances and that composite talent social plus digital is very rare.

And we correctly said, it's about decision philosophy and getting processed data to people to exercise their judgment. Similarly, it's going to be making those people productive and being an attractive employer for them, which kind of by process of elimination, you have to unload them of the boring work and the excruciating work the people have to do as they try to reconcile different sources of data in their company to make decisions. The decision architecture looks like a railroad where each one has got a different gauge of track. And the poor CIO, is the station master was trying to get one train, the data from one train onto another train and from a passenger train to a freight train. And what if it was all the JNR? What if it was all shutos.

Fred Laluyaux:

Well, with those wise words, we got to leave it there gentleman, because the team is saying, we got to wrap up. I want to most sincerely thank you for the partnership, the friendship, the coaching and everything that you've done for us and for the extended community of those interested in the topic of cognitive automation. Thank you so much and we'll get together soon or fully in person. Thanks again.


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June 28, 2021
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