While every enterprise is embarking on some digital strategy today, implementing a cloud or artificial intelligence (AI)-led transformation continues to be a challenge. In an interview with TechCircle, Paul Pallath, vice president, applied AI practice, Searce Inc., a technology consulting firm that helps businesses in their digital transformation journey, said, by addressing the common challenges of data quality and availability, lack of expertise and ethical considerations, CIO/CTOs can successfully implement AI solutions and reap the benefits. Edited excerpts.
Despite companies going for digital transformation, a lot of these projects fail to deliver value. Where do they go wrong?
Digital transformation projects often lack long-term commitment, as companies try to solve their immediate needs or problems and misses out on the bigger picture around modernization, automation, governance, and so on. Those embarking on a digital transformation journey, should know that it is not about technology transformation. It’s about cultural transformation within the company. We have often seen companies transforming one department but that’s only one piece of the entire business puzzle. Even if one particular department is completely transformed, everything else is not at par with the digital work, digital transformation eventually fails. It is up to the CIO/CTO to identify and implement technologies that ultimately bring business value and create high-quality customer experiences and journey.
What are the most common challenges CIO/CTOs face when deploying AI-based tools?
There are a number of challenges in the process. Data quality and availability are among the most significant challenges businesses face when implementing AI solutions. A CTO should ensure that the data is good, in other words, accurate and relevant to the problem the business is trying to solve. Another common challenge businesses face when implementing AI solutions is integrating existing systems, such as CRM or ERP systems. Besides, high cost of developing and implementing AI solutions, lack of expertise in AI implementation and ethical and legal considerations often prove challenging for CIO/CTOs.
Also how do you address the ethical concerns in AI?
It is essential for businesses to ensure their AI systems are transparent, explainable and accountable. Additionally, businesses should consider conducting regular audits of their AI systems to identify and mitigate potential ethical or legal risks.
How are you leveraging generative AI?
Rapid advancement of generative AI is enabling software engineers to solve complex problems, optimize and debug code. This is helping us in creating better and more productive code by automating repetitive coding components. The other important aspect is content creation. It is also helping our marketers to automate various aspects of content creation, saving time and resources for faster time-to-market. There’s a lot more potential of this technology.
Searce has a center of excellence in Mumbai India. Any specific plans for the Indian Market?
We’re aiming to achieve 10x growth in the next 3-5 years. And this cannot happen without people. Last year, we opened our first futurify lab and center of excellence in Mumbai to bring quality tech talent and offer guidance to clients who are looking to get future-ready by using advanced technologies. The center accommodates nearly 200 employees and will be the hub for cloud engineering, AI and data analytics solutions. We have more than doubled our (India) headcount from 600 to 1400 employees. Over the next two years, Searce is looking at increasing its headcount to 2400 employees. As part of the expansion plan, we intend to open and expand several such labs across Rajkot, Ahmedabad, and Coimbatore in the near future