Artificial Intelligence

IBM is honouring women who are putting AI to work in business

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UBank CEO, Lee Hatton joins our inaugural Women Leaders in AI list

Author: Moragh Blyth, Head of Marketing Cloud & Cognitive, Systems and IBM Brand A/NZ

As an Aussie woman working in technology in A/NZ, I can’t tell you how proud I was to learn that a fellow Australian and a New Zealander made the IBM Women Leaders in AI list this year.

Australian, Shelley Kalms, is the Chief Digital Officer, of Woodside Energy, Australia and New Zealander, Lee Hatton (also one of our keynote speakers at Think Summit this year) is the CEO of UBank Australia.

They join forty recipients from fifteen different countries. The list recognises and celebrates women who are pioneering the use of AI to advance their companies in areas such as innovation, growth, and transformation.

We sat down with both women for a Q&A session. You can read about Lee Hatton’s AI journey below or click here to learn more about Shelley Kalms remarkable AI innovations. Or explore the entire list here.

Lee Hatton, CEO of UBank

UBank CEO, Lee Hatton

Lee Hatton’s team at UBank has worked with IBM over the past two years to create innovative, automated customer service products. It started with RoboChat, to help customers with their home loan applications, and then RoboBrain, to centralise resources for UBank’s own customer service advisors. The latest innovation is Mia, a virtual agent that can answer hundreds of different questions in real time, transforming the online experience and creating a one-to-one personal connection with each customer.

How are you using Watson in your business?

We first started in the AI space in 2017, working with the IBM Watson team. This was to solve a customer problem: the application form was sometimes overwhelming to people. So, we set out to build RoboChat, a text-based chatbot, in about eight weeks. This now gives customers support at any time with the home loan app, and it also frees up our advisors to help customers with more complex questions during business hours. Now we’ve developed Mia, which can answer more than 300 different spoken questions, which we built in partnership with IBM and FaceMe.

Once we had really aced something for our customers, we wanted to use AI to do something for our team members. They used to have to search multiple sources for something as simple as our current interest rate. So, we ingested 950 documents across four sources to create RoboBrain. Now, our advisors can type in a question on the dedicated RoboBrain web page, and the answer is shared with them in real time. It’s a one-stop portal of valuable information to help us deliver a faster customer and employee experience.

What have you learned that you wish you had known when you first started working with AI?

You’re never going to get to a perfect moment with AI—by its very nature, it will always continue to learn the more it interacts with customers. Don’t be afraid of that journey. Embrace it and take your customers along with you. Also, it’s critically important to not lose sight of the problem you’re solving. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the technology and the excitement of doing something new, which is great, but you need to think about why you’re doing it and never stray from that focus.

What advice would you give to the next generation of women as they enter the workforce?

You’re going to get some less than stellar advice. I once had a male leader tell me that my team and I were too ambitious and running too fast and that I needed to “come back down from the mountain” and join the rest of the team on a slower journey. And while you never want to leave people behind, don’t let someone else’s insecurities stop you from achieving greatness. Be bold and help people understand your vision for the future.

Click here to view Shelley Kalms Q&A or here to see all the women featured in our list.

 

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