IBM team Interview: Prashant Pradhan CTO, IBM India South Asia


Title: Continuous Learning and Inventionis the Mantra for My Team

How is the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) helping you create new business models?

Today, there is a lot of conversation with our clients on business transformation irrespective of the sector - be it banking, retail, or telecommunication, the central theme of these interactions veers towards AI. I can confidently say thatevery single one of our conversations with banks has been about data and AI.Our clients believethey have the advantage oflarge-scale customer relationships they’ve built over a period of time and that the data they’ve captured can provide insight on where they can add value to their clients. The banks haveinitiatives on using data and AI to provide better customer experience.

The telecom sector, similarly, has its own challenges and opportunities.Large-scale events in the industry, such as consolidation, see AI as their central theme. Telcos are finding new ways to use AI to optimize their call centers and network operations. All the functions surrounding troubleshooting network issues, solving customer problems, or finding the ideal plan for a customer are data-driven, and they are taking major initiatives on how to improve their operational cost using AI.Even within retail, AI is taking a dominant role. Storesuse AI to predict the regular orders of a customer. The evidence of how AI is being put to use in order to build smarter businesses can be seen in the field and it tends to be the central conversation across verticals.

Technology is changing on a rapid basis, what is your team's POV to stay ahead of the curve?

We are currently seeing tremendous acceleration in terms of new work that is coming out in the areas of AI. For a technology team, like the one I run, it is crucial that we grasp and shape technology through new work or inventions and apply it to clients. The central theme that we maintain in my team is that of continuous learning, invention in terms of new ways to apply this to different industry verticals, and helping our colleagues to make sure they are able to make use of it as well.

What is Put Smart To Work bringing that's different from the AI-driven approach of other businesses?

Making a business do smarter work involves multiple things. The first is having the ability to put the known capabilities of AI in the context of the business. For example, different banks have different priorities depending on their strengths and their business models. For banks that have adapted well in terms of utilizing their digital channels, the application of AI is focused more on increasing wallet shares and value for the customers. This usually involves using the data that the bank already has in order to personalize offers and deliver those offers through their digital channels. Banks that focus on corporate lending might give less importance to digital-driven retail banking, and here the application of AI shifts to figuring out models of sectoral risk and credit risk using a combination of both structured and unstructured data.

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