| June 13, 2018

AI & Data Science in Business Transformation: A Talk with Michael Reddy

Headshot of President, Michael Reddy on AI and Data Science in Business Transformation

How have artificial intelligence and data science transformed business? DAP’s President, Michael Reddy, talked at the Chicago AI & Data Science Conference about the exciting ways in which AI and data science are changing the way people do business, and how to stay ahead of the curve.


Watch the entire talk, below, or check out some of our keys takeaways from the chat.



What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is the process of reinventing your business models, operations, products, marketing and more through the adoption of digital technologies. Digital transformation can be internal or external, but ultimately entails changing your business to keep up with the evolution of digital technology, whether that be incorporating AI into your operations or using data science to improve business outcomes.


Digital transformation is different in every industry. For example, most healthcare companies have not yet made the transition to digital, so there is a significant opportunity for improvement. Reddy says that if you are in a business like insurance, the realistic expectation is that in a few years if you aren’t digital, you won’t even exist. It’s to the point where you have to have, at minimum, an online presence in order to compete in most industries.


How do you set up your project for success?

A big reason companies don’t succeed is that they make mistakes that in this day and age are simply unacceptable. A lot of companies forget about digital strategy, product management or even why they are building a product. The very first question to ask is simply, “What is the need for my product?” 


Reddy goes on to say that whatever is being built should be done in a way that’s agile so that the product can be updated based on how customers respond to it. No matter what you are doing, it is important to start with a minimum viable product (MVP), test it, get feedback, then use the feedback to improve the digital experience. Build quickly, test and follow up. Failing big in this day and age is simply unacceptable when there are so many ways to start small and work up from there.


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AI is a buzzword in the business community. What is some advice for people who have something innovative and have an audience with the decision makers of their company?

Panelist Rachel Kaberon mentions that any worker should remember that the people they work for usually know less than they do about the models and new technology they are working with. As a result, you need to make sure they know what it is you are trying to do and how exactly it can help them.


This means knowing what they consider to be a good outcome, and then figuring out how the model you are working with can achieve that. Kaberon also mentions that it is one thing to mitigate risk, and another to save money. 


Reddy goes on to say that in reality, AI is just a buzzword for most leaders. As a result, education for your business leaders is important. You should tell them how AI can provide incremental value to save time, money and increase revenue. Also, it can be really beneficial just to convince the leaders to get started.


Start small. Reddy recommends if you want to begin implementing AI into your business, choose something small to get started, like chatbots. They are great for customer service, and you can build from there. 


How do you keep up with and know what is emerging technology?

Rachel mentions that collaboration tools, like Slack, are great because you can keep up with what many people are doing at once. By meeting with your team regularly and engaging with them through social channels you can keep up to date with many different aspects of your industry in a convenient manner.


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Since next-generation tech is what DAP does, Reddy mentions that it is part of the company’s work culture to stay up to date on these things. DAP is also part of a lot of Slack channels that focus on AI.


On top of this, DAP has mandatory sessions per month for employees to go to in order to learn about the latest in tech, many of the employees and managers view webinars online to stay updated, and DAP also works with companies that are the front runners of the tech space, building things like AI products, so that there is a good environment for learning which is inherently part of the company as well.


How should you collaborate with data science teams?

Reddy makes it clear that the simplest way to do this is through agile methodology. DAP has full-time data scientists and they are fully integrated into how we do things.


The data scientists onboard are driven by the agile structure with product awareness about how products will be built for the team, so they are just part of the overall agile team. Full integration into an agile structure team is the way to go.


Where do these transformations come from?

Digital transformation is harder for bigger companies and they tend to be more behind because of this. Companies can be so big that it’s hard to change the way all their employees work, on top of all their technology etc. For this reason, bigger companies tend to purchase smaller companies, this way they get new people into the company who are willing to think differently than the company norm.


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Small companies have challenges as well, like simply not having enough money to transform, but they are starting out faster in order to stay relevant and have the drive to do so!


Reddy finishes up with his biggest piece of advice when it comes to transforming your business: Fail fast. Use metrics for how and when an endeavor is paying off. If it isn’t, move on. No matter what you do, there will be failure, but you can do your best to minimize it.


There is no excuse that a company should be spending a million dollars before knowing if the transformation or new idea will work. Come up with your best possible ideas, use KPIs and metrics and then test the changes. Starting small like this will tell you what works and what doesn’t so you can add to and modify them. Fail in small steps and learn little by little.


Start small so you can transform big!


To learn more about how digital transformation is impacting the healthcare industry, check out 5 Secrets to Digital Transformation in Healthcare.

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