Artificial Intelligence Platforms a Game Changer – No Sh*t, Sherlock! | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Last week, Wipro’s CTO briefed me on the Wipro Holmes artificial intelligence platform. My key takeaways from the session and subsequent musings on where AI is taking the industry:

  • Wipro Holmes is currently focused on highly tangible business cases, where AI can replace large volumes of human labor, the kind that comprises commodity skills, but enterprises cannot do without. A case in point in automating KYC processes, from hours to minutes. Holmes is also being used in infrastructure management deals to automate service desk functions. Similar use cases include claims processing, loan processing, and virtual recruitment. The impact is pretty significant, and the focus seems to be on eliminating or dramatically streamlining large, clunky manual processes that enterprises currently spend a lot on, but which do not contribute significantly in value creation
  • Apart from the usual bundling in managed services contracts and platform models, Wipro is also taking the platform to market through client co-invested vehicles, whereby a client partners in developing a new use case and enjoys a gainshare from subsequent sales
  • The critical challenge in scaling any AI platform is developing new use cases and taking them to market rapidly and at scale. Wipro currently averages four months from conceptualization to deployment – this is impressive, but doesn’t necessarily leave the competition panting for breath

Overall, the AI platform market is focusing on three broad areas:

  1. Automation for IT: Infrastructure management is probably the most notable example
  2. Automation for scaled, commodity business processes: Claims processing and KYC are notable examples
  3. Facilitating complex decision-making: This is probably the most creative scenario – for instance, using AI platforms to scan medical literature and facilitate care management recommendations. These scenarios can lead to new business models, and spawn Digital businesses like Doing this successfully requires a fundamentally different business model, usually involving a large developer community to innovate rapidly and reduce the business risks

As of now, managed service providers like Wipro focused on the first two – and understandably so. Innovation using AI is seen in the context of the broader business model and differentiation in their core markets rather than risky investments in areas that are not fully understood – yet.

All of this might change. As the old aphorism goes, we tend to overestimate the short term and underestimate the long term. As the world goes increasingly digital and different business models involving a nexus of technology and service providers, user and developer communities, and adjacent industry participation come to the fore, it may not be long before services providers realize that it’s a question of “and,” not “or.”

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