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AI APPLICATIONS: AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

MACHINE LEARNING: DIGITAL WORKFORCE

www.aimagazine.com

FEBRUARY 2021

e th at of ok k le lo or ma er w fe try os g st s cl akin hte ndu e a re ig I i ak b br A e t nd he he W ou f t n t gr n o s i te ght li BELL INCORPORATED

SAP

DANILO MCGARRY + ISG + UIPATH


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FOREWORD

T

his edition of AI Magazine sees us convening a roundtable of AI experts to offer their insights into why automation is key to increasing corporate valuations.

In our lead report we hear from Bell Incorporated. George Iskenderian, director of Big Data and AI/ML at Bell Canada tells us why putting AI at the heart of telecoms, in ways big and small, is a vital step. “There are also lots of use cases where machine learning is just going to be a tool set,” says Iskanderian. “They are not going to be making headlines. They are not going to move mountains, but they are going to support much better – and faster – insights.”

In our top 10, meanwhile, we look at some of the top women contributors to the AI industry, zooming in on their contributions to a sector that is influencing every area of the global economy. Don’t forget to read our other feature reports with the likes of Clear Channel International, SAP and Playtech. William Smith

william.smith@bizclikmedia.com

Our feature content includes deep dives into digital workforces, the future of autonomous vehicles (split as it is between challenges and existing giants) and the revolutionary influence of artificial intelligence on data analytics. a i ma ga z i n e. com

03


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PUBLISHED BY

PRODUCTION DIRECTORS

Georgia Allen Daniela Kianicková

Tom Venturo MANAGING DIRECTOR

Kris Palmer

PRODUCTION MANAGER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

William Smith

Owen Martin Philline Vicente VIDEO PRODUCTION MANAGER

DEPUTY EDITOR

Paddy Smith EDITORAL DIRECTOR

Scott Birch CREATIVE TEAM

Oscar Hathaway Sophia Forte Hector Penrose Sam Hubbard Mimi Gunn Justin Smith

Kieran Waite DIGITAL VIDEO PRODUCERS

Sam Kemp Evelyn Huang Matthew Evans DIGITAL MARKETING EXECUTIVE

Andrew Stubbings

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Jordan Hubbard MEDIA SALES DIRECTOR

Mark Cawston SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR

Jason Westgate CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER

Stacy Norman PRESIDENT & CEO

Glen White

PROJECT DIRECTORS

Mike Sadr Ben Maltby a i ma ga z i n e. com


CONTENTS

10

Enabling AI/ML Powered Networks

36

CHALLENGERS and GIANTS race for AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

36


How the Workforce is Going Digital in 2021

42 The Trends Powering

Data Analytics Platform Evolution

52

28


70 Danilo McGarry + ISG + UiPath

86 Clear Channel International


100 SAP

114 Playtech


10

Enabling AI/ML Powered Networks WRITTEN BY

PADDY SMITH PRODUCED BY

CRAIG KILLINGBACK

FEBRUARY 2021


11

a i ma ga z i n e. com


BELL INC (CANADA)

George Iskenderian, director of Big Data and AI/ML at Bell Canada, is putting data and AI/ML at the heart of telecoms. He explains why it’s the right decision

12

F

or someone working in the transformative and often speculative world of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning

(ML), George Iskenderian is remarkably pragmatic. But that doesn’t stop him from being ambitious and, more to the point, successful. His data and AI/ML team at Bell Canada has two patents pending and one being filed after only five years, and has grown from a single person team into more than 100 data scientists and engineers. Iskenderian is very appreciative of his position, “A big factor to my success is the support and empowerment I received at Bell to establish this world class team especially from Stephen Howe, Bell CTO, Petri Lyytikainen, Network VP and of course every single person on the team.”

FEBRUARY 2021


13

a i ma ga z i n e. com


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VISIBILITY WITHOUT BORDERS


NETSCOUT and Bell Canada:

Long-Term Success on a World Class Network

NETSCOUT’s Matt Demeusy talks about their successful partnership with Bell and why 5G implementation is an exciting time for communication solution providers. Written by: Paddy Smith NETSCOUT is a leading provider of service assurance, security, and business analytics for communication service providers and enterprises. “We provide pervasive visibility across all areas of a business network, regardless of the technologies being deployed,” explains Matthew Demeusy, CTO Office at NETSCOUT. “These services might be entirely on premises, cloud services, or hybrid – we call this ‘Visibility Without Borders’. What does Demeusy believe is driving innovation in the telecoms sector? “There are two things, and they’re somewhat related. One is the digital transformation to cloud, and that’s an ongoing process; and the second is 5G technology. As service providers drive toward these new technologies, these networks will often go through several phases of evolution. And each phase requires assuring that the services are performing as expected. Any anomalies are detected and still the target initiatives are being achieved. With NETSCOUT, we provide that visibility across those borders to ensure service performance through every phase of that evolution.”

One of NETSCOUT’s long-term customers is Bell. Demeusy got involved around the time big data and analytics were climbing the Bell agenda; at the time NETSCOUT was developing its nGenius Business Analytics solution. He’s been working with them ever since. “I really enjoy working with Bell. I find that we are easily able to get to the heart of their objectives and that Bell is getting the maximum amount of value out of the products.” For instance, Bell utilizes NETSCOUT’s insights and tools on a daily basis for supporting their marketing monetization program and ensuring customer experience through user analytics. “Our relationship is mutually beneficial. We gain a deeper understanding of common challenges service providers face. We benefit from being able to understand what the customer is trying to accomplish and deliver solutions to get there as effectively as possible, as well as meet the challenges we see across various industries. Bell benefits by gaining deeper customer insights and by extracting the maximum amount of value from their investments – with their tools and within their network.” And the future? “When it comes to the key trends and technologies, 5G is the big trend. The transition to 5G from 4G LTE is significant and wide reaching. This is not an overnight migration; it requires long-term planning, built-in visibility, and insights into new 5G services to become fully realised. It’s critical that service providers’ existing services remain at optimal performance levels with full visibility at all times, even while the delivery mechanisms for the services are changing. NETSCOUT provides service providers the confidence to innovate with the ability to future proof their next-generation technology with 5G/IoT, Cloud, and beyond.”


BELL INC (CANADA)

“The paradigm is shifting from detecting issues to looking at the bigger picture and understanding why anomalies are happening” 16

— George Iskenderian, Director, Big Data & AI Bell Inc (Canada) “When we integrate the data folks with the domain teams, they start thinking about the art of the possible,”

expertise come together. When we

he says. “So I need to understand my

say we build with use cases in mind,

network, how my traffic patterns are.

we do have a strategic view as well.

And the data scientist is saying, ‘I can

Certain things we do such as anticipat-

give you that, but actually I can predict

ing problems or needs might not be

the traffic pattern for you a week in

very high priority today but they will be

advance and I can introduce seasonal-

in a year or two.”

ity so that when you’re looking at the traffic pattern you’re not looking at that

AI VS ML: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

based on historical data. You’re actu-

AI and ML are often conflated in

ally predicting the future.’”

technology circles, with many people

“So that’s where the value of the domain expertise and data and AI FEBRUARY 2021

describing machine learning functions as AI, and others pointedly


17

E X E C U T I V E P R O FILE :

George Iskenderian Title: Director, Big Data & AI Company: Bell Inc Industry: Telecommunications Location: Canada George Iskenderian leads the network Big Data & AI organization at Bell, he created a high performance team of data experts developing advanced data platforms and executing network planning, engineering and operations use cases. Iskenderian started his career at Bell planning and architecting OSS systems including multiple data solutions. He played a key role in setting the network transformation and data and AI/ML strategy and enabling Bell’s AI powered networks. Prior to joining Bell, Iskenderian assumed various hands-on and leadership roles at Nortel as well as a position in Europe initiating one of the first GSM SMS deployments. Iskenderian holds a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering and is a licensed professional engineer in Ontario, Canada.

a i ma ga z i n e. com


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Dealing with data

Couchbase serves content to over 100M cable boxes, over 500M tablets, 100M smart watches through DirectTV, Sky, Comcast, Verizon and other media providers.

“The Couchbase Server is a sophisticated platform and our flagship product working alongside Couchbase Mobile for our edge offering,” explains Ravi Mayuram, SVP Engineering, CTO. “Our Kubernetes Autonomous Operator orchestrates cluster deployments in a programmable manner. The ambition is to convert a set of data-oriented technologies - for which enterprises previously had to use multiple-point solutions, hence complicating the landscape. We can help them navigate and simplify this data sprawl.” Couchbase converges a suite of NoSQL capabilities across one platform to simplify development and deployment. “The performance caching capability of our database is combined with our SQL-like query language; N1QL offers unparalleled flexibility along with search and analytics stitched together with an eventing system supporting fast transactional workloads,” says Mayuram. “That same data can be transported with equivalent functionality at the edge via our mobile product. Converging multiple technology stacks into a single platform allows application developers to carry out many tasks in one place, thereby accelerating forward development.”

Modernising your stack Couchbase are ideologically aligned with key partners like Bell Canada; both are keen to promote a philosophy of operational data visibility. “Our platform brings data from the edge to near real time in the cloud; from here analytical logic, via AI and ML technologies, can be applied for key insights,” says Mayuram of the capability to use data from anywhere to feed into available intelligence.

Performance at scale “One of the biggest advantages of Couchbase is its performance at scale,” maintains Mayuram. “We are built for the next generation of scaling that will happen. A platform that can withstand the growing demand from a volume and variety of data in a new order of magnitude. Data growth is exponential be it from the edge IoT devices, machines generating data, or spamming and anomaly detection. These are all based on the volume of data that’s actually flowing through in real time - something Couchbase is primed to handle.

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BELL INC (CANADA)

20

suggesting that AI – in its truest

sure that we focus specifically on AI/

sense – is not really available yet.

ML expertise development, but also

Iskenderian is happy to explain his

how we create value using AI/ML, so

view. “I’ll give it an analogy: if artifi-

it’s very important to the organization.

cial intelligence is mathematic, then

We talked about network operations

machine learning would be algebra.

and performance, failure detection: all

So machine learning is a discipline

those concepts can be solved with

within the bigger umbrella of artificial

AI/ML.

intelligence. And then deep learning would be linear algebra. “We realize that AI and ML are of par-

“I’ll give you an example: spam filtering. When millions and millions of emails are going through some serv-

amount importance and it’s going to

ers, it would be cost prohibitive for any

play a significant role going forwards.

decision logic to look at that and say

And we have various initiatives to make

‘this is spam, this is not spam’. Machine

FEBRUARY 2021


Bell Canada’s key partners Couchbase We were interested in augmenting our data ecosystem with a distributed database that can address a variety of use cases especially for transactional workloads. As we move towards more real time workflows, a data solution supporting fast transactional workloads is critical. Couchbase is successfully providing us the solution for such workloads. Couchbase is now the backend for multiple realtime transactional applications.

enabling real-time monitoring, troubleshooting and automation actions for log events from network devices and applications. The Elastic stack will provide an integrated and user-friendly framework to ingest and store log data and then perform log analytics at scale. MicroStrategy Microstrategy is one of our initial partners, it is widely used for enterprise grade operational dashboards. A key to using Microstrategy for us is the richness in enterprise features.

NETSCOUT Network performance characterization is a key component of network operations and ultimately understanding customer experience. Netscout is used to support our network operations and understand the impact of network performance on user experience. Elastic We were looking at augmenting our big data ecosystem with an industry leading log/search analytics solution. Log analytics is key for network and service operations by

Cloudera Our core on-premises enterprise grade big data ecosystem is based on Cloudera providing an integrated solution of open source data components augmented with enterprise grade features. Cloudera is used for a variety of use cases spanning network planning, build and operations. Our Cloudera deployment is one of the largest in Canada and since inception in 2016, we’ve executed 1,500 use cases with each use case having concrete quantifiable business benefits.

a i ma ga z i n e. com

21


learning is very well suited to this task because the algorithm learns based on behaviours, based on patterns, what constitutes spam. Anomaly detection in general, silent failure detections… we are developing an advanced expertise in anomaly detection because lots of our use cases are about network availability and anomalies. “Historically, when equipment misbehaved or failed, an alarm was

“Network operations and performance, failure detection: all those concepts can be solved with AI/ML” — George Iskenderian, Director, Big Data & AI Bell Inc (Canada)

23

George Iskenderian: tactics for setting up an AI team Recruit right

Be flexible

When it comes to people, recruiting the right people was crucial to our success. I realized I would start with a very small team, and the quality of that team would determine our success.

My head count profile will change from needing more engineers and fewer data scientists to the reverse. We don’t have pigeonholing. We don’t have dedicated testers, project managers, analysts. Everyone’s either a data engineer or a data scientist. That’s their core skill but they can occupy various roles, expand and grow professionally.

Focus on expertise We don’t want to be mediocre. We want to be the best at what we do, and we don’t want to dilute our knowledge. We don’t want someone to be doing something else, but then they are doing a bit of data or AI on the side.

a i ma ga z i n e. com


BELL INC (CANADA)

1880

Year founded

$24bn+ Revenue in 2019

52,000 24

Number of employees

generated, and the alarm created

paradigm is shifting from detecting

a ticket and then people started inves-

issues to looking at the bigger picture

tigating. But in the case of anomaly

and understanding why anomalies

detection, you’re not relying on those

are happening.”

alarms. You notice something unusual in the traffic pattern and you might not

EXTERMINATING ROBOCALLS

know exactly what’s wrong but you

Another application for machine

know something isn’t right and you

learning in telecoms is identifying

can investigate. And then, of course,

robocalling and spam calls. “We’ve

you can enhance your algorithms. The

deployed an algorithm that detects

FEBRUARY 2021


25

“Certain things we do anticipating problems or needs might not be very high priority today but they will be in a year or two” — George Iskenderian, Director, Big Data & AI Bell Inc (Canada)

the likelihood of a call being spam or robocalling. We did a trial and it was very successful. Now the trial is being expanded so that phone calls that go through the Bell network will be exposed to a machine learning algorithm that determines if a call is spam. And there’s lots of business logic to make sure there aren’t false positives. Especially in business critical a i ma ga z i n e. com


BELL INC (CANADA)

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“Some of the ML use cases are not going to move mountains, but they are going to support much better – and faster – insights” — George Iskenderian, Director, Big Data & AI Bell Inc (Canada) 27 applications, you can’t have false posi-

will use AI/ML as a toolset in their

tives, so your threshold is really high.

arsenal.”

“There are use cases that could

“AI is not the goal. It is the means

not be done without ML, and there

to help us reduce operational costs

are lots of those, but there are also

achieve better customer experience

lots of use cases where machine

and develop new solutions and ser-

learning is just going to be a tool

vices. The goal is always addressing

set. They are not going to be mak-

a specific business problem, and the

ing headlines. They are not going to

means could be machine learning.”

move mountains, but they are going to support much better – and faster – insights. It’s not that sexy, and nobody’s going to make too much of a fuss about it, but the data guys who are creating these solutions a i ma ga z i n e. com


MACHINE LEARNING

How the Workforce is Going Digital in 2021 WRITTEN BY

WILLIAM SMITH

2020 was a year of unprecedented disruption for the world of work. We take a closer look at the technologies facilitating the change

28

O

ne factor that has dampened the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (In however small a way) is the maturation of

technologies that enable some people to work more effectively remotely. By now, we are all intimately familiar with the likes of video conferencing software such as zoom, for instance, but that is just one part of a much larger suite of technologies augmenting workforces in the digital space. Take robotic process automation (RPA), for instance. Simple RPA technologies alongside

AI-enabled “intelligent process automation” can have huge impact across a swathe of industries, as Samuel Schofield, VP EMEA, Udacity, explains. “Many of the leading enterprises we work with are leveraging RPA to automate mundane and repetitive tasks across operations. The technology focuses on tasks that not only drive revenue, but FEBRUARY 2021


29

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The future of work has accelerated: Are you ready for a transformed workforce? CLICK TO WATCH

|

1:57

31 also bring employees job satisfaction, increased productivity and higher customer Net Promoter Score. It’s clear that Covid-19 has accelerated RPA adoption. RPA delivers a synergy between machines and humans; RPA won’t take jobs, it will change them.” Part of the versatility of RPA is its applicability in many different scenarios. “If a process is data-heavy,

“The pace of adoption of digital technologies in the next 24 months will far outweigh the adoption over the last decade” — Mohit Joshi, President, Infosys

rule-based and repetitive, it is likely that it can be automated with RPA.

the system – a robot can be taught

Take invoice processing for example.

the process and complete it in a frac-

Rather than printing, signing, scan-

tion of the time with fewer mistakes,”

ning invoices and uploading them to

says Renzo Taal, SVP and Managing a i ma ga z i n e. com


MACHINE LEARNING

“Technologies that we might not have heard of a year ago will be the basis of collaboration for years to come” — Renzo Taal, SVP and Managing Director, EMEA, UiPath

Director, EMEA at RPA firm UiPath. 32

“What’s more, RPA software robots can work 24/7. So, when employees fire up their laptops in the morning, all the paperwork that came through

and optimising existing processes

overnight or over the weekend

for a digital first environment,” says

has already been dealt with, with

Schofield. “Leveraging technologies

any issues flagged and ready to be

for creative engagement with staff will

handled accordingly. This allows

also boost morale, and help to ensure

employees to power on with their day.”

career development and flexible work-

If remote working is to have legs once the pandemic eases, the technologies that enable it must be

ing practices - ultimately increasing retention levels.” Organisations across the spectrum

adopted in a sustained and holistic

have succeeded in introducing those

manner, however. “In order to protect

changes. “We have seen both our

themselves from new challengers,

customers and our own operations

organisations need to adopt an agile

driven entirely by remote working:

business approach, while reviewing

from, automotive, manufacturing,

FEBRUARY 2021


DELOITTE

Deloitte says digital workplaces: • S upport changes in working styles • Unify communications • I mprove the employee experience •M  inimise spending and enhance productivity Mohit Joshi, President, Infosys, expects the changes to only continue in pace. “There have been significant changes in demand dynamics across industries. We have already seen an telco and financial services industries,

unprecedented embrace of digital

to governments,” says Schofield.

and will continue to see this increase

“Given how smoothly some functions

in the next 12-24 months. The pace

have adapted, it’s certainly possible

of adoption of digital technologies in

for these functions to permanently

the next 24 months will far outweigh

change to a remote environment.” Taal

the adoption over the last decade.

concurs, adding: “It will be hard for

From strengthening enterprise core

businesses to go back to how they

with stronger infrastructure, greater

previously operated now employees

data, robust cybersecurity, intelligent

have experienced it. The impact will

automation, and cloud capabilities,

be – and already is – that technologies

digital embrace would be the primary

that we might not have heard of a year

axis for driving business resilience.”

ago will be the basis of collaboration

Alongside that, however, businesses

for years to come.”

must appreciate the risks that come a i ma ga z i n e. com

33


MACHINE LEARNING

alongside digitalisation, not least in the security space. “Security for clients while employees are working remotely will continue to have increasing importance, particularly as companies look to make this a more permanent change,” says Joshi. “Over the past year businesses have become increasingly cognizant of the importance of ensuring data security for not only their clients, but also their workforce, and we see this as one of the most important aspects when it comes to 34

ensuring digital trust.”

“Organisations need to adopt an agile business approach, while reviewing and optimising existing processes for a digital first environment” — Samuel Schofield, VP EMEA, Udacity

While the pandemic has served to push forwards the arrival of digital

reality and augmented reality tools

workforce technologies, plenty are

are already widespread in the EdTech

still yet to reach maturity. Take virtual

space but have yet to gain the same

reality (VR), for instance. “Virtual

traction in the business community,” says Andrew‌ ‌Duncan,‌ ‌Partner‌ ‌and‌ ‌UK‌

PWC

‌CEO‌ ‌at‌ ‌Infosys‌ ‌Consulting. “However, VR has extensive applications for

According to PwC, digital workforce transformation requires: • E mployee trust optimisation • A ligning work with a broader purpose • Fostering a culture of innovation • P romoting diversity

FEBRUARY 2021

remotely upskilling employees. This will be essential to avoid a workforcewide skill lag due to the pandemic. For example, developing presentation skills, something which would typically rely on in-person training, can now be achieved using virtual meeting rooms, populated with realistic elements like


35 lighting distractions and background

increase of real-time data from rapid

audience noise.”

digitisation, I expect to see digital

The practice of digital twins, repli-

twins used not just in supply chains

cating real world infrastructure in the

and manufacturing, but throughout all

digital space, is also gaining traction,

modern businesses.”

as Joshi emphasises. “Businesses

And according to Taal, developing

able to seize the opportunities cre-

digital workforce skills means a con-

ated by digital twins can improve their

crete advantage in the hiring space.

predictive powers while reducing cost

“In fact, when choosing between two

of service. As we continue into 2021,

similarly qualified job candidates, 73%

more organisations will therefore turn

of executives surveyed by UiPath said

to digital twins of their supply chains

they would pick the candidate with

to better prepare for unexpected

more experience with automation

shocks and to build an intelligent and

and AI tools, even if the role does not

resilient ecosystem. However, with the

require those abilities.” a i ma ga z i n e. com


A I A P P L I C AT I O N S

CHALLENGERS and GIANTS race for AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES 36

The future of autonomous vehicles is split between challengers developing their own technology and existing automotive manufacturers partnering with tech firms WRITTEN BY

T

WILLIAM SMITH

disruptor side, while existing giants are tending to partner with smaller companies to benefit from their technologies. The eventual goal is an autonomous vehicle at level 5 of the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) Levels of Driving Automation Standard, representing complete autonomy at all times. Such collaboration represents a counter to the growing dominance

he established car giants are

of challenger automotive companies

increasingly catching up to

such as Tesla, who have been able to

challengers by investing in

create enormous company value on

autonomous vehicle technology from

the basis of the technology integrated

partners. Competition to achieve such

into their vehicles rather than through

a service is fierce, with big players

the volume produced, accordingly

including the likes of the Alphabet

becoming the most valuable car manu-

Inc-Owned Waymo and Tesla on the

facturer in the world.

FEBRUARY 2021


37

“WE WANTED TO REIMAGINE TRANSPORTATION AS IF THE CAR HAD NEVER EXISTED” — Dan Ammann, CEO, Cruise

a i ma ga z i n e. com


Digital Transformation. Made real every day. Find out how big advances in AI have made it easier than ever to unlock the power of data, create value, insights and a new level of intelligent security. From Individuals, to small organizations, to the Global Fortune 100, AI and machine learning are improving businesses and lives everywhere.

38

Learn More


“IN THE NEAR TERM, 100% OF OUR RIDES WILL BE FULLY DRIVERLESS”

— John Krafcik, CEO, Waymo

THE DISRUPTORS

Tesla Tesla blurs the line between automotive and technology companies, with its products having many of the hallmarks of modern technology such as over-the-air software updates. Tesla has also been one of the greatest beneficiaries of rising stock market prices undaunted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. One of the company’s ambitions is a distributed network of personally owned vehicles sent out to perform taxi work when not in use by their owners. While that is not yet operational, some Tesla vehicles feature “Smart Summon” capabilities to reach their owners autonomously. Waymo Waymo is owned by Google parent company Alphabet, and has a longstanding testing initiative in the city of Phoenix, Arizona, where it has operated self-driving vehicles in a 100 square mile area since 2017. In late 2018, the company debuted a ride-hailing service known as Waymo One. Waymo resumed its operations in Phoenix back in May, after disruption caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and

announced it would start offering rides without human safety drivers in October. In a blog post, CEO John Krafcik said: “In the near term, 100% of our rides will be fully driverless. We expect our new fully driverless service to be very popular, and we’re thankful to our riders for their patience as we ramp up availability to serve demand.” DiDi Chinese firm DiDi has been conducting its own autonomous vehicle trials in the city of Guangzhou. Since its founding in 2012, the company has raised over $21bn, with investment from the likes of SoftBank, Toyota and Apple, who contributed $1bn in 2016. DiDi is best known for having bought out Uber’s China business, and has previously announced a partnership with the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance to work on autonomous vehicles. The company has said it plans to have more than one million robotaxis (self-driving vehicles in public use) by 2030, operating in areas where human ride-hailing drivers are less available.

a i ma ga z i n e. com

39


A I A P P L I C AT I O N S

Pony.ai’s Autonomous Road Testing CLICK TO WATCH

|

7:07

40

“CHALLENGER AUTOMOTIVE COMPANIES SUCH AS TESLA [...] HAVE BEEN ABLE TO CREATE ENORMOUS COMPANY VALUE ON THE BASIS OF THE TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATED INTO THEIR VEHICLES” One of the geographical areas

- replacing the safety driver typically

exhibiting the most autonomous vehicle

ready to assume control of autonomous

innovation is China, with examples such

vehicles in cases of emergency.

as Chinese transportation company DiDi

With the future of autonomous

or tech firm Baidu. The latter recently

vehicles split between challengers

demonstrated a vehicle which it said was

developing their own technology and

ranked at level 4 on the SAE scale, and

existing automotive manufacturers

which made use of 5G communications

partnering with tech firms, it’s worth

technology to enable remote driving

diving deeper into both sides.

FEBRUARY 2021


AUTOMOTIVE FIRMS AND THEIR AUTONOMOUS T E C H N O L O G Y PA R T N E R S

Pony.ai and Toyota Pony.ai was founded in 2016 by alumni from the Chinese tech company Baidu, and has been testing on public roads in the US and China since 2017. In February of last year the company announced a $400mn investment from Toyota, building on an existing agreement to pilot autonomous cars using Pony.ai’s technology and Toyota’s vehicles. General Motors and Cruise Although formed as a startup, Cruise was acquired by American automotive giant General Motors (GM) in 2016. Aside from GM, the majority owner, Cruise’s backers include Honda and SoftBank of Japan. In January last year, the company debuted a driverless, allelectric vehicle known as Cruise Origin.In a blog post, the company’s CEO Dan Ammann detailed the vision behind the vehicle, saying: “We wanted to reimagine transportation as if the car had never

existed. So, we removed the engine. We removed the driver — who, more often than not, is tired, distracted, frustrated, and rushed. We removed the equipment that’s there to support the driver , including the steering wheel, pedals, rearview mirrors, windshield wipers, and cramped seats.” Mercedes and Nvidia German automotive manufacturer Mercedes-Benz and technology firm NVIDIA are partnering on in-vehicle AI computing infrastructure. The collaboration will involve the use of NVIDIA’s DRIVE platform, capable of automated driving from address to address. The companies said that, starting in 2024, the architecture will be rolled out across next-generation Mercedes-Benz vehicles, allowing them to become upgradeable with new features in the future, and the purchasing of additional features in the present.

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D ATA & A N A LY T I C S

42

FEBRUARY 2021


The Trends Powering

DATA ANALYTICS PLATFORM EVOLUTION

WRITTEN BY

WILLIAM SMITH

We understand what data analytics platforms offer and the ways they are changing, with insights from executives from Qlik, Ciklum and Exasol

I

t’s not enough to merely have access to the right data. Proper analysis of that data can often serve

as the differentiator for companies. Accordingly,

a wide range of products and solutions exist to make the most of the data at a company’s disposal, in the form of data analytics platforms. It’s not enough to merely have access to the right data. Proper analysis of that data can often serve as the differentiator for companies. Accordingly, a

wide range of products and solutions exist to make the most of the data at a company’s disposal, in the form of data analytics platforms. In recent years, a number of trends have defined the ways these products are evolving. Those trends focus on, for instance, democratising access to data analysis across an organisation, allowing correct interpretation and data-aided a i ma ga z i n e. com

43


Unique, open & intelligent technology solutions

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is the global edge-to-cloud platform-as-a-service company, helping organizations accelerate outcomes by unlocking value from all of their data, everywhere. Visit www.hpe.com


“Providing more people with analytics brings [...] indirect benefits such as congruent decision making and lower risk” — Jai Gandhi, VP of Consulting, Ciklum

45

capabilities. With this investment comes a shift in data ownership from IT to business groups, giving more users the power to answer any question, with any data, at any time.” The benefits of making data more

decision making at all levels, and visu-

accessible to users throughout an

alising data to make it less inscrutable

organisation are manifold. According

for the layman. According to a report

to Jai Gandhi, VP of Consulting, Ciklum,

from Deloitte: “By investing in a mod-

“providing more people with analytics

ern business intelligence (BI) platform

brings [...] indirect benefits such as

that complements existing business

congruent decision making (as every-

intelligence systems, businesses can

one uses a common set of data) and

expand their range of insight-driven

lower risk (as models are used to profile a i ma ga z i n e. com


D ATA & A N A LY T I C S

50 Awesome features of the Exasol database CLICK TO WATCH

|

14:20

46 different scenarios).” On the indirect

data, to analysing it and taking action

side of the equation, opening up data

- are seeing significant bottom line

analytics can also engender trust in the

impact. Three quarters of firms

benefits of data and demonstrate con-

reported that operational efficiency,

cretely how it can help employees.

revenue, and profit increased by 17%.

But there are also more concrete

“This value is only achieved when

rewards for companies that unleash

its benefits are distributed across the

the power of data analysis across

organisation. Innovation often hap-

an organisation. Commenting, Dan

pens at the fringes of organisations.

Sommer, Senior Director, Qlik, says:

Data has limited potential if only a few,

“A global study from Qlik, conducted

highly technical people can access,

by IDC, revealed that organisations

understand and utilise a data source.”

that strategically invest throughout

One of the premiere ways for

their data and analytics pipelines -

achieving that level of democratisa-

from finding and accessing valuable

tion is data visualisation - we, after all,

FEBRUARY 2021


“Humans must proactively govern algorithms [...] to ensure that their benefits are achieved at no cost to the outliers” — Dan Sommer, Senior Director, Qlik

MCKINSEY

According to McKinsey, Data and analytics are fueling six disruptive models changing the nature of competition: •D  ata-driven discovery and innovation • Radical personalisation • Orthogonal data sets • Enhanced decision making • Hyperscale, real-time matching • Massive data integration

47

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D ATA & A N A LY T I C S

48

are highly visual creatures. As Helena

worth noting that the insights gleaned

Schwenk, Market Intelligence Lead

are very much dependent on the

at Exasol, explains while warning

quality of data underpinning the visu-

of potential pitfalls: “Data visualisa-

alisations and the expertise of the

tion essentially turns raw data into

user extracting the information.”

a universally, consumable form. It’s

Throughout the ongoing COVID-19

a tool through which individuals can

pandemic, people in all walks of life have

better consume and understand large

become familiarised with data visualisa-

volumes of data. When data is properly

tion, perhaps elevating the general level

visualised, patterns become obvious

of data literacy found in companies.

– helping individuals to draw simple,

According to Sommer, “In 2020 shared

actionable conclusions. Although it’s

data, visualisations, and storytelling

FEBRUARY 2021


“When data is properly visualised, patterns become obvious – helping individuals to draw simple, actionable conclusions” — Helena Schwenk, Market Intelligence Lead, Exasol

ground – and work on an etiquette for intellectual honesty in debating data. If we can get that ironed out, it will bring in millions more on the journey toward data literacy.” Going forwards, the evolution of data analysis platforms is sure to be impacted by experiences of the pandemic, not least the rapid uptake of cloud solutions. “Where once there was reticence to investing heavily in cloud and other as-a-service solutions, now many are embracing the approach, benefiting from its scal-

exploded in mainstream news, and has

ability and elasticity, as well as the

driven policy in most countries. Just

fast access to the likes of augmented

think of “flatten the curve”. General

analytics”, says Sommer. “ This trend

audiences pored over data in sources

is going to continue, with a greater

like ECDC, Financial Times and Our

migration of databases and appli-

World in Data. There has been a mas-

cations from on-premises, legacy

sive up-leveling in the conversation

infrastructure to cloud environments.

about data”. He cautions, however, that

In turn, this will drive a need for tech-

data is open to interpretation and get-

nologies that can access, move and

ting to the heart of the matter requires

harmonise data from multiple places.”

debate. “We’ll also need to start building frameworks of agreeing on the common

Cloud adoption, therefore, is a catalyst for even more data a i ma ga z i n e. com

49


D ATA & A N A LY T I C S

DELOITTE

democratisation, as Schwenk explains. “We can expect to see organisations do three things; increase access to consistent and secure data, incentivise data sharing, and make a more concerted effort to put insights into the hands of everyone – rather than just senior decision makers. “The move to the cloud has been unstoppable and holds true for data and analytics organisations too, as they utilise its scale, performance, cost effectiveness, and ability to sup50

port access to distributed data stores.” Where human analysis becomes infeasible, the slack is of course taken up by artificial intelligence, although this comes with its own set of risks. “Predictive models typically don’t work well when a critical input datapoint has never occurred,” says Sommer. “We saw this in the results of the A-Level exams in England, where an algorithm was used to determine scores, and cemented existing trends while locking out outliers. The lack of governance around the impact of outliers in this case led to many young people from disadvantaged areas initially receiving lower scores.” FEBRUARY 2021

Deloitte identifies three aspects enabling insightdriven organisations: •C  ulture of ownership - recognising that the power of data is moving to the hands of users •E  nd user training - change management support must be in place so that target users are committed •C  ommunity of Engagement - effective data management keeps users interested and preserves momentum


“The trifecta of Technology, People

what we term collaborative intelligence

and Processes will be critical in this

this year – combining human exper-

next stage of advanced analytics

tise and AI as we shift toward deeper

adoption. Humans must proactively

data-driven decision-making. While

govern algorithms – and the ensuing

the concept of machines augmenting

scenario analysis to inform action

human activity has been with us for

when the unusual occurs – to ensure

some time, a significant change in work-

that their benefits are achieved at no

ing patterns combined with increased

cost to the outliers.”

pressure to support faster and higher

Despite the risks, artificial intelligence

quality decisions when adjusting to

can work alongside humans to derive

rapidly moving situations, means we

even more value from data, as Schwenk

expect to see further experimentation

explains. “We’ll see more and more of

and investment in 2021.” 51

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T O P 10

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FEBRUARY 2021


53

We take a closer look at the groundbreaking work of ten of the brightest female lights in the AI industry Artificial intelligence is heavily dominated by men, yet some of its brightest lights are women, and many believe they are better equipped to guide it to ethical, unbiased decision making. Balanced, fair and more

WRITTEN BY

PADDY SMITH

attuned to spotting inconsistencies arising from cultural ‘norms’, they are forging a sustainable future for the next shift of technology. Will women dominate AI in future? Should they? Here’s the evidence in favour.

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T O P 10

54

Suvi Uski

Co-founder and CEO, SomeBuddy It may look simple, but SomeBuddy is exactly the sort of AI tool the world shouldn’t need, but does. On the surface, it’s a chatbot. But it offers legal assessment, psychological first aid, social media tips and an action plan for victims of online harassment and cyberbullying. More than half the people submitting a report to the app have been identified as the victims of crime. Suvi Uski, a social media researcher, founded and runs the company. She was placed third in the 2020 Women in AI Awards (see also Deva Senevirathne and Raluca Crisan in this list). SomeBuddy is currently available in Uski’s native Finland and Sweden, we hope to see this important tool rolled out globally to ensure the safety and confidence of a new generation of AI talent.

FEBRUARY 2021


Deva Senevirathne Co-founder, Sonrai Analytics

Sonrai Analytics creates powerful AI tools aimed at improving precision medicine. One of the vanguards of machine learning and data science, Deva Senevirathne’s company, Sonrai Analytics, based in Ireland, is delivering data integration, analytics, AI and automation in a world where data sharing must coexist with data confidentiality. The Sri Lankan-born PhD student was placed second in the Women in AI Awards 2020 (see also Raluca Crisan and Suvi Uski in this list). She said: “I’m honoured to be considered as one of the top three Women in AI in Europe. Only 22 per cent of AI professionals globally are female, so it’s vital that we take meaningful steps to bridge the gender gap and encourage and empower as many girls and women into AI fields.”

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Reimagine the impossible

Bring together people, data, and processes to transform your organization. With the latest in AI technologies, you can engage your customers in new ways, empower your employees more than ever before, and optimize operations to become an industry leader. Start your digital transformation today.

Get started


57

Daphne Koller Founder and CEO, insitro

Daphne Koller’s inclusion in this list is somewhat apposite during a pandemic. After launching the huge ($2.6bn) Coursera learning platform, Koller has founded an ML-based pharmaceutical drug discovery and development tool. That’s insitro, and as you might expect from someone with a proven track record in tech success, it has been no stranger to investment, pocketing $250 million from a consortium led by Silicon Valley uber VC Andreessen Horowitz and inking a major partnership with global pharma Bristol Myers Squibb. Koller admits, “I spent 20 years learning biology,” so perhaps it’s no surprise that her founding path has included learning and biology. Wonder what she’ll do next?

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T O P 10

Passenger: Timmy Child, 3-10 Seat: 3 Emotion: Joy Drowsiness: Awake

Passenger: Bill Adult, 36-55 Seat: 2 Emotion: Joy Drowsiness: Awake

Driver: Jenn Adult, 36-55 Seat: 1 Emotion: Joy Drowsiness: Awake Distraction: Alert

58 Meet the Martin family. Jenn and Bill use their minivan to drive their kids, Timmy, Chris and Billy, to school and daycare. They also like road trips, and today they’re visiting the kids’ grandparents, who live 6 hours away. The kids are quietly enjoying a movie in the backseat, and mom and dad are relaxed upfront. So far so good.CEO, co-founder, Affectiva

Rana el Kaliouby

Affectiva was co-founded by two women: Rana el Kaliouby and Rosalind Picard. El Kaliouby is a specialist in Emotion AI and, with Affectiva, has turned her attention to Human Perception AI. Highly decorated in the tech world, she has a PhD from the University of The Mood Changes and a postdoc from MIT. Affectiva’s proposition is to recCambridge

Billy drops his toy and starts crying. Mom and ognise emotional expressions beyond the wildly theatrical gurnings dad aren’t sure what happened, and now Timmy is cranky and teasing his brother. of common moods, and toThe apply the ability to register subtle muscudriver is agitated. In-Cabin Sensing: lar movements and other facial tells to deduce the likely emotions of Detects baby is crying and turns off the health movie mental to reduce noise. patients and autistic people. She has written a book Detects the older has unbuckled his quest to reclaim humanity by bringcalled Girl child Decoded: A scientist’s seatbelt, sends an alert about an unsecured ing emotional intelligence to technology. child. Dad tells him to buckle up. Detects toy in the footwell and displays image on front passenger display. Dad retrieves the toy.

FDetects E B R U A Rdriver Y 2 0 2is1 distracted by the

commotion and reminds her to keep her eyes on the road (OEMs can customize


Raluca Crisan CEO, co-founder, Etiq AI Raluca Crisan was declared the winner of the Women in AI Awards 2020 (Deva Senevirathne and Suvi Uski, found elsewhere on this list, were runners-up). Crisan’s company, Etiq AI, develops software to identify and mitigate algorithmic bias, with a view to preventing the extension of existing societal inequalities to scalable technology platforms. In her own words: “Whether it’s in policing, recruitment or financial products, people’s lives are impacted by automated decisions on a daily basis. The algorithms behind these decisions are often biased, biased against women, biased against minorities, biased against old people. ETIQ’s mission is to tackle the algorithmic bias problem.”

59

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digital future into a

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Copyright © 2019 Cognizant


Fei-Fei Li

Professor of computer science, Stanford University

61

If Alan Turing is the father of AI, Fei-Fei Li is perhaps the descendant who inherited the keys to his garden shed. Li is responsible for realising that while algorithms were the engine of machine learning, creating colossal datasets with which to train them was the fuel they ran on. She distilled the ImageNet project, a labelled image dataset that supercharged the arrival of visual ML and ushered in the age of deep learning. ImageNet’s dataset has been accused of having embedded bias, and has made changes to its training data to correct it. But Li is no crazy cyborg. She admits, “If we’re worried about killer robots, we should really be worried about the creators of the technology. We want the creators of this technology to represent our values and represent our shared humanity.”

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T O P 10

Shivon Zilis

Board member, OpenAI, Project Director, Neuralink Shivon Zilis describes herself thus: “Artificial intelligence, biological intelligence, and whatever exists in between and beyond. Equal parts nerd and athlete. Made in Canada.” And it’s the bridge between AI and biological intelligence that perhaps excites her most, hence her work in the offices of Neuralink, working for the world’s second richest person, Elon Musk, on wiring up digital machines to organic brains. She is also the youngest board member at OpenAI, an AI research lab that aims to develop ‘friendly’ AI that works on behalf of humanity. 62

FEBRUARY 2021


63

Anna Patterson

Founder and managing partner, Gradient Ventures It’s a VC, not an AI. Yes, but Google’s venture fund is focused purely on early stage AI startups, and without its deep pockets, the AI world will be poorer both figuratively and literally. As well as pumping in start-up cash, Gradient is an AI networking facilitator, prizing knowledge sharing, resources and innovation in this nascent branch of technology. Anna Patterson is its founder and managing partner. She’s a Google old-timer, who worked on recommendations and infrastructure for Android’s Google Play store, after which she left to set up Cuil, a search engine, and wrote Recall.archive.org, a history based search that’s part of the Wayback Machine. If you’re in AI, you want her to show you the money.

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T O P 10

66

Daniela Rus Director, CSAIL (MIT)

MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) is more than just the only academic research department whose website doesn’t look like it was built in 1998. It’s a global leader in making AI work… for people. Is that human touch – the navigable website, the tools that seek to improve life for ordinary people, not just data scientists – the result of Daniela Rus’s influence? You’d think so. In fact, Rus’s own research is all about getting robots to talk to each other and reconfigure themselves without human intervention. In her own words, AI “is nothing more than a tool”. Still, there’s no doubting that she presides over one of the world’s great centres for ‘good’ AI. “I believe that we can do extraordinarily positive things with AI,” she says, “but it is not a given that that will happen.”

FEBRUARY 2021


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T O P 10

Joy Buolamwini

Founder, Algorithmic Justice League

Like many of the women on this list, Joy Buolamwini is obsessed with making AI fair. As a grad student at MIT, she pio68

neered research into AI bias. In 2020, she was part of efforts to discredit facial recognition systems that had wildly different error rates corresponding to skin colour. Amazon, Microsoft and IBM suspended their facial recognition programmes as a result. And her beat goes on. She said, “When I started talking about this, in 2016, it was such a foreign concept. Today, I can’t go online without seeing some news article or story about a biased AI system. People are just now waking up to the fact that there is a problem. Awareness is good – and then that awareness needs to lead to action. That is the phase that we’re in.”

FEBRUARY 2021


69

Joy Buolamwini on The Open Mind: Algorithmic Justice CLICK TO WATCH

|

27:47

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70

Increasing Corporate Valuations with AI AI,, RPA and Automation

WRITTEN BY

WILLIAM SMITH PRODUCED BY

GLEN WHITE

FEBRUARY 2021


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DANILO MCGARRY / UIPATH / ISG AUTOMATION

Danilo McGarry, Chris Duddridge, UiPath, and Wayne Butterfield, ISG Automation discuss how automation technologies can impact a company’s valuation

T

he benefits of automation can sometimes be communicated nebulously. In fact, automation technologies such as RPA

can sometimes positive impact a company’s valuation, as three industry experts describe. Danilo McGarry is an automation industry 72

thought leader, with extensive experience in the industry. “I’ve been doing this for about 15 years before it was called automation,” he says. “I worked in many different industries - banking, oil and gas, healthcare - and I used to have my own consultancy firm as well. So I’ve been a client, a consultant, and I’ve also been an advisor to most of the automation companies out there today. So I understand the market well.“ That experience has convinced McGarry of the noticeable positive impact it can have on company valuations that stems from introducing automation technologies. “One way a company is valued is by taking the revenue of the company and times it by a valuation multiple that can be acquired from mergers and acquisitions (M&A) tables,” says McGarry.

FEBRUARY 2021


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“The other way is by taking the EBITDA,

a P/E ratio too. Either way most valuation

the earnings of a company before inter-

methods take revenues or bottom line

est, tax, depreciation and amortization,

earnings as the starting point to reach a

and then times that by a valuation mul-

company valuation value”.

tiple as well. That multiple is basically

Automation can have a noticeable

determined by the price other similar

impact on such valuation calculations,

companies have been sold for in the

as McGarry explains. “If you have a

past.” McGarry adds that “Without get-

successful client-facing automation

ting too technical valuation methods

programme helping you generate reve-

can include discounted cash flows

nue, then that increases your revenue

(DCF) or earnings after tax multiplied by

number, if you have a higher revenue to

E X E C U T I V E P R O FILE : T:3000 mm

Danilo McGarry

75

Title: Globally recognised automation industry thought leader and practitioner Industry: AI & Automation Previously one of the Heads of Artificial intelligence & Machine Learning at CitiGroup (3rd largest US bank, 17th largest Financial institution globally). Also previously senior management of Automation (RPA/Ai) in UnitedHealth Group (#5 on the Fortune 500). Advisor to the European Union Commission Ai Alliance. Published in The Times Newspaper, Bloomberg InfoMoney and other leading publications. Danilo is an experienced international keynote speaker and recognised as a global thought leader in the realms of Automation, RPA, Ai and Innovation. Ranked as top 10 people in the world for Automation by Thinkers 360. Previous companies worked for include Motorola, JPMorgan, BNP Paribas, Royal Bank of Canada, UnitedHealth Group & CitiGroup. a i ma ga z i n e. com


DANILO MCGARRY / UIPATH / ISG AUTOMATION

76

“A s automation can help a company save or make money, and because of the way valuation calculation methods work – that then means that a successful automation programme has a direct impact on the valuation of a company”

multiple by the same valuation multiple then that gives you a higher valuation end of the day. Also, if you’re looking at making savings in the company internally through automation, then your EBITDA will be healthier than it was before - both because you’re helping the company save money and also getting more clients because of higher capacity.” The twin impact of savings

— Danilo McGarry, Globally recognised automation industry thought leader and practitioner FEBRUARY 2021

and revenue generation make automation a no-brainer if it is done by a team that knows what they are doing. “No matter which way you slice it, if the


Danilo McGarry | Automation and Valuation CLICK TO WATCH

|

2:00

77

automation programme is successful,

positive impact of automation is far

if it’s global, if it’s there to help the com-

greater than what can be tracked or

pany and it’s run successfully, it can

measured on paper.”

have an impact on the bottom or the

Wayne Butterfield concurs, empha-

top line – making potential impact on

sising that automation can cut costs in

valuation. The only tricky element to

other ways. “Reducing the number of

this is tracking this positive impact

errors that your organisation makes is

back to automation itself. Many of

another way you can cut costs. We offer

automation’s benefits are tangible but

many brilliant things in the workforce as

hard to measure given how involving

human beings, but one of the things we

such programmes can be, because

don’t offer is robotic consistency.”

of this it is often nearly impossible for a

Butterfield started in the automa-

large corporation to track all the bene-

tion space in 2010, while working at one

fits it brings effectively. Often the

of the UK’s largest telco firms, using a i ma ga z i n e. com


DANILO MCGARRY / UIPATH / ISG AUTOMATION

“We offer many brilliant things in the workforce as human beings, but one of the things we don’t offer is robotic consistency” — Wayne Butterfield, Global Head of Intelligent Automation Solutions, ISG-One

78 the technology to create operational

process side too. Hyper automation

efficiencies and reducing external

technologies allow companies to scale

spend on Outsourcing. “Being an early

in size, while keeping their people costs

adopter of any technology comes with

under control, as Butterfield explains.

its challenges, but also provides an

“With automation, you’re looking to

opportunity to tread new ground, and

reduce costs, increase throughput

innovate in the Enterprise. Butterfield is

and grow revenue, this trifecta is why

Global Head of Intelligent Automation

Automation is valued so highly. Back in

Solutions at pure play automation firm

the day, RPA was called operational

ISG Automation. “We assist clients big

agility software - but now RPA is a

and small on their automation journeys,

globally accepted term,” he says.

usually starting with RPA, but not stop-

Such technologies also allow

ping there. Differentiated performance

companies to scale in size, while keep-

does need more than just technology,

ing the same number of people, as

so we specialise in the people and

Butterfield explains. “With automation,

FEBRUARY 2021


FP ISG FEB 2021 CLICK TO WATCH

|

1:52

79

E X E C U T I V E P R O FILE :

Wayne Butterfield Title: Global Head of Intelligent Automation Solutions Company: ISG Automation Wayne is an automation pioneer, thought leader and practitioner based in the UK. He heads up the AI & Cognitive Automation Practice for ISG Automation globally and is responsible for assisting ISG Automation clients on their journey towards AI, as well as hosting the weekly Bots & Beyond Podcast. He pioneered the use of RPA and chat bots while at Telefonica O2 & BT, and has helped hundreds of Clients on their own automation journeys since joining ISG Automation. a i ma ga z i n e. com


DANILO MCGARRY / UIPATH / ISG AUTOMATION

“Removing repetitive, timeconsuming tasks that doesn’t add to the value of what an organisation is delivering [...] frees up time” — Chris Duddridge, VP Sales, UK & Ireland, UiPath

80

FEBRUARY 2021


you’re actually keeping your costs the same, but you’re increasing the amount of revenue that you can generate.” That sense of unlocking productivity is reiterated by Chris Duddridge, who adds that “By removing repetitive, time-consuming tasks that doesn’t add to the value of what an organisation is delivering, it actually frees up time to drive far more into product design, or spending time with customers, for instance. Duddridge is VP Sales for UiPath in the UK and Ireland. The company started with screen scraping and has developed into a leading end-to-end automation platform vendor. Our products are designed to support every organisation and employee within that by essentially unlocking all of the manual, repetitive, unnecessary tasks that we all do on a daily basis.” The more that the concrete financial sense of automation is realised, McGarry believes, the more senior executives will buy in to introducing automation technologies. “Once people and companies realise the direct link of automation to the bottom line and thus to a company’s valuation, that should then reinforce the level of sponsorship from senior level management. It’s important, therefore, to a i ma ga z i n e. com

81


DANILO MCGARRY / UIPATH / ISG AUTOMATION

UiPath “Together”: Automation in a Fast-Changing World CLICK TO WATCH

|

1:52

82 emphasise education so that people get

behind the automation programme.

on board, because the more people

So you do it again, it goes pretty well

know about automation in the company,

and you think: this is interesting, let’s

the quicker transformation will happen –

scale it. Then it goes to the third round

it’s a journey.”

where it really ramps up and starts

Having that knowledge in mind

paying for itself. That’s the three-hit

inevitably helps overcome the often

automation wonder or automation

bumpy early adoption stages, what

cycle most companies go through as

McGarry refers to as the automation

they mature in their automation journey.”

three-hit wonder. “You normally start

Getting to that stage requires belief

the first time and fail because you

in the technology, as Duddridge reiter-

haven’t taken it seriously enough.

ates. “I can’t think of a single technology

Either you haven’t put enough money

project that can deliver a return on

behind it or enough seasoned pro-

investment from day one. Realistically

fessionals who have done it before

there is an investment period involving

FEBRUARY 2021


“Companies that already had automation before COVID started had a significant competitor advantage” — Danilo McGarry, Globally recognised automation industry thought leader and practitioner

83 E X E C U T I V E P R O FILE :

Chris Duddridge Title: VP Sales Company: UiPath Location: UK & Ireland Chris Duddridge is VP Sales, UK & Ireland, for UiPath. He leads the UK and Irish teams in their mission to drive automation adoption in the region, helping customers achieve their automation goals using UiPath’s best-in-its-class hyperautomation platform. With more than 20 years in sales and technology, he is an experienced sales leader with a track record of helping small teams rise to market leader status. Passionate about technology, Chris is inspired by the potential of automation to transform the future of work. Highly motivated by teamwork, his key areas of interest are incentivising collaboration, creativity, and customer focus.

a i ma ga z i n e. com


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“Even with the right team and tech partnerships it takes time for an Automation programme to mature and bear fruit” — Danilo McGarry, Globally recognised automation industry thought leader and practitioner

the companies who had already gotten on board who were able to thrive. “Companies that already had automation before COVID started had a significant competitor advantage,” says McGarry. ”Once COVID happened and everybody was scrambling to log in from home and get all that working smoothly, meanwhile, robots were functioning fine in the background keeping some vital processes alive. Companies that had

building capability, training people and

mature automation capabilities definitely

managing the change.” Butterfield adds

had an edge during COVID, and will

that a clear plan needs to be in place

again in any future pandemic or crisis’s.”

from day one. “You don’t want to stop,

Danilo emphasises that time must be

reevaluate your needs and end up doing

taken into consideration, however. “It’s

something different. Trying to do it on

important to note that even with the right

the cheap and not thinking strategically

team and tech partnerships it takes time

enough will mean the investment doesn’t

for an Automation programme to mature

provide what is expected. There are a lot

and bear fruit so that top and bottom line

of things that you need to be thinking

benefits can reap rewards. For such a

about, but getting the strategy correct

transformative programme such as

is vital.”

Automation and AI, it takes an all-inclu-

The benefits of automation have

sive environment to make it really work.

been demonstrated by company

Also, with any such transformative pro-

resilience in the face of the ongoing

grammes, it is a journey that can often

COVID-19 pandemic. With a number

take one to two years before it starts to

of reports highlighting automation as

bear fruit and potentially make any

the sector seeing the highest cash

impact on the company’s valuation”.

injection during the pandemic, it was a i ma ga z i n e. com

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Clear Channel International’s Digital Transformation

FEBRUARY 2021


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WRITTEN BY

WILLIAM SMITH PRODUCED BY

MIKE SADR

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CLEAR CHANNEL INTERNATIONAL

Chief Technology Officer Ola Reppling discusses how Clear Channel International’s ongoing digital transformation is enabled by its culture

O

la Reppling holds the role of Chief Technology Officer at Clear Channel International, an out of home advertising

and infrastructure business. The company has a heritage dating back over a century, and has a bold vision to create the future of media. 88

“We have 17 different markets in Europe,” says Reppling. “For over 100 years, we’ve been helping brands meet people on the move. As a result, the culture is very customer-driven and focuses on solving customer problems.” In recent times, the aim has been to combine that heritage and experience with new technology into a cohesive whole. A large part of this is to integrate Clear Channel International’s markets together, as Reppling explains, “we’re bringing all territories together as a single cohesive team, with a shared vision, purpose and mission.” As CTO, much of Reppling’s work has been in enabling that transition and unification, to place more integrated processing at Clear Channel’s core. One of the ways Reppling is doing this is by partnering with companies such as network solution FEBRUARY 2021


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“We’re in the transition phase from being 17 small companies into becoming a corporate entity” — Ola Reppling, CTO, Clear Channel International

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BROADSIGN AND CLEAR CHANNEL: DIGITAL PARTNERS IN OUT-OF-HOME Chief Revenue Officer Martin Dollevoet on Broadsign’s partnership with Clear Channel and momentum in out-of-home advertising Broadsign is a global company providing software for out-of-home networks. “We work with almost all of the world’s largest out-of-home networks and not just on the digital side, but also paperbased out-of-home networks,” says Maarten Dollevoet, Chief Revenue Officer at Broadsign. “Clients use the Broadsign platform for anything from ad serving to network operations, and also to manage and optimise their sales workflows - as well as connecting to new channels, like programmatic buying.” The out-of-home industry has experienced considerable growth on the digital side, with market leader Broadsign being ideally placed to influence trends. One is digitisation, the evolution from posters and printed billboards to digital signs. “With the move to digital, advertisers are able to leverage its inherent flexibility to react in real-time to content changes, audience movement, as well as the ability to use data for improved audience targeting and to dynamically change screen content,” says Dollevoet. “Content is King, but context is everything. While we aren’t close to the Tom Cruise-style, Minority Report type of targeting, we can deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time.” One example was a recent campaign for takeout food, where the content automatically displayed a ‘pick-up’ message when the sun was shining, versus promoting the ‘home delivery’ option when it was raining. When Clear Channel International was looking for a best-in-class content management system to support its digital transformation, it chose Broadsign and its offering. “The relationship has really flourished and has become a strong

Maarten Dollevoet @Broadsign

partnership. After the CMS, the team at Clear Channel wanted to leverage more of the platform to help them scale other parts of their business. It added Broadsign Direct, a tool to help them scale their sales organisation so salespeople were able to respond to customer requests and RFPs quicker, and sell more of their network at a premium. What started out as an initial relationship on the CMS side has become a true partnership for the rest of the business.” While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had an undoubted impact on out-of-home advertising, changes in the online space have revealed fresh opportunities. “With the impact of what’s happening in the online world with privacy concerns and the disappearance of the cookie, we actually believe the momentum for out-of-home is bigger than ever.” broadsign.com


E X E C U T I V E P R O FILE :

Ola Reppling Title: CTO

91

Industry: Advertising Ola Reppling holds the role of Chief Technology Officer at Clear Channel International, a position he has held since July 2020. Reppling has been with the company almost two years, driving technology transformation in different roles. In his role of CTO, Reppling is currently focused on building an effective and efficient ‘technology factory’ that will serve all business units with the technology needed for tomorrow’s business challenges. With Reppling’s belief in rigidity at the core to enable flexibility at the edge, his work focuses on alignment, standardization and modernization, while also building a high performing team across 17 countries. Reppling has a long career bridging technology and business to drive tech-fueled transformations in many industries including IT, Manufacturing and Telecoms. Reppling holds a MSc in Information technology alongside a MSc in Business from Uppsala University. a i ma ga z i n e. com


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“Going digital means, one panel offers hundreds of thousands of opportunities” — Ola Reppling, CTO, Clear Channel International FEBRUARY 2021


provider Meraki. “With Meraki, we’re getting a real baseline of the right infrastructure,” he says. “We want to have SD-WAN and a proper network across all of Europe that we can rely on. Historically, we’ve had 17 different networks, and we had at least 10 different data centres with varying degrees of different clouds.” The cloud itself is another focus, but Reppling is conscious of getting the balance right between a cloud-first vision and he reality at hand. “We want to get rid of physical servers, but the reality is that some of our applications

Clear Channel International: Creative Advertising CLICK TO WATCH

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1:24

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CLEAR CHANNEL INTERNATIONAL

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FEBRUARY 2021


“We’ve changed the culture. So, we really only need to enhance our digital capabilities” — Ola Reppling, CTO, Clear Channel International

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CLEAR CHANNEL INTERNATIONAL

need them, so we still need to have data centres for those. That’s why we’re working with CWL and Cloud Temple, to actually have a hybrid cloud approach alongside control over the data centres. CWL and Cloud Temple are helping us to make sure we have the ability to retire applications, refactor the ones that we can, and move towards the cloud.” The company partners with Broadsign for the majority of advertising broadcast on digital screens. “Broadsign 96

offers us a unified platform to deliver digital content. One of the biggest

Clear Channel International: Making Brands Famous CLICK TO WATCH

FEBRUARY 2021

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2:57


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“It’s about making sure there’s rigidity at the core to allow flexibility at the edge” — Ola Reppling, CTO, Clear Channel International a i ma ga z i n e. com


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Clear Channel International: Where Brands Meet People CLICK TO WATCH

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1:26

99 problems we have is organising the

such as ad-blockers and being able to

billions and billions of variations that

avoid potentially annoying customers

come from selling six or ten-second

by interrupting their content with ads.

slots for commercials across 15,000

That advantage has been compounded

digital screens, seven days a week.

by digital panels. “In classic out-of-

We generally steer away from promising

home, the refresh rate here is once a

individuals screens, in favour of focusing

week, or maybe once every two weeks,

on a specific target audiences. If our cus-

or even a month. But going digital means

tomer asks to be able to reach 10 million

one screen offers tens of thousands of

people with a certain demographic, we

opportunities in just one week.”

need to be able to fulfil that - which we can with partners like Broadsign.” Reppling emphasises the benefits of out-of-home advertising over other forms, namely in avoiding problems a i ma ga z i n e. com


100

SAP: The Jazz of Digital Transformation WRITTEN BY

WILLIAM SMITH PRODUCED BY

BEN MALTBY

FEBRUARY 2021


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SAP

SAP’s Lars Friedrich, Andreas Spahn and Maria Fay on the balance between innovation and structure powering its approach to digital transformation

S

AP’s regional customer success team - Lars Friedrich, Andreas Spahn and Maria Fay - takes care of innovations in strategic cus-

tomer engagements for middle and eastern Europe. Friedrich has a musical analogy for what the team set out to achieve: “We act as innovation brokers, and 102

we look upon the incubation and innovation team as a Jazz combo. We help customers to become digital sprinters and build sound innovation capabilities with the power of SAP’s innovation ecosystem “From a Jazz point of view, it’s about bringing the tracks together to build up a full song at the end. That’s what we encourage our customers to do - finding the right beat to adopt innovation phase by phase and step by step.” That musical metaphor also underlies the philosophy that they believe companies must adopt to achieve digital transformation. “It’s not just about KPIs, but rather the whole symphony. You can’t simply use technology to make every process perfect, but you can make sure that everything that you do inside of the process makes sense. And then, once the process has been properly structured and the people are enabled, the technology can come in.” FEBRUARY 2021


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SAP

The Business Innovation Framework for SAP S/4HANA is the structure under which such transformation occurs. Increasingly, companies are digitally transforming their core businesses, but achieving that is highly complex. “Many customers have built highly customised applications over the years. It’s a very complicated landscape that they have, and then, on top of that, they are considering: ‘how can I get from my old enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to a new ERP like 104

S/4HANA?’ Then there’s the question

E X E C U T I V E P R O FILE :

Lars Friedrich Title: Innovation & Technology Director Industry: Computer Software Lars Friedrich is a business and technology director at SAP, integrating digital into all aspects of the customer strategy from digital organization mindset shift, tech-driven business process innovation, and unleash the power of data and network. Lars supports customers across industries to become digital sprinters, improve their business performance, and to build sound innovation capabilities. He empowers the SAP innovation ecosystem to rethink products and processes for the digital age. With his international experience in Japan, Finland, and South America, he learned the tools to synergize the core competency of the organization and inject speed into the operating model. FEBRUARY 2021


of all the new technologies like machine

SAP is not content to simply bring cus-

learning or robotic process automation

tomers up to the modern digital standard,

that everyone is talking about and figur-

but goes further to identify technologies

ing out what that means to the company.”

coming down the track. “What we do

To cut through that fog, SAP has

is help the customer to identify which

developed a systematic and structured

technologies can add additional value

approach to help customers identify

on top of the standard offering, and

which digital technologies in SAP’s vast

technologies that are on the horizon. The

portfolio could add additional value to

next generation of business software

their core businesses. “We have a lot of

that our colleagues from New Ventures

different tools and methodologies from

and Technologies are exploring right

design thinking to SAP Activate, which

now includes brain computer interaction,

is our very own SAP methodology for

gaze control of software or homo-

business transformation in terms of ERP.

morphic encryption and further

We also have a huge portfolio of intel-

emerging technologies.”

ligent technologies, and that is important because when we talk to customers,

While that lies in the future, Fay points to a number of concrete examples

they really want to know what robotic process automation, or machine learning, or even blockchain means to their business.” The innovation ecosystem encompasses a broad range of partners, including its venture arm SAP.iO for new product incubation. “We have many different experts across industries and business units that are all there to support the innovation journey of a customer. The whole ecosystem is very unique in the market, and really differentiates us from other competitors.”

“Companies like SAP quite clearly have a full sustainability strategy, but the question is how to reach out to the midsized and older companies” — Lars Friedrich, Innovation & Technology Director, SAP a i ma ga z i n e. com

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SAP

regarding how technology can help improve business processes. “In the supply chain area it’s possible, based on historical data and machine learning, to predict how long it takes to process and ship the sales order. That, of course, allows customers to better plan their processes and in general improves customer relationships in the supply chain.” Other examples in the supply chain space include IoT sensors to monitor products in certain conditions. “You can track temperature, humidity, vibration, 106

“SAP has a strong internal ecosystem of various teams coming together in the jazz orchestra – from technology foresight to startup scouting” — Dr Maria Fay, Senior Innovation Architect (Middle & Eastern Europe), SAP

impact and so on. That is critical in industries like pharmaceuticals or consumer

One of the elements that sets SAP

products where it’s better to learn as

apart from the crowd is its partner eco-

soon as possible if there is any damage.”

system, which informs and interacts

Such examples cleave closely to

with the business innovation framework.

SAP’s ambition with its customers’ digital

SAP and its partners, together with

transformations, as Spahn explains: “It

customers, accelerate innovation

makes sense to streamline your core

adoption, providing the governance,

processes, but, at the same time, you

methodologies and technologies for the

must identify where advanced technolo-

situation at hand. “SAP is an ecosystem-

gies could add additional value to your

oriented cooperative with over 21,000

business processes. Where do you

industry, technology, start-up partners

need to skill up your people or future

and research institutes. We believe that

proof your workforce in order to not lose

the collaboration with partners is key

ground on your competitors in the race?

for our customers,” says Friedrich. “We

It’s important to address the two worlds

integrate and take advantage of a per-

at once.”

forming ecosystem to solve customers’

FEBRUARY 2021


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E X E C U T I V E P R O FILE :

Dr Maria Fay Title: Senior Innovation Architect (Middle & Eastern Europe)

Industry: Computer Software

Dr. Maria Fay is a Senior Innovation Architect at SAP, leading engagements with strategic customers in Middle & Eastern Europe to create value and improve processes with next-generation technologies. With over 10 years of international experience in technology and business consulting, she develops new methodologies and services and is a lecturer on digital business models. Having earned her PhD investigating the relationship between big data analytics and business value, Maria is passionate about the future that new technologies from machine learning to quantum computing can bring. a i ma ga z i n e. com


SAP

digitalization shift. We onboard partners into niche areas to gain trust and once we have identified a backlog of use cases we hand-over delivery to certificated providers.” Apart from the partner ecosystem, “SAP also has a strong internal ecosystem of various teams coming together in the jazz orchestra – from technology foresight to startup scouting,” as Fay explains. “SAP’s Innovation Center Network is working with visionary startups leveraging 108

SAP’s business cloud platform, one

E X E C U T I V E P R O FILE :

Andreas Spahn Title: Senior Innovation & Technology Manager Industry: Computer Software Andreas Spahn is a business innovation and technology consultant who is passionate about solving business problems using digital technologies. Self-driven strategist and innovation broker who is extremely well connected within SAP’s innovation ecosystem. Andreas supports customers across industries to optimize their business processes and to navigate through the uncertainty of innovation, from ideation to implementation of the innovative (custom) solutions. He knows how to play the garnet, from Design Thinking, Business Model Development, Lean Startup, agile Project Management (PMI certified), all the way to Scrum. Beyond realizing innovation projects, he set up a strategic partnership with global industry players, like Schaeffler. FEBRUARY 2021


“Reducing the innovation budget in the long term can have a major impact on competitive capabilities in the future” — Andreas Spahn, Senior Innovation & Technology Manager, SAP services and networks. All those elements are crucial to ensure customers are leveraging the latest knowledge data model and technologies to build

and achievements. “

products and support customers on

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

their transformations. Another team

has naturally affected SAP, just as it has

has expertise in the context of sustain-

its customers. Consequently, SAP is

ability and developed an Impact Lab for

offering solutions and services to help

Sustainability – a format to apply hori-

out. “One of many examples is called

zon-thinking of environmental, human,

the business operation self-healing

economic and social factors into cus-

service,” says Fay. “It’s a comprehensive

tomer organisation, and identify sweet

out-of-the-box AI platform to support

spots for new business opportunities

automation in the business operations.

and co-innovation. More and more we

In other words, if allows fast deployment

are opening up internal formats for our

of various use cases from restoring

customers, like the SAP One Billion

unplanned outages to interactive sales

Lives program, which empowers social

order issues resolution.” Spahn points

entrepreneurship with SAP products,

out that while the natural instinct in such a i ma ga z i n e. com

109


SAP

challenging times is to cut innovation

Sustainability is of ever-increasing

budgets and focus on what is necessary

importance in the business world, and

to survive, this can be self-defeating.

the efficiencies digital transformation

“Reducing the innovation budget in the

unlocks go a long way to helping out. “Big

long term can have a major impact on

companies like SAP quite clearly have

competitive capabilities in the future.

a full sustainability strategy, but the

After all, it’s the digital maturity level

question is how to reach out to the

of a company that is a good indicator of

midsized and older companies,” says

the level of resilience to coping with

Friedrich. “They also need to look into

these situations.”

what sustainability actually is and how

The team emphasises that the key

they could set up their enterprise to

benefits of the digital transformations

achieve it. That’s why we’re setting up

SAP enables are not just monetary.

a framework for sustainability called ‘the


Digital Transformation CLICK TO WATCH

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3:17

111 sustainable enterprise’. That answers

of its USPs, as Rettig explains. “As

the questions of how a company can use

a company in Germany, we have local

digital technologies to operate in a more

SAP experts within a global organisation,

efficient, and more sustainable manner.”

and our mission is to drive the intelligent enterprise. That involves a focus on

NAGARRO ES

SAP and enterprise resource planning

“Nagarro ES is an SAP full service

to build an enterprise architecture that

provider, meaning we implement, and

works for the company involved.”

consult our customers on SAP software.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has

We’re also part of a global company

accelerated efforts towards digitalisa-

which focuses on technology not only

tion, specifically cloud solutions, as

with regards to SAP, but beyond,” says

Manuel Sedlak, Teamlead SAP Cloud

Julia Rettig, Director Marketing at

Services, explains. “We’re seeing the

Nagarro ES. The company’s expertise

companies we work with jump into digi-

when it comes to SAP products is one

talisation. Almost every customer we’ve a i ma ga z i n e. com


SAP

112

worked with in the last year has thought

Nagarro works closely with its cus-

about whether it’s now time to jump

tomers and SAP as part of a triangular

to S4/HANA, and whether that should

relationship to get the best out of its

be an on-premise or cloud solution.”

SAP implementations. Sedlak gives as

Nagarro had first hand experience of

an example its work with a customer.

the efficacy of S4/HANA cloud, and the

“We were asked to be the implementa-

flexibility it offers, having used it for the

tion partner, but having a relationship

past four years. “We were one the first

between ourselves, the customer and

customers in the world to use S/4HANA

SAP is really important for the overall

cloud. That’s why we decided to bring

success of the project.” That triangu-

this to market, and with this approach,

lar relationship is reinforced by quick

we were able to find new customers

responses should a problem arise. “We

with whom to discuss the cloud suc-

identified a problem with a sales order

cess story.”

that couldn’t be deleted from within the

FEBRUARY 2021


“We look upon the incubation and innovation team as a Jazz combo” — Lars Friedrich, Innovation & Technology Director, SAP

about a new configuration platform, for instance, that is in development and will potentially go live from the begin113

ning of 2021.” Rettig sees Nagarro’s full service, independent approach as standing it system,” says Sedlak. ”We raised a ticket

in good stead for the future. “Customers

and I was in direct contact with the cus-

want to participate in all the latest

tomer success manager on SAP’s side.

technologies, but they need to do the

Within half an hour, we were able to find

homework. That’s where we come in,

a solution, so it took just 30 minutes from

because we not only have the cloud

reporting that incident to having a resolu-

perspective, but also do on premises

tion from SAP.”

projects. For us as a partner, it’s impor-

The extent of the relationship between

tant to consult our customers with an

SAP and Nagarro has meant the two can

open mind. We don’t want to push them

exchange ideas. “As a partner, it’s really

into a corner where they don’t belong.

great to have a tight connection with

That’s why we’ll continue to take a holis-

SAP,” says Sedlak. “We are currently dis-

tic view with our customers.”

cussing some products with SAP which are coming next year. We are talking a i ma ga z i n e. com


114

FEBRUARY 2021


SECURITY TRANSFORMATION AT THE HEART OF CYBERSEC 115

WRITTEN BY

PADDY SMITH PRODUCED BY

BEN MALTBY

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PLAYTECH

As the world shifts its working patterns, and faced with an already complex set of technology stacks, Playtech’s Daniel Liber discusses security transformation

W

hile Playtech is a technology company with gaming at its core, it takes no chances with its security strategy. That’s a challenge

because the company has developed and acquired a number of technology platforms, all of which need to be rationalised in its security brief. And its custom116

ers – household name online gaming platforms with reputations to protect – need it to look after their best interests. The task of keeping a lid on the company’s systems and data is head of information security Daniel Liber. Liber, who like many Israeli technologists got his start through the country’s military service programme, joined Playtech three years ago and climbed to his current role. “It’s a great school for security management positions,” he says. “You learn so much from so many talented and experienced people.” Things have changed dramatically over the course of Liber’s career. He reminisces about the development of the internet from the dot com bubble of the early 00s to now, pondering the milestones – smartphones, the internet of things – that have marked the technological transformation in the interim. FEBRUARY 2021


117

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PLAYTECH

RISE OF THE PERSONAL DEVICE Personal devices, Liber thinks, have been maligned in security circles. Yes, they offer an increased attack surface and personal details are more likely to be compromised, but at the same time Joe Public’s attitude to privacy has changed. “Privacy doesn’t make most of end users worry. People today give away information relatively easily. You can see it on social media. When you lost your credit cards, that used to be a big issue. Now you just cancel it and everything is okay.” 118

Transparency is top of Liber’s list when it comes to management. “It’s important. Everybody should feel as if they have an understanding of what’s going on from the top level down to the person doing the hands-on engineering. When there’s a shared strategy and objective to the company, everybody should feel as if they’re part of it.” The second thing on his list is saying yes (even conditionally) and the third is sticking to facts and numbers. “There are a lot of hunches and gut feelings in security,” admits Liber, “which is okay and sometimes important. But eventually, when you need to make a decision, it should be balanced between having FEBRUARY 2021

“Having a good relationship with your vendor means being able to look forward to the upcoming years in terms of security transformation” — Daniel Liber, Head of information security, Playtech


119 E X E C U T I V E P R O FILE :

Daniel Liber Title: Head of information security Industry: Computer Software

Company: Playtech

Location: United Kingdom

Daniel Liber is current Head of Information Security at Playtech, a leading gaming platform provider. Daniel has over 15 years of experience in different positions such as security consultancy, engineering and management, and working across different industries – automotive, finance, telecom and software companies. Daniel also participated as a speaker in several global security conferences including OWASP, BSides, Tel Aviv Cyber Week and local Defcon and ISACA chapters. He also holds B.Sc. in Physics and MBA, as well as several security certifications, as well as participating in management programs from top universities. a i ma ga z i n e. com


PLAYTECH

INTRODUCING TREND MICRO CLOUD ONE™ A security services platform for cloud builders. Secure your cloud migration and future cloud projects without slowing you down. See how we’ve made cloud security beautiful at TrendMicro.com/HybridCloud For more information: trendmicro_israel@trendmicro.com


121 the full view of information and taking an educated decision.” Hunches are okay then? “Sometimes there is a lot of focus on the characteristic technicalities of the vulnerability, rather than the context,” he says. “So it looks scientific but there

“There are a lot of hunches and gut feelings in security” — Daniel Liber, Head of information security, Playtech

is information missing. Where the vulnerability is and how it could be used

digital transformation. It sits at the inter-

and how difficult it is is information that

section of technological frontiers and the

could be used to determine the overall

needs of users, customers and employ-

vulnerability impact.”

ees. And it is particularly important at a time of change.

WHAT IS SECURITY TRANSFORMATION?

“The hottest topic at the moment is

This holistic view informs what Liber calls

working from home,” LIber says. “It is

‘security transformation’ as an arm of

obviously about getting companies’ and a i ma ga z i n e. com


PLAYTECH

“The orchestration of tools and visibility across different technology stacks is extremely critical right now” — Daniel Liber, Head of information security, Playtech users’ IT needs to align in a new working model, but more than that, it is about changing attitudes. 122

“Teams had a limited transformation state of mind. Now they know that every couple of years they will have to ask

“Doing proper mapping is very impor-

the question: what’s next? Some were

tant, and then you have the question of

already doing that because of previous

how you tie these things together. You

security challenges – the shift to the

might buy several tools from the same

cloud, for instance – so to some extent

vendor or different tools from different

we were pretty ready to have a smooth

vendors, but you need to find a balance

transition into working from home.”

of managing them which supports your

Another pillar of Liber’s security transformation is orchestration. “There are

company’s needs. You have to balance your priorities.

so many technologies we need to cover,

“Eventually the idea is to try to narrow

so the orchestration of tools and visibility

down this stuff as much as possible, into

across different technology stacks

a single dashboard or as few places as

is extremely critical right now, espe-

possible – just for the sanity of your ana-

cially for incident response and security

lysts – and it’s becoming harder as more

operations teams.

and more tools are added.”

FEBRUARY 2021


123

COMPLEXITY VERSUS UNIFICATION

personal devices as they wish while

At Playtech, the company has moved

companies can be assured that security

into a hybrid environment of on-premise

isn’t compromised.

and cloud infrastructure, and pushed to

Security transformation isn’t a task

consolidate “small islands” of technology

to be taken on single handed and Liber

services into a more unified platform. It’s

is particularly impressed by Playtech’s

been a boon from a security perspective,

partnership with Trend Micro. Unusually,

particularly as the pandemic has forced

perhaps, the seed of the relationship was

more users to work from home.

hyper geographic: the two firms both

The problem, as Liber sees it, is one of

had small offices in the same building.

employees using their personal devices

“They gave us a lot of attention,” Liber

for work. A possible solution, he thinks,

recalls. “They sat down with us during

might be to “somehow containerise

the proof of concept and we gave them

part of your personal computer”. This

some feedback and we got immediate

approach allows employees to use their

responses. They were amazing with how a i ma ga z i n e. com


PLAYTECH

124

FEBRUARY 2021


“Privacy doesn’t make most of end users worry” — Daniel Liber, Head of information security, Playtech

they helped us to shape the implementation of their Deep Security products based on our environment and needs. “Having a good relationship with the vendor is important for several reasons, firstly that when you implement a product or service you will bump into some kind of issue or question, and the feeling of getting good service or customer support is always nicer than when it doesn’t happen. But it’s also about being able to look forward to the upcoming years in terms of security transformation. Sharing the road map early allows you to predict and better plan your work. “I also think it’s important to keep it light, which might sound silly but negotiations and discussions can be quite dry, so sometimes the personal touch can really help the procurement and commercial processes.”

a i ma ga z i n e. com

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Profile for ai-magazine

AI Magazine - February 2021  

AI Magazine - February 2021