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May 16, 2016

The Birth Of An Idea And The Truly Digital Enterprise

Posted by Ravi Kumar S. (View Profile | View All Posts) at 12:15 PM

Vishal Sikka talks about Infosys Mana ™ - a knowledge-based artificial intelligence (AI) platform  

Vishal Sikka, both as CEO of Infosys and as technology advisor and partner to our clients, frequently reminds us that the biggest opportunity that lies before every business today is to launch a human revolution, where we are all able to achieve much higher productivity, to bring much more innovation, and create a future limited only by our aspirations. And that can be made possible by technology - especially automation and AI.

So, one might surmise that a business that is digitized is best equipped to realize this opportunity.

But few enterprises understand that digitizing their business is not so much about creating an online frontend to engage with customers or employees, as it is about creating a future where they can leverage machine-generated insights to process everything straight through in an agile, automated, seamlessly connected landscape designed to amplify human potential. Real digitization of an enterprise means that its core processes are always improving and that this learning and evolution is automated. Simple as that. And no ERP system that runs the best run businesses of yesterday can do this. Rule-based, policy-driven, deterministic and in many ways reinforcing rigid standardization - that is in itself so 'undigital' - these create an innate lethargy and inertia slowing down change that is so vital for processes and systems to improve and remain relevant. We figured that such transformation is best operationalized through a utility-based, low capital and pay-as-you-go vertical stack with technology, infrastructure and business process all bundled with vertical SLAs, vertically deployed automation, right across the stack, and accountable to drive direct people benefits and real business outcomes. Essentially, this meant that the real challenge for us was to find a way to offer businesses 'Process-as-a-Service' for their software-driven systems that are continuously learning, growing in intelligence and purposefully automating all that's best left to machines. So, people can do more of the things that only people can - with their imagination, creativity, innovations and sense of purpose.

It was finding this problem that helped us find Infosys Mana.

We started reflecting on the usefulness of the sources of truth that legacy landscapes offered, and it didn't take long to figure out that it wasn't much. I mean, how can terabytes of error logs alone ever be useful in figuring out how to digitize the enterprise? So, we began looking for a way to curate data from all the sources available to us - the code, key strokes of the user, documentation, process maps, tickets, error logs...everything - and then applied our early work in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to create a knowledge base. This knowledge-based engineering platform instantly and continuously captured the millions of events recorded in the IT landscape, drawing patterns, relationships and powerful contextual pictures. It is ably supported by the Infosys Information Platform that processes massive amounts of unstructured and structured data easily streaming it all into the knowledge-base in real time. Together, they create a powerful, searchable ontology of the IT or engineering environment, predicting events; helping diagnose issues and creating an understanding of contextual relationships - just the sort of knowledge that is considered implicit, and accessible only to the seasoned technician operating that environment. Once this knowledge about the things that worked and the things that didn't, the problems and solutions, the predictions and the means of prevention, was made digital and machine-readable it was easy to leverage the Infosys Automation Platform to bring in automation everywhere. Not driven by rigid rules and inflexible policies, but purposefully steered by a confluence of streaming intelligence, deep knowledge about the underpinnings of the enterprise and insights into the best ways to create a new future for the business.

And not surprisingly, it was this very same coming together of automation, innovation and knowledge at our own organization that has amplified our potential to do more for the businesses that count on us to help them. We are freeing our people from the shackles of routine and repeatable tasks, by bringing in automation to every one of our services and also our own processes and systems, so our engineers might be allowed to reimagine and reshape the landscapes our clients find themselves in. We employ a simple framework - Zero Distance - to first find the unarticulated problems that these businesses face and then work at the intersection of desirability, feasibility and viability to solve it. We share the knowledge - both within and outside of our organization - through active collaboration so we might all then thrive in a culture of lifelong learning.

Surely, none of us should have to deal with the same mess for less. We should be able to achieve that which our imagination helps us see, that which our knowledge shows us can be and that which our conviction impels us onto. And, there is no better time to do it than right now. Because, as NelsonHall's Rachael Stormonth says, Infosys is in a hurry: there will be more.

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