Jumping on the AI Bandwagon: Why It's Time to Develop 'AIQ'CIOs and CTOs Share Insights on Leveraging Full Potential of AI
For over a decade now, several industries have embraced AI in various capacities. But generative AI proved to be a turning point, prompting CIOs and tech leaders to innovate and harness the technology for business transformation. At the Microsoft AI Tour in Mumbai, delegates shared their AI journeys with a focus on generative AI and Copilot, Microsoft's AI companion designed to help with a variety of tasks.
Puneet Chandok, president of Microsoft India and South Asia, kicked off the event by demonstrating how Microsoft Copilot created a note about the impact of AI in India. Copilot also generated a futuristic image of Mumbai, in addition to composing a contemporary song.
"AI is no longer a chat Llama, which is what we saw many years ago. AI now has some remarkable abilities to have conversations with us, understand context, reason with us - with not just text, but images, pictures, sounds and videos," Chandok said.
Vasu Jakkal, corporate vice president for security, compliance, identity, management and privacy, elaborated on the opportunities posed by Copilot.
"AI can reshape your business by modernizing internal processes. It can increase employee and customer satisfaction and also lower costs. AI empowers every organization to bend the curve on innovation. But none of this is possible without trust in the tools we build and the possibilities they bring," Jakkal said.
Microsoft customers from banking, aviation, retail and IT services shared their AI journeys and how they leverage Azure OpenAI Service and other AI-powered platforms such as Microsoft Fabric to enhance their offerings.
Banking: A Time to Reset
Banks have been leveraging AI in areas such as credit policy, risk management and operational efficiency, with a focus on the overall business strategy from a growth and profitability standpoint, said Avinash Raghavendra, president and head of information technology, Axis Bank. "But with the advent of generative AI in the past year, we had to reset."
"Banks have to pivot to being AI-led banks. How does it work for us from a customer and investor standpoint? How does it help us in efficiency and everything we do? There are a lot of conversations around this internally," Raghavendra said, underscoring the importance of addressing data security and governance concerns, given the volume of data held by banks.
Anup Purohit, global CIO, Wipro, alluded to a rounded approach with his IT services company announcing Wipro ai360 last year. The AI-first ecosystem, he said, will bring together 30,000 Wipro experts in data analytics and AI with Wipro's technology and advisory ecosystem from four global business lines.
The company has committed to making a $1 billion investment in advancing AI capabilities over the next three years.
"We are 250,000 employees across 65 countries. Besides [catering to internal customers], we are also [service] providers. We build an ecosystem that starts with a mindset, where you need to create an ecosystem inside an organization of our size to ensure that everyone thinks AI first," Purohit said. "We have pharma and aviation customers. AI was there for ages, but it was statistical AI. Now it is cognitive."
Aviation: Sky Is the Limit
"We have reached a tipping point with AI" and AI offers "a tapestry of possibilities" for the aviation industry, said Neetan Chopra, chief digital and information officer at IndiGo (InterGlobe Aviation Limited).
Indigo launched 6Eskai, an AI chat assistant integrated across web and mobile platforms, in November last year. Powered by GPT-4, 6Eskai was developed in-house by IndiGo's digital team in close collaboration with Microsoft. The chatbot addresses customer queries in 10 different languages and offers a "first of a kind" platform for booking tickets across the entire network.
"Instead of 'chatbot,' I like to call it a direct channel for customer experience and bookings. We've captured interactions with 3,400 customers, close to 1,800 bookings and 11 lakh transactions," Chopra said.
IndiGo also uses AI chatbots for call center reviews. "The long-time plan is to create strategies shaping the future rather than reacting to it. And AI has created a profound impact in aviation. So, the next wave for us is to bake AI into strategies for almost everything we do, in a holistic way," Chopra said.
AI for CFO Insights
Tanuj Vohra, CTO, HighRadius, shared how his 17-year-old company has been leveraging AI tools to impact and optimize the office of the CFO.
"We were doing RPA and AI before, but generative AI has some groundbreaking possibilities. For instance, days sales outstanding, or DSO, is an important metric for the CFO," he said. "A set of collectors interacting with customers used to send a set of reminders. Now, using generative AI, they can not only predict when to call that customer, but are able to create email reminders based on the transcription log of past interactions."
He mentioned how with generative AI, a collector who previously wrote 15 emails a day can now easily produce 65 emails in a human-like tone. Furthermore, the tone can be altered through a simple prompt without the need for an engineer.
Nuggets of Advice
CIOs and CTOs who spoke at this event urged the audience to think holistically when strategizing about AI adoption.
"To get exponential outcome in digital transformation, you have got to connect AI experiments and go live with the data. Connect these to digital capabilities," Chopra said.
Wipro's Purohit said it is a "long journey and will not happen overnight." Business leaders should consider a competency center and spread ideas and proofs of concepts across the organization with a top-down and bottom-up AI-first approach, he said.
"HighRadius has been using Microsoft Copilot for less than three months, and we are seeing a 30% increase in productivity," Vohra said.
Microsoft's Chandok emphasized the importance of continual learning and "developing an AIQ."
The general advice from many was: Don't wait for the technology to evolve. Jump in and explore.