Evidence of autonomous enterprises has already begun to emerge in industry-leading organizations worldwide. The optimal approach is to meet at the intersection of AI, automation, and human intelligence, working collaboratively to seize the present moment, says Deepak Visweswaraiah, VP, Platform Engineering, and site Managing Director, Pegasystems, India
Some edited excerpts from an insightful interview:
Is a truly autonomous enterprise something that we hope to actually achieve?
The concept of an autonomous enterprise revolves around the innovative application of AI and automation for decision-making, operations, and services, throughout an organization. This represents a fundamental shift in mindset that reorients our approach toward technology. The synergy between AI and human intelligence propels the business transition from manual operations to complete autonomy. By amalgamating AI with automation, we can foster self-driven, self-optimizing enterprise agility.
The path to a truly autonomous enterprise will likely be gradual, with companies automating more and more processes as technology advances and they find effective ways to manage these challenges.
Technological breakthroughs, such as generative AI, have broadened the horizons of possibilities. To keep pace with the changing ecosystem, organizations must actualize agility and maintain focus. According to our latest survey, 84% organizations globally agreed that unified platforms that connect systems and channels to automate, self-optimize, and align workflows and decisions to business strategy will be either ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ important to improve their operational efficiencies. With the vast majority (75%) also agreeing that AI will have a role to play in their business over the next five years – 40% say it will be ‘pivotal’ – the rise of the autonomous enterprise looks set to gather pace in the years ahead. However, even as we move towards greater autonomy, the human element will likely remain crucial in many areas, especially those involving complex decision-making, creativity, and interpersonal relationships.
What degree of enterprise autonomy is possible, prudent, or ethical?
As stated previously, an AI-powered engine unifies real-time decision making across operations and services, functioning in a symbiotic manner with human insight. The fusion of AI-driven decision-making and workflow automation provides an in-depth understanding of individual customers’ needs. Thus, while a high degree of enterprise autonomy is theoretically possible, it may not always be prudent or ethical. The level of autonomy in IT operations can vary significantly depending on several factors, including specific contexts, industry norms, legal and regulatory guidelines, as well as ethical considerations. It is crucial to strike a balance between autonomy and appropriate supervision to ensure ethical and responsible practices are upheld. Leveraging AI and automation should complement human intelligence and work in tandem with humans to achieve common organizational goals. Therefore, with the increasing level of autonomy it is vital to retain human oversight. Human intervention provides essential judgment, accountability, and responsibility. It allows for necessary intervention and verification of automated system outputs and ensures adherence to ethical and legal standards. The true essence of an autonomous enterprise lies in dismantling siloes and enhancing collaboration, ensuring that the workforce can channel their expertise where it truly matters.
What is the most responsible path, if we truly we truly think pursuing the idea of autonomous enterprise in particular industries?
Evidence of autonomous enterprises has already begun to emerge in industry-leading organizations worldwide. The optimal approach is to meet at the intersection of AI, automation, and human intelligence, working collaboratively to seize the present moment. This is precisely the strategy we at Pega, employ with our clients. We follow the guiding principles such as embedding AI in all channels for more empathetic customer experiences, automating routine tasks to increase efficiency and Self-optimizing processes to eliminate inefficiencies: This leads to heightened efficiency and the automation of countless hours of monotonous manual work.
Businesses should devise a plan identifying the areas where AI and automation could have the greatest impact. For example, in banking, organizations can achieve millions of customers by deploying a real-time, omnichannel “next best conversation” platform to analyze billions of customer interactions and deliver the single best offer or action for each individual – resulting in a 3-10x increase in customer engagement rates. In back-office operations, work can be routed automatically to the person who was likely to deliver the best customer experience the fastest, based on the characteristics of the assignment, resulting in better allocation of back-office agents and 88% automation of customer service processes. Moreover, in customer service, customers can now quickly connect to an organization in their channel of preference to get results by deploying Natural Language Processing (NLP) to assess and route incoming customer service emails – resulting in a 50% decrease in email response time.
While technology may be powering the journey, humans retain firm control of the steering wheel. With this strategy at core, Pega helps organizations leverage the power of generative AI while building controls, governance and auditing to keep humans-in-the-loop. Pega GenAI offers a secure, plug-and-play architecture that will allow for low-code development of AI prompts, the ability to infuse generative AI functions into their workflows and the freedom to swap in different Large Language Models (LLMs). This will help users drive value from generative AI now and into the future and put the right architecture in place with regard to every aspect of generative AI safety, control, management and oversight that is possible in both human and machine terms. All elements work in harmony, learning from and guiding each other, leveraging their respective strengths
What is the role of programmers in an autonomous tech ecosystem?
Programmers are at the centre of efforts when businesses wish to step up their tech capabilities. In an autonomous tech ecosystem, the role of programmers is fundamental and multifaceted. They design, write, test, and maintain the software that powers autonomous systems. Rapid advancements in the AI landscape have accelerated the next wave of software development. The coding landscape is expected to mature to a large extent in its scope and abilities. There’s a huge opportunity for programmers to test software in simulated environments. It will inspire them to be more creative, feel empowered to tackle big problems, and model large, complex solutions in ways they couldn’t before.
With the emergence of new technology, the preponderance of jobs is more skilled and technical. The biggest shift may not be in technology itself but in the mindset of how people think about technology. It is not about replacing programmers but assisting them with software. This is a huge opportunity to pair them with AI and automation. In today’s job market, the greater problem facing the workforce is upskilling employees to tackle new types of jobs that AI has created.
What is Pega’s take on building an autonomous enterprise?
The introduction of ChatGPT has struck us with the realization that any corporate function can be automated with AI. We are amidst an ‘Autonomous Revolution’, empowering a new generation of more intelligent, more autonomous, and more collaborative systems than traditional automation. The concept of an autonomous enterprise unifies AI with automation to drive enterprise agility and propel business forward at unprecedented levels of speed, and alignment. Recently, we also surveyed 600 business decision makers worldwide on their views, understanding and plans for the autonomous enterprise. This study told us unequivocally that the age of autonomous is not only coming – in many respects, it’s already here. The successful organizations of tomorrow will be autonomous enterprises that operationalize agility and focus, bringing people together to deliver hyper-personalized engagement, hyper-efficient operations, and seamless customer experiences.
Pega aims to build a new generation of process intelligence and management tools to deliver hyper-personalized engagement, hyper-efficient operations, and seamless customer experiences. While the age of ‘autonomous’ in many respects is already here, we aim to unlock new levels of innovation to define the future of intelligent automation.