AI is there and applicable, BUT: How do individuals and organizations make use of the technology’s potential? Leah Blessin, Cloud First Lead at Accenture, underlines that AI is an enabler that needs to be understood from C level downwards, but worries that many organizations are too naive about AI.
Leah, when talking about Artificial Intelligence a lot of the discussion often revolves around the future, the vision, even the fantastic. Isn’t AI already the present and everyday life?
It is, but not very visible for everyone and not in everyone’s life. The technology is there and can be applied. Now the tough question is: how do individuals and organizations make use of the potential? It requires creativity and openness for new ideas to grasp the potential and break it into “digestible chunks”.
In your experience, are there lines of business that don’t have AI on their radar yet, but should ASAP?
In my role I am involved in areas like Sales, Service, Marketing but also HR and employee engagement. AI is a hot topic in all of those. I would rather say there are quite a lot organizations that are lagging behind that need to build their strategy for and around AI – too many people still feel: AI is coming but it will take many years to have any substantial impact. That is naive.
And who in a company should be the judge if, where and how AI can be effectively used? Is AI already a C-level topic?
I think this is a bit like the CDO (Chief Digital Officer) role that many organizations are putting in place now and then wonder why they do not become a digital company quickly enough. AI is a theme and enabler that needs to be understood from C-level downwards with its strategic impact on an organization. I would say the C-levels need to be onboard, understand and guide their teams and organizations to capitalize the potential. Likely some cultural and mindset changes are needed to make it happen.
In your keynote at #ada17 you will be speaking about how Artificial Intelligence will transform the Future Workforce. Do we have to be afraid that we all will be
replaced? Or can we look forward to working with AI?
Most importantly: we all need to be open to learn. We need to understand AI and how it will impact current jobs. Some will change, some will go away and others will be newly created. If I do not adapt and embrace change there is a likelihood that my job will be gone at some point. Rather than being afraid and watching change: be part of the change and evolve (… and I am not saying this will be easy!).
And if I don’t only want to use but create Artificial Intelligence: is there a computer language that is especially AI-friendly?
That is a broad question. I would rather say: there are a number of platforms that provide libraries, objects, algorithms that can be a good starting point – like Salesforce Einstein, IBM Watson, Google…
This article is part of Ada’s Heiresses 2017, an interview collection with speakers of Ada Lovelace Festival 2017. Are you interested in more #womenintech content? You can download Ada’s Heiresses here for free.
Leah is a seasoned Leader with 17 years of experience in consulting, IT and digital transformation. She joined Accenture in 2000 straight after University where she had studied Business Administration specializing in Operations Research, Business Information Systems and Human Resource Management. After delivering consulting and Systems Integration projects and programs in the Products Industries for 9 years she became a Solution Architect. She worked in India for 2 years building the Solution Architect capabilities in the Delivery Center from 2011 to 2013. On returning to Germany she lead the Solution Architecting function in the DACH region and delivered SaaS consulting and implementation projects in the Consumer goods Industry. For the last 2 years she has been leading the Accenture Cloud First Applications team In DACH. In her role she is responsible for Accenture’s Business based on High growth SaaS platforms and solutions like Salesforce.com and Workday. Together with her very fast growing team she drives SaaS based digital transformation at leading companies in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. She believes in a diverse team bringing best results and that there is no “one size fits all career”. Leah is married and mother of 3 kids between 4 and 10.