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AiThority Interview Series with Muhi S. Majzoub, OpenText EVP of Engineering

AiThority Interview Series with Muhi S. Majzoub, EVP at OpenText Engineering and Cloud Services_cue card

AI and automation are an exponential force on data, creating a cycle of more data, more use cases, and even more AI.

Know My Company

Tell us about your role at OpenText and the team/technology you lead.

I am responsible for everything product related at OpenText, starting with strategy, vision, architecture, design, development, testing and release of all of our products globally.  I am also involved in supporting our M&A team with the technology acquisitions that we have made in the past and will make in the future.

Tell us about your interaction with AI and other intelligent technologies in your daily life.

Technology and AI are everywhere around us, at home, at work and in every aspect of our daily lives.

A few examples that I use to mention:

  • Alexa at home helping manage 30+ IoT sensors (i.e. lights, cameras, temperature sensors, and smart devices in the home)
  • Siri in the car managing reminders, messaging, emails, voicemails and responding to messages and emails

At work, AI is used in multiple dimensions to support different departments and helping with analyzing historical data and predicting future patterns. Also, our objectives is to improve self-service in Magellan to help crawl data lakes easier and bring it to the level of the business analyst instead of the developer or data scientist.

How do you see the raging trend of including ‘AI in everything’?

Artificial intelligence is the most exciting new development in the industry today, and we have just scratched the surface with it. AI has transformed the way we look at information and automation across all sectors. It is changing human to machine interaction and how we automate processes and is providing advanced analytics, insights, and predictions.

AI is fueling high-value opportunities at intelligent and connected enterprises.

For example, the automation of business processes affects many of the metrics shareholders care about, like improving productivity, lowering costs, and ensuring quality and compliance. Automating mundane and/or time-consuming activities not only improves employee satisfaction but allows people to focus on the higher-level tasks that typically lead to things like better customer experiences.

2019 will be the year we really start to see real impact from applied AI ‘in everything,’ or at least in many more places.

Tell us more about your recent addition to Salesforce AppExchange? How would it impact your customer reach?

In early November, we announced that OpenText Exstream for Salesforce is now available on Salesforce AppExchange, offering users a powerful solution for personalized, consistent customer communications management. It provides simple, web-based SaaS document generation from the industry-leading customer relationship management (CRM) offering from Salesforce.

Exstream is an industry-leading platform for managing multi-channel, global customer communications. With sophisticated workflow automation, compelling design and branding features, and options for infinite personalization, it allows business users to easily manage their customer communications programs and campaigns without intervention from technical experts. The expanded collaboration builds on the success of OpenText Extended ECM for Salesforce, which delivers sophisticated and secure content services.

Recommended: OpenText Showcases how Intelligence, Integration and Automation Drive Innovation

As businesses keep growing, opportunities and customer needs continue to expand. The need to communicate critical business information better, faster and more consistently is more important than ever before.

Whether organizations need to produce a single customer service email or millions of personalized sales letters, Exstream for Salesforce helps to rapidly synthesize relevant business data and content into compelling written communications – all from within a familiar CRM environment. This solution largely benefits our customer base, enabling companies to create rich, engaging and responsive customer communications without any enterprise-scale IT challenges.

How do you consume information on the Cloud, Data Science, AI/ML and related topics to build your opinion?

One of the best channels I always use to stay up to date is also one of the easiest and most fun – and it’s talking with my colleagues. Taking time to talk and learn from my team is one of the best ways I stay up to date with the most critical innovations and changes.

On top of this, I try to keep up with outlets covering breaking news as well as trends and solutions others in the industry.

Read More: Salesforce Delivers New Health Cloud Innovations to Personalize Patient Experiences to Improve Outcomes

As an example, TechTarget and eWeek provide a resource for me to check in on other cloud computing news on the private, public and hybrid cloud, cost structure, mobile cloud and more. When checking recent advancements in the AI/ML space, publications like the Verge, VentureBeat and TechCrunch are always good options. 

What makes understanding Cloud Computing and AI so hard when it comes to actually deploy them?

Many AI use cases require gathering large amounts of information from various different sources.  It is critical to viable AI outcomes that the raw data is cleansed and normalized. Integrating these different data sources takes time as well as a full understanding of how data is interconnected to produce insightful results. This requires the ability to integrate both structured and unstructured data which can be challenging for most AI technologies but is a core underpinning and strength for OpenText.

AI deployments also tend to have workloads that fluctuate widely in terms of their infrastructure requirements.

In order to be responsive, an AI deployment may need to process large amounts of data quickly which can require hundreds of nodes working together for some short period of time.  In other words, AI tends to require scalability and burst computing capabilities. This is why cloud computing and AI go well together. Cloud computing allows deployments to request resources for some period of time and then to put them back into the resource pool.  This is a great benefit to AI, but also creates complexity around the deployment and configuration of an AI solution. 

How potent is the Human-Machine intelligence for businesses and society? Who owns machine learning results?

Based on what we’ve all seen of late, the intersection of humans and machine learning will only spur innovation and increase productivity. Think about how electricity, personal computers, and the internet have driven advancements in businesses and society in the past.

Today, AI is emerging as the most important technology of the coming decades, and its ability to provide insights derived from massive sets of data will amplify our skills, inform decision making, and support productivity gains. With advanced pattern identification and outcome prediction, AI can also help us tackle some of the moonshots we face as a society, providing a deeper understanding of patterns across all industries.

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Further, it will enable the automation of many routine tasks, allowing workers to focus on more strategic projects and make better use of their human intelligence, which will in turn lead to new business models that drive growth and job creation.

Ultimately, machine learning results benefit the entire enterprise and thus are owned collectively.

Data science teams will play a pivotal role in helping to unlock the valuable insights the business can use to excel.

This sets the foundation for everyone across the organization to play an active role in a culture in which the power of machine learning is fully harnessed, engaging support from leadership, expertise from IT, and thoughtful input from business users, including important challenge questions. When advancements enabled by AI are owned collectively, analytics and automation can drive efficiency and decision making for the C-suite, frontline employees, and every level in between.

Where do you see AI/Machine learning and other smart technologies heading beyond 2020?

Today, organizations are digitizing business processes, including core capabilities, in their entirety. The result is more data than humans can possibly managed without assistance. Managing this glut of information, and being able to maximize its value, will be the key differentiator for the Intelligent and Connected Enterprise.

Technologies including the cloud, AI, Edge Computing, and more are all part of the ongoing Digital Transformation of the enterprise.

Technology adoption is like evolution, it never stops. But at the enterprise level, organizations will continue to make big steps into the cloud, experimenting with AI and ML use cases, and invest in infrastructure to enable information management at the unprecedented scale we are going to see.

Even though digital information is evolving at a rapid pace, the world is still document-centric. However, the way they are created, their levels of complexity and their collaborative nature is changing rapidly. What will certainly continue to evolve is how the Intelligent and Connected Enterprise engages with information in meaningful ways to uncover insights. AI and automation are an exponential force on data, creating a cycle of more data, more use cases, and even more AI.

The next decade is going to be very, very interesting! 

What is The Good, Bad and Ugly about AI that you have heard or predict?

First, the good. When processes and data are fully integrated, Analytics and AI can be applied to analyze information, deliver insights, and apply smart automation. Machine-enhanced decision-making, or augmented intelligence, can be rooted in a better understanding of transactions and interactions, that then helps improve decisions and outcomes.

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Of course, with any technology comes concerns we could call ‘the bad’. Take security for example – as enterprises adopt new tools like AI and ML, so will cybercriminals.  We are already seeing examples of attackers leveraging machine learning and basic AI in attacks.

The ugliest part of AI I have seen is the over-marketing AI as a cure-all or magic bullet. We have seen vendors promise everything up to a cure for cancer from AI, only to then fail to produce results. AI is real, and will have a transformational impact on business and society, but like many technologies, it can be difficult to separate truth from hype.

 The Crystal Gaze

What technology start-ups and labs are you keenly following?

We closely follow the industry, emerging trends, and startups. We also believe that AI is even more powerful when it is combined with other technologies. A major focus at OpenText is integrating our Magellan AI platform with our enterprise software to realize the potential of applied AI and Machine Learning for the enterprise. 

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What technologies within Cloud, AI and computing are you interested in?

As mentioned above, I am so excited about the possibilities with AI and Cloud coming together.  The on-demand capacity of the cloud will help enable many new practical AI use-cases. From security to financial services, to healthcare, and more – the future is really exciting. 

As a tech leader, what industries you think would be fastest to adopting Cloud Computing, AI/ML with smooth efficiency? What are the new emerging markets for AI technology markets?

The effects of cloud computing and AI adoption will be magnified in the coming decade, as industries such as manufacturing, retail, transportation, finance, health care, law, advertising, insurance, entertainment, and education transform their core processes and business models to take advantage of machine learning systems. All industries are now looking for a stable and secure cloud infrastructure with the added use of AI allowing business leaders to run their organization better and more efficiently.

This includes asset-intensive and previously Cloud-wary sectors such as manufacturing, financial services, legal, life sciences, and government.

Today, retail and financial services, in particular, are areas where we see customers move more aggressively than ever before. Also, we’re seeing more and more of these document-centric industries employing the use of AI for things like HR, Contracts, Legal, Collaboration and Digital Asset Management. 

Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Dr. Andrew Moore, Dean of the School of Computer Science at CMU, just joined Google Cloud to head up Google Cloud AI. We also just recently announced a partnership with Google Cloud to deliver enterprise information management on the Google Cloud platform and it would be exciting to see his thoughts in this area.

Thank you, Muhi! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.

Muhi S. Majzoub is the Executive Vice President of Engineering for OpenText. Joining the company in 2012, Muhi has held various senior executive positions. He currently leads the development organization to define the vision and strategy for OpenText products and their transition to the cloud. Prior to OpenText, Muhi was Chief of Products for NorthgateArinso, where he was responsible for defining the company’s product vision, strategy and the development life cycle.

He focused on consolidating the late software portfolio and developing new product capabilities for both cloud and on-premises solutions. Muhi has also held the position of Senior Vice President of Product Development for CA, Inc., where he was responsible for the development of the common technology platform and components and integration strategy. Prior to CA, Muhi was Vice President of Product Development at Oracle Corporation. During his tenure at Oracle, he was responsible for the delivery of the Sales Automation Suite, including Sales Online TeleSales, Sales Compensation, Sales Intelligence and many other Internet technology projects, such as Oracle Store, and the MetaLink TAR system. Muhi attended San Francisco State University.

OpenText is the leader in Enterprise Information Management (EIM).

Our EIM products enable businesses to grow faster, lower operational costs, and reduce information governance and security risks by improving business insight, impact and process speed.

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