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AiThority Interview with Rajendra Prasad, Global Automation Lead at Accenture

AiThority Interview with Rajendra Prasad, Global Automation Lead at Accenture

Hi RP, please tell us about your role and the journey in the tech industry

I am the Global Automation Lead for Accenture Technology and have been at Accenture for over 15 years. I’ve spent more than 26 years in the technology industry, focusing on ways to drive the efficiency of IT technology services across application management and software development.

I currently lead the team that implements and innovates our AI-driven, intelligent automation platform Accenture myWizard®. myWizard was designed to help address one of the biggest challenges we see companies are facing when it comes to automation—implementing a mature level of automation at speed and scale to maximize the value automation delivers back to the business.

Now more than ever, my leadership role centers on helping our clients on their technology evolution journey to stay relevant, resilient and competitive in our digital world. Intelligent automation, along with cloud and data, is a key component in optimizing an organization’s IT. A successful global automation transformation requires a structured approach to AI-driven automation adoption that includes people, processes and technology.

That’s why our framework also includes a strong focus on continuous innovation culture and evolving to modern engineering practices such as Agile and DevSecOps.

A lot has changed in the last 6 months with intelligent automation. Tell us how Accenture is enabling companies with IA capabilities during COVID-19.

All companies are on different parts of the map when it comes to the automation journey, but most were underprepared for system disruption at this level. What we’ve seen this year is not a change in automation itself, but the accelerated speed organizations are looking to adapt and adopt intelligent automation, cloud and other essential digital technologies. So, Accenture is addressing the deep changes needed in this new environment and making this transformation faster and easier for our clients.

Hyper-automation is one of the key systems resilience building blocks we identified at Accenture to enable a fast and reliable response to stabilize critical business operations and underlying IT systems during the COVID-19. In this approach, we quickly identify automation opportunities and “quick wins” to drive rapid improvements to address sudden operational challenges. This includes things like automated ticket resolution for business-critical processes to help maintain an uninterrupted customer experience and rapid responses to application issues.

We have implemented hyper-automation in numerous ways for our clients. For instance, using myWizard and its Automation Opportunity Finder assessment, we helped out clients identify system bottlenecks and prioritize areas for automation. We also used myWizard and to immediately automate high volume tasks, saving time and resources.

We now find ourselves in an environment with the constantly changing needs of people, customers and suppliers testing systems as never before. The imperative for every organization is to invest in IT technologies, infrastructure and culture to enable them to swiftly respond and adapt to change, and then scale and grow to ensure the business emerges stronger than ever moving ahead.

What is the data science engine driving myWizard? How does it help reduce overall IT operational costs?

Few companies have realized the full promise of intelligent automation and instead take a fragmented approach. With vast data-driven intelligence, patented technology and experience-driven industry expertise, myWizard brings the entire automation ecosystem into a single, AI-powered predictive platform that seamlessly works with existing technologies, tools and systems. The full potential of automation today is driven by machine learning and AI, and I like to say that AI is the user interface of data. If you get your data, from capture to curate to consume, in a systemic way, you will get your AI-powered automation systems more efficient. Data also captures the insights from experience. The sheer amount of data included in the myWizard platform – more than 12 petabytes – helps companies measure themselves against industry benchmarks and make more informed decisions. This can help reduce IT operational costs by up to 60 percent.

Cloud DevOps is one of the most exciting technology domains in the IT industry. How do you see AI ML and Automation further enhancing the scope of DevOps capabilities in Cloud set ups?

Cloud DevOps has gained pace over the last couple of years and is pivotal during unforeseen situations like COVID-19. Every decade sees an “S” curve evolution of technology, which grows to become a norm and the standard way of working. The increased adoption of Cloud DevOps, artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation will further revolutionize DevOps capabilities.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) should be considered as an extension of DevOps. AI/ML can utilize data generated through various tools for analytical modeling to gather insights like code practice causing errors, forecast failures, and detecting and altering security vulnerabilities or threats. There are many areas in testing, test automation, automated execution, defect lifecycle and reporting that could utilize intelligent solutions to make an efficient testing journey.

Tell us about your technology partnerships and collaborations with enterprise partners and academic research institutions?

Accenture has an extremely strong technology ecosystem, including partnerships with platform, cloud and emerging technology companies. These partnerships, combined with our deep industry experience and our patented technology assets and plug-and-play architecture in myWizard, accelerate the implementation of intelligent automation. Being platform-agnostic, myWizard also makes the automation solution simplified, seamless and able to adapt to a changing technology landscape. For example, we have a ready-to-use package of integrated assets across the technology and software delivery lifecycle for multiple technology platforms.

Accenture also has intelligent automation-related collaborations with academic institutions including Stanford University, IIT Madras and MIT. And, a strong foundation of continuous learning opportunities within Accenture for intelligent automation, AI, Cloud and Data is key. Re-skilling, up-skilling and ongoing training is essential to our own people.

How can companies become more resilient and digitally secured with Intelligent Automation and DevOps? What can the industry take away from Accenture’s Future Systems research when it comes to Intelligent Automation?

Automation helps to create resilience in systems and shore up critical infrastructure and operations, but now is also the time to look ahead at the opportunities it presents for growth.

The companies we’ve seen most successful at creating opportunities and value from intelligent automation are turning IT into a profit center and fueling innovation with the extensive use of automation and machine learning. They are pivoting to become data-driven enterprises, using real-time analytics to gain a competitive advantage and reimagining employee and customer experiences, and using cloud platforms to create nimble operations. This includes integrating modern engineering practices such as Agile and DevOps.

DevOps is continuous implementation, continuous integration, continuous testing and continuous deployment. Using DevOps/DevSecOps is going to make your automation/AI adoption more efficient, and paired with automation, drives faster speed to market and higher quality across the software development lifecycle. This could be early warning and fault detection in software design and deployment or insights into managing the sprint execution process. It empowers teams to make faster decisions and supports building a culture of continuous innovation. So, integrating DevOps into automation/AI—as well as automation/AI into DevOps—is essential to successfully scaling and sustaining automation efforts. Our myWizard platform automates DevOps for companies in one day.

The need for enhanced automation capabilities was highlighted by Accenture’s Future Systems research which found that companies that only make defensive technology investments are more likely to face disruption, growth stagnation and financial constraints. In contrast, 98% of leading companies that adopt new technologies such as automation, DevOps and continuous delivery are outperforming their peers in revenue growth and operating margin. These are high stakes. Once an organization addresses the opportunities for resilience through IT automation, they must look to what’s next in terms of scaling and innovation.

Hear it from the pro: How is AI is making IT jobs easier?

The automation of today is powered by AI and ML to be predictive and self-healing to help companies accelerate to modern operations (AIOps) and modern engineering practices, boost productivity, mitigate disruption and improve quality and user experience. For IT professionals and throughout the workforce, AI is augmenting the work they do and AI-driven global automations are helping to simplify the collaboration between humans and machine.

Digital co-workers, for example, are AI that help people make informed decisions and improve productivity and predictability of actions. They help employees to work efficiently from remote locations and assist in everyday routine tasks in order to create more bandwidth for employees to focus on high touch, critical tasks—which was especially important at the start of the COVID. For example, Accenture helped one large healthcare organization redeploy an entire IT triage team through automation to other, more critical areas.

This is also part of myWizard. myWizard Virtual Agents act as digital co-workers to drive further efficiency in day-to-day decision-making and reduce errors. They help make systems predictive through early warning and alerts, and can also draw real-time insights to connect the dots and make recommendations based on historic data.

AI and automation are ultimately helping IT be a better innovation partner to the business and assist in driving significant improvements in application quality, productivity, efficiency and business outcomes.

One piece of advice for every IT professional or fresher graduates looking to head into Intelligent Automation and AI:

Agility and continuous learning will be essential. Automation and AI have created jobs that didn’t even exist five years ago, and new roles are being created all the time.

Thank you, Rajendra That was fun and we hope to see you back on soon.

Rajendra Prasad (RP) is the Global Automation Lead for Accenture, focusing on driving the efficiency of technology services across the IT application lifecycle and helping companies stay relevant and competitive in our increasingly digital world.

RP leads the team that implements and innovates Accenture myWizard®, an integrated intelligent automation platform. Accenture recently announced a robust next generation of the platform. The expanded platform offers capabilities for modern software quality engineering, technology operations and enterprise automation journey management — all underpinned by a broad suite of technology assets infused by artificial intelligence (AI).

Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries, we offer Strategy and Consulting, Interactive, Technology and Operations services—all powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. Our 506,000 people deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day, serving clients in more than 120 countries. We embrace the power of change to create value and shared success for our clients, people, shareholders, partners and communities.

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