About the Guest Suhas is a Global VP at Oracle, responsible for multiple Oracle Cloud Services including Mobile, Conversational AI Platforms, Integration & Intelligent Process Automation, strategy, vision, and execution. He is a seasoned executive with years of technical and business management experience in enterprise applications & platforms, digital experiences, cloud platforms, and machine learning with a successful track record as both an entrepreneur in small start-ups and an executive with major industry leaders. Suhas has held leadership positions with SAP, Motorola Solutions, Spring Wireless, Dexterra (Antenna Software), and Micromuse (IBM). Contact Suhas Uliyar Key Takeaways The mix of environments that have constituted his career trajectory. About leadership style and how to manage across cultures and time zones. Favorite career innovation highlights. Following the course of automation and its impacts. How to integrate people, technology, and services in a successful product. The impacts of Covid19 on digital transformation. What’s on the horizon for AI in the coming decade? The show wraps with some interesting reading/viewing recommendations. Quotes “I refer to automation as the imperfect mix of bringing people, processes, and systems together to create truly delightful customer experiences.” Highlights From the Episode How have your experiences differed across various organizations and teams? The biggest challenges Suhas has encountered have had to do with maintaining respect across cultural differences, which means varying time zones from Australia to India to the U.S. He encourages all team members to dream big and imagine things that could be different in the future, expanding their capability to think beyond tasks and technologies we deploy every day. As a leader, he is focused on clear communication and measurable milestones. Is there any one product that’s considered to be most transformational? Working in terms of conversational AI and intelligent automation stands out among the many applications he has developed in the past. It’s changing the conversation – and the narrative – as a communication tool that integrates seamlessly with enterprise systems. This sort of deep learning has been especially fascinating. Still, Suhas doesn’t want to undersell other career highpoints: network management during the dot.com boom days, including an in-memory database doing event correlation using rudimentary machine learning back in the early 1990s; building the first mobile platform at Motorola, well before Steve Jobs announced the iPhone; leading early Internet of Things initiatives at SAP. Hard to pick a favorite child! Can you walk us through the journey that is automation? As his career has moved through various stages, AI has been a theme woven throughout and is only now reaching a young adult stage of maturity. Suhas believes many amazing innovations on tap will ultimately make us truly multi-modal in the way we interact with data – with actual conversation occurring between people and systems. Also on the horizon: Providing more situational awareness for visual workers so they can be more generally helpful in human application interactions and combining workflows. While AI is headed in an amazing direction, says Suhas, there is also potential for disastrous mistakes without augmented human intervention. He remains optimistic, however. How do we integrate people, technology, and services to create a successful product? Ultimately deep learning is the new currency. Algorithms are quickly reaching new levels of sophistication, but to be truly effective, the data they’re learning from has to be coherent, labeled appropriately, cleaned up, and in the right condition to be part of the pipeline process. You’re transferring learning among applications with human involvement as a critical bridge, source of validation, and reinforcement. Humans are a critical part of the overall output and value chain development. What impacts has Covid had on digital transformation? From a technology and work perspective, the most significant shift was to remote, which impacted day-to-day workplace conditions and changed interactions with customers, including the pivot to digital transformation. Even informally sticky environments like health care, telemedicine is suddenly here to stay. It’s helping to drive down costs and efficiencies and reshaped business practices across all verticals. Enterprise systems, however, are not in a position to plug and play this level of transformation. Going forward, the integration will be critical to widespread adoption and exponential revenue growth for those who are scaling new innovations. Speed depends on design. It’s more important than ever for customers to architect the foundation of their digital business for this kind of explosive growth. What level of transformation do you see for AI in the coming 5-10 years? Suhas draws an analogy between the mandate to adapt to Covid19 and the need for humans to learn how to coexist with AI. It will be everywhere and unavoidable, from closing gaps in services and integrating into widespread support sources. As with anything, machine learning could be misused in the wrong hands, but Suhas remains optimistic about ways in which it will enhance life on earth – and potentially beyond! Recommended Reading/Resources “Schmidt Happens: Featuring Eric Schmidt,” a GoodFellows conversation from the Hoover Institute. “Leading Digital: Turning Technology Into Business Transformation,” by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, Andrew McAfee Leading Digital: Turning tech into business transformation George Westerman “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One,” by Joe Dispenza.