SIGHTS ’18 Highlights the Power and Potential of Augmented Intelligence
Last week (3-4 October) Squirro’s Global Augmented Intelligence Conference “SIGHTS” took place in Zurich and attracted close to 100 delegates from all over the world to hear from some of the industry’s most influential companies and thought leaders.
A key theme throughout the conference was the idea of machines helping humans to be smarter and more effective in their roles, allowing them to become ‘super humans’ in terms of their intelligence and decision making.
This is where augmented intelligence builds on the potential of artificial intelligence – a powerful and highly effective technology – by using computing power to address some of the biggest challenges the world is facing and to help turn organisations into insights-driven firms.
Throughout the two days of SIGHTS 18 we were lucky enough to hear from customers, analysts, partners and thought leaders about augmented intelligence, sharing best practice, case studies, industry trends and much more besides. These are just some of the many highlights.
Becoming an insights-driven company
Our guest keynote presenter was James McCormick, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, who spoke passionately and persuasively about the need for organizations to do more with the data and analytics tools they have at their disposal. Becoming an insights-driven organization is imperative in modern business, yet James revealed that only 1 in 10 businesses are currently insights-driven.
This is a major oversight, as becoming insights-driven means delivering a better customer experience which in turn drives growth and profitability. Deploying raw computing power alongside human imagination – augmented intelligence – is a vital component of becoming an insights-driven company, and James concluded with two key pieces of advice: 1) get a move on because the clock is ticking; and 2) deploy a service provider to help accelerate adoption.
Reinforcing this need for data and insight was Sofia Spencer, Head of Digital for Investment Banking at Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters’ and Squirro’s partnership allows firms to integrate Thomson Reuters data with their own proprietary data into one single-view, improving customer engagement and deal idea generation.
Sofia’s presentation focused on digitisation in banking and she spoke about the need to augment bankers with the right technology – using smart machines to make humans smarter. Augmented intelligence is already playing a significant role in investment banking and Sofia believes that the combination of proprietary and external data can be a powerful proposition.
Amazon Web Services and Salesforce
Squirro hosted some of the world’s most innovative technology companies and two of those delivered particularly highly insightful presentations at SIGHTS 18. Margo Cronin, Senior Solution Architect at Amazon Web Services was our day two keynote speaker and gave a packed auditorium a fascinating presentation on security automation.
When a company approaches security automation at scale, it not only delivers complete trust and peace of mind that security is addressed effectively, but it also frees humans up to work on more innovation projects. Margo stressed the importance of innovation throughout her presentation and encouraged organizations to provide an environment where it was safe to fail – an ethos we certainly adhere to at Squirro.
Later on day two we heard from Mark Schuster, Senior Partner Sales Manager Switzerland & Austria, Salesforce, on how AI is shaping the future of customer experience. Salesforce has long been a pioneer when it comes to customer experience and is a long-term partner of Squirro’s, having invested in Squirro as part of our series B funding in 2017.
Mark outlined the importance of the trailblazing economy and how Salesforce has put augmented intelligence at the core of its customer success platforms, utilising data to drive insight. He even mentioned that Metallica had spoken at the recent Dreamforce event, proving that even the world’s heaviest rock bands are now looking at the customer journey and using insight to inform that experience!
Augmented Intelligence – real world examples
At SIGHTS 18 we were also fortunate to hear from Squirro customers, who explained how they were deploying augmented intelligence to enhance their own business performance. Carmen Schlatter Broger, Director, Head of Business Unit Data Analytics & Services at Bühler delivered our customer keynote presentation and gave an interesting take on how augmented intelligence can be used to address some of the world’s challenges.
Food safety is one of those challenges, and earlier in 2018 Bühler launched safefood.ai, a new digital food safety information portal that consolidates data from international food agencies, food alert systems, news sources, food manufacturers and social media, into a single access point.
With augmented intelligence at its core, safefood.ai aims to increase transparency across the food value chain, protecting consumers and the reputation of brands. Augmented intelligence has many applications but one such as this, helping to make the world a better place is truly inspiring.
Swiss insurance company Helvetia presented on how it had successfully adopted augmented intelligence into elements of its own offering and also revealed some of the challenges in doing so. Daniel Litscher and Sandra Hürlimann explained how insurance was not an industry that traditionally was quick to adopt new technologies and that change management was an important part of any augmented intelligence program. This is undoubtedly true – some people and some industries can be resistant to change and organizations must work hard to show that change is worthwhile if augmented intelligence is to reach its full potential.
The Squirro partner awards
All of Squirro’s partners around the world are important to us, adding value to our core proposition and helping to spread the word about augmented intelligence. However, at SIGHTS 18 we wanted to highlight three of those partners, who were winners in our Squirro Partner Awards.
Accenture has been a high profile and innovative addition to our list of strong partners and won the Squirro New Partner of the Year award, while CDO Partners (who sadly couldn’t be with us at SIGHTS to accept the award) won Best Squirro Partner Sales Campaign.
Last and by no means least was Synpulse, who won the overall Squirro Partner of the Year award for the second year in a row. Synpulse has worked closely with us on a number of customer implementations and joint initiatives and is a valued and trusted partner. Our congratulations and thanks go to our rich and insightful partner community.
SIGHTS 18 was a fantastic conference, that saw ideas exchanged, best practice shared and gave our customers the opportunity to testify on their augmented intelligence strategies.
We believe that augmented intelligence combines the best of algorithms and human imagination but your experience and thinking is vital to us. This is a journey we are all embarking on and I always want to hear how our customers are progressing on their own journeys. I am always available to address questions and share experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to seeing you all next year at SIGHTS 19!