Organizations need to understand risks and ethics related to AI

Despite highly publicized risks of data-sharing and AI, from facial recognition to political deepfakes, leadership at many organizations seems to be vastly underestimating the ethical challenges of the technology, NTT DATA Services reveals.

AI ethics

Just 12% of executives and 15% of employees say they believe AI will collect consumer data in unethical ways, and only 13% of executives and 19% of employees say AI will discriminate against minority groups.

Surveying 1,000 executive-level and non-executive employees across industries in North America in early 2020, the results indicate that organizations are eager to increase the pace of transformation.

AI and automation technologies play a vital role, helping businesses improve decision-making, business processes and even workplace culture. In fact, 61% say that AI will speed up innovation, and respondents say the technology is beginning to support improvements to efficiency (83%) and productivity (79%). Yet, there are many challenges with adoption and implementation, with ethical considerations and data security among the top few.

“AI presents one of the great leadership opportunities and challenges of our time. Leaders must be diligent in striking the balance, but they don’t have to go it alone,” said Eric Clark, Chief Digital Officer, NTT DATA Services.

“Our study outlines how businesses can take full advantage of emerging technologies and accelerate transformation, while taking necessary precautions on the path to responsible and secure adoption of artificial intelligence.”

Ethics and effectiveness of AI

For AI to be effective and avoid ethical pitfalls, businesses need to ensure that AI isn’t being programmed with biases that could lead to ethically charged decision-making or that cause AI to malfunction in some way.

One-quarter of executives and 36% of employees say they have experienced AI ignoring a command, and about one-fifth of both groups say AI offered them suggestions that reflected bias against a marginalized group.

Organizations do not have money or time to waste on technology investments gone wrong—so they must pivot their organizations to focus on agility, talent, change management, ethics, and other pressing issues.

Automation’s impact on the modern workforce

Modernizing the workforce means giving all employees access to the data and technologies that help them achieve optimum productivity. Most executives and employees believe that AI and automation will help improve employee effectiveness.

71% of executives say AI will make employees more efficient, 69% say it will improve employee accuracy, and 61% say it will speed up innovation. For this to happen, leaders need to invest in reskilling their workforce to get the most value out of emerging technologies.

Empowering the workforce through technology not only helps improve the bottom line, it helps drive employee retention – with 45% of employees responding they would be motivated to stay by education opportunities.

“The study overall paints a realistic picture of what we are seeing in the market,” said Tom Reuner, Senior Vice President at HFS Research.

“Going forward, enterprises will have to manage talent, organization, culture and provide the right environment for the new workforce, which seeks interesting projects and looks for meaning and motivation. AI technologies and methodologies are a critical enabler on that journey.”

AI adoption to create culture of speed, reinvention

Businesses and entire markets are being remade in terms of opportunity, operations and customer expectations, and there is no going back to the old pace of innovation. In fact, 47% of those surveyed believe failing to implement AI in some way will cause them to lose customers to competitors, and 44% think the bottom line will suffer.

However, few employees at companies surveyed think the pace of change at their organization is fast enough. In fact, less than one-third of executives and employees describe the pace of technology change, process change, or executive decision-making at their company as fast.

Even fewer—just 18% of employees and 19% of executives—say culture, which plays a major role in determining how workers respond to adjustments in technology and processes, changes quickly. This creates an opportunity for AI to drive sweeping change and speed up the pace of innovation and technology adoption.

NTT DATA partners with Dataiku and Snowflake to deliver end-to-end AI capabilities

NTT DATA Services announced the addition of two new data partners, Dataiku and Snowflake, the cloud data platform, to its robust partner ecosystem. Together the companies will accelerate their clients’ digital transformation journeys and establish a trusted data foundation to operationalize and scale Artificial Intelligence (AI).

In addition, NTT DATA and Snowflake announced a capital and business alliance to accelerate to expand Snowflake business in Japan and overseas.

In 2019, NTT DATA shared AI guidelines as part of its AI Center of Excellence program and launched Nucleus, an intelligent enterprise platform with AI and automation engines that helps clients create smarter digital solutions.

“Welcoming Dataiku and Snowflake into our ecosystem enables NTT DATA to achieve a broader end-to-end AI strategy to support our clients,” said Greg Betz, Senior Vice President, Data, Intelligence and Automation, NTT DATA Services.

“Our clients across industries will benefit from Dataiku’s and Snowflake’s capabilities that make data and AI accessible and actionable in order to deliver rapid business results.”

In a recent study by NTT DATA, 79 percent of responding executives say they recognize the value of data but are hampered by data silos and poor leadership. And, only 10 percent reported that they are very effective at using data to adopt new business models and enter new markets.

Through these partnerships, NTT DATA will accelerate time to value for solutions that:

  • Consolidate enterprise data on a scalable fully managed, cloud-agnostic platform
  • Enable instant and fully secure data sharing at scale inside and outside the organization
  • Realize significant cost savings with fully elastic compute provisioned by workloads
  • Disseminate AI capabilities to a wider range of business users
  • Train citizen data scientists to leverage outputs of advanced analytics
  • Operationalize AI by automating machine learning workflow

“As strategies around sustainable AI evolve – both for companies as well as governments and regulators worldwide – the need for centralized tools that make organizations more agile in their use of data is growing as well,” said Michael Hortatsos, VP of Partnerships, Dataiku.

“This partnership supports Dataiku’s vision to democratize Enterprise AI, helping more organizations build foundational AI for the future.”

“Today’s enterprises need to derive more value from their data and it’s important to provide a diverse ecosystem where organizations can connect, collaborate and get results from their data as well as third-party data,” said Kevin Miller, Vice President Global System Integrator Partners, Snowflake.

“Snowflake’s cloud data platform helps organizations of all sizes make quicker business decisions at a lower cost in support of these top-line initiatives. Our partnership with NTT DATA helps joint customers accelerate their digital transformation journeys.”

NTT DATA Services to acquire Acorio to drive transformative business outcomes for clients

NTT DATA Services has entered an agreement to acquire Acorio to expand its capacity to drive transformative business outcomes for clients.

Recently named to the Inc 5000 fastest-growing U.S. companies list for the 3rd consecutive year, Acorio was ServiceNow’s Industry Solutions Partner of the year (Americas) for 2020, and currently ranks in the top ten for all ServiceNow certifications globally.

The consultancy serves Fortune 500 companies across multiple industries, including healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, high tech and retail.

With this acquisition, NTT DATA, also a ServiceNow Elite Partner, will add unparalleled breadth and depth of experience in the fast-growing ServiceNow ecosystem and unique industry approaches to help clients enable automated and intelligent digital workflows. Acorio will become part of a top 10 global IT services leader, creating the ability to support its clients with global delivery and an expanded portfolio and resources.

“Especially now, our clients are looking to accelerate their digital transformations. Acorio is a proven leader in implementing ServiceNow and its ecosystem to automate workflows in order to unite and empower all other enterprise technology,” said Eric Clark, Chief Digital Officer, NTT DATA Services.

“We believe Acorio is the most experienced and innovative partner to deliver the platform expertise and transformation needed to support modern enterprises’ rapid adoption of ServiceNow. The company’s vertical portfolio and client base complements and aligns perfectly with ours.”

With Acorio, NTT DATA will enhance the scale and scope of its ServiceNow strategy, architecture, application development, implementation and operations. The acquisition will also expand NTT DATA’s talent and recruiting pipeline to continue growing and upskilling its employee base.

Acorio brings proven success in both traditional IT Service Management, Implementation and Integration as well as platform leadership in emerging ServiceNow product lines: Employee and Customer Workflows, HR Service Delivery, Customer Service Management (CSM), GRC, Custom Apps, and more.

Coupled with ServiceNow’s strong growth rate, this acquisition will significantly expand NTT DATA’s growth opportunities.

“Driving transformative digital outcomes is the opportunity of our generation. For our clients, this acquisition means we can offer truly global scale and increased innovation, while remaining relentlessly focused on ServiceNow,” said Acorio CEO, Ellen Daley.

“Our clients will also benefit from access to NTT DATA’s global R&D, applications, infrastructure and investments in digital transformation and innovation. I’m thrilled at the new opportunities that will be available to both our clients and employees.

“The thoughtful, client-first cultures of our companies are well aligned and NTT DATA’s commitment to digital transformation makes them the exact right fit for the Acorio team.”

A multiple-award-winning firm with 50 percent women on the company executive leadership team, Acorio was named to the 2019 Commonwealth Institute’s Best Women-Led Business list.

Acorio was also named to Inc Magazine’s Top US Workplaces in 2019 and 2020, as SPI’s Best of the Best Consulting Firms (2019, 2020), Gartner’s select Global ServiceNow Consultancy List (2020), Forbes Best Startup Employers (2020), and has ranked as the #1 company of its size to work for by the Boston Globe for the past three consecutive years.

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval, and is expected to close during 2020.

NTT DATA offers tools and services to support new technology challenges schools are facing

NTT DATA Services offers tools and services designed to support the new technology challenges colleges, universities and K-12 schools are facing.

For K-12 educational systems, NTT DATA’s Classroom in a Box offers collaboration and communication tools and services, including laptops, noise-canceling headsets, reliable Wi-Fi and technical support, to allow teachers and students to get back to teaching and learning.

For colleges and universities, NTT DATA’s Back to Campus solution supports safe reopening through contact tracing, daily health self-assessments, test scheduling and tracing, secure test results, thermal sensor checks, and mask and social distance compliance.

Early in the COVID-19 peak, NTT DATA helped the New York City Department of Education deliver nearly 300,000 iPads to students and over 3500 devices to teachers, while fielding nearly 30,000 support calls to enable distance learning for the largest public education system in the U.S.

“We understand that most K-12 schools do not have the equipment, tools or services readily available for extended remote learning. As a parent and technologist, I have seen firsthand how important it is to all work together to help children learn in these difficult times,” said Tim Conway, EVP & Group President, Public Sector, NTT DATA Services.

“NTT DATA supports virtual education as well as safety measures and tracing, to ensure students, teachers and administrators are prepared and set up for success.”

NTT DATA’s Classroom in a Box is a complete, secure and integrated at-home learning environment, including:

  • Collaboration and communication tools and services
  • 1:1 devices for all students
  • Robust video and audio devices and support for teachers
  • At-home technical support for students and teachers
  • Home Wi-Fi for all students, teachers and administrators
  • A cost-effective per-user, per-month fee

In addition to school and campus solutions, NTT DATA offers rapid workplace solutions to help businesses address challenges through improved remote productivity:

  • Workspace as a Service: Cloud-hosted, fully managed virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and virtualized applications
  • Unified communications and collaboration: User productivity solutions via video, chat and document collaboration systems (Zoom, Teams, etc.)
  • Unified endpoint management: Real-time visibility and flexible control over any device anywhere
  • Omnichannel user support: Rapid rollout of self-service user support solutions through channels of choice (chat, phone, etc.)

Data crisis: Companies pivot from disruption to transformation

Only 10% of organizations are using data effectively for transformational purposes, according to NTT DATA Services.

data crisis

While 79% of organizations recognize the strategic value of data, the study concludes their efforts to use it are hindered by significant challenges including siloed islands of data across the organization and lack of data skills and talent.

The study analyzes the critical role of data and analytics in helping businesses and organizations pivot from disruption to transformation, an imperative as they respond to today’s global economic climate.

Organizations starting to prioritize a data-driven culture

The study shows only 37% are very effective at using data to adopt or invent a new business model, and only 31% are using data to enter new markets. These different use cases show that organizations have started prioritizing a data-driven culture, but many are still lagging in the most basic aspects of data management and governance.

“Our study reinforces that organizations who act quickly and decisively on their data strategies – or Data Leaders – will recover from the global crisis better and even accelerate their success,” said Greg Betz, Senior Vice President, Data Intelligence and Automation, NTT DATA Services.

“C-suite executives must be champions for the vital role strong data governance plays in resolving systemic process failures and transitioning to new business models in response to the crisis.

“To rebound effectively, corporations, organizations and government agencies must shift to next-generation technologies and create contactless experiences, increased security, and scalable hybrid infrastructures – all reinforced by quality, integrated data.”

Data crisis: Organizations struggle to use data for transformation

The financial services (FS) sector accounts for 25% of the data leaders, making this the sector with the most data leaders. The survey shows that 59% FS organizations report being aware of and fully prepared for new data regulations.

34% report data is shared seamlessly across the enterprise; however, they are the least likely to report they have clear data security processes in place.

The manufacturing sector boasts the second-highest number of data leaders in the study. More than eight out of 10 respondents say they can act swiftly if there is a data privacy breach; however, as with other sectors, when they attempt to derive value from their data, manufacturers struggle with data silos (24%), and they lack the necessary skills and talent to analyze their data (19%).

Among healthcare respondents, 60% say they’re aware and fully prepared for new and upcoming regulations, and approximately eight out of 10 say they’re confident they can comply with data privacy regulations.

However, this sector ranks first in its lack of data literacy skills — about a fifth of respondents report they don’t understand how to read, create and communicate data as information.

data crisis

Lack of data talent and skills in the public sector

The public sector has the highest number of data laggards at 37%. Like other sectors, lack of data talent and skills is one of the public sector’s biggest barriers when attempting to understand and derive value from data.

Insurance companies are among the most likely to report they’re aware and fully prepared for new data regulations (58%) and have clear processes in place for securely using their data (50%).

However, when it comes to deriving value from data, insurance companies – like manufacturing, struggle with data silos and the lack of the right technologies to analyze their data.

“This study validates that many of the top data challenges organizations face today are decades old,” said Theresa Kushner, Consultant, AI and Analytics, NTT DATA Services. “The 2020 pandemic is a wakeup call for businesses at any scale, and a reminder that in today’s global economic climate the time to address data challenges and chart a new path is now.”

NTT DATA Services enters strategic collaboration agreement with AWS

NTT DATA Services announced it has entered into a three-year, strategic collaboration agreement with Amazon Web Services, to deliver new products, services and solutions designed to accelerate cloud transformations.

Through this collaboration, NTT DATA can provide clients with advisory and development services, as well as implementation, migration, and management of solutions on AWS. NTT DATA, which has more than 900 AWS certifications, also recently acquired Flux7, a Premier Consulting Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN), to enhance the value the company can deliver in AWS, DevOps and Agile development capabilities.

“We are delighted to be working with NTT DATA to help clients migrate mission-critical workloads to AWS, while delivering comprehensive optimization and cloud managed services,” said Darci Kleindl, Director of North America Partner, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “AWS will be a NTT DATA preferred cloud provider and will support NTT DATA through their cloud transformation by providing technical expertise, training, and enablement along with go-to-market support.”

NTT DATA will collaborate with AWS on opportunities to demonstrate how value can be rapidly unlocked through migration projects, such as SAP and mainframe migration, which allow clients to identify and modernize workloads to successfully leverage cloud infrastructure. In addition, NTT DATA will expand services to support client adoption of cloud-native application development to accelerate business value. In support of these initiatives, the two companies will implement proofs of concept that enable clients to optimize AWS solutions and increase cloud adoption.

As part of the agreement, the companies will collaborate in the delivery of products, services and solutions to better serve the needs of their clients. Solutions developed will undergo a rigorous product development process and receive technical assistance from both companies to facilitate development, configuration, testing/acceptance and integration.

“With a strengthened, strategic collaboration with AWS, our team is better positioned to deliver insights and solutions that allow our clients to accelerate next-generation cloud adoption,” said Eric Clark, Chief Digital Officer, NTT DATA Services. “This agreement represents our continued focus on creating an ecosystem that provides clients unmatched resources to achieve outcomes that have a positive impact on their businesses.”

NTT DATA will continue to prioritize talent development and recruitment of AWS-trained and certified consultants, engineers, architects, developers, ops/delivery and business development/sales experts. The training of technical and non-technical team members will allow the company to continue investing in innovative solutions, advising clients on the most efficient way to operate solutions, and managing ongoing operations of solutions on AWS.

Frank Contrepois, Head of Customer Success for Strategic Blue, said, “Strategic Blue is a company that helps customers better afford their cloud services. We want to focus on serving customers and saving them money rather than managing technical aspects of AWS infrastructure. We chose NTT DATA to do that for us because the company has deep technical expertise and global scale, as well as a great relationship with AWS. We’re excited to hear that NTT DATA is investing even more into their work with AWS and look forward to great things from this strategic collaboration.”

The agreement represents an expansion of an existing relationship between NTT DATA and AWS as the two companies have been working together for more than five years to support a wide range of industries including healthcare, manufacturing, financial services, insurance and retail.

Organizational culture defines a successful cloud strategy

61% of organizations in the U.S. and Canada are committed to moving enterprise applications to the cloud as quickly as possible, but many struggle with challenges related to company culture on the way to a successful cloud strategy, NTT DATA Services reveals.

successful cloud strategy

The report found that despite the importance of next-generation cloud adoption, cultural change management is a major obstacle for many businesses, with nearly two-thirds of respondents reporting technical challenges as easier to overcome than people-related challenges.

“Cloud adoption is critical to create a more agile, innovative business, but leaders must address cultural challenges to successfully modernize,” said Emily Lewis-Pinnell, Vice President, Cloud and Application Transformation, NTT DATA Services.

“Our findings show only a small minority are taking the appropriate cultural change management steps, but those who are report greater agility, increased efficiency and stronger security.”

Enterprise application modernization lacking support

The research also found 60% of advanced organizations, called “next-gen cloud leaders” in the report, are focused on building business-essential use cases rather than supporting enterprise application modernization through a simplified lift and shift migration.

Additional findings support this trend, as more experienced respondents are more aware of challenges associated with a complex cloud transformation but also more likely to see the value.

Enterprises are also taking a realistic view of the scale of investment needed for a successful cloud transformation: 60% agreed their organization is prepared to measure and manage any increase in costs associated with a complex, multi-cloud environment.

“Our findings highlight that leaders recognize both the challenges and benefits of a cloud transformation, but cultural shifts are still critical to accelerate the transition and achieve their desired results,” said Lisa Woodley, Vice President, Customer Experience, NTT DATA Services.

“Leaders must develop a holistic employee experience strategy to identify and manage people-related challenges, placing end users at the heart of cloud transformation.”

successful cloud strategy

Working for a successful cloud strategy

Next-gen cloud leaders are more likely than average to report having developed a cultural change strategy and reorganized teams ahead of transformation efforts, which places them at a significant advantage over competition.

In addition, once migration is underway, these leaders also report upskilling the workforce or partnering with a cloud managed service provider to implement changes that allow them to focus on innovation, shorten time to market and realize greater returns on modernization investments.