How AI is changing how we think about talent


We’ve been talking a lot about people lately at SymphonyAI. Maybe that’s because, as Forbes recently reported, a new management team has been taking shape here since our founder, Romesh Wadhwani, stepped back as chief executive in January to focus on his role as chairman. Or maybe we’ve been thinking about people and talent because our new CEO, Sanjay Dhawan, has reaffirmed our belief that enterprise AI is key to professionals performing their best as more enterprises undergo digital transformations.

In his recent keynote address about the future of work at this year’s Zinnov Confluence, Sanjay shared an anecdote from the financial services industry articulating how innovative technology can boost people’s efficiency and productivity.

Approximately 99 percent of the transactions financial institutions report as potentially criminal are false positives. However, skilled people are required to investigate each report. That high-volume work entails a significant investment of resources but doesn’t uncover much malicious behavior. The institutions, meanwhile, are missing criminal activity in the process. SymphonyAI Sensa’s customers are solving that problem. Using AI-enabled fraud detection, a major bank reduced false positives by 77 percent and found 81 times more potential money laundering, fraud, and evidence of other possible crimes. That is a smashing success. AI reduced the false positives and detected more examples of actual potential crime.

SymphonyAI Sensa’s Sensa software had a positive impact on employees, too. After the AI application was deployed, financial professionals spent less time on dead-end investigations. They could draw on their deep domain knowledge to perform investigative work on reports that were more likely to be actual crimes. They were more focused on rooting out crime and wasting far less time. The lesson, said Sanjay, was that the technology had made the risk analyst’s job better. “Now you can use that workforce to actually detect the real crimes, the real fraudulent transactions, to really act on it,” he said.

Separating tasks that are ripe for automation from complicated, challenging, multidimensional work best performed by humans is a passion of Jennifer Trzepacz, our new chief people officer. Jennifer views AI adoption as an inevitable next stage in business. Coupled with new ideas about work, careers, and work-life balance — think remote work, project-based work, and workers changing jobs more often — Jennifer thinks employers and workplaces will need to adapt and evolve too.

“One of the beauties of AI is that it is able to automate a lot of the transactional, which gives us the opportunity to be able to deal with the relational, to be able to deal with more creativity, to be able to deal with exchanges that are more meaningful and connected,” Jennifer said in a recent interview.

As The Information recently reported — quoting Sanjay — wisdom like Jennifer’s is increasingly in demand as the essential roles people play in successful digital transformations become increasingly evident. The Information wrote specifically about firms facing obstacles to hiring chief people officers, but the same problem applies to any executive or manager hunting for talent for any enterprise. Even high tech has not been immune to the Great Resignation, according to Wired. All employers, SymphonyAI included, need to be thinking a lot harder about how to build the best teams and, equally as necessary, retain them for the long haul.

The key to creating workplaces with high retention rates, Jennifer notes, is scaled emotional intelligence (EQ), the capacity to empathize and communicate effectively with individual colleagues, teams, and workforces. It’s an especially essential skill when the latest technology depends on humans interacting closely to achieve the greatest benefit from the time automation frees up.

AI needs a lot of data, and people, to determine patterns and identify insights into business problems before it can help create solutions. People pick the problems that AI helps solve. They choose the data that AI uses. They know how to implement the insights that AI generates. This is why we offer specific AI applications based on superior, scalable AI technology that businesses can quickly integrate into their workflows and operations to rapidly generate intelligence so humans can work better. Our goal, moreover, has always been to use AI to automate tasks and allow people to move their focus to more human-centered work. We take these goals personally. AI only exists because people have spent the time, money, and energy solving some of the most challenging questions science and business have ever tackled.

Here’s how we break it down:

  • AI SaaS can help automate work to accommodate the fluid needs of enterprises. These software applications serve as critical tools to derive actionable intelligence from data generated by enterprise workflows. That insight is used to improve speed, efficiency, productivity, and, ultimately, workplace morale.
  • By automating more tasks, people will have more time to work with other people on problems humans can best solve together. AI, in other words, can help humans engage with each other again. We get to focus on the things people excel at and shed the tasks where AI excels.
  • Scaled emotional intelligence (EQ) will be a critical differentiator as these changes take hold. Rather than focusing on tech, leaders will need to know and understand the human rhythms in their organizations once AI takes care of their back-office tasks.

AI is crucial for companies seeking to maximize the benefits of cutting-edge innovation today. The more we think about it, however, it’s clear that the real magic happens when people and AI work together.