Successful enterprise AI doesn’t just require great AI. It demands domain expertise.

03.20.2024 | Mike Troy
Industry expert-led product development ensures real problems get solved the right way

A crop of AI software applications that provide real business value for specific use cases is emerging that provide outsized benefits thanks to an unusual combination of two foundational elements—vertically optimized AI and domain expertise specific to the industry and use case being addressed.

SymphonyAI employs a unique approach to product development by ensuring domain experts with hands-on experience work directly on AI software products and the use cases they address. The benefits of domain expertise are apparent whenever someone uses a SymphonyAI product.

Because SymphonyAI software applications are built with keen insights from business leaders who have had direct involvement in solving real business challenges, those sensibilities are reflected in the capabilities of the solutions and business challenges they are designed to solve. This ability to empathize with users and their needs ensures SymphonyAI avoids developing solutions in search of problems.

Domain Expertise in Action—Software that speeds analysis from days to minutes

A good example of how this approach comes to life is in SymphonyAI’s retail CPG division. Rachael Hadaway, SVP of product management for merchandising solutions, earned her stripes in retail at The Kroger Co. in the retailer’s highly regarded data analytics group. She developed valuable first-hand experience working with category managers, making data-driven decisions about product assortments, promotional strategies, and space allocations affected by local demand patterns, store sizes, and fixture requirements.

“Different category managers are going to have different needs at different retailers,” Hadaway said. “You have to think about the different ways a retailer can go to market so our software can more easily be configured to meet their needs. We go through this process long before implementation to ensure we are serving our customers’ needs and accelerating their time to value creation.”

Anticipating users’ needs and understanding the specific questions that are frequently asked means those things can be built into generative AI solutions, such as the SymphonyAI Category Manager Copilot, that go beyond explaining what happened to providing insight as to why things happened and recommending actions. It is the type of automation that Hadaway didn’t have earlier in her career when running reports and performing analyses took days but can now be performed in minutes and with greater accuracy.

If speed matters in retail, it is even more essential in the financial world where Meghan Palanza leads product development in SymphonyAI’s financial services division. It’s also why SymphonyAI made a strategic decision in early 2023 to launch the first copilot focused on financial crimes. The Sensa Copilot for financial crime investigators was made possible by Palanza’s deep domain expertise as a former financial crimes investigator at Fidelity Investments. She knows first hand the enormous productivity gains possible by automating investigation tasks and creating compliance reports. With productivity gains up to 70%, individual investigators can scale to support more investigations as the growth of money transfers creates the potential for increased fraud.

“The process is human-led and AI-enabled,” Palanza said. “The copilot isn’t doing the investigation for you; it is providing support and allowing the investigator to do what they were hired to do.”

The Sensa Copilot automatically collects, collates, and summarizes financial and third-party information for investigators, thanks in part to Palanza’s direct guidance during development based on her domain expertise.

A similar situation was faced by Troy Prothero, SVP of product management for supply chain in SymphonyAI’s retail CPG division. His domain expertise in retail operations and supply chain, gained through his tenure at Delhaize Group, enables him to ask the right questions to get to the underlying problems retailers face, in part because they rely on legacy processes.

“Good product managers fall in love with problems, not solutions,” Prothero said. “Rather than say ‘here is the solution that’s needed,’ I clearly articulate the challenges that retailers face in areas I am deeply familiar with, such as supply chain and operations, and quantify the ROI.”

That process may help a retailer recognize that the problems they think they have may no longer exist if generative AI is applied to it. A good example involves the development of a generative AI-powered demand forecasting and replenishment solution and SymphonyAI’s Demand Planner Copilot, which increases accuracy, provides scenario modeling capabilities, and improves financial results.

“It’s all about identifying and understanding the problem that is preventing a particular operational or financial metric from being achieved and then developing the optimal solution,” Prothero said.

In the case of demand planners, because they are freed from mundane tasks such as report creation and analysis, they can pursue higher-value activities—such as scenario planning—that support efforts to build more resilient supply chains.

Whether it’s the efforts of Hadaway in retail merchandising, Palanza in financial crimes, or Prothero in supply chain, or SymphonyAI’s many other experts in industrial, enterprise IT, or media, expertise and understanding of business challenges underpin SymphonyAI’s ability to develop best-in-class AI solutions.

Domain Expertise is Only the Beginning

Business leaders are living through an unprecedented period in which technological innovation promises to transform every aspect of their operations regardless of industry vertical. Amid such an environment, domain expertise has never mattered more, but it is only one component of SymphonyAI’s larger value proposition.

A three-legged stool metaphor helps explain how SymphonyAI maximizes business value with predictive and generative AI. Deep domain expertise and knowing which problems to solve is one leg. The second is advanced and vertically optimized AI. The third leg is the design and usability of products that fit seamlessly into users’ workflows. All of these are required for organizations to achieve maximum results.

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SymphonyAI’s engineering teams build world-class predictive and generative AI SaaS solutions on top of the company’s proprietary Eureka Gen AI platform. It is a shared foundation for all SymphonyAI verticals and provides the innovative data, machine learning, and generative AI core to build the applications.

Similarly, SymphonyAI employs an innovative design-thinking approach to ensure users can harness the powers of AI in a way that fits naturally in existing workflows and provides insights in a format that is easily shared and acted on. SymphonyAI’s design system is a core component set that accelerates development time and consistency across products.

SymphonyAI’s leadership in predictive and generative AI, innovative product development platform, and design thinking make the company a catalyst for change in each verticals it serves. Additionally, SymphonyAI is uniquely positioned to serve as a trusted advisor at a time when there is a great need for visionary leadership in harnessing the power and business accelerants of AI.

Business leaders are making high-stakes decisions about predictive and generative AI that will impact performance over the next decade. For help navigating this unfamiliar terrain, speak with one of our domain experts today.

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