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Augmenting a digital future through a strong representation of artificial intelligence and technological innovation

Mike Romeri: Augmenting a digital future through strong representation of artificial intelligence and technological innovation


by Analytics Insight


February 1, 2022

Mike Romeri worked as a management consultant for nearly 25 years at a company now owned by PWC before co-founding OPSRules. OPSRules has engaged in AI consulting projects with the aim of providing unique and highly sophisticated AI solutions to meet the needs of the supply chain and price optimization industries. The company has undertaken several projects ranging from early-stage e-commerce businesses to Fortune 500 companies, providing them with real-time insights for decision-making. OPSRules was sold to Accenture in 2016 and since then Mike has assembled a phenomenal team of data scientists and business veterans to build Analytics2Go (A2Go). A2Go’s goal is to provide powerful and easy-to-use AI solutions to all businesses so they can continue to compete with the Amazons of the world.

A pioneer in cutting-edge AI and data

Mike describes that he has learned throughout his career that change within a company is a very difficult thing to do well and always takes longer than expected. He expresses that billions of dollars are wasted each year on platforms, software, training, etc., as companies feel the pressure to use data and AI, but they don’t know how to adapt the AI solutions to their business and don’t have a plan either. to ensure adoption by all of their staff. If their makers don’t use it, it’s worth nothing. One of the biggest barriers to adoption comes from the removal and replacement of legacy workflows that were built after years of effort and financial investment. Workflows that knowledge workers find valuable and don’t need to be changed. To solve this problem, Mike and his team create AI solutions that are integrated into existing workflows, that target a specific, recurring business decision, and can be measured.

Mike further explains that the data and AI markets are very confusing where everyone is describing their solutions as using AI when in reality it is not. But even for those who do, Mike thinks the same basic issues still exist for the vast majority of companies when it comes to using any new technology, AI in particular, who get the right solution and are adopted.

He says the 800-pound gorilla in the room for AI solutions is “data.” Businesses are almost always timid when it comes to questions such as “What data do you have that is relevant to this problem?” or “Is all your data accessible now?” Many simply don’t know the answers. Mike clarifies that there will be data “problems” in almost every company that embarks on new AI initiatives. For this reason, A2Go prefers to perform a data assessment early on in their engagements and encourages customers not to try to “prepare the data” before understanding the problem they are going to solve. In short, companies should focus first on the needs of the business, not on the data they may or may not need.

Overcoming misconceptions about how to acquire AI capabilities

According to Mike, the biggest initial challenge A2Go faced was changing people’s mindsets about how machine learning and AI can be used in business. Many knew about things like robotic process automation (RPA) to automate document processing and direct information from point A to point B without a human decision maker. Additionally, most business owners were aware of the many pre-packaged platforms available in the market that cater to specific needs but not necessarily those of every customer. At first, it was clear that most business leaders had no idea there was a better way – a way to integrate AI capabilities into what people are already doing to improve decision-making. and quickly see revenue and operational improvements.

Practicality and adoption of technology: essential for the leader

While talking about the vital attributes of a successful leader, Mike says practicality is what comes to mind. He explains that when leaders evangelize AI at conferences, in articles, etc., more emphasis should be placed on practical business uses and practical ways to deploy AI. According to Mike, deployment and measuring success are two of the hardest parts. A practical, well-defined use case that can be measured and quickly deliver ROI is where the focus should be. Mike further mentions that most businesses today know that they need to up their game in terms of digital transformation to stay competitive. “Clients tell us this all the time, but most don’t know how to get started or even understand their own data, in general. We try to frame our engagements with our customers in practical aspects that are specific to them,” adds Mike.

An innovative “toolbox” for artificial intelligence solutions

Mike points out that A2Go builds its solutions around customer needs. The more clients he works with, the more AI solutions and components he develops. A2Go uses its “toolkit” of components to quickly compose AI solutions as needed. According to Mike, by the term tools, the company means everything from sets of algorithms that have been proven to work well on specific workflow decision points, to external data sets that it has used. to augment a particular supply chain solution, the hundreds of ‘connectors’ needed to link their solutions to existing ERPs, CRMs, POSs, dashboards, internal data sources, etc. Every business is a spaghetti bowl of software and workflows, all of that needs to be factored in. Mike further clarifies that no two companies are the same and they don’t have the same workflows for making decisions. where all the companies have tried to integrate into the solutions, it has become very clear that the solutions have to be composed for each client taking into account their existing situation.Mike is convinced that it will not take years or are millions of dollars. For him, that’s really the point: to bring businesses affordable, easy-to-use, and targeted solutions that can change with the business, not confine it.

Entrust your business problems to “AI as a service”

Mike is always at the forefront of innovation. He believes that disruptive and ever-changing technologies will always impact any business model by laying the foundation for its future success. “Advanced technologies such as AI have created a very dynamic business environment that is difficult to navigate without help,” he says. Mike jokes that in today’s tech race, business owners are playing the game of frog jumping from one technology to another to stay afloat, but he warns that often they jump too quickly by fear of missing out. Jumping too fast could mean choosing a technology before understanding the business need and what data and AI are needed to solve it… For companies like A2Go, understanding and testing how each new technology best serves customers is its challenge and his expertise. It requires a strong data science team, engineering team, and innovative business thinkers to bring the best solutions to customers. A2God describes its model as “AI as a service”. Mike believes the burden of keeping up with rapidly changing technology will shift the vast majority of non-tech companies to a “service” model for end-to-end data and AI capabilities.

Towards new horizons with incredible plans

While talking about future plans, Mike opines that his vision for A2Go is to create large libraries of AI solutions and solution components to bring the power of AI to businesses of all sizes. This vision includes providing highly targeted solutions within existing workflows to increase human performance in areas such as demand forecasting, supply sensing, dynamic pricing, and more. Most companies simply can’t afford the price or the time it takes to remove entire workflows and replace them. When it comes to the AI ​​software industry, Mike believes the future lies in targeted, high-value AI solutions or applications that are designed to be easy to use, easy to monitor, and easy to improve upon. of need.

Words of wisdom for budding leaders

Mike advises future leaders to focus on customer needs. First, there are many platforms and solutions that do not and cannot meet the needs of every customer, forcing companies to bundle their businesses into multiple solutions. Customers are looking for AI that complements what they are already doing. Second, “you’ll quickly learn that even the most amazing AI solution has a small market because very few customers are ‘data ready’,” he adds. Suppose each customer needs help with their data.

Additionally, for those building AI solutions companies, Mike asks leaders to believe in one certainty: customers will “change.” It therefore pushes them to create solutions that can change with the company. Mike also thinks they should keep it fun. He likes to think that A2Go works to give humans many superpowers.

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