Using AI to Turn Talent into Competitive Advantage on the hello, Human Podcast

Our podcast, hello, Human, features the leading builders, explorers, and warriors of AI. Together, we explore how they’re putting AI to work to transform enterprises and make sustainable progress on automation, privacy, business disruption, human-bot teaming, and much more. We want each episode to be intelligent and engaging, with the ultimate goal of improving your understanding of the opportunities AI can bring to your business and our world.

Episode 2 – Turning Talent into Competitive Advantage

 
 
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In this episode, I welcomed Kamal Ahluwalia, President of Eightfold AI. The company’s Talent Intelligence Platform helps organizations retain top performers, upskill and reskill their workforce, recruit top talent, and reach diversity goals. But what makes their solution different is the use of deep learning artificial intelligence. The company’s technology scours publicly available information from around the globe to understand what people are truly capable of doing, which enables companies to then hire, promote, or reassign based on potential.

“Resumes are all backward-looking,” said Kamal. “What people are looking to do, and how we want to use our AI expertise, is to allow the hiring companies to hire for potential. What we have done with our data-driven platform is that we should be learning from all the skills and capabilities that are out there.”

As Kamal explained, the past work of any individual needs context, but also doesn’t necessarily dictate what you can or can’t do in the future. Determining that context is important, but first they need to understand what defines the context. And, even in that same context, different people have different career goals and aspirations. Eightfold’s technology works to understand all of these combinations, and adds intelligence to help reach diversity and inclusion goals, too. 

“If we keep looking for people who have already done it before, clearly, we haven’t given enough opportunities to people of diverse backgrounds and people who don’t have the same privileges we have had,” said Kamal. “This applies to pretty much every segment. The way to get out of that is to look at the whole thing holistically. Our algorithms don’t take anything into account, whether it’s sex, background, ethnicity, pedigree, any of those things when an individual is being compared to a particular job. So when we are presenting these few people who are a great fit for a role, it is only based on what they’re capable of doing.”

Eightfold’s technology further helps companies create job descriptions that eliminate bias and focus on getting the right person in the right role. But it also helps identify current employees who would fit that profile, are likely to want to make a move, are in diversity segments, and more. It all helps companies course correct as they fill open roles. 

“Our customers have improved the diversity from 18% to 33% for women,” added Kamal. “Other customers have seen a 90% reduction in time to discover and engage with underrepresented candidates. In all aspects, the number one excuse that is often used is, ‘We looked, but we couldn’t find enough capable people of diverse backgrounds’. We want to use our AI to show that no, you didn’t know how to detect the potential, and we are here to help you.”

The technology created by Eightfold works for job seekers just as well. Applicants can be shown open roles for which they’d be a great fit, whether they’ve considered them or not. And that helps them apply with confidence while increasing diversity applications. 

Kamal and I also discussed the impact of remote work on future recruiting trends. Now that companies are going to be more open to hiring remote workers, it’s going to allow them to increase the size of their talent pool. Naturally, that also increases the number of potential candidates with diverse backgrounds. 

Using AI to help improve how HR works is another area where Eightfold adds value. And a large part of HR’s job is to focus on culture, employee satisfaction and wellbeing, and more. It also helps identify a company’s internal influencers.

“More and more people are being forced to rethink their business, and there is more need for digital sales, data scientists,” Kamal explained. “People are realizing that it’s not like all these markets are littered with that talent, so let’s focus more on the employees. What we are doing with our AI platform is we provide a talent marketplace or a project marketplace where the company can post projects. The important part is how do we get some of the rockstars to participate, and how do we find the experts so that we start building this self-service environment where people want to be appreciated, they want to learn more, or they want to learn from others who are recognized in the companies as being experts?”

The need for specialized talent continues to grow, but the pace of change in the workplace and in technology seems to be in constant acceleration. The situation becomes even more complicated when you factor in the shift to more remote work. Eightfold is taking a unique approach to helping companies fill roles faster with the most qualified candidates. That’s good for everyone, and we’re excited to see how their AI will continue transforming the ways companies attract and manage talent as a competitive differentiator. 

Hear the entire conversation with Kamal on the hello, Human podcast, and learn his favorite resources for staying current on the latest technologies. Or, you can read the full podcast transcript here.

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Resilience, Adaptability, Flexibility: Why We’re Thankful for 2020

This year is certainly one we won’t soon forget. With so much change both to our personal and professional lives, so many of us have—and continue to—work hard to find the balance we once took for granted. The integration of home and work has become normative, and although this has presented many challenges, it has also provided us space to pivot where needed for the sake of ourselves, those we love, and those with whom we work.

Less than ten months ago, I started with FortressIQ as the Head of Customer Success. My entire onboarding process was virtual. Now, as we finish up this year, I have yet to meet my colleagues—or our customers—in person.

As our primary customer champion, this has been disappointing since face-to-face communication is often the gold standard for relationship building. I do miss the opportunities to meet those we work with in person. However, as I reflect on this past year and how we have pushed into a new normal, I can also see how we have embraced this challenge. Working virtually has enabled us all to move forward together, including our customers, suppliers, partners, and internal team.

Building all of these new relationships over a 13” laptop screen has not been easy, and this makes me even more grateful to our customers, who have made this leap to video such a seamless transition. We are working harder than ever to keep all of you safe as we communicate, and to keep our relationship with you as strong as possible.

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I am more cognizant than ever that 2020 is unlike any other year. I’ll be sitting down at a mostly virtual table this holiday, enjoying the company of family and friends over video chat. Likely, many of you will be in similar situations, trying to simultaneously navigate technology, family, food, and perhaps some online holiday shopping.

And because it’s standard practice around Thanksgiving to express gratitude, I want to do so here even as I continue to pivot across our many new norms. First, I’m thankful for our essential workers—those who put their lives on the line so that we can seek safety and peace as best we are able. The healthcare, grocery, delivery, and other frontline workers are nothing less than heroes.

Second, I am thankful for our internal team, who continue to strive to deliver excellent products and solutions while building ongoing relationships with our customers. More than ever, we are putting increasing resources into enhancing and improving how we work virtually. We’re also offering more understanding and flexibility on a personal level to our employees and partners, being responsive to the challenges, needs, and scheduling conflicts of each person.

And, to ensure that we continue to prioritize the needs of our remote workers, we’ve reinvested in employee health and wellness. This includes a virtual 5K and other motivational (and fun!) challenges. We know that when our bodies and minds are healthy, our relationships are healthy as well, and that we work with excellence and joy. Going further, we also recently created a “culture committee” that surveyed our team to find out what they needed. As a result, we sent out care packages, instituted a work-from-home stipend, and enhanced our employee benefits.

Third, I am thankful for the resiliency and adaptability of all those we work with across our internal and external ecosystems. It has been truly inspiring to see how, even during a pandemic, people strive to—and do—work for the good of others and seek strong interpersonal communications.

As this year comes to an end, I am captivated by the word “empathy” and how critical it is to the flourishing of a company and all those invested in it. At FortressIQ, we continue to lead with empathy, embracing the changes as they come and deepening the trust factor among all those with whom we work. This is our highest priority.

So thank you for your understanding, adaptability, and continued support this past year. I am confident it has laid a strong foundation for the years ahead.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and those you love.

How Process Intelligence Accelerates GRC Efforts for Financial Services

The focus of all organizations and leaders this year has, rightfully so, been to protect its customers and employees. Over 90% of the workforce is now working remotely, outside the boundaries of the traditional office, while customers forge ahead into uncertainty. Indeed the world now looks very different from what it did at the start of the year. But one thing is clear: this is the new normal.

But as financial services institutions (FSI) look to overcome ongoing challenges to managing risk, the need to improve governance and exert control over processes and activities remains critical. Add in digital transformations, upgrades to aging technology, and dealing with increased regulatory scrutiny, there is immense pressure on governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) teams. Between 2019 and 2020, regulatory fines and penalties on FSIs have exceeded over $11 billion, largely due to financial crimes, a lack of adequate supervisory controls, and governance and risk management failures.

Managing GRC in our new normal requires a new approach. Detailing the interconnectedness of people, process, technology, and data is crucial to mitigating risk, improving compliance, and aligning governance with business goals. Leveraging artificial intelligence, computer vision, and deep learning models, also known as process intelligence, is now an important tool in the toolkit for the GRC practitioners, and officers across multiple lines of defense.

Where Process Intelligence Makes the Difference
Only by understanding the reality of your business processes can you be effective in improving internal controls. FortressIQ decodes work to provide the detailed current-state assessments, which give you the process intelligence to make data-driven decisions. It captures tasks at the most granular level, with no bias or digital blind spots. It works across all applications, through each department across the enterprise, and for every single process. It’s also faster and less expensive than traditional process mapping and mining methods, yet provides much higher accuracy to reduce rework and accelerate improvements.

Process intelligence provides GRC a powerful tool, and extends into financial crime, audit and assurance, operations, lending, and many other areas requiring execution of manual, repeatable tasks and usage of multiple systems and applications. With a deeper understanding of how your business actually works, strategic and tactical changes can be implemented effectively and efficiently, and with better oversight.

Converting Process Risk into Data Transparency
Below are key areas where process intelligence helps FSIs understand their current-state processes at the most granular level, and which can be leveraged effectively at scale:

  1. Enterprise-wide Risk Management (ERM): Process intelligence provides a detailed understanding of end-to-end processes at the enterprise level across key functional areas. This detail improves how risks are identified, captured, aggregated, and reported. Specifically, end-user computing tools are identified to highlight when and where manual workarounds occur. Examples include complex compilation and computation tasks performed by Risk Management, Operations, Finance, and Treasury to calculate market risk, credit risk, liquidity risks, capital and liquidity ratios, and more. Additionally, these granular process insights can then be leveraged for operational risk and control self-assessments (RCSA).
  2. Data Governance: To ensure effective management of BCBS standards, the Data Management office can leverage process intelligence to track which data points are captured manually. That’s essential to running the business and managing risks. Understanding the key sources of data (internal or external, such as regulatory websites or third-party data) and how the data is consumed (data inputs and outputs) within the organization can be tracked and measured.
  3. Compliance Risk Management: Compliance officers can leverage process intelligence to ensure adequate procedures are in place for process governance. In addition, simplified and standardized regulatory reporting processes. For example, a leading FSI mapped its trade reporting (blue sheets) processes, which included heavy user intervention and dependency on multiple applications and platforms, to execute regulatory requests. The number of regulatory requests had quadrupled in just a few months due to market volatility, which slowed down efforts and created a constant backlog. Within 7 days of deploying FortressIQ, and without disruption or utilization of a compliance officer’s time, the FSI was able to map end-to-end processes from request receival to submission. Compliance is now fully aware of the current state procedures and its complexities, and the output is being used as a business requirement document for process re-design and automation.
  4. Internal Controls: By understanding business processes at the most granular level, as well as detailing how key applications and platforms are used at the user level, internal controls can be strengthened and validated by all lines of defense. The procedure documentation, analytics, and insights can then be leveraged by Compliance, Risk Management, and Internal Audit to understand processes, manage risks, and validate and strengthen internal controls.

Process Intelligence for Every Line of Defense
Process intelligence brings visibility into each line of defense within an FSI by following the human and the process instead of application logs or consultant interviews. Advanced computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence capture every process step quickly and accurately, with zero integration and universal compatibility. This automated business process discovery, modeling, and documentation surfaces data and insights unattainable with traditional methods, but instantly usable by GRC across their purview and across the enterprise.

Three Lines of Defense Model

Process Intelligence is a valuable tool that uncovers the real usage of all governance, risk and compliance workflow tools and technologies. FSIs require transparency above all, and FortressIQ delivers real-time, data-driven insights that create a detailed map of your business – across all applications, through each department, and for every single process.

We can help your GRC efforts, too. Just click here to let us know how to get in touch.

FortressIQ Awarded a Top 3 Ranking in Process Intelligence

Just three years ago, FortressIQ embarked on an ambitious journey to build AI that can decode work. The long days and nights are paying off as industry analyst firm HFS Research recently ranked FortressIQ in the top three to be an “HFS Podium Winner” for 2020.

Interest in process intelligence has surged this year as enterprises realize the critical role operational understanding plays in driving success across key strategic business initiatives such as workflow automation, analytics, operational excellence, experience, and compliance. You have to understand today to improve tomorrow, and most companies lack the granular understanding of their business necessary to successfully transform.

Given the noise in the market and different approaches to achieve process intelligence, it is helpful to reiterate how HFS defines the category:

“Process intelligence technologies are critical change agents, bridging the divide of siloed data, BI, analytics, AI, and automation initiatives we see sprinkled across enterprises. The products available today are helping us address process debt, identify automation ROI, improve training and development programs, scale risk and compliance initiatives, and accelerate cloud migration.”

HFS positions FortressIQ as “visionaries in unstructured data capture.” This is a critical distinction because any outcome enabled by process intelligence, such as automation, analytics or compliance, relies on good data as the lynchpin for meeting the objectives. One client reported, “FortressIQ can interpret processes with 100% accuracy.”

FortressIQ ranked third overall out of the 14 vendors reviewed. We also ranked in the top three subcategories for innovation and “outstanding voice of the customer.” A number of long-term players in the market did not even make the top 10 in the report. Key strengths for FortressIQ were noted in scalability, vision, customer references and partners.

While security was identified as a challenge, the report data was gathered prior to the recent release of the Privacy Enhanced Gateway (PEG) module that enables AI cloud benefits with on-premise deployment security, as well as the addition of Role-Based Access Control (RBAC).

Our diverse and growing customer base, as well as our extensive partner network, recognize the value achieved by leveraging the FortressIQ platform. The increased awareness by the analyst community will only help to jumpstart adoption.

“The data speaks for itself; the process intelligence market is beginning to pick up steam and enterprise leaders’ yearning for process excellence is driving demand in the space. Leveraging the real-time process data which is now available thanks to the latest batch of process intelligence tools and techniques means that reaching previously unachievable ‘process excellence’ has suddenly become a reality, making this a market to watch,” noted HFS Analyst Sam Duncan.

Access the summary report for details on how FortressIQ ranked in ten categories including Overall technology and product vision and roadmap; Partnership Ecosystem, and Ability to transform business processes and deliver outcomes.

Don’t Create a Monster, Create a Beast

Halloween is right around the corner, and nothing is scarier than transforming your enterprise into a Frankenstein of incompatible tools and techniques. 

You started with the best intentions. You thought you chose the right tools, most attractive processes, and the best minds. 

But you soon found the amalgamation birthed a hideous creature of stitched-together processes, disconnected guidance, and opposing insights. It’s turned your transformation into a nightmare of rotting results, festering budgets, and decaying productivity. Instead of electrifying your enterprise with new life, you’ve created a monster.

Download the full infographic

Consultant’s Brain

Consultants are the experts, and you would expect them to be the brains behind your transformation. But they’re working with limited resources and time, trying to capture process details and then extrapolating anecdotes across your organization. They’re bound to miss things, which leaves your project wandering between options and never really making transformational impacts.

Miner’s Arm

Process mining and discovery techniques are slow, expensive, and highly manual. It’s an outdated approach that only captures a slice of a process based on how users interact with one system. It limits your coverage, misses steps performed in separate applications, and could pull your transformation in the wrong direction.

Software’s Arm

Digging for process details via APIs requires even more connections with IT, developers, and application vendors. It adds time and expense to your transformation project, and even more opportunities for messages to get lost and connections to break. Plus, each application requires a separate API connection, delivers data in different formats, and forces you to manually reconnect and reanimate the insights, adding even more delays.

Data Guts

Most companies truly don’t understand how they operate on a granular user level, and this lack of current state understanding is a major roadblock to transformation success. Process Intelligence helps eliminate nightmares by efficiently creating a dataset of user activity not previously available to kickstart strategic initiatives. Convert your process problems into big data solutions.

Bot’s Leg

RPA is great, but every organization struggles with scaling programs. Process assessment and prioritization delays development. Vendors have promoted screen recorders for task discovery, but they fail to scale and actually create more rework than traditional methods. Scary indeed. The only real answer to scaling your RPA program is adopting real process intelligence. Deploying FortressIQ means rapid assessments, and finding automation opportunities at scale

App’s Leg

Know what’s really scary?Most enterprise processes–especially the valuable ones–require workers to hop between software, move data across screens, or use multiple apps simultaneously. Trying to combine those steps into a coherent process using just log files and APIs is a recipe for disaster. Process Intelligence can give you the insights to start correcting the issue so you can understand today to improve tomorrow.

Stop the Madness! Turn Your Enterprise into a Beast

FortressIQ goes way beyond all of these scary, cobbled-together options to capture every step of every process, without expensive and disconnected tools pulling you in different directions. It brings your transformation to life with real-time, end-to-end process insights captured with DNA-level analytics across all applications, departments, and processes.

Don’t let your transformation turn into a monster. Use FortressIQ to make data-driven decisions that successfully propel your enterprise into tomorrow.

Transforming BSA/AML and KYC with Process Intelligence Technologies

The U.S. Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) of 1970 was one of the first Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) laws. It required companies and financial institutions to establish and report on internal controls and other measures put in place to prevent the facilitation of financial crimes. Other similar laws exist in countries around the world, creating a complex web of potential compliance issues for financial services companies.

Between 2008 and 2018, financial institutions worldwide have paid an estimated US$26 billion in fines and penalties as a result of violations to these regulations. That’s an average of $2.6 billion per year. However, government scrutiny of money laundering is now at an all-time high. Financial Institutions were fined US$5.6 billion in the first half of 2020 alone for non-compliance with AML, KYC, and related regulations. If the trend continues, it would represent a 430% increase over the previous ten-year average.

It is increasingly clear that compliance with these regulations is critical to the sustainability of every financial institution. Unfortunately, the traditional means of transforming your BSA/AML processes are woefully inadequate. But there are new technologies helping accelerate and increase the success of BSA/AML transformation.

Does Your AML/KYC Process Add Risk?

While it is the responsibility of all employees, partners, and suppliers to prevent an organization from facilitating financial crimes, Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) and Compliance are the two departments playing key roles in defining and implementing the required internal controls. CLM is the first line of defense within any organization. Compliance acts as the second line of defense, responsible for policy making, escalation, and resolution, as well as performing independent risk management. Auditors, the third line of defense, ensure any risk governance framework complies with regulatory guidance.

Three Lines of Defense Model

Before taking on a new client, a due diligence process is generally conducted to evaluate the client’s risk rating. It begins with a basic understanding of the client’s identity, the risk involved, and an understanding of their financial habits. Onboarding high-risk customers and politically-exposed persons requires enhanced due diligence with additional assessments of the client’s geographic location, source of funds, and purpose of the transaction, and may require ongoing monitoring.

This is an important task that typically happens as follows:

  1. Pre-onboarding checks are conducted by working with Sales, Risk Management, Legal, Compliance, and others to collect and review relevant client data, product information, and documents as mandated by the regulatory authorities.
  2. Teams then update multiple systems of record to ensure a client’s readiness to transact.
  3. Post-onboarding processes then include on-going client reviews and continuous monitoring, managing client and counterparty data and records, and potentially, client off-boarding.

This process can quickly become complex, especially at global organizations spanning multiple geographies with various policy interpretations, competing rules and regulations, and related data housed in multiple and disconnected software applications. That last point adds risk, especially when data is not integrated, thereby forcing considerable amounts of manual, repetitive, error-prone work. The result is increased operational, reputational, and financial risk.

Additional risks arise from policy interpretations and potentially incorrect execution of processes, which both depend on the experience of KYC analysts. It is indeed demanding for analysts to make critical decisions that require focused thinking while concurrently performing important yet mundane manual data-entry tasks.

Add it all up and your AML/KYC process is exposing you to more risk, which is exactly the opposite of what it is supposed to do!

Transforming BSA/AML with Success

Transforming any enterprise process can be daunting, for good reason. A study by McKinsey & Company indicates that a staggering 70% of large transformation projects fail to deliver expected results. Reasons may include unclear objectives, lack of leadership, and lack of commitment. But looking deeper, transformation projects are frequently derailed when teams underestimate process complexity. It’s a huge undertaking to identify the appropriate processes, perform detailed current state assessments, develop business requirements, and keep an eye on budgets. Then, for any transformed process, adequate training is required, and even minimal employee turnover can add to the challenges.

When focused on AML/KYC processes, the need for a successful transformation can be critical to your organization’s survival.

But help is available from point solutions such as Microsoft Power Automate, which uses Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) to help organizations streamline, standardize, and automate routine tasks. Many financial institutions are also leveraging cognitive natural language processing (NLP), with focused solutions such as DDIQ by Exiger, to accelerate adverse media and sanctions screening processes related to clients.

AML/KYC platform providers can help streamline end-to-end processes. But successful implementation of these types of platforms largely depends on the quality of the business requirements and clearly defined compliance policies. It’s also dependent on the prevailing regulatory rules, final user acceptance testing and training. In reality, it takes many months for organizations to fully understand and effectively leverage these platforms, which adds further delays to already complex transformation projects.

FortressIQ is playing a key role in a successful AML/KYC transformation by converting a process problem into a big data problem. FortressIQ performs detailed current state assessments to provide near real-time process intelligence. It then provides the insights to make data-driven decisions.

Using computer vision, NLP, OCR, and deep learning algorithms, FortressIQ will:

  • Capture tasks at the most granular level, with no bias or blind spots;
  • Provide faster time to value by generating detailed, enterprise-wide process insights in just 2-4 weeks and without consuming worker time; and
  • Cost much less than human consultants, including eliminating documentation errors and the related rework.

Insights provided by FortressIQ can be leveraged by functional and transformation teams to collaborate on areas that matter: process enhancement, automation, and training.

Effectively managing your AML/KYC risk is critical to the success and reputation of your organization. Process intelligence and emerging technologies can help mitigate these risks, speed up the transformation journey, and enhance the customer and employee experience. It could also prevent a AML/KYC violation, which is becoming an increasingly expensive prospect.