Battling Bias in Artificial Intelligence on the hello, Human Podcast

Our podcast, hello, Human, offers an open forum to discuss the latest topics in artificial intelligence (AI) and how it’s being applied in the real world. We talk with not only the pioneers of AI, but also those who are putting AI to work transforming businesses, finding novel solutions to age-old problems, and advancing what humans can accomplish. 

FortressIQ | Intelligent Insights for the Modern Enterprise
Episode 8 - Battling Bias in AI
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Process Intelligence for Operational Resilience in Financial Services

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated operational risks while increasing economic and business uncertainty. Pandemic-related disruptions have affected internal information systems, personnel, and facilities, as well as relationships with external service providers and customers. In addition, cyber threats (ransomware attacks, phishing, etc.) have spiked, and the potential for operational risk events caused by people, failed processes, and disrupted systems has increased as a result of greater reliance on virtual working arrangements. 

To help the financial industry improve its ability to survive future disruptions, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) recently issued Principles for operational resilience. It aims to make financial services institutions (FSI) better able to withstand, adapt to, and recover from severe adverse events. Similar guidance has been rolled out by the Prudential Regulatory Authority, Financial Conduct Authority, and other regulators. The goal is to provide additional safeguards for the overall financial system.

Operational Resilience Requires Detailed Process Understanding

The BCBS defines operational resilience as the ability of an FSI to deliver critical operations through disruption. The principles cover topics ranging from governance and operational risk management to business continuity planning and cybersecurity, including activities performed for third parties. The principles have also been expanded to include processes which, if disrupted, would be material to the company’s continued operation or its role in the financial system.

In other words, it’s critical to understand every process that makes an FSI tick.

Mapping the Connections

Of particular note is the document’s fourth principle, which provides guidance on mapping the interdependencies of internal and external processes. It states that FSIs should not just identify critical operations, but “map the internal and external interconnections and interdependencies” to truly understand how they deliver critical operations.

BCBS further implores FSIs to go deeper than just the tasks and steps to identify and document the people, processes, technologies, information, facilities, and more, including those of third parties. It further calls out the need to define “interconnections and interdependencies” among all these components as they relate to an FSI’s ability to deliver critical operations.

Capturing this level of detail, at scale, is a daunting task even for smaller FSIs. The typical manual process mapping and application log file-based process mining efforts are too slow, too expensive, and too limited in their scope. 

Process Intelligence Accelerates Operational Resiliency Initiatives 

FortressIQ Process Intelligence uses computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to effectively capture and discover the details of every process, who performs it, using which applications, and the output generated from it. 

Yes, FortressIQ maps and documents the people, processes, technologies, and information behind every process. Best of all, it captures this process intelligence in just weeks, comprehensively and accurately, without expensive and long engagements. And, it highlights process variances across workers due to differences in experience, training, or other factors.

FortressIQ also documents the people and processes using legacy, home-grown, and user-generated tools, and even productivity tools that lack logs, such as email and spreadsheet apps. FSIs spend millions of dollars buying, building, and maintaining these customized and third-party systems, but allow risk to be introduced as end users conduct operation-critical work using end-user computing tools (EUC), which are outside of core systems. These EUCs can help make day-to-day work faster and more efficient, but the operational and continuity risks associated with EUCs cannot be understated. 

FortressIQ Process Intelligence requires zero integration, works without disrupting employees, and captures granular process details. Process data is then decoded to provide actionable insights so FSIs can make faster, more informed decisions on the process optimizations, digital transformations, and cloud adoption that support resilience initiatives. 

Decode Work for FSI Resilience 

FortressIQ follows the human with automated process discovery, modeling, and documentation. It works everywhere business happens, capturing process data at the most granular level, performed on any application, with no bias or blind spots, and across global operations. It then presents process visualizations and dashboards across people, process, technology and information, allowing a view of the data from a broad perspective or focus on a single process thread, and empowering leaders to make data-driven decisions with increased confidence.

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need for operational resilience, especially for FSIs. Given the critical role of FSIs in the global financial system, increasing their resilience to these types of black swan events also increases their ability to absorb the more likely and more common shocks of cyber incidents, technology failures, and natural disasters. Pragmatic operational resiliency provides safeguards for the financial system as a whole. But, it all starts by decoding how FSIs work today. 

FortressIQ can help. To learn more, visit our Resource Library.

The Low-Code Movement Will Spur Process Intelligence

Interest in low-code development is skyrocketing. Annual market growth is predicted to exceed 25%, growing from $13B in 2020 to $65B in 2027, according to research from Brandessence Market Research. For organizations looking to win in the digital-first agile world, low-code is quickly becoming a critical component of a modern enterprise technology stack. If you’ve been around technology, you have probably heard the phrase, “Faster, better, cheaper — pick two.” But low-code gives you all three and adds “flexible” to the mix.

With their roots in the Rapid Application Development (RAD) tools of the 1990s, low-code platforms are an application development environment that use graphical user interfaces and configuration instead of traditional hand-coded computer programming. Formal software engineering skills are not required to create applications since a visual user interface in combination with model-driven logic is used. This opens the door to a wider range of people who can build apps for the business. With a little training, employees can rapidly create and deploy secure scalable software. One note to remember – low-code is not interchangeable with no-code which is a subset of technologies aimed at business users primarily working on enhancing their individual productivity.

A New Player in the Enterprise Technology Stack 

It’s impossible to argue against the need and demand for low-code in the enterprise. According to Gartner, more than 65% of application development in 2024 will be performed by low code platforms. That’s a remarkable shift for a software category that did not exist a decade ago. The number of digital applications and services being built is exploding as well. Between 2018 and 2023, more than 500 million apps will be created according to IDC. To put that massive number into perspective, that’s more than the previous 40 years combined. With low-code, companies can rapidly produce applications within a shorter time span and at a fraction of the cost. Schneider Electric launched 60 apps in 20 months, delivering most in just 10 weeks, and Ricoh replaced critical legacy systems 3X faster with a positive ROI in 7 months using Outsystems. Some skeptics may point out the lack of available IT resources, but business users can learn low-code development methodologies quickly, typically in less than one month. Clearly the old way of building apps cannot keep pace with today’s digital marketplace. 

Process Intelligence Jump Starts Low-Code Journey 

To help accelerate utilization of low-code and scale it across the enterprise, process intelligence is a key enabler. You cannot improve how you operate tomorrow if you don’t fully understand how you work today. And most companies truly don’t understand how they operate on a daily basis, especially at a granular user activity level required to automate a process or streamline a workflow. They have limited process understanding. They don’t know how their applications and data interact, and they don’t really understand what their customers expect.

The impact of this gap in process data is well documented. The 70% failure rate of transformation programs is widely reported. McKinsey pegs the cost at nearly $1 trillion annually and noted on 14% of companies have seen a sustained and material improvement in their business. Another study from Gartner noted only 1% of companies have sufficient understanding of their processes to take full advantage of the technology solutions. 

Before embarking on a major initiative, a company must map its processes, its systems and its experiences. Today, that necessary level of operational intelligence just does not generally exist in most companies and on top of that it is very difficult to obtain without process intelligence.

Low-Code and Process Intelligence – Better Together Than RPA

Process intelligence was a similar catalyst for Robotic Process Automation (RPA), but the opportunity with Low-Code is even greater. RPA programs enjoyed massive early uptake, but the challenge was how to scale the initiatives. Companies still struggle getting more than 50 bots deployed. Once any obvious low-hanging fruit is automated, it becomes difficult to identify what to tackle next and how to tackle it. Process intelligence answers those questions to help scale RPA. 

With Low-Code, Process Intelligence accomplishes that and more. The combination will overtake RPA as the gateway for AI and automation. Low-Code is more efficient and scalable than traditional RPA development because it does not operate at the user interface (UI) layer, making the applications more resilient. Additionally, where RPA is traditionally limited to task activities, Low-Code is much more capable of handling sub-process and process level activities making it much more valuable to the enterprise. Coupling Process Intelligence with Low-Code helps steer an enterprise toward a next-generation operation model that is faster, cheaper, better and flexible. It may also fully realize the promise of Citizen Developers that RPA struggles to achieve.

Elevate Human Potential With Innovative Automation on the hello, Human Podcast

Our podcast, hello, Human, features the leading builders, explorers, and warriors of AI. Together, we investigate 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 strive to make each episode intelligent and engaging, with the ultimate goal of improving your understanding of the opportunities AI can bring to your business and our world.

FortressIQ | Intelligent Insights for the Modern Enterprise
Episode 7 - Elevate Human Potential With Innovative Automation
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Announcing our $30 Million Series B to Continue the Mission of Decoding Work

“We weren’t here to code the hosts, we were here to decode the guests…”

— Bernard Lowe, Westworld S2E7

And with that line, the audience learns the true purpose of the sprawling investment in Westworld, it’s not about building the best androids, it’s about understanding humanity.  Three years ago we set out on a similar mission, to build AI that can decode work. Today we’re excited to announce a new B round investment of 30 Million dollars with new investors, Microsoft’s M12 and Tiger Global, joining our existing investors Boldstart, Eniac, Comcast and Lightspeed, to help us deliver on that mission.

Since day 1 we’ve held the belief that the key to the future of work was locked in our inability to understand its nature. Opening that lock would start us on a multi-year journey pushing the envelope on computer vision, natural language processing, and sequence modeling. Along the way we’ve assembled an incredible team that shares a similar dedication to understanding how to best integrate AI into the global workforce. We’re excited to add to that team, and welcome Tamara Steffens, from M12 to our Board of Directors. I’m sure her decades of experience working closely with enterprise customers will prove invaluable as we scale FortressIQ.

First Contact

Early last year customers got their first glimpse at what we were building, and we got to see firsthand how they could leverage the process insights that our platform could uncover. It was eye opening to say the least. Our first conversations usually revolved around automation and cost savings, but as customers became more comfortable with our data, the conversations evolved. This new category of data we could provide fueled their ability to innovate, enabling them (for the first time) to make truly data-driven decisions to guide their transformation strategies. Since then we’ve had the honor of working with some of the worlds largest companies, helping banks, retailers, insurers, and CPG companies to better understand their organizational DNA through interpreting their processes.

We were extremely surprised to find out how starved most organizations were for this type of data. While they had incredible analytics on digital journeys from their web properties, they had a much more rudimentary understanding of their internal processes. Another interesting byproduct we observed was how much simpler the decision making process was when good data was available. For me this was one of the most exciting revelations. I believe people in general want to do the right thing, it’s just sometimes very hard in the face of organization inertia. Often decisions devolve to simply appeasing whoever is yelling the loudest, the proverbial squeaky wheel getting the oil. It’s also well documented that unrepresented communities don’t advocate for themselves as forcefully in these types of situations. With data, we can minimize the impact of the loudest voice and amplify the focus on the best actions. This is a firsthand, tangible way in which we can leverage AI to reduce bias, reinforcing our mission here at FortressIQ around the responsible and ethical use of AI in the enterprise.

The Road Ahead

With this new round of capital we’ll be doubling down on our efforts to build the system of record for work. Our experience over the last year as customers have leveraged our platform has guided us to deliver new ways for them to leverage process data to improve every aspect of the employee experience, which translates to a better customer experience, and eventually the bottom line. The largest area of focus for us will center around helping our customers to achieve results from our platform even faster. With that in mind, we’ll be building specific industry, application, and workflow accelerators that can deliver instant insights from process data. We’ll also be looking to expand our partnering platform, working with domain experts across the globe to deliver externally targeted solutions based on data that would be unattainable without a process intelligence platform like ours.

I’m excited to see how customers can leverage our platform to power their transformation journeys, and grateful for the support of my team and our investors as we endeavor to decode work.

Now back to building!

Changing the Game with FortressIQ & Microsoft Power Automate

Today I’m excited to kick off the next phase of our Microsoft partnership. FortressIQ + Power Automate, generally available starting today, make it possible to grow your business productivity by automating repetitive, time-consuming tasks through digital and robotic process automation. With the integration of FortressIQ and Power Automate, we provide organizations with an end-to-end solution for intelligent automation–from cognitive process intelligence to AI-enabled workflows and business insight.

Delivering Process Intelligence to Microsoft Power Automate Customers

“We create technology so others can create more technology.”

– Satya Nadella, Microsoft