In this Run and Reinvent podcast, Seth Paskin, Director of Technical Marketing at BMC continues his discussion with Ram Chakravarti, BMC’s Chief Technology Officer as he shares more of his thoughts about AI and machine learning, as well as BMC Helix and how intelligent technologies play into the future of BMC products. Below is a condensed transcript of our conversation.
Seth Paskin: All right. Let’s kick this off with just a little bit of context. We hear a lot in the market these days, you called it buzzword bingo on the last podcast about artificial intelligence, machine learning, robot process automation, cognitive technologies. Can you give us just a quick definition of what those intelligent technologies are, and what they really mean in practical terms for consumers?
Ram Chakravarti: Yeah, we talked about each of these quickly. AI is basically a machine that can do a bunch of cognitive stuff, much like humans can, which is think, learn, understand, and reason. Machine learning is a subset of AI. I won’t go into the details because we it covered it in the prior podcast. Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence, that’s finding the broadest applicability in the industry today. And it’s based on learning rather than programming. Right? Teaching systems. Robotic process automation is basically using a machine to interact, transact with the applications, in a humancentric way to improve productivity by automating some workflows.
And, cognitive technology is a broad umbrella that encompasses all of the above, and extends beyond just the operational components, but also into creating differentiated experiences with chatbots, and what have you, as well. So, in terms of how this applies to us and what it means to our customer. Our strategy, as a Jill mentioned, is a run and reinvent strategy. The reinvent part of our strategy is guided by four solution principles. These are modern platforms, optimizing from anti-cloud deployment, intelligence driven, and creating an exceptional user experience. Of these, the intelligence driven piece, the intelligence driven principle is at the heart of our approach.
The infusing AI in software development across our product lengths. So, this is where I bet big, both across main frame and distributed systems. But, given that this is a topic, the focal point of Helix, maybe I should just stick to that component.
Seth: Sure, no, that makes sense. In fact, let’s segue to that. If we’re talking about infusing our product development, we know we’ve recently launched automated mainframe intelligence for mainframe. And we’ve got, decades of intelligent technologies built into our various solutions. But, let’s talk specifically about what we’re doing with Helix, what we have now and what we’re thinking about doing?
Ram: Sure. So, what we have now. We’ve had for a little while now, we’ve had Helix cognitive management, which is the collaborative AI piece that I may have mentioned in a previous discussion. But, it’s truly the first of its kind in service management industry, in that it provides a differentiated experience with chatbots that also have context switching. And it fundamentally helps reimagine the whole service management experience by empowering the workforce with these intuitive intelligent and differentiated experience, right? So, at the heart of it is AI and machine learning.
But, beyond that, there’s so much more we can do, right? So, AIOps powered products can do a whole bunch of things in terms of offering real time insights, to improve user experience, events and services to not just proactively identify issues, but also predictably identify issues and correct them before they are caught. There’s no reason why we cannot extend that to the distributed system as one killer use case. And, the broader point I want to make is that we are just at the beginning of the AIOps journey, what we need to do is have the Helix platform get set as a foundational cornerstone on top of which we can amp up our focus on differentiation with AIOps.
So, in closing, what I’d say is I think we’re okay with where we are, from a market leadership standpoint, from chatbots and collaborative AI. And I would personally devote attention to high value cross product solutions, enabled by AI, which can help us break down barriers for that adjacency, as well in our core solutions. And if we do that and if we are successful taking it to market, we are in a great place.
Seth: Great, thank you for that. It’s certainly a very exciting time to be at BMC, that’s for sure. And there’s just so much activity, it’s a joy to see it happen. You know, I think we know there’s a lot of stuff happening in the platform. You just mentioned a few examples of where we’re at and some of the things we’re thinking about. How can we help our customers, or how can customer take advantage of that, and what sorts of incremental value are they going to see? For example, out of adopting chatbot over, you know, the traditional way of doing service management, and with manual tasks, and head counts, and so forth.
Ram: Absolutely. I mean, there’s a lot of hype, right? And, given where we are in our intelligence journey, and given the fact that the potential is enormous, I would humbly submit that we and our customers, in turn, have to be relentlessly focused on three things. The first of these is to make the right strategic bets for us and that translates into what we can provide our customers. And this is whether it’s buying with our partner, the strategic bets that we make in our intelligence journey will be in the context of a high impact use case, that translates directly to one or more positive business outcomes. And these being revenue impact, productivity gains, and risk mitigation.
So, if we do that, then we are in a good place in terms of what we can take to market, customers are in a good place then, with a clear value proposition by implementing our solutions that they can realize these positive business outcomes. So, that’s number one.
The second thing I would ask that we focus on, and customers focus on, is excellence and execution. What I mean by this is, do this right with the right mix of high caliber talent, as well as domain expertise. And in our case, a domain expertise as in IT-operations, as well as data science. So, we need to get the right balance in-house to augment what we already have. And the second point of the excellence and execution, I would say, particularly with respect to intelligence, AIOps is, let’s not roll this out in a hurry. Because as we well know, these are learning systems. So, let’s take adequate measures and sufficient cleaning data and test these thoroughly to ensure that we got the answer right, and more importantly, are asking the right questions. We don’t want the answer to be 42. If you get what I mean, right?
Listen to the full episode from SoundCloud (https://soundcloud.com/bmc-run-reinvent/episode-26-the-power-of-helix-and-how-bmc-is-using-intelligent-technologies) or Apple Podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-26-power-helix-how-bmc-is-using-intelligent/id1449509568?i=1000455599736) to hear the rest of this interview.