Dell IT Proven

Do You Believe the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Hype?

Bask Iyer By Bask Iyer CIO, Dell and VMware June 25, 2018

Traveling between Silicon Valley, Austin and Boston, I am hearing about artificial intelligence and the future of work from so many angles and couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities ahead. The strategies and applications are enticing and the next wave is promising. However, as we rush to embrace AI, I can’t help wondering whether we are maximizing its full potential or just riding from technology wave to technology wave.

For instance, today our walls talk to us – almost everything in our lives talk to us. With a modest investment, smart technology sensors capture data we use to monitor, measure and manage our energy usage and efficiency (and more). I’ve done this in my own home. Unfortunately, I now have too much data and can only make minor choices around my consumption. The application I used sent me too many notifications, so I turned it off.

Have you experienced this as well?

We are in the early days of AI. However, I am looking forward to how artificial intelligence will automatically filter, analyze and provide insight needed to enhance both my personal and professional life. As Dell and VMware’s CIO, I weigh these innovations to determine what is real, relevant and worth investing in as part of our digital transformation. We are doing this by identifying some tangible, short term use cases we can pursue that will deliver value today and determining the best way to transform our technology, processes and people for the future.

Let me share how we are doing that.

First, we must consider how the numerous innovative waves of technologies intersect and interact together. This is especially true with artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. To be successful, AI depends on consistent, high quality, real-time data. However, with multiple approaches and systems, it is challenging and time-consuming to find, access and make sense of the data available throughout a company.

Which brings me to my second point.

We must also collaborate across the company. IT isn’t the only organization thinking about AI. Our partners in sales, engineering, marketing and other areas of the business are also exploring the potential of AI. If we’re not collaborative, we will create more complexity and conflicting systems that delay our time to value. To get ahead of this, we are embracing what we call the Dell Digital Way, a cultural shift and approach that leverages Pivotal and agile methodologies, pair programming and the latest technologies like Pivotal Cloud Foundry. Rather than numerous disparate approaches, this enables us to work closely with our business partners to deliver better AI innovations and applications even faster.

I’m looking forward to how AI will automatically filer, analyze and provide insight needed to enhance both my personal and professional life.

And finally, as CIOs and IT professionals, we must foster an innovative, cross-functional AI-minded culture throughout the company, so we created the Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence at Dell. Working together, this team of data scientists, data engineers, IT professionals and others from across Dell Technologies are determining the right platform and the governance structure for enhancing data quality. The Center also host events and contests for team members to collaborate and crowdsource innovative ways to solve a variety of challenges and goals related to our data and Internet of Things. This will this help us embrace AI faster and inspire our brightest minds and expand their career opportunities.

Machines may not take over the world yet, but they are rising. In the near term, AI will be essential for automating and eliminating painful and time-consuming processes like patches and enable us to focus on more innovative and interesting business opportunities. So while many people talk about how artificial intelligence will eliminate the need for human intervention, we don’t have to worry just yet. There is plenty we need to do as humans, and IT professionals, to unleash the full potential of AI.

For now, AI is enhancing human potential rather than replacing it.

Watch me address ‘cutting through the AI hype’ at the 7 Artificial Intelligence Revelations from The Economist Innovation Summit or listen to Dell Technologies’ Jeff Clarke, Vice Chairman of Products & Operations Luminaries Podcast.

Bask Iyer

About Bask Iyer


CIO, Dell and VMware

Bask Iyer, the Chief Information Officer for both Dell and VMware, oversees the critical technology systems supporting some of the world’s largest global business and commerce operations. Iyer is also responsible for driving Dell and VMware’s digital transformation to accelerate outcomes; deliver world-class experiences; and share the team’s best practices using technologies, services and solutions from both companies.

Iyer, VMware’s CIO since 2015, expanded his CIO responsibilities in 2016 to also lead the Dell Digital and IT organization. A respected industry veteran, Iyer brings more than 25 years of experience in executing and driving change in traditional Fortune 100 manufacturing companies and Silicon Valley-based technology firms.

Prior to joining VMware, Iyer served as senior vice president and chief information officer at Juniper Networks, where he was responsible for the company’s technology and business operations, including critical services around business transformation, global business services, IT and real estate, and workplace services. He also served as chief information officer at Honeywell and at GlaxoSmithKline Beecham for consumer healthcare research and development, where he was also the company’s e-commerce leader.

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