Accenture's myWizard automation platform gains traction

Visitors look at devices at Accenture stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
Global information technology (IT) solutions and services provider Accenture’s recently launched automation platform myWizard seems to be gaining traction with the company planning to deploy it for 200 clients by August 2016.

Over the past six months, the platform has been deployed in around 100 engagements with 60 global clients across industries.

Bhaskar Ghosh, group chief executive of Accenture Technology Services, explains that automation is not new for the industry, and that players including Accenture have been driving this across their global delivery networks. The difference now is that technology landscape has transformed, taking automation to a different level.

“myWizard includes a large number of technology assets and intelligent tools, a strong and unique industry asset that has been built over the years. And, virtual agents and artificial intelligence bring our technology assets and industry assets together to create value,” said Ghosh.

With commodotised application development and maintenance coming under pressure, most major players have been focused on creating automation platforms. For instance, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced its artificial intelligence platform Ignio last year. Infosys has its Infosys Automation Platform, and has set itself an ambitious target to get 900 clients on to this platform.

Bengaluru-based Wirpo launched its heuristics and ontology-based learning machines and experiential systems called Holmes. The company had stated in the past that it would offer this to at least one-third of its 1,000 clients.

At Accenture, myWizard platform augments human technologists with virtual agents that are powered by artificial intelligence to analyse data, identify patterns and guide human workers to make informed decisions that drive better business outcomes.

“Intelligent automation will be a co-worker. In an application development area (systems integration), delivering projects on time is a big question from the chief information officer CIO. Accenture myWizard includes a concept called ‘Time Machine’ which learns from the project data like metrics, defects, skill sets of people, and fast-forwards the project status to a future point in time to show whether it will be delivered in time or not. In addition, it will offer the project manager insights such as the skill areas that need to be improved, or which areas in the project need to be staffed better, to be able to deliver the project on time and as per quality required. So, the platform will actually enable the people on project,” added Ghosh.

This also means that repetitive tasks and entry-level processes are getting automated at Accenture, impacting the way application development and maintenance is delivered. Also, hiring patterns in the company are changing.

“On the people front, repetitive and manual work will disappear and we will see that people in these roles will be moved up the value chain with new skill sets. Most of Accenture’s work, however, is in complex Systems Integration, which doesn’t involve much repetitive tasks,” added Ghosh.

He also stated that thanks to new technology, new roles are coming up, “For example, we need more analytics in software development, platform manager, liquid architecture, and hence there is a lot of focus on upskilling to utilise people better. We need a higher agenda for training and development; in FY15, we invested $841 million in training and employee development."

This also means that India's IT sector will look very different in the future in terms of skills compared to the past 10-15 years. “We will see a skills transformation and see more high-end jobs in future – the business environment and client demands are changing and the IT delivery needs to change along with it. At Accenture, a large part of our business today is Digital (almost 40 per cent of our revenues come from Digital),” added Ghosh.

Training and skilling the employee base will be crucial as Accenture goes out aggressively to customers for adoption of myWizard. “We are including myWizard in new deals from Day One. We are pushing this into existing deals as well, but depends on client contractual obligations. Existing clients are very excited to see the potential of myWizard in driving productivity,” added Ghosh.

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