Written by Glenn Boylan, PMP

The March Technology Forum featured a fascinating presentation titled "The Data Driven Revolution: The Future of Corporate Technology", presented by Steven Kostyshen.

My reaction to Mr. Kostyshen’s talk can be summed up in two words. Mind. Blown.

Co-chairs Nancy Berlin and Steve Kruger opened the Forum, which was once again hosted by Hewlett-Packard Enterprise in their beautiful new café. Nancy and Steve reviewed the upcoming Atlanta chapter meetings, including two new “PM in the AM” events coming up in April – one at the Georgia International Convention Center near the airport on the 18th, and the second at Alpharetta Presbyterian Church on the 19th.

They also reminded everyone that both the Technology Forum and the Atlanta chapter have numerous volunteer opportunities available. Becoming a volunteer helps the chapter, grows your network, and gets you additional PDUs. That’s a win-win-win.

Go to the chapter web site at www.PMIAtlanta.org for all the details on upcoming meetings and volunteering.

Nancy then introduced Steven Kostyshen. His talk was a futuristic discussion about what Steve believes will be unprecedented change in almost all aspects of society due to the advancements in Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Steve has worked internationally in over two dozen countries and dealt with senior executives at numerous Fortune 500 companies. He’s now an angel investor assisting young entrepreneurs and their new enterprises.

Any discussion of what will happen in the future is obviously speculative to some degree, but Steve has been around technology most of his career, so he has some perspective. He discussed how he spent a lot of time at those Fortune 500 companies explaining to their executives the anticipated benefits of a then new technology called “the Internet”. Steve recalled that at that time, the promises of the Internet seemed very grandiose. But in retrospect those grandiose promises turned out to be much less than what the Internet actually delivered.

In looking toward the future, it’s instructive to look at the history of how technology impacted industry. Steve told us that the Ford Motor Company used to estimate their cash flow by comparing the height of their stack of Accounts Receivable receipts to the height of their Accounts Payable stack. Financial work was one of the first work areas to be impacted by computers, and more of white collar labor soon followed.

A good approximation is that it took about 40 years for computerization to get to the point it’s at today. Even though 40 years is not long for the significant amount of change that has occurred, it only took that long because humans were integral to developing and implementing the technology.

The very dramatic difference that Mr. Kostyshen sees now is that with ML and AI, humans are essentially eliminated from the development and implementation of technology.

Computers learn faster than humans. Computers propagate knowledge faster than humans. Computers do not resist change. ML and AI will create a hyper competitive environment that may threaten not only those who oppose it, but also those who accept it. Steve anticipates more change in the next 10 years than we’ve seen in the last 30.

Mind. Blown.

Steve expects significant functional impacts to human capital management (recruitment, performance analysis, employee satisfaction) and customer relationships (customer lifecycle management, demand generation, and customer segmentation).

The three largest growth areas of the economy right now are healthcare, education, and leisure. Both healthcare and education are ripe for automation. Jobs within those industries may soon follow travel agents, stock brokers, and architects – which are jobs that Steve said have had the largest losses due to the Internet.

The key to all this is no surprise. It’s data. Having and leveraging data will be key.

This will take a change in perspective for many companies, which today see data as a cost or a liability. Plus, there are significant challenges to the effective use of data, not the least of which is its enormous quantity. Another fundamental shift that will be required is for companies to organize their data based on business needs, not system needs.

Steve thinks that the organizations who stand to benefit the most and the quickest are Google, Facebook, and Amazon because they have the data. And they are leaders in leveraging the data they have.

Mr. Kostyshen’s presentation wrapped up with a lively Q&A session with the Forum participants. Our thanks again to Steve for this very interesting presentation.

Please plan to join us at the next Technology Forum which will be on Tuesday, April 25th, also at the HP-E office in Alpharetta.

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