A modern business can be a sustainable one

‘Digital transformation is a must for organisations’ says Brendan Ryan lead Cognizant’s Banking and Financial Services business (BFS) in Ireland

What is your current role with Cognizant and responsibilities?

My name is Brendan Ryan and I lead Cognizant’s Banking and Financial Services (BFS) business in Ireland. I am responsible for driving the growth of our BFS business in Ireland and maintaining relationships with clients from a commercial and delivery perspective.

I have 25 years’ experience supporting organizations to deliver on their key technology and business transformation priorities.

Before joining Cognizant I worked with IBM for nearly 15 years leading various outsourced accounts and delivering large transformation programs in the telecommunications, insurance, retail and banking and financial services industries before moving to the commercial side of the business, leading the sales and business development teams . Prior to this I worked as a consultant with EDS, Vodafone, Hibernian Insurance and Royal Bank of Scotland.

What are your thoughts on digital transformation?

Digital transformation is a must for organizations that want to remain relevant. It allows them to create digital experiences and facilitates disruption in business models by using insights gained through data, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

Today, digital is no longer a nice-to-have, an interesting adjunct to the core business. A fully developed, sophisticated and hyper-scale digital platform is the only means to ensure any commercial relevance and financial future in the next decade.

AI (as the engine) and data (as the fuel) are propelling enterprises forward on the next stage of their digital journey. Amid all the hype, AI is still the remarkable story of our time. This technology will have the greatest impact on work over the next three years; mastery of AI is pivotal to becoming a modern business. By 2023, organizations that have acquired deep skills and expertise and are deploying AI into mission-critical business processes will be well positioned to outperform those that are still struggling to make meaningful progress.

AI and automation also pave the way to achieve greater human performance. Executives see that AI is about human augmentation rather than substitution and that when combined, humans and machines will reach new value thresholds that are unobtainable in isolation. By making technology a partner in work, organizations can fundamentally reshape how their business operates, from customer and employee experience to risk management, brand reputation, sales and innovation.

We are entering a new stage in our relationship with technology, with a tempered appreciation of its impact on work and society. A decade into the era of ‘digital transformation’, organizations have a greater appreciation for the promise and perils inherent in modern technology. While fewer worry that killer robots may overwhelm humankind, fewer also view ‘digital’ as a silver bullet. Organizations now have a better understanding around not only the power of the tools in their hands but also the challenging work ahead for those hands.

What are your thoughts on how sustainability can be addressed from an IT perspective?

I believe a modern business can be a sustainable one – and technology can be a tool that supports sustainability efforts.

To reduce environmental impact, organizations must recognize the need to reduce emissions, and digital tools will play a critical role in achieving sustainability targets. Organizations must deploy digital technologies to re-imagine processes and value chains through the digital lens. Data and analytics tools can increase the quality of ESG data collection, analysis and reporting to deliver real-time insights that will accelerate decision-making and improve performance.

Organizations that power the global economy must leverage their digital transformation for sustainable outcomes. Sustainability transformation requires optimizing energy use across the spectrum of IT – from leveraging the public cloud to consolidating data centers to ensuring that energy consumption is reduced while meeting the technological needs of modern business.

The drive for sustainability constitutes an urgent call for organizations to transition to a low-carbon and more inclusive and equitable economy. Meaningful, measurable progress toward this outcome is what growing numbers of stakeholders – including clients, investors and governmental bodies – expect of organisations.

Living our purpose requires that we deliberate on our role in society and take a broad view of how business affects people’s lives economically, environmentally, socially and technologically.

What big tech trends do you believe are changing the world?

The next big leap in computing power will come from quantum computers. These powerful machines will be used to complete new tasks, previously thought impossible, of which current traditional computers simply are not capable.

In a complex data world, more powerful computers are essential to calculating probabilities accurately. Several organizations are turning to a new generation of processors that leverage the principles of quantum physics to crunch vast amounts of data at super-fast speed.

Technology and IoT are both huge contributors to the sheer volume of data that is generated daily. Alongside this machine-generated data, we individuals generate masses of data through our daily activities, a phenomenon which shows no signs of slowing down. The increased adoption of smart devices will extend this even further. Businesses can use this data to design better products and services, adapt business processes, improve decision making and potentially create new revenue sources.

AI adoption will continue to accelerate across all enterprise segments and industries. AI is becoming vital in accelerating recovery from the pandemic and creating a more resilient future. Coupled with this growth is the need to embed responsibility in AI systems, spanning from explainability and regulatory compliance to sustainable AI. With data becoming a critical competency, enterprises are also employing concepts such as (among others) collaborative data ecosystems, federated learning and multi-party computing.

Cognizant are a sponsor at The Business Post’s 2022 CIO & IT Leaders’ Summit which is taking place in Croke Park on June 28th. For full details and to book visit www.ciosummit.ie

New Technology Era

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