DATA SCIENCE IN YOUR DAILY LIFE: There’s a data scientist behind those movie recommendations!

THERE’S A DATA SCIENTIST BEHIND THOSE MOVIE RECOMMENDATIONS!
Do you remember the last time you watched a Netflix crime thriller movie like “The Departed”, and in turn, received recommendations for other amazing movies such as “The Godfather” or “Gone Baby Gone”? Welcome to the world of data science and Machine Learning!

In the 21st Century postmodern world, every nook and cranny of the world is in the process of becoming connected through virtual reality. CDs, DVD players and even cable television are now being considered “worn out” and “old technology” in order to pave way for more upcoming and happening ones such as Netflix, Prime and YouTube. However, what’s even more upcoming is that this technology seems to understand our unique preferences, and moreover, also suggest other relevant TV shows and web series based on one’s viewing habits. The same applies to online shopping as well – it may have happened scores of times that Amazon suggested other cool Apple products based on your previous iPhone 6 purchase.
The question that now arises is how these websites can be so omniscient as to recognize multiple unique viewing and purchasing habits so efficiently and accurately, an also crawl the database for other similar items and present it to the respective Internet users.

We’re back with a blog, and today, let’s venture into the upcoming and exciting world of data science, which has been popularly termed by Turing Award winner Jim Gray as “the sexiest job of the 21st Century”. Let’s have a sneak peek into the world where data scientists are busy with their numerous algorithms that allow machines to independently carry out these prediction tasks with ease:

1. So what’s so scientific in data science?
While science and technology have ensured that machines and technical equipment make our lives unbelievably efficient and quicker every single day, there is still a severe direct dependence of technological equipment on humans if the traditional sources of science and technology be relied upon alone. It is also important to ensure that technology work by itself for a major part of its functioning, instead of depending on constant human intervention. Moreover, with the inception of modern-day software and myriad online platforms to ensure that the world is well-connected, there is a massive explosion of data produced every single day. Just as it is essential to ensure less clutter and more clarity in our external worlds, the online world also needs to be maintained and de-cluttered on a regular basis. And in order to ensure that the technology of Machine Learning and organization of data may be incorporated to software systems, it is important to move one step beyond traditional science and technology, and embrace the world of ‘data science’.
Data scientists perform a world of algorithms – incorporating scientific techniques and systems in order to organize and store massive amounts of online information. If the internet world is a cobweb of information, data scientists are the spiders – venturing through the silk-threads efficiently.

2.Whoa! So how does a data scientist perform that herculean task?
The job of a data scientist is seeped into statistics and algorithms. Data scientists apply predictive modeling, machine learning and inferential statistics in the course of their work. Applying these different tools and techniques, a data scientist then traces certain unique patterns that are characteristic of specific internet users; and systematically stores this information in the database.
However, the task of a data scientist does not end here. A data scientist also uses the technology of Machine Learning, and allows your software to become independent enough to implement these algorithms effectively, so that the machines do not have to depend on humans every time such predictions need to be carried out.
And that, my friends, is the mystery behind all those Amazon and Netflix recommendations that you receive when you’re on an online shopping spree, or when you binge-watch your favourite web series on that lazy weekend!

The ROLE OF A SOLUTION ARCHITECT: Here’s How an RPA Solutions Architect Plays an Integral Role in the Automation Process

“A good design will actually design the company,” says Donald Norman.
Especially so, when a company desires the company of bots. All along, we have been telling you how RPA is the need of the hour, and the various processes and trivia involved in the project framework delivery. It is no surprise that the actual development and deployment process in RPA forms an extremely integral part of the entire project; and any errors in these processes can result in the creation of faulty bots. However, are processes directly handed over to the developers in order for them to bestow life on the process robots? Just as a home needs an architect to design its various chambers, automation also requires one to carefully construct a systematic framework to be implemented in the project. Let’s welcome the architects of automation, solution architects! In our earlier blog, we’ve already discussed, in a nutshell, 5 different job profiles in the RPA domain. We’re back with a blog, and today, it’s time to dedicate a few minutes and paragraphs to the persons who form the pillars of automation.

1.HAVE WE PLANNED OUT OUR PLAN ADEQUATELY?
While planning is a crucial step, one must ensure that the plan addresses all important and intricate phases and aspects of the venture, so that the implementation can be smooth and hassle-free. It is the responsibility of a Business Analyst to study the various processes of a business and then decide which of these processes may be automated. It is here that the Solution Architect steps in. The role of a Solution Architect begins when this automation idea needs to be put into practice, but requires a systematic approach for this implementation to be carried out.

2.CAPTURING THE AUTOMATION PROCESS FOR YOUR BUSINESS PROCESS
The Solution Architect devices effective process maps and comes up with relevant solutions that can boost the automation process to a great extent, and act as a framework for the RPA developers to easily step into their roles. The solution architect essentially designs two types of process maps or designs – PDD or Process Design Document; and TDD, or Technical Design Document. While the former design is aimed at addressing the ‘as-is process’ of the RPA project, the latter one attempts at capturing the ‘to-be process’.
Once the processes to be automated have been earmarked by the Business Analyst, the Solution Architect then carefully studies these processes, and determines how the automation can be carried out in order to meet the requirements of the company as evaluated by the Business Analyst. The Solution Architect has to constantly keep in mind the aims and objectives of the automation process that have already been agreed upon by the clients as well as the automation providers; while also presenting a tangible and plausible solution for automating the rule-based task in question.

3.PROCESS DESIGN DOCUMENT
The Process Design Document focuses on the overall automation process, from data gathering, process standardization and recommendations, to development, testing and deployment of the process robots. The solution architect constantly communicates with the Business Analysts and Project Managers in order to ensure that there is no disagreement between the persons involved in the process; and to bridge any discrepancies in the process.
It is after the development of the Process Design Document capturing the as-is process, that the Standard Operating Procedure or SOP may be devised in order to break down the complex processes and sequences of the plan and ensure easy programming. One also needs to design the process capture template, modeling standards and process maps, before the actual development procedures commence.

4.LET’S GET TECHNICAL!
Now, we have successfully completed the as-is process, and received a thumbs-up for the same from the clients, as well as the various other persons involved in the project. We have also successfully completed the recommendations phase, wherein the specific RPA processes to be carried out are earmarked, and the unnecessary ones are eliminated, with detailed analyses of cost benefits and feasibility. Now, our RPA developers are almost all set to take the RPA project to the next level by actually creating our bots. But…are we missing out on something?
The role of the solution architect does not simply end at producing the Process Design Document. While the PDD helps in identifying the various stages and phases of the project, this document is not sufficient in itself for the RPA developers to take over their herculean task. The Solution Architect now has to create and document another design specially dedicated to the RPA developers; namely, the Technical Design Document or TDD. The Technical Design Document focuses specifically on the guidelines to be followed by the RPA developers while developing the bot; as well as the technical specifications to be employed in the software. This document enables our able RPA developers to follow the plan through with ease, and with a systematic framework to fall back on during times of confusion or doubt. Along with the TDD, a Target Operating Model is also designed in order to chalk out the vision or aim of the RPA development project.

In this way, the Solution Architect acts as the backbone of the RPA development process; carefully setting up the foundation of the RPA project so that the construction may become easier and hassle-free. The solution architects ensure that the plan does not simply remain a shallow idea, but is made viable, plausible and accessible to all the persons involved in the project.

THE PROS AND CONS OF AI: A tightrope walk

Artificial Intelligence: A Boon or a Bane?

With respect to Artificial Intelligence, the buzzword of the 21st Century, Dave Waters says:

“Artificial Intelligence is an infant at best. Once it becomes a teenager and believes it is smarter than its parents, will AI rebel?”

In today’s rapidly advancing world, the term ‘Artificial Intelligence’ is certainly not uncommon to hear or read, in magazines and blog posts (such as those posted by XLNC!); at business meetings and on television. In our everyday lives, a lot of us apply AI technology to our mundane organizational as well as other personal tasks, more often than not without even realizing its presence. However, a substantial population of individuals and groups are still extremely skeptical about this illusive technology, and the idea of machines functioning autonomously without human intervention. While AI enthusiasts often sound gung-ho about the fields of Machine Learning and Automation – claiming these to make life more efficient and dynamic – a lot of others still struggle with getting over the apprehension that AI might take complete control of human life, leaving us slaves to a Frankenstein’s monster.
We’re back with a blog; and today, let’s discuss the various conventions and perceptions associated with the AI technology; and objectively evaluate AI’s benefits and drawbacks against the backdrop of the 21st Century world:

I.Hey! AI ain’t all that bad, after all…
For those of you who are apprehensive and skeptical about embracing a technology as “frightening” and “overpowering” as Artificial Intelligence, we’re here to break the ice between AI and you. Here we are, with the positive side of Artificial Intelligence:

a.Artificial Intelligence does not recognize intellectual laziness
While human intelligence has managed to achieve leaps and bounds in various fields at different levels, it is always highly susceptible to spells of complacence and “intellectual laziness”. That’s where AI steps in. Siri, Alexa and Cortana do not tire of assisting you regardless of the time of day or night (for more dope on this, check out our previous blog on chatbots – http://xlnctechnologies.com/5-ways-in-which-chatbots-are-the-best-assistance/); and your personalized AI tutors will never tire of teaching you or helping you with teaching others. This is one of the reasons for Artificial Intelligence being promoted over manual task completion.

b.To err is human, so humans created Artificial Intelligence.
Einstein famously said, “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” As living beings, mistakes and blunders have always been a simultaneous process alongside the successes and accomplishments. However, Artificial Intelligence is definitely not a blunder (okay, hang on…we’re coming to the cons!). When programmed accurately, an AI technology is less likely to commit errors; and is usually flexible across different platforms.

c.‘Cause humans are so quick, they find themselves too slow…
Today, the world is now resorting to quickness and instantaneousness in whatever it does – so much so, that the natural speed of humans is sometimes too slow for this world. And so, AI bridges the gap between the fast progressing world and the people residing in it, by providing faster and more efficient ways and means of reaching the desired ends. AI is being widely used in almost all sectors today, including healthcare, education, transportation and communication, and defense and military, in order to ensure speed and accuracy with minimal compromise on either.

d.Your AI is sensitive, but not emotional.
While chatbots and GPS may be courteous and sensitive to your needs, they certainly do not possess deeper emotions and mood-swings; and you can rest assured that they will not complain of overwork and fatigue. And such a detached concern for the customers ensures that they can be reliable, diligent and caring, even when the work is strenuous and hectic.

II. AI ain’t all that good either…
But, are we headed towards utopia? Is AI really so perfect that one can totally overlook even remote possibilities of failures or disadvantages? Most definitely not! Just like everything else on this earth, AI, too, has two sides; and a lot of people are skeptical about applying this technology for this reason. Come, let’s evaluate the various drawbacks of AI, and brainstorm on each:

a.Yes, my processes will be more efficient, but at what ‘cost’?
Once installed and applied to our day-to-day lives, Artificial Intelligence can certainly be quite viable and cost effective. However, in the first place, it is important to install it to our already existing systems and ensure that it functions optimally and independently. And these processes are not exactly economical. Designing the specific tool of AI and then training the machine to operate without human intervention can be an expensive task, and one needs to be prepared to incur the expenditure in order to enjoy the results later.

b.Your AI is emotionally intelligent, but sometimes not intelligently emotional
Yes, AI may have been designed to understand human emotions and analyze sentiments. AI may also be able to carry out complex tasks that humans may never be able to undertake. However, there is a certain depth in perception and perspective that no machine has ever been able to touch, at least till now. And due to this incapability, AI ventures can sometimes turn into not-so-pleasant adventures. For example, in 2016, Microsoft’s Twitter chatbot created havoc when it began abusing, and passing pro-Nazi comments such as “Hitler was right.” While this experimental chatbot, Tay, was only imitating some humans who had been playing mischief, the situation was certainly alarming. Had the AI device been entirely controlled and mediated by a human, the situation may have probably been handled better.
AI technology may be perceived as an innocent child whose mind, though extremely active, is a clean slate. It is the responsibility of humans to ensure it doesn’t waiver from the right path.

c.“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Einstein meant this only for human intelligence.
Artificial Intelligence apparently cannot have fun beyond a certain extent – it is limited to the innovative strategies and programming already stored inside them by humans. And so, intrinsic creativity does not figure anywhere here. That’s a faculty exclusive to humans – and processes sans human intervention can, well, only do so much to help matters.

d.While taking the help of machines, are we becoming machines ourselves?
This is one of the greatest concerns that the modern, artificially intelligent world is having to face in the recent times. There is always a threat that Artificial Intelligence can replace human intelligence in a big way; however, a lot of us don’t realize that as creators of Artificial Intelligence, it is we who have the upper-hand over our creations. As users, one must realize that machines and technology are not meant for encouraging intellectual laziness and procrastination; but rather, for facilitating increased efficiency and application of one’s intellect. And any device, when misused, can be detrimental to society and individuals. AI is no different.

Source:

https://www.infoworld.com/article/3184205/technology-business/danger-danger-10-alarming-examples-of-ai-gone-wild.html#slide2

RPA PROJECT AND COST REDUCTION: With XLNC, These 2 Terms may now be Uttered in one Breath!

“If saving money is wrong, I don’t want to be right,” says William Shatner.

While it does seem a romantic idea to spend all the money one earns and live a lavish life, saving money can never go out of fashion as long as products and services all come with price-tags. And that’s probably why a lot of organizations are extremely apprehensive about undertaking end-to-end Robotic Process Automation independently. A number of automation software giants charge extremely high prices for these automation processes if approached directly. But wait…does this mean that your monotonous ‘data entry operator’ job would continue to thrive, with humans working away like machines? Should the high cost of a product or service deter a potential client from availing the same?
We, at XLNC, shout ‘NO!’ to both these questions. Let’s make things easier for your clients. At every stage, we support and guide you, so that your RPA development project turns out to be top-notch, and you can safely close down that monotonous ‘data entry’ post! We are back with a blog, to discuss the exciting cost reduction strategies we have in store, just for you:

1. High costs can cost you highly. May we come in?
Do you find it difficult to choose from the myriad types of automation software available in the market? Do the high prices of these automation tools deter you from using them? XLNC to the rescue! We have a team that is adept at working on all of these platforms, including UiPath, Automation Anywhere and Softomotive, with whom we are officially partnered; and Blue Prism, with whom we are in the process of networking. This opens up a whole new world of exciting choices for our clients in terms of selecting the appropriate platform. Further, this also brings about a great amount of flexibility in terms of the budget. We also provide highly customized and tailor-made solutions specific to your requirement. For instance, if the project specific to your company is not very highly scalable in nature, we can suggest to you the more economical alternatives, such as UiPath and Softomotive. Did the enterprise pack of the previous automation software platform you had approached sound too expensive to handle? XLNC to the rescue again! Our partnership with all the important automation platforms is not for nothing. It helps us to cut costs considerably, thus ensuring a more economical approach to your automation project. Further, OEMs typically do not perform implementation when you approach them directly. We, at XLNC, offer you a detailed, 360 degrees, end to end solution, which becomes another reason for you to become our clients!

2. When we are your source, don’t worry about resource!
Resources can be a big question mark while contemplating to embark on the RPA journey. What if I don’t want to go for the entire RPA process? What if I don’t get the right resources? A lot of ifs and buts often deter an organization from investing in the process. And now, XLNC to the rescue.
We understand that you might sometimes require solutions only for a particular stage, as opposed to the process as a whole. With our ‘resource augmentation’ service, we are also happy to provide you with these micro services.
Here, if you already have a software, such as Automation Anywhere or UiPath as your base tool, we start off with the planning for your project, followed by the sourcing, and ultimately the deployment and monitoring. Our job does not end with having deployed the bot to your organization. We continue to keep you in loop, and constantly monitor the bot, in order to determine if it’s functioning well, and if any changes are required in it.
In addition, for every RPA project, we also shortlist those processes which, if automated, can possibly benefit individuals and organizations. We then run these processes through simulation software tools such as iGraphics, which help us to decide those stages or aspects where our existing process is redundant, and which can do better with innovation. This can also help to reduce your costs significantly.
We hope, through all these activities, we would be able to convince you of the dedication of our RPA team and the processes shortlisted by us.
Another feature that brings about a world of difference in the automation process is change management. Change management comes in when the entire process has already been chalked out, and then, suddenly…there is a modification to be made in one of the stages as per the business. Now, do we need to revise the entire format? Fret not, as XLNC is also capable of managing these sudden changes in a very effective manner.

3. Hey, that’s not it! We also structure your infrastructure for you.
“We need to stop talking about infrastructure as an engineering prospect, and more as an economic one,” someone rightly pointed out. That’s why we believe in providing you with the right infrastructure, which is economical, while also being highly specialized all at once.

So we have certain methodologies in place, which ensure that not only your current RPA project, but also any future undertakings, are secured and cost effective. All of these methods are packaged in the Centre of Excellence, which signifies the highest standard of implementation. We strive to achieve this with every client with whom we work. Right from the planning to the delivery stage, we try and loop every relevant team member, from executives to the topmost management, and train them about the various aspects of RPA. These persons discuss the purpose of this RPA project, the logic behind a particular solution, how it should be developed, and the possible benefits that the organization as a whole, as well as specific individuals will achieve once the solution is deployed.

Following the detailed planning and the chalking out of an end-to-end process, we begin the actual development stage. Here, different team-members can buddy up with us, and understand the technicalities and whys and hows of things. With this knowledge sharing taking place, we are able to educate them about the limitless possibilities of RPA, not just for the organization, but also for themselves. This not only provides the employees of an organization with general information about RPA, but also makes them independent enough to carry out their own project without the help of a third party should they wish to go in for another RPA project sometime in the future. This helps one to reduce the instances of RPA failure, as well as ensures that an internal solution group is created within the organization itself.
With regard to knowledge management, we keep a systematic record of any obstacle that may come our way during the end-to-end RPA development process. This becomes a repository of sorts, which an organization can refer to, should it be met with any impediments during future operations.
With us, not only your present, but also your future is secured.

4. Technology meets cost reduction. Utopia? No. Reality!
We believe in providing you with the best services, with extremely specialized experts on board, and using the best technological equipment, and keeping cost-reduction always in mind. Yes, this is for real. Right at the start, we try and understand your ‘as-is process’, where we meet your SMEs and take into account your exact requirement, so we can deliver accordingly, and avoid all jargon.

Once we have chalked out a plan and detailed process structure for your project, our technical experts design a Target Operating Model, which is a blend of the traditional ways of working, and the modern technological operations. We then present this Target Operating Model along with a guestimate of ROI. Out of all the processes shortlisted by us, we recommend the process that you should ideally start off with, so that your ROI can be seen as a chain reaction. Additionally, we may also do a Proof of Concept, if need be, for a particular process. In the ‘recommendations’ stage, the specific processes to be used in the RPA development project are earmarked, and the possible elimination of unnecessary procedures are carried out, which reduces your costs further.

And so, my friends, XLNC always stays true to its word of excelling at our excellent services. Are you still worried about cost reduction? Come, get in touch with us; and leave the rest to us!

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