UC and AI – An Interview with Paul Ewasuik from Zoom.ai
“You can’t just throw AI at a problem and make it work. It’s all about how this operationally saves you time, makes you money or reduces costs.”
Helen Lancaster from Arkadin interviews Paul Ewasuik from Zoom.ai in the run-up to their joint presence at this year’s Gartner Digital Workplace Summit.
Could you tell me a bit more about Zoom.ai – where you guys have come from and what you’re doing?
Paul: Zoom AI is a Productivity Company which specialises in creating AI assistance for the enterprise. We equip knowledge workers with a solution that can help offload the ‘busy work’. This includes administrative tasks, such as searching for information, scheduling a meeting or looking into a system such as a CRM. It’s about taking the tasks that aren’t necessarily revenue generating or role specific and offloading them to an AI assistant.
What sort of successes have you seen from your client work so far or what kind of benefits have your clients seen from implementing AI productivity tools like Zoom.ai?
Paul: We’ve been working with many clients across a wide variety of industries (because of the universal applicability of our solution). One of the ways that we have found the clearest ROI is in our meeting scheduling.
For example, take a consulting company that has knowledge workers who are paid relatively well and have a significant number of meetings. If there are internal and external meetings it often becomes quite a cumbersome task to schedule, coordinate, reschedule and effectively coordinate this workforce without having an administrative cost. We’ve equipped their knowledge workers with our AI assistant and, through a joint piloting process, were able to estimate a productivity increase of 9%. Across 900 employees this results in approximately $6,000,000 productivity increase per year.
That’s the kind of return on investment that we have seen from something as simple as the meeting scheduler. If we take that even further and equip those consultants with a knowledge base, then you can have complex questions answered right off the cuff by their AI assistant. It’s all about that quantified time saving – that’s where we have seen the most success with our customers thus far.
That sounds impressive. How do you find it when you come into these organisations, do people understand AI? Are they nervous about it or are they quick to embrace it?
Paul: That’s a great question. I’ve had the benefit of working in intelligence and analytics for the last few years, even before Zoom.ai. I would often speak to executives where AI was brand new to the organisation. They were looking to find a way to make it work. Their hesitation comes from the fact that it’s so new, but the only way that you really overcome that concern is by having the quantified use case. You can’t just throw AI at a problem and make it work. It’s all about how it operationally saves you time, makes you money or reduces costs. And justifiably so. Those are the only projects that really move forward. That’s why we have such a specific focus on it.
We’re working together at some upcoming events. Could you just tell us a bit more about how you work with partners like Arkadin when you’re deploying AI solutions for clients?
Paul: Awesome! It’s been a real pleasure working with Arkadin and the extended team. Our assistant creates value to the enterprise and Arkadin is a company that demonstrates thought leadership in terms of deploying Unified Communications inside of large enterprises. Given the fact that our solution lives inside of the Unified Communication space, Arkadin is a perfect partner for us. They understand how the tools are deployed. Plus, they have a full change management practice embedded. This really helps to prove the success of Microsoft Teams. Our solution adds to that success by equipping people with an assistant inside of the deployments.
It’s really about the fact that Arkadin has the technical expertise to deploy enterprise-wide Unified Communication solutions and Zoom.ai has a solution that can add value to those customers.
Fantastic. I just have one follow-up question if you don’t mind. Where do you go next?
Paul: Where do we go next? That’s a fun question that we often get! We have a really great team here with a whole bunch of ideas. One of the things that really makes us unique in the AI space is that we’re a company that’s completely run on agile development. So, we take our sales team, our R&D team and our senior executives. We all come together, and we make sure that our whole team is working towards what our customers want. We’re quite flexible and it really comes down to where we’re seeing the most wins, where we’re seeing most quantified investment for our customers and what would effectively make their deployments better. In terms of long strategic direction, that’s a question that’s better answered by my CEO, but in terms of tactics to get there, that’s probably the best way to explain.
To explore more about how to make AI work or to visit Arkadin at the show, why not Register Free here for UC EXPO 2019?