As emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and automation tools, continue to grow, so do roles for people who support and implement those technologies. Digital IT is a rapidly changing field, requiring new approaches and innovative ways of thinking.
As director of digital and e-commerce solutions, Heather Alosaimi oversees Abbott's e-commerce sites — which generates revenue for Abbott and its affiliate sites. Alosaimi and her team focus on increasing Abbott's digital presence and making the company a household name.
Rahul Avasthy is the lead of digital transformation and experience, and he works on user and customer experience initiatives. Avasthy and his team apply emerging technologies to improve the experience doctors, individuals and other consumers have with Abbott.
Here's more on what Alosaimi and Avasthy see as changes within the digital IT world and where it's heading.
Innovations Revolutionizing the Workplace
Technology is advancing rapidly, which means companies have more opportunities than ever to find efficiencies and better connect with customers. Digital IT professionals are at the forefront of learning and applying these technologies.
AI and Machine Learning
"We have to embrace technologies available to us and figure out how they can help progress our company — how we interact with each other and the solutions we provide our customers, both internally and externally," Alosaimi said.
The digital IT world changes rapidly as AI tools and our understanding of them continue to play a role in shaping the future workplace. While AI is still in its early stages with Alosaimi’s team, she and Avasthy both expect this to be a growing field.
Data collection and analysis fuel AI and machine learning tools. With vast troves of data collected from customers through websites and apps, Abbott has a clear picture of what customers want and need — and when they need it. Data analysis helps predict customer behavior to ensure the right products are shown to them at the right time.
"Innovation is happening in the industry in how we're able to use data to infer outcomes," Alosaimi said. "Companies like Abbott have data they've cultivated for many years. You can now learn from it and apply different tools and techniques to predict things we've never been able to in nutrition, devices and other areas of health."
Innovations that provide information to understand and predict human behavior help teams like Avasthy’s deploy customer and user experience projects on a larger scale. He sees a role for AI tools growing in behavior research at scale. What was once a time-consuming job that required in-person observation of customers is now completed much faster with data analysis. This allows his team to roll out customer and user experience improvements faster.
"I think AI will have a huge reach in accessibility and behavioral research," Avasthy said. "AI and machine learning help us do behavior research by aggregating tons of non-personal data. We can use tools to develop and design on a larger scale and someday improve accessibility on a larger scale."
Automation is one of the most impactful technologies being applied at Abbott. It double-checks code, shortens time to market and allows for more frequent deployments. Alosaimi said her team has embraced testing automation. Her team uses dynamic code analysis, which verifies code quality and provides quality metrics. These tools allow for continuous process improvement.
Abbott has many automation tools that her team can apply throughout the end-to-end deployment of her team's initiatives, and some deployments can be shortened to an hour with these tools.
"Testing automation and dynamic code analysis takes the manual labor out of reviewing code, and it produces quality metrics," she said. "The amount of time saved is incredible. We can add value to our consumers, internal and external, with automation."
Avasthy sees roles of automation in marketing, analytics, web content management and e-commerce. An IT employee doesn't always have to know all the tasks in order to automate, but they should be willing to experiment to find out.
Future of Digital IT
AI is expected to advance economic growth and boost labor productivity by 40% in the coming years, "fundamentally changing the way work is done," according to Accenture.
Technology's ability to aggregate data and make predictions at a faster pace and vastly larger scale than humans, opens new opportunities for companies. In the future, digital IT professionals can leverage tools to boost productivity, meet customer needs, and roll out projects more efficiently. Professionals who continue learning and stay curious about new technologies will thrive in this environment.