Interview with CPO, Symphony SummitAI – Dr. Akhil Sahai

Interview with CMO, Symphony SummitAI – Dr. Akhil Sahai


“AI has been the biggest trend as of late and it shows no sign of stopping”

1. Tell us a little bit about your role and how you got here?
I head product management and marketing for Symphony SummitAI, which is an industry-leading provider of AI-driven IT Management suite for enterprises and service providers. I joined the company last year, bringing more than 20 years of experience in product strategy and management, marketing and business development. I’ve had experience with high-growth businesses with multi-hundred million-dollar portfolios and in managing SaaS-based early-stage startups to successful acquisitions.

2. Given the massive proliferation of information and software technology, how do you see the ITSM market evolving over the next few years?
IT services are under continued pressure to provide the same kind of 24/7 service that customers are used to receiving from consumer-centric products and companies. IT service teams are being asked to do more and more with the same of fewer resources – with increasing complexity. As a result, the implementation of Artificial Intelligence and Automation will become more important and grow in adoption. When used correctly, these technologies hold massive potential to free up IT service employees to focus on bigger, more important issues while still providing their organization’s employees with a 24/7, consumer-like IT services experience.

3. What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?

AI has been the biggest trend as of late and it shows no sign of stopping.

This is true not just for the ITSM industry but rather, across the board. We’re seeing AI and Automation already affecting industries far and wide, beyond IT.

4. How does SummitAI’s IT asset management software help in efficient management of assets?
Research shows that a staggering 80% of IT assets are underutilized, placing a massive strain on budget and productivity. Symphony SummitAI’s solution, powered by AI, puts new controls and processes in place to effectively manage hardware and software assets. It helps organizations manage costs, mitigate risk, stay compliant and approve return on investments with an operational approach. It also helps increase overall efficiency by facilitating the management of both IT and non-IT assets across the entire asset life cycle, right from planning, requisitioning and allocation to retirement, and then disposal.

5. Can you explain how the asset lifecycle management solution eases work of IT managers?
Summit’s solutions make it easier to handle the complete lifecycle of an asset, from procurement to disposal and all stages in between. It helps manage assets purchased through purchase order management, and tracks the hardware and software inventory of these assets. By providing a way to automate much of the process, SummitAI frees up IT managers to focus on other, strategic projects.

6. What’s the biggest challenge that you in your organizational role need to tackle to make any strategic decisions work?
We are in a fast-evolving market and technology landscape, and keeping ahead of the curve is the biggest challenge.

7. How do you prepare for an AI-centric world?
IT leaders need to be aware of what’s happening around them. It’s essential that they keep abreast of everything that’s happening, reading up on things and staying on top of the latest research. It’s also important to have a coherent and concerted plan for how your company will implement AI – don’t just jump at any AI vendor who comes along touting their benefits. It has to be a strategic process.

8. What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
I do not answer emails as soon as they come into my inbox. I take care of highest priority work with undivided attention before I dig into the emails periodically, which helps keep me from getting distracted. When I look at email, I dedicate my time to that, rather than always trying to multitask when it comes to reading through emails.

9. What is the core software technology capability of your firm that you bring to people? Where does your product fit in vis-a-vis the customer life cycle?
Legacy IT service management tools are holding back productivity. Symphony SummitAI provides an AI-driven IT management suite that brings service, asset and operations management to work in concert. With our suite, organizations can provide their employees with a seamless, “consumer-like” experience for IT services.

10. Are there any new features or upcoming upgrades that you’re excited about and would like to give us a sneak peek into?
We’re always working to evolve our suite and add more functionality. We made the most recent version of our AI-enabled suite, SummitAI Alps, generally available (GA) in April. This latest version includes our AI-powered digital agent, CINDE. Users converse in natural language with CINDE using Microsoft Teams, Jabber, Slack and Webchat. CINDE using machine reasoning understands the intent and resolves up to 30% of repetitive and manual tasks instantly. She also uses machine learning to classify incoming tickets and dispatches them to workgroups and agents based on past agent behavior.

11. What is your take on the massive explosion of IT across so many categories? Do you see competition, opportunities to partner and/or integrate?
There’s a huge opportunity to change and grow. As IT solutions continue to expand beyond traditional IT departments, it’s often said that every company today is (and needs to be) a technology company . This obviously brings more competition but it also brings a wealth of potential for new partnerships and integrations.

12. Could you share for our readers, an infographic or description depicting your technology stack?
SummitAI is an AI-driven Enterprise Service Management Suite that helps unleash enterprise productivity by effortlessly bringing service, asset and operations management together to work in concert. SummitAI, using machine reasoning and codeless workflow-based automation, delivers up to 20% annual savings in IT Help Desk Operations, and up to 45% better Total Cost of Ownership.

Dr. Akhil Sahai as Chief Product Officer heads product management and marketing at Symphony Summit. Akhil has 20+ years of experience in Product Strategy and Management, Marketing, and Business Development. Akhil is a product leader with extensive experience managing SaaS based early stage start-ups as well as high-growth businesses with multi hundred million dollars product portfolio. Most recently he was Chief Product Officer at LexisNexis and headed a $250M+ product portfolio spread across Europe, Africa and Middle East. Prior to that, as head of product management and marketing, led an early stage AI/Machine learning based start-up Perspica Inc. to successful acquisition by Cisco. He also initiated, funded and managed Enterprise wide solutions program at HP and product managed and launched vCloud software at VMware. He has led another start-up, Gale Technologies as head of products to successful acquisition by Dell where after the acquisition, he product managed the entire Converged Infrastructure portfolio.

Symphony SummitAI, backed by the $1 billion SymphonyAI fund focused on building the next generation of artificial intelligence and machine learning applications across multiple verticals. Our flagship product, SummitAI, is an advanced, modular, ITIL 2011 Certified solution that unifies service management, asset management, and operations management in a single, easy-to-use offering.
Enterprises and service providers use SummitAI to dramatically reduce cost and complexity of their IT Management while improving efficiency, productivity, predictability and control. Leading enterprises across business, financial services, insurance, healthcare, IT and consulting, automobile, manufacturing, aviation and education verticals are delivering better user experience while lowering the cost of managing their IT using Symphony SummitAI.

Link to "Symphony SummitAI" website

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