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Former CIO catches AI, RPA fever

Clint Boulton | April 3, 2017
Long-time GameStop CIO Jeff Donaldson launches a consultancy to help companies automate manual processes using artificial intelligence and design thinking.

"So long as you apply design thinking you can find those things that help you to automate processes so instead of just standardizing or making processes more efficient you’re making decisions on behalf of an organization to serve a customer," Donaldson.

Donaldson is currently still crafting his design process model, buthe already has some retail, financial services and healthcare scenarios he says can benefit from his design method:

  • Retail: Retail organizations struggle to maintain the proper inventory levels across stories, building forecasts from sales data and trends. Donaldson says this entire process can be automated with software, ensuring the proper inventory level.
  • Finserv: Financial services companies collect a wealth of data when they decide to take on new customers. They perform background checks for loan processing and other manual, paper-intensive tasks, another process Donaldson says can be performed with software.
  • Healthcare: Physicians create their own paper trails, with some help from their insurance company partners. When a physician engages an insurer to get paid, he submits a code associated with each diagnosis to the patient's insurer, commencing a back and forth paper exchange in which the insurer decides who must pay for what. Donaldson says this, too, can be performed with software.

Donaldson also says smart RPA can improve staffing optimization across every industry. It’s a tricky task he became interested in during his 14 years as CIO of GameStop. He envisions creating something of an "Uberization of a corporation," where new services can be called up on demand, then scaled back as necessary, with minimal impact on staffing.

"In my job as a CIO there were all sorts of activities we couldn't undertake because we couldn't afford to hire a staff to operate them," Donaldson says. "With automation, I can deliver the service associated with that activity because automation makes it affordable. If that activity operates at a scale of 10x for a year and then suffers a loss of demand I can scale back to 5x very easily without going through the gut-wrenching process of staff downsizing."


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