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Introducing Our GenAI Journey

Gajen Kandiah

Gajen Kandiah

Chief Executive Officer

Gajen Kandiah became chief executive officer of Hitachi Vantara in July 2020. As CEO, Gajen leads Hitachi Vantara's 11,000 employees with a focus on empowering client-facing teams to leverage the company's digital infrastructure, software and services capabilities to meet the industry-specific transformational needs of clients worldwide.

Prior to joining Hitachi Vantara, Gajen built winning IT businesses within multinational corporations and startups for more than two decades. During 15 years with Cognizant, he helped grow the company from $368 million in annual revenues to more than $16 billion. From 2015 to 2019, he was president of Cognizant's multi-billion-dollar Digital Business, a role in which he led the acquisitions of software engineering company Softvision, marketing solutions provider Netcentric, and Idea Couture, a digital innovation and technology services company. He also led a Cognizant-wide initiative to transform company capabilities and services into an integrated, industry- and client-focused suite of offerings and solutions.

Gajen previously served as senior vice president and general manager of Cognizant's Information, Media and Entertainment; Manufacturing Logistics; Consumer Goods; and Communications industry practices. Before joining Cognizant, he co-founded NerveWire, Inc., a venture capital-backed management consulting and systems integration firm, which was later acquired by Wipro.

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One of the great things about being in an industry for a few decades is being able to lean on historical perspectives in times of disruption. When faced with a new challenge or opportunity, we can ideate something new, or choose a path of past success.

This is the backdrop behind our decision to begin chronicling our company’s journey with Generative AI. Not since the seismic shifts of the Internet and mobile technologies has a technical innovation held such immense potential for transformation, as well as risk.

For instance, in the realm of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives, the benefits and drawbacks of GenAI are equally compelling. On one hand, GenAI has the capability to enhance efficiency and minimize waste; on the other, it demands significant energy consumption. While it holds promise in advancing healthcare, it also poses risks of introducing new forms of bias and inequality. Similarly, although it could bolster governance procedures, it may simultaneously obscure transparency.

Open Sourcing Our Journey

Embracing GenAI is not a casual endeavor; it demands commitment, research, and deep understanding. That's why we've chosen to document our organizational journey with this technology publicly. Our aim is to share both our ideation processes and the reasons behind our strategic choices—whether we decide to pursue or discard them.

We're all navigating the uncharted waters of GenAI, seeking the right strategies for success across various domains—be it internal workflows, industrial settings, client interactions, or even areas yet to be discovered.

At the heart of these strategies are the ideas themselves. In a series of upcoming narratives, we'll trace the evolution of our GenAI initiatives, sharing both triumphs and challenges faced by our team. These are pivotal times, and the stakes are exceptionally high for mastering AI—and GenAI, specifically.

The objective for the series, Our GenAI Journey, is simple: present our paths of ideation. The goal is to stimulate more engagement and thinking on the topic. There will be things that readers will look to emulate and others they will look to avoid. In either case, I would like to make this an interactive and engaging series.

GenAI is Not the Tech to Delegate

To start this journey let’s look at the genesis of ideation. For us, when it comes to GenAI, that begins with leadership. Unlike innovations of the past, GenAI is not a technology area that can be delegated to others. Leadership must be hands-on with an understanding of the structural bearings and the risks surrounding GenAI. Failing in this initial concept will slow if not stall the adoption and growth of the technology within an organization. Worse, still, it could advance its use in the wrong direction. That’s what I’ve done and what I’ve charged my leadership with, as well.

With a firm grasp of the technology, we’re moving to an assessment phase of needs. To do that, we started by identifying key players who could put teams together to advance the ball. These people have the ability and authority to strategize, analyze and execute plans. The teams know which stakeholders to consult with to understand the requirements and then compare those requirements to existing, available assets. From there, they can begin conducting things like cost-benefit analyses to determine the most effective next steps. Etc., etc.

With GenAI things like regulatory compliance, ethics, legal scrutiny must not merely be added to the process but integrated from the outset of the ideation. It’s a new world with GenAI. And all of this work must be started before any development testing can occur.

The intricacies of this journey make it worth documenting. The dialogues and insights that emerge from our planning and progress promise to offer compelling narratives. I trust you'll find value in these stories—adopting what resonates and disregarding what doesn't.

So, as we amplify this journey across social media, I would ask you to follow and engage with me and Hitachi Vantara on LinkedIn. Look for our updates on this series and share your comments as well as anecdotes from your own journeys. I want to hear from you. In a way, such sharing will elicit a sort of co-creation atmosphere that we will all benefit from.

Be sure to check back next week for Our GenAI Journey featured here and on our Corporate Newsroom.

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