“AI Will Fundamentally Change How We Run Our Business” Says Atul Sharma, Co-Founder & CTO, Peak
AI traditionally is being looked at as a revenue generator with the added advantage of improved performance and efficiency. AI companies are coming up with out-of-the-box solutions in an attempt to overcome the usual blockades such as inadequate data and hybrid applications. Companies only get to view data in tranches for them to be able to make predictions. Peak.ai, an AI app platform creates AI-ready data, and designs visualized recommendations derived from a huge and complex set of data. An added intelligence layer called central intelligence enables companies to view probable outcomes. Analytics Insight has engaged in an exclusive interview with Atul Sharma, Co-Founder & CTO, of Peak.
1. Kindly brief us about the company, its specialization, and the services that your company offers.
Founded in Manchester in 2015 by myself, Richard Potter and David Leitch, Peak is an AI company that provides the platform, applications and services to help businesses harness the potential of AI to increase revenues, profits and efficiency. We’re on a mission to change the way the world works by putting AI applications in the hands of business teams.
Our platform is used by leading brands including Nike, Palace, PepsiCo, KFC and Sika. It provides a broad feature set that enables technical and commercial teams to build, deploy and manage AI applications at scale. The platform features a library of pre-built AI applications that rapidly create real value across a range of business functions.
2. Tell us how your company is contributing to the AI industry of the nation and how the company is benefiting the clients.
By providing both a platform, applications, and services, Peak enables Indian businesses regardless of the industry, experience with AI and technical capabilities to leverage the technology effectively. We’ve been working with a number of our customers since the early days of Peak, and have driven some incredible results for them.
For example, Speedy Hire is an FTSE-listed equipment rental and support services provider that operates in the UK and the Middle East, serving customers across multiple industries; construction, infrastructure, industrial, manufacturing, facilities management, retail, leisure, events, and local trade.
Speedy has 3,500 products across 200 depots (which vary from band saws to lighting towers) and a complex network that needs to be managed. Forecasting demand doesn’t just mean a one-off sale, but the ‘likely duration of hire’ and ‘expected product condition’ upon its return. Speedy also commits itself to a four-hour delivery and collection service.
Every month, Peak’s AI platform recommends to the Speedy Hire team how many new assets to buy, where assets should be distributed across the depot network when to replenish them, and by how much. On average, the team makes a 4% savings on inventory whilst satisfying 8% more demand across the network every month as a result. And, it now takes them one hour – instead of over a week – to decide where products should go in the network to drive the most sales.
3. How do you plan to revolutionize the Indian market and what are your plans to tap the market?
Peak’s proposition is unique in that we can support both technically advanced businesses and those at the very start of their journey. India is a core market for us, we’re working with customers in financial services, manufacturing and the real estate sector and have three offices in Pune, Mumbai and Jaipur. In 2023, we’ll continue to grow, expanding our reach to new industries and putting AI in the hands of even more businesses.
4. How do you see the company and the industry in the future ahead?
As AI matures, more businesses will start to understand that insight from their data could be leveraged to a huge competitive advantage. These companies will stop looking at AI as a supportive technology that can be used to track and deliver on targets, and instead, apply it to decision-making. As they start outperforming the market, we’ll see even more changes at a business level as others move to follow their example.
The next few years will be really exciting for the AI category, especially as it begins to be applied to commercial decision-making. As technology moves into mainstream adoption, it will fundamentally change how we run our business. Peak is at the center of that change, and we’ll continue to drive it and support businesses as they transition into the intelligence era.
5. What are the business benefits of handling data analytics & implementing a real-time decisioning platform?
Where to start? The turmoil of the last few years has really demonstrated to many businesses the importance of data. Those that have been able to optimize their way through changing consumer behaviors, supply chain problems, materials shortages, and a host of other disruptions are generally the most data-mature businesses. These are the organisations that have succeeded in centralising their data, have a holistic view of what’s happening at an organisational level, and make data-driven decisions every day.
There’s value to be gained from this, but add in an intelligent layer – a central intelligence unique to your business – and it’s game-changing. Businesses no longer need to look at data in arrears to make decisions, instead, they have a dashboard that shows a range of probable outcomes and can decide on a course of action based on how likely models predict a scenario to be.
This is a fundamental shift in ways of working that has incredible benefits, from reducing stockouts or unsold inventory for retailers to cutting down delivery miles for consumer goods companies, and helping manufacturers optimize quote pricing in real-time. AI is a versatile technology, it can drive significant advantages for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
6. How can businesses efficiently extract the value from data, without increasing cost and complexity?
That really depends on their data maturity, the level of investment that’s already been made in architecture, and what the businesses aim to achieve. A business that has relatively low maturity, i.e., lots of disparate systems of record, data silos, and teams with conflicting figures for the same metric, can generate a huge amount of value from simply centralizing their data, agreeing on a single source of truth and a structure for collecting data going forward. This would give that organization a clear view across its entire value chain, likely for the first time in the company’s history.
For mature businesses, the approach will need to be more bespoke. This type of business might benefit from investing in a data mart to reduce the computing needed for complex, function-specific operations, or training commercial teams and line-of-business users to increase data literacy across the organization.
Peak’s latest research into AI adoption in India showed that, while 87% of Indian companies had a data strategy, only 42% of those included provisions for AI. If yours is one of the 45% of businesses whose data strategy doesn’t include AI then that’s a good place to start. AI will change the way we work, much as the internet did; not making provisions for it now is regressive and will cost businesses dearly in the long run when they need to retrofit their data architecture to incorporate it.
7. AI is projected to be the next market. How is AI contributing to the making of your products and services?
We’re an AI company, and technology is at the heart of what we do as a business. Our platform gives businesses all the functionality they need to build, run and manage AI, with a library of AI applications proven to deliver tangible value. But, we understand that success with AI is about implementation more than mere tech. Our team has supported a broad range of companies through their journey and we have seen them achieve game-changing wins with AI in the process.