Infosys MANA & NIA — the next-gen AI platform for enterprises

Vishal Sikka, CEO for Infosys

With automation the new buzzword, Infosys the Indian IT bellwether launched AI platform, Mana with a goal to automate repetitive and commoditised software maintenance tasks earlier last year.

The platform combines machine learning together with ‘deep knowledge of an organisation.’ Businesses have utilized Mana to continuously reinvent their system landscapes and lower maintenance cost of assets. “Building on this deep experience, Infosys recognised the need to bring artificial intelligence to the enterprise in a meaningful and purposeful way,” Vishal Sikka, CEO and Managing Director, Infosys had shared.

To keep up with the pace of development, Infosys had hired a number of executives from Silicon Valley to build the top-notch cognitive system. Interestingly, Google Executive Sudhir Jha was hired as a Senior Vice President to head product management and strategy around Mana.

The platform is built upon the three primary software platforms of Infosys – the Infosys Automation Platform, the Infosys Information Platform, and the Infosys Knowledge Platform. With Mana, the organization helps in building knowledge, leveraging AI and machine learning.Mana is coupled with Infosys’ Aikido offerings to help clients capture knowledge, while delivering new and delightful experiences to their end users.

Mana versus other automation platforms?

AI can deliver multiple benefits to entrepreneurs

Infosys is not the only one with its own automation platform. Wipro launched HOLMES, TCS came up with Ignio, while Tech Mahindra calls its automation platform TACTiX. All these platforms help clients in automating projects to improve efficiency.

Essentially, these tools help in automating back-office support jobs. With MANA, Infosys attempted to build a top-notch cognitive computing system that could potentially rival IBM’s flagship Watson.  Clients across industries make sense of large sets of unstructured data sets using Watson.

Unlike Mana, Watson was built to function like our brain, learning through experiences, finding correlations, and remembering and learning from the outcomes. However, Mana has had a major success in the market and has proven itself as one of the most efficient automation platforms available today. Mana can also be used for predictive analytics and predictive maintenance.

The market is still in its infancy, and industry is investing significantly into intelligent automation. To stay relevant in the market, Infosys revamped Mana recently. Such innovations will help Mana to reach the level of Watson.

Is Mana fuelling growth

The adoption of Infosys’ automation platform Mana has doubled in the past few quarters, though from a small base. At the end of 2016-17, Mana had 50 customers and 150 engagements. “Contributions came from new areas. For 2016-17, we gained revenue from new software and software-related services like Mana,” remarks Sikka.

Reports suggest that more than three quarters of business leaders relied on artificial intelligence for success of their strategy. This only means that the potential market for Mana’s adoption is expanding.

MANA Use Cases: Mana at work

Infosys Mana is automating jobs

Banking: Case in point is a bank in Asia that needed help with automating their contract processing job. The bank would usually engage 10-15 dedicated lawyers for the same job. Through the AI platform, the bank eliminated the need for 10-15 lawyers to bring the task up to speed and deployed MANA to analyse non-disclosure agreement and contractual documents.

FMCG:  Another use case for Mana involves a food and beverage manufacturer. Sales Managers at this firm leveraged the platform to automate sales planning processes by automatically resolving maintenance tickets of recurring issues. Mana’s self-learning capabilities helped it to provide solutions to known problems automatically, over time. This helped the company in significantly reducing the time invested in generating a solution to a maintenance problem.

Infosys adds teeth to its AI platform with Nia

The success of Infosys’s first-generation platform, Mana, encouraged the Indian tech giant to launch Nia. The new platform combines big data/analytics, machine learning, knowledge management, and cognitive automation capabilities of Mana with end-to-end RPA capabilities of AssistEdge; high-performance and scalable machine learning capabilities of Skytree; and optical character recognition (OCR), natural language processing (NLP) capabilities, and infrastructure management services.

“Nia, the next generation of our AI platform now takes our purposeful approach to AI, one in which technology serves to amplify people and empowers them to work in new ways, to new heights, notes Vishal Sikka, CEO, Infosys. The comprehensive platform addresses critical business problems such as forecasting revenues, forecasting what products need to be built, while understanding customer behavior.

IBM Watson

Key business challenges that Nia addresses:

  • Improving order-to-cash process by creating a real-time risk profile. This helps in customizing the collection strategy, expediting resolution of disputes, and predicting anomalies, while enabling visibility and forecasting cash flow to reduce days sales outstanding (DSO)
  • Predicting variability in manufacturing and material cost, while reducing product development cycle times remarkably.
  • Creation of knowledge models of multiple, complex labor contracts. These models combine an on-demand, self-service conversational interface to operationalize the knowledge

Last Word

In an age of AI, MANA and now NIA have led to tremendous adoption of India’s biggest software services providers, allowing businesses to improve delivery, accelerate to market and driving operational efficiency. And even though the platform was billed to take on IBM Watson, it is still yet to be seen.  

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