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How data pioneer Eucon is shaping the future and establishing an AI culture using GenAI: An interview with Moaffak Assassa, CTO

Right now, Generative AI (GenAI) is one of the trending topics in strategic planning of companies worldwide. A survey by Boston Consulting among more than 1,400 C-level executives revealed that 71 percent plan to increase their company tech investments in 2024. For 89 percent of respondents, AI and GenAI rank in the top three of tech topics, alongside cybersecurity and cloud computing (source: BCG AI Radar 2024).

How data pioneer Eucon is shaping the future and establishing an AI culture using GenAI: An interview with Moaffak Assassa, CTO

But how broadly are German companies really deploying AI and GenAI? A recent study by the German digital association Bitkom discovered that eight out of ten companies are still holding off to see what results others achieve with AI before investing time and money themselves – despite the low thresholds for entering this field of technology. This is mainly due to a lack of expertise in many areas, as technical skills often still need to be developed and expanded, for instance through targeted training. (Source: Bitkom press release (2024) on AI in the office: Companies see great potential – but are hesitant about implementation).

If you want to be one of the forerunners in GenAI, you need to start establishing the necessary corporate culture now. In this interview, CTO Moaffak Assassa explains his plans with regard to this new technology and how GenAI is already being used and tested at Eucon.

What are the requirements that technologies like GenAI need to fulfill in day-to-day business?

Moaffak Assassa: To begin with, technology must always serve a purpose. It can, for example, help our customers save costs and increase efficiency or simplify our internal processes and support us in the development of new products. Still, a technology that has no benefit shouldn’t be used at all costs.

In concrete terms, this means that we first need to determine where GenAI can offer genuine added value. Typical examples include standard tasks such as filling out forms and generating texts or images. Where GenAI takes over these tasks, employees have more time for more in-depth activities, which helps both us and our customers to offset the consequences of the skills shortage.

To successfully integrate GenAI tools into business processes, we first analyzed where the efficiency of processes could be improved. The aim is to simplify existing tasks rather than create new workflow steps. We are currently using GitHub Copilot, for example, a tool that supports our developers in the coding process. In addition, our marketing departments are currently testing how to use GenAI to create early drafts for texts. Another possibility in the long term could be to make use of new options for customer contact interactions, for example through chatbots based on GenAI. The possibilities are manifold.

The Boston Consulting Group has defined three value creation areas deploy, reshape and invent to maximize the potential of GenAI. Keeping with this classification, what are the steps you are actively working on to integrate GenAI into our day-to-day work

Moaffak Assassa: At Eucon, we perceive GenAI as part of our business strategy. For that reason, we intend to integrate GenAI tools into our employees’ day-to-day work this year, as well as develop the first products based on GenAI for our customers.

Looking at the three drivers mentioned above, we are currently particularly advanced in the areas of deploy and reshape.

To us, deploy means providing tools that simplify our daily work and enable us to increase our productivity. Solutions that prove themselves in our everyday work will become an integral part of our technology toolkit in future. To give you one example: Our employees can use the AI in the database of GitHub to search through billions of lines of code. We have realized that although our developers need to manually improve the generated code, they still save a lot of time and work more efficiently. In communication and marketing, Copilot helps with the creation of texts and images depending on the context. Most of the participants were in favor of continued use of Copilot after the test phase.

Reshape means that we are rethinking and redesigning critical processes at Eucon. We intend to use GenAI in precisely these areas to increase our efficiency and effectiveness. Here, too, we are currently testing various use cases.

When it comes to invent, we are working on some initial ideas right now. The aim is to use GenAI to rethink our business models and develop products and services for our customers. We have already launched the first trial balloons for this area.

For all the tools that we have deployed, data protection continues to be our top priority. We ensure that the AI tools provide the option of preventing the use of company data for training. Accordingly, we use versions specially developed for companies with corresponding data protection policies. In addition, all employees are obliged to omit or falsify customer data and company names from their input to make sure our high data protection standards are met.

Embedding all three areas into our business strategy is key. After all, our employees will only be able to use this technology efficiently in product development if they are already familiar with GenAI as part of their internal processes – and GenAI has become an integral part of their day-to-day work.

How are you establishing an AI culture at Eucon and preparing employees for a world that is changing ever faster from a technology perspective?

Moaffak Assassa: Eucon is a data pioneer that has been at the cutting edge of technology since its foundation. We must continue to build on this pioneering role in technology, and encouraging our colleagues to get involved in these topics is a key lever in this regard. Artificial intelligence is not just a technology, but above all an attitude.

Especially in this day and age, with the world changing ever faster (technologically), we need to keep asking critical questions: Does what I do every day or how I do it still make sense? We need to remain flexible and adapt to keep up with technology and process changes. If you find a way that seems more efficient, you should give it a try, even if it means an extra workload at first. This is the only way to figure out where we can truly add value to our day-to-day work.

To make this happen, it is crucial that we continue to train our employees, for example in prompt engineering, i.e. in the field of AI and natural language processing. Our team needs to be able to understand the technology not only from the user’s perspective, but also from an operational point of view. Our personal experience shows that the effort is worth it: With the support of GenAI, our colleagues are able to juggle more tasks without breaking a sweat. This not only contributes to a more efficient workflow, but also strengthens our company’s competitiveness. To establish a true culture of AI, we not only need to be proficient in the technologies, but also have the right attitude towards them and set an example in key areas. This means establishing an agile mindset where we are open to change, willing to constantly learn and experiment. We need to see GenAI as an opportunity, not a threat. Managers can empower and support their teams in using GenAI in a meaningful and creative way – and above all, recognize and appreciate the successes made possible through GenAI. If we do that, we will create both trust in and enthusiasm for these technologies at our company.

Written by Eucon Group